Stapylton Field
WW Board
former staff
Vic's notes
hot threads
All threads MAIN MESSAGE BOARD Number list
< Thread 48   Thread 49 (5 replies so far)    Thread 50 >


NAME: Ian Sadler  Ian Sadler

DATE: 02 June 2009

CONNECTION WITH QE: pupil 1951-1958

We have recently heard of the deaths of 4 teachers who were at the school in the 1950s.  On a positive note I would like to report that another teacher of that era is very much alive.

Richard Shewell was principal physics teacher and later head of science from 1949 to 1956.  He was a contemporary and great friend of Eric Crofts.  He also accompanied Eric and Ollie Alford on the first winter skiing trips.  He was a brilliant teacher and always made the lessons interesting.  He was also a skilled wood worker, glass blower and artist.

His main hobby was music and with Eric he formed QE's first orchestra.  He was a first class violinist who also played the viola, cello, clarinet and french horn (all well).  Some of you may remember his Wednesday "lunchtime proms" - 15 mins of all sorts of music.  His jazz clarinet playing earned him the name of "Hot lips Shewell" although his normal nick-name was "Humph" (after Humphry Davy). He gave me (and several others) our first lessons on the violin and started one or two others on his other instruments.

I managed to track him down 4 years ago.  Recently, on a trip South (from Edinburgh!), I paid him a second visit.  Now 87, he stays in a care home near Skipton and has a degenerative spine problem which means he can no longer stand up straight.  Not that he lets that stop him doing things - we walked to the local pub for lunch.  3 years ago he gave up playing the violin - as he could no longer make the sound he wanted, so he taught himself to play the flute!

He had some wonderful stories about the school and does a superb take-off of EHJ!  He never wore a gown (in spite of EHJ's insistence): he said it was unsafe in a laboratory!  I came away having had a great 5-hour break in my journey.  A really positive amazing man.  If any one wishes to get in touch with him, please contact me.


NAME: Ian Sadler  Ian Sadler

DATE: 29 July 2012

CONNECTION WITH QE: Pupil 1951-1958

Since there have been no replies, probably few contributors remember Richard.  I have also been remiss in not informing you of the sad news that Richard died a few months after my visit in 2009.  I didn't get the usual Christmas card in 2009 so I phoned the care home and they said he had died the week before Christmas, eventually succumbing to the prostate cancer which till then he had kept at bay.  He was one of those of whom I can say it was a priviledge to know him, be taught by him and become one of his friends.


NAME: Mike Cottrell  Richard Dilley & Mike Cottrell

DATE: 31 July 2012

CONNECTION WITH QE: Pupil 1957-1964

Ian, I've discovered this item on the Internet involving Richard Shewell and find it quite fascinating.


NAME: Ian Sadler  Ian Sadler

DATE: 16 August 2012

CONNECTION WITH QE: Pupil 1951-1958

Thanks, Mike for finding that article - it is just what I would have expected.  Pity you were at QE just after he left.


NAME: Alan Pyle  Alan Pyle

DATE: 16 May 2013

CONNECTION WITH QE: Pupil 1948-1953

I regarded Richard Shewell as an inspirational teacher. He combined his knowledge of physics with his love and skill in music to make his periods very involving. We had a whole term on Acoustics. Out on Stapylton at a measured distance from the front wall of the main building, clapping in time to echoes and timing the interval. Then into the hall to assess its acoustics. In the lab with a bicycle propped so the rear wheel could be turned and sounds played on the tyre and measured on an oscilloscope. Then musical instruments played so we could see the complexity of the waveforms. Other inspiring Physics lessons from Richard Shewell were in Optics. A shallow illuminated glass tank of water to project wave forms to demonstrate refection and refraction. Then making our own simple telescopes an spending a winter term on Astronomy through practical observation.  Then there was the lunchtime popular music making with Eric Crofts in the otherwise classical music room. The younger masters were challenging the so stuffy nature of the school in my time.


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

DATE: 30 May 2013


Richard Shewell had left the school before I joined. He apparently left the school at quite a young age (34), having joined the school at 27. He became Inspector of Schools for the West Riding of Yorkshire and I expect the local Skipton paper has reports about this and presumably a full obituary. EHJ in his book Elizabethan Headmaster 1930- 1961 commends his work but unfortunately with few of the details you contributors have supplied.
Back to top
Add reply
All threads
Threads post-2012