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Replies 21-34
< replies 1-20

21st REPLY

NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 19 November 2014


In regard to the swear word "Thatcher" [reply 20], at the time of her funeral procession I was returning with my wife from Leeds on a National Express coach after our visit to see old school friend Tim Fawdry and his wife Anthea in Ilkley. Next to us was a young fellow with whom I shared sandwiches, as he looked in need of some food. He was coming down with a banner to proclaim "The witch is dead." He hoped to get a prominent position to protest with other pro-miners. Such dedication to a cause of such division so long before! Of course Billy Elliot in the film and theatre remembers the same days.

22nd REPLY

NAME: Adam Lines  Adam LinesThen & Now

DATE: 20 November 2014


My MP up here in Huntingdon in the '90s was John Major. He and Norma lived in a house on the edge of town which was heavily fortified with razor wire, cameras and a 24 hour guard. I was carrying out Council Tax valuations in the area at the time which involved me looking at houses from the street, using glasses if necessary. I had been outside the entrance drive having a quick look when I was surrounded by armed guards shouting for me to get down on the ground. My explanation was greeted with scepticism until some calls were made, whereupon I was invited into their billet for a cup of tea. Who said Surveying was boring? We now have his successor Jonathan Djanogly in post who also lives nearby but under a more relaxed security regime I suspect.

23rd REPLY

NAME: Nigel Wood  Nigel Wood

DATE: 21 November 2014


Though, Adam, Mr Djanogly does have (or did have) gates, according to Wiki. This illustrates the stimulus that Stapylton Field gives me, to pursue topics I'd have left dormant otherwise. A few days ago it was Reg Maudling revision time. Whatever you think of his politics, or his taste in business associates, he certainly had a sense of humour and bucket loads of insouciance (if that's how it comes). Pity most of it was lost on me at the time.

24th REPLY

NAME: Nick Dean  Nick Dean Nick Dean gallery

DATE: 24 November 2014


Returning to the subject of libraries [replies 7–10], I was intrigued to receive from the OEs a short missive about the establishment of something called the Queen's Library in what used to be the refectory. This includes a request for OEs to donate specific books via a series of links to Amazon. Others who follow the current affairs of the school closer than I do are possibly aware of the background, but I was a little surprised that the round robin contained no information about the status of library facilities at the school: for example, is this an attempt to recreate a physical library - or is there still one somewhere on the premises? And what happened to all the books - many no doubt way out of date - that were once located on the first floor of the 1932 building? Interested to know if anyone can fill in the blanks!

25th REPLY

NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 26 November 2014


Well, Nick, at the OE Dinner on last Friday evening was the first time I heard from the Headmaster, Neil Enright, that OEs were to be asked to donate to the new physical Queens Library. I personally have not been asked yet. I think that most of the books from the old library will have been transferred to this new library but not all. At the last Founders Day I bought some old library books from the FQE stall, which both had a QE crest stamped on the front. This was one reason why I bought them, though the contents also look interesting. I understand also from both the QE website and the OE and 40 Club dinners that the library has a full time librarian appointed in charge of the usual librarian control duties.

26th REPLY

NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 01 December 2014


I have now checked my internet account and the large volume of unopened e-mails. I note that I have now been sent one from Martyn Bradish OE (at QEs 1962-69) on behalf of the OE committee about contributing via Amazon to the library stock of books [see replies 24,25]. I am not sure yet whether I will or won't. I may contribute a book that has meant much to me and hopefully will to others such as Henry Drummond's The Greatest Thing in the World and Other Essays. though that would have to be a second-hand copy and is a small volume not too expensive on the Amazon second-hand book site (Abe Books.) I have ordered several copies already and are going to give them to my children for Christmas along with other things, provided they arrive in time. My eldest son and granddaughter usually want money instead of books to buy reading matter on their Kindles. I suspect a large number of pupils at QEs are the same as well as using computers to research factual subjects such as via Wikipedia.

27th REPLY

NAME: David Jervis

DATE: 21 December 2014


Very interested in the comments started by Nick Dean about school plays [see original message and replies 1,2,3,6]. He was one of my colleague spirits (I also prefer the name sprites) in The Tempest in 1965. The following year featured The Mystery Plays, an ambitious production in which I had two parts, one being a ploughboy in the story of Cain and Abel. In 1967 I was moving towards the zenith of my acting career when I played Toinette, the maid in Moliere's Malade Imaginaire, a role for which I was praised by WH Gelder in his Barnet Press review. The following year, 1968, the main production was Billy Budd in which I performed the title role. As you will know, the ending sees Billy hung from the ship's mast. I recall being rather pleased that several women/girls in the audience wept at my execution. Another pleasant memory is that I was told by director Roger Evans to make the fatal blow I struck on the horrible Claggart (Charlie Farrer) more realistic. Of course, I did as I was told. It was that blow on three nights (March 7, 8 and 9) that resulted in my death sentence. I have many photos somewhere of all these plays. I will try and find them and then seek advice as to how to load them on this site.

David, you can just scan the pictures and email them to me (the adress is shown in th email you will have received to notify you that your reply has been published).

28th REPLY

NAME: Geoffrey Conner

DATE: 22 December 2014

CONNECTION WITH QE: pupil 65 to 68

Great to see the photo of Billy Budd the sailor holding the body, which is yours truly and the other one with his back to the camera is Lesney. Hugh Purchas had a lot to do with the production, and how I became involved is a mystery but I remember really enjoying the experience. Visited the old place this June on Founders day, with another ex-inmate Nick Opperman. Sad to see a lot of the old photos of the school teams have been removed from the corridor walls, hope they have kept them.

29th REPLY

NAME: Stephen Giles  Stephen Giles

DATE: 22 December 2014

CONNECTION WITH QE: inmate 1957-64

David, how wonderful that QE put on a version of the Mystery Plays. I have many memories of seeing National Theatre productions of these in the Cottesloe Theatre in 1984-85, and again when they were revived in 1999-2000. You can find The Nativity, Passion and Doomsday on Youtube (albeit with Dutch subtitles!) - "Man on mould, be meek to me, and have thy maker in thy mind, and think how I have tholed for thee, with peerless pains for to be pined"!!

30th REPLY

NAME: Andrew Hersom

DATE: 28 December 2014

CONNECTION WITH QE: Pupil 1960 - 1968

Performances were not without incident. In Billy Budd [see reply 28] there was a soliloquy with Charlie Farrer on deck, which is interupted by gunfire from the enemy (sounds off, kettledrum), the crew all rush on deck load the cannon and fire it (the bang was a maroon in a dustbin detonated electrically by Eric). The cannon then moved back with 'smoke' coming out of it (ammonia blown through HCl, I think). This finishes the scene. The maroon went off prematurely one night. Eric had put the switchbox on top of a radiator and there was a short. The kettle drum was used to make the sounds of the cannon and the audience didn't cotton on it was a mistake. It was a big surprise for Charlie Farrer though; apparently he leapt about five feet in the air.

31st REPLY

NAME: Nick Dean  Nick Dean Nick Dean gallery

DATE: 23 June 2015


While we are (or were) on the subject of plays, I made a brief appearance at the Founder's Day fete this year - the second time this century - and took this picture of the stage in the main hall.

32nd REPLY

NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 27 June 2015


In relation to your comments in the caption to Nick's photo of the hall, Vic, concerning you sandwich eaters / school dinner refuseniks, this takes me back to 1956 and my dinners in the hall. The sandwich eaters had progressed by then from the gallery to one of the tables in the main hall. Though I had school dinners, I was assigned to the same table. Presumably this was because the Harrison house table was full. I remember vividly many a conversation with the sandwich eaters, which included Alan Cripps and Robert Wright. They spoke of radio programmes I had not heard and TV programmes not seen, as I used to be in bed of an evening by 7 p.m. in primary school days. Whilst first at QEs my Dad did buy a new TV set and my horizons were enlarged. I have spoken earlier of my opinions of school dinners, with some exceptions mostly much enjoyed. My wife at school, coming from a vegetarian family, always took a packed lunch.

33rd REPLY

NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 29 June 2015


I note from Nick's photo of the school hall (and how can I not after all those years of Sam C0cks school homeworks describing photo contents?) that there are still savoury and sweet leftovers from the buffet lunch. I hope Nick was able to enjoy some of these, if hungry enough, and maybe will be able in another year to enjoy meeting us other OEs at the official time of the buffet and partake in some of the conversations.

34th REPLY

NAME: Nick Dean  Nick Dean Nick Dean gallery

DATE: 30 June 2015


I didn't get where I am today by sticking to official times.

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