OE Newsletter July 2005

Annual Dinner event still delivers!

This year’s Annual Dinner, held as usual in Baldwin’s Omega last Maundy Thursday, was graced by nearly 170 Old Edwardians spread in age unusually right from last year’s school leavers, to a gentleman up from the west of England at 99! John Phillips took on the role of president for the first time at this year’s event, which was graced by a most interesting and entertaining speech by Roland Smith CMG (KES 1954-61).

This prestigious(!) event draws from near and afar and each year puts some people together who have not met since at school. It also provides a valuable annual get together for some strong year groups who might have attended for the last fifteen years. Next year’s event is already booked at Baldwin’s Omega on Maundy Thursday, and reservations may be made via the association’s website. Booking sheets will be sent out to members after Christmas.

Long serving retirement

Kay Madden (nee Alcock) is retiring this summer - after 27 years service! That means a huge number of Old Edwardians will recognise her! The school held a BBQ for her on the night of Friday 22nd June (when it rained mercilessly). There were a lot of people there. The picture shows Kay and others who had dodged the rain to get at the food...

Centenary Plaque

On 8th October 2005 at the Centenary Celebration Evening, the Old Edwardians Association will unveil a plaque in the entrance hall which chronicles the history of the school since 1905.

This plaque will complement the one on the opposite wall that was put up in 1950 and describes the history of the King James Grammar School, the Collegiate School, Wesley College and the Sheffield Royal Grammar School.

The new plaque will contain the names and dates of the seven Headmasters/Headteachers of King Edward VII School from 1905 to the present day.

Musical Memories

The huge span of years covered by musical maestro Norman Barnes will mean that many wish to preserve his memory. The charity The Norman Barnes Memorial Trust Charity No 1086259 was set up following the death of NJB in April 2000. Several thousand pounds have been donated and this now forms the capital from which two small musical grants are made each year. If anyone wishes to contribute to the fund, (which is administered by four Sheffield based trustees, the support would be very welcome. Please contact Shelagh Marston (Hon Sec.) Smith Wood Studios, 62 Endcliffe Hall Avenue, Sheffield S10 3EL. shelaghmarston*at*btinternet.com

Centenary Weekend

The school welcomes all Old Edwardians to its Centenary Weekend celebrations on Saturday 8th October. The open doors will include refreshments of all kinds (including alcohol), and many interesting displays and some performances. For those who haven’t visited the school in a number of years, and perhaps worry what the ravages of time, and tight school budgets might have wrought on the school structure. Worry not as many of us feel that the fabric of Glossop Road looks better today than at any time in the recent past.

The highlight of the event is the launch of the Centenary History of King Edward VII School 1905-2005 written in 450 pages by past chair of governors John Cornwell. (See overleaf for a taster!) The celebrations will continue for some of us the following lunchtime, as there are 150 places for Sunday lunch in the dining room of Abbeydale Sports Club. Tickets will be first come first served so you are urged to complete and return as soon as possible the entry form that is enclosed with this mailing.

Finally, the Association is hoping to make its own memorable gesture to the school, and is commissioning on its behalf, the restoration of the enormous painting of Edward VII that has until now has adorned unlit a Glossop Road staircase, for at least the last 60 years... The painting will have been taken down, and a small part of its potential revealed on that Saturday and all contributions to the cost of its refurbishment will be gratefully received.

Extract from the book to be published (Oct 2005)

“If Dr James Hichens, the school’s first Headmaster 1905-1926 had been able to return in Nathaniel Clapton’s final year, almost thirty years later, he would still have felt instantly at home both in the building and in the classrooms. True, the boys wore dark blue blazers now rather than suits, the Junior School was long gone, incredibly the “backs” still remained, but the curriculum was little changed from his time. The staff, entirely male and predominantly Oxbridge graduates, still strode the corridors in their gowns and in the main, used “chalk and talk” and note taking from the textbook and blackboard, as their preferred manner of teaching. Hichens, a keen collector of favourable statistics, would have been impressed, if not overwhelmed, by the Oxbridge successes of the early sixties and he might well have envied Clapton, whose school was composed of most of the city’s young male intellectual élite, where examination success was almost guaranteed; unlike his own time when KES had quite a long “tail” of fee-paying boys of average talent.

If Hichens could walk through the Newbould Lane gates today from his house on the corner, as he did thousands of times in his twenty one years as Headmaster, would he recognise, or approve, of King Edward VII School a century later? The main building would be instantly recognisable, although he might be perplexed by the security measures of CCTV and entrance codes.

He might not be surprised that the school was now co-educational, after all he had appointed female staff members during the First World War to teach in the Junior School. He would, however, be surprised that half of the Deputy and Assistant Headteachers, and many of the Heads of Department, were women and also that a quarter of the school consisted of students from the ethnic minorities.

Virtually all the institutions that defined his school, and were considered so vitally important for its effective progress, have all disappeared in the last forty years. Speech Days, formal Morning Assemblies of the whole school, Head Boys and Prefects, Uniforms, Houses, Corporal Punishment, School Magazines, Scouts, the teaching of Classics and now, it would appear to him, most of the staff dressed, not in gowns, but in casual clothes.

He might appreciate how the modern KES was successfully educating so many pupils of such widely differing abilities and backgrounds. That, also, the school was achieving remarkable results despite a range of social and educational problems that as the Headmaster of an exclusive boys’ school he would not have been called upon to face, although poverty and deprivation were much worse in Edwardian society. Hichens might be a little overawed by the numbers in the school, - at least five times the number than in the Edwardian period (the present Sixth Form is as big as his whole school was when he left in 1926), with a budget over a 1000 times larger and a teaching staff of over 100 rather than the 15 he had at the foundation of the school. If he wondered how all the 1670+ pupils were accommodated, he would discover that there was another building with nearly 700 students a mile and a half away, in what had been open fields in his day.”


R. Bruce Chalmers

(Classics Dept) MA Oxon (Brasenose College) Came to KES in Summer 19555 from Glasgow Academy and left in July 1961, to be senior classics master at Bromsgrove County High School.

Lesley Bradley

Who died last December aged 102. He and two brothers all attended KES, his first day being in 1912. He went on to Oxford and read classics, and via several posts en route that included KES as second in maths (a post he held between 1925 and 1928) becoming ultimately headmaster of Derby School between 1942 and 1961 when he retired.

Rev V. Alan Vout

Came to KES from Hull University in summer 1956. Left in 63 to enter Ripon Hall Theological College in Oxford. Was subsequently ordained and ministered to congregations in the Rotherham area.

Edwardians in the News

Bob Davies (60/67) CEO Arriva, recently profiled in the Saturday Guardian

Alan Wood (58/65) CEO Siemens plc also recently profiled in the Guardian

Emily Maitlis (83/89) one of the reporters in the BBC election coverage

Prof. Ian Fells (41-50) expert on wind energy, seen on Newsnight to do with Wind Farms.

Prof. Ted Wragg (49-56) entertains on the back of TES (literally!)

Gareth Hulse (64-71) review in this month’s “Gramophone” magazine of his new recording of Saint Saens’ Oboe Sonata

John Rawling (67-74?) on Johnny Vaughan Sunday late night TV show

Dear Old Edwardian

The rapid approach of our Centenary Year is an opportune moment to write to you to give you some current news about the School.

With 1670 students the School has never been larger, more-over-subscribed or diverse in its nature. 500 of our students are in the Sixth Form and of these about 200 will enter Higher Education this autumn. The staff – teachers and support staff – now exceeds 200.

On the home front, 25 mother tongues are represented in the School, 17% of our students have a first language other than English and 27% of our students come from Sheffield’s ethnic minority communities. Abroad, we have extended partnerships to schools in Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Japan, USA and China.

The reports of the demise of school sport, at least at KES, have been greatly exaggerated. Our teams won most of the 230 fixtures they played between September and March of this year and in June 2005 we claimed victory in the City Athletics Championships, our 13th successive triumph! Cricket too is enjoying a revival and the Great Outdoors continues to exercise a fascination. Over 150 students are involved in Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme expeditions this summer.

Old Edwardians with a business interest will, I am sure, be impressed with our ability to manage a budget approaching £8.0m with a prudence and perspicacity worthy of Gordon Brown himself. However, our focus remains the achievements of our students and as I write we look forward to examination results in the summer of 2005 which will maintain and enhance the reputation of the School for academic excellence.

I very much hope that a large number of Old Edwardians will be able to join us on Saturday 8 October 2005 for the launch of John Cornwell’s history of the School and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque presented to the School by the Old Edwardians to mark the Centenary. A further celebration will take place on Saturday 19 November at 19.30 when former students, who are now outstanding professional musicians, will perform a variety of works. More details will be available in the Autumn.

With best wishes

Michael Lewis