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

14 July 2012

CONNECTION WITH QE: Pupil 1956-1963

There are so many interesting themes on this site about past days at QE and maybe in later times I can join your regular correspondents such as Stephen Giles, whom I knew from my Boreham Wood and school days.  Certainly in my days a fair number came from Boreham Wood but we were vastly outnumbered by those coming from the Barnet, Totteridge and Oakleigh Park areas. Most of us felt like the working class family lads compared with the middle class family gang.  I notice, Vic, on your website you felt the same class divide.  Nevertheless we generally held our own ground well and apart from my cousin David Chopin, some years older than me, enjoyed our time at QEs.  I was assigned to the new house Harrisons and my brother John followed me to QEs and the same House.  I notice that since my time there there is a newer House - Pearce, presumably named after the old Second Master, Poker Pearce, who is described in several of the threads.


NAME: Simon Hersom

DATE: 27 July 2012


I think our year was the last which took RE O level.  I believe the pass rate was zero, mostly because none of the questions we're about the Acts of the Apostles, the only part of the syllabus of which we were aware.  I remember well the special assembly called for Poker Pearce's retirement.  It was completely packed out and the atmosphere was electric - we somehow knew that it was the end of an era.


NAME: Roger Nolan  Roger Nolan

DATE: 28 July 2012


I remember a hilarious incident during a scripture lesson with Poker Pearce.  We reached the section in Acts where Philip baptises the eunuch when a hand went up from a lad in the front row.  "Sir, what's a eunuch?"  Poker's response was to puff and wheeze, um and arr and blush slightly while he was thinking up how to respond.  Suddenly, a voice piped up from the back of the room.  "It's a bloke wi [sic] no balls."  At this, Poker became apoplectic, more puffing and wheezing, umming and arring then he just got up and without saying a word, left the room and we remained unsupervised until the end of the lesson.  I remember who it was who came out with the wonderful riposte.  I wonder if he does!


NAME: Ian Sadler  Ian Sadler

DATE: 28 July 2012

CONNECTION WITH QE: pupil 1951-1958

I remember John Pearce struggling trying to make a table on a large sheet of paper to show the timetables of all the staff, the rooms, and the classes (he only had a 2 foot long ruler).  So I said that, as my father was an architect and had an enormous drawing board, if he told me what he wanted drawing I could do it rather more quickly.  He looked so relieved and accepted instantly (I was in the upper sixth at the time and had realised he had a human side - mostly hidden).


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

DATE: 01 August 2012


I note from the school website section on Houses that John (Poker) Pearce did indeed have the 6th House named after him [see original message] when the school became comprehensive and expanded at the time he retired in 1971.  He was at the school from 1932 aged 23 until he retired aged 62, a total of 39 years.  That's a very long innings and I expect others have stories to tell.  Of course before he joined the immortals with a house named after him he was the housemaster of Underne House, which was also known as the School House.  It did seem when I was at school that there seemed a tendency to preferment for Underne boys.  I remember my friend Tim Fawdry was secretary of the School Society responsible for the Hobbies Exhibition each year.  (Do either of these still exist?)


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

DATE: 10 August 2012


An interesting and funny story, Roger [see reply 2].  I can't remember any incidents of anyone piping up anything in classes I was in or indeed any fun to be had in the classrooms.  We were there to learn and discipline must be maintained at all times.  I do remember one boy who on a hot summer's day came into Frosty Winter's history classroom not wearing a school tie.  Frosty was also his housemaster (Leicester House).  He was promptly sent home to get it, to much merriment for the rest of us. He will remember it well even after all this time I should imagine.


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

DATE: 11 August 2012


Further to my last message, in regard to class incidents, there was a case in Reverend Upton's class for Greek A Level when one pupil at the front of class made a rude remark about the answer to a question given by a pupil at the back.  The latter got angry and went down and biffed him over the head.  Rev Up (as he was of course known} usually smiling and with rosy cheeks went quite white, maybe thinking he too would be assaulted.  There was then an explosion from him and the latter boy was shaken and rebuked severely but within minutes Rev Up was his usual smiling self and continuing with the lesson.  I do not believe any further punishment was meted out.  Maybe a practical example of being angry but sinning not.  Those concerned I expect will remember the event well.  There were other incidents when Rev Up would explode angrily but return to his usual smiling self shortly after.  When taking charge of a D game rugby match on the Third Field we all within minutes changed the game from rugby to soccer.  Then came the explosion and biffing of heads followed by the equable calm.
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