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Glengyle School (Glengyle Preparatory School for Boys)

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Glengyle Preparatory School for Boys was in Putney, south-west London. It was founded in 1907 by Leonard Augustine Chope, and was originally in Cambalt Road before moving to 4, Carlton Drive in 1914.

Glengyle Preparatory School for Boys
photographed in the Summer Term of 1965

Walter Vivian Wallace was appointed as Assistant School Master in 1938 before purchasing the lease from Mr Chope and becoming the proprietor and headmaster of the school.

He bought the freehold of the property in Carlton Drive in 1960. His wife Winifred taught at the school and took over its running following the death of her husband in 1981. Mrs Wallace retired in 1986 and the school was sold. It is now the Merlin School.

The building was one of those huge Victorian villas, probably built in the 1860s for a large and prosperous family with many servants.   The ceilings were high, the rooms spacious. The large garden had been turned into a gravelled playground, complete with climbing frame. A skeletal medlar tree stood in one corner near the conservatory, which was now Form Two.

In the 1965 photograph, the whole school is shown: it had about 60 pupils.
From L – R the staff are:  Mrs Helen Jordan (music); Mrs Joan Mensing (Form Two); Mrs Winifred Wallace (Form One); Mr Vivian Wallace (Headmaster); Major Peter Williams (Form Four); Mr Smith, and Mr Davies.

Mrs Mensing had started out by being Mrs (or Miss) Walker, but intrigued us all by remarrying and changing her name in 1964. She was a good amateur watercolourist.

The Wallaces, with their three children, Peter, Juliet, and Adrian, lived upstairs. The school occupied the ground floor and the basement, which also housed the kitchens and the dining room.

Mrs Wallace ruled Form One, teaching just about everything to little boys mostly new to school. Basic arithmetic was introduced and I have a clear recollection of large sheets of dark yellow paper with red spots drawn on them to show they way numbers increased. Five (two spots at top and bottom, with a central one making up a pleasing pattern) and then the favourite of all ‘Lonely Six’ – a repeat of Five, but with poor old Six stuck out to one side.

Easter and Christmas were significant in that we beautified the classroom a couple of weeks before the end of term with specially made decorations. Paperchains and cotton wool snow at Christmas, and bunnies at Easter. The paperchains were made from strips of coloured paper, gummed together into loops, and the bunnies were carefully cut out by Mrs Wallace, who then gave them to us to exercise our artistic skills with brown powder paint. A small lump of cotton wool was then added for the tail. The rabbits were arranged round the walls along with cut-out Easter eggs and bright flowers. I don’t think the Easter message was mentioned. That would come later, in Scripture lessons with Major Williams.

For me, Christmas was immediately exciting because of the promise of the ‘School Concert’ – an end-of-term entertainment in which our histrionic talents were put on show. From a classic nativity play with angels and shepherds and three wise men, to a number of songs in French and English, short dramatic interludes – again, some in French, some in English, and some even in Latin. I once scored a great hit as Mrs Noah in a French version of the Bible story. I had a blue and white striped frock, which I think had originally belonged to a neighbour of ours, and a neat apron. I had to bully the animals. In French.

Mr Noah – played by Carlos Munday, who was Spanish – eventually lost patience and ordered me into ‘l’arche’ with the warning that if I didn’t obey at once, I would drown. I think we were better than the extract from ‘Macbeth’ which followed, but I coveted Peter Wallace’s magnificent blue gown and wimple, and wished I could have been Lady Macduff. I can still hear Guy Whitehead groaning ‘He has killed me, mother’. He had a naturally gruff voice, and was lying on the floor, dressed in a sack. His plastic dagger and shaggy red hair lent a certain authenticity to the scene.

The Christmas Nativity Play, c.1963 (The angels' costumes are made of white sheets, the wings of muslin strips, with elastic bands to loop over our fingers. Joseph and Mary of course wore tea-towel headdresses, as did the shepherds, who aren't in this photograph.)

The Christmas Nativity Play, c.1963
(The angels’ costumes are made of white sheets,
the wings of muslin strips, with elastic bands to
loop over our fingers. Joseph and Mary of course wore tea-towel headdresses, as did the shepherds, who aren’t in this photograph.)

Music was provided by Mrs Jordan, who one year composed ‘The Glengyle March’ which involved a lot of stomping about, pretending to play musical instruments. The stage, which wasn’t a stage at all, but the just longest wall of the room used for assembly, was made spectacular by an enormous gold curtain – provided by the generosity of Michael Bogod’s parents. Three very large floodlights illuminated it and us, courtesy of Jimmy Koenig’s father who ran a photographic studio. It wasn’t subtle, but it was bright, and I loved it.

Willing volunteers were roped in to help get us ready and to make sure we didn’t miss out cues or get involved in squabbles. Our housekeeper, Dorothy Buck (always known as ‘Dolfie’) was very good at looking after those of us in her charge. Fortunately she didn’t mind when I insisted that she join the staff for Morning Prayers, and also be put at the head of one table for lunch.

Glengyle’s cook was a South African by the name of Frank Jermy. He had a permanently grubby white apron, and greasy trousers. He produced endless quantities of chips, every day. Ham and peas and chips, fish and peas and chips, stewing steak and chips, a slice of spam and (probably) peas – and chips, pie and peas – or sometimes carrots or cabbage – and chips, the menu didn’t vary very much. Except at Christmas.

The morning playtime discovery of a headless grey squirrel lying on the gravel outside the kitchen doors caused endless speculation as to how it had met its fate. The verdict was unanimous: Mr Jermy had beheaded it, and the squirrel would no doubt be on the menu the next day, complete with chips.

Every lunchtime, between the main course and sweet, Mr Wallace would take his dessert spoon and hammer the formica-topped table in front of him. This brought a pin-drop silence to the room so that the daily register could be taken. As there were only about sixty pupils in the school, it didn’t take very long, and lunch then continued with jelly and custard or apple pie and custard.

Next to the kitchen and dining room was the place where we hung our coats and caps on hooks until going-home time.

This area was also the place where small bottles of milk (one third of a pint) were dished out from a crate every morning. It was a perk to be appointed a milk monitor. I never was. In winter, the bottles were stood in plastic bowls of hot water to take some of the chill off. Winters in the 1960s seem to have been spectacularly cold.

Next to the dining room was the Maths Room, which was the domain of Mrs Hawkins. It smelt of blackboard chalk and the paraffin heater that steamed the windows up. The walls were an acidic yellow, covered with educational posters and bits and pieces to do with mathematics. The room also carried a faint smell of its incumbent: a smell of perspiration in an age when deodorants were far from common.

Mollie Hawkins – who arrived in around 1964 – ruled the Maths Room by fear. She was a bully, given to outbursts of temper with occasional violence thrown in. Had she behaved in a similar manner nowadays, she would not only have ceased to be a teacher within a very short time, but would probably have been arrested into the  bargain. She remained on the staff for twenty years, and died in 1993 at the age of 76.

(I remember my best friend being the victim of one of her more brutal attacks, in which she grabbed him by the hair and shook him backwards and forwards to punctuate a tirade levelled at him.  Of course we never said anything. At home, complaining about a teacher was virtually useless, the usual response being something along the lines of ‘Well, I expect you asked for it.’)

My dislike of Maths has remained undimmed to this day.

The playground was at the back of the school, and its rear wall overlooked the playground of Putney High School. At break-times, the vigorous shouts of amazonian young girls at play could be heard, providing – for some – a tantalising hint of desires and pleasures as yet undeveloped, but  frequently spoken of with much hilarity and absolute disbelief.

In 1967, the school held a Diamond Jubilee celebration, marked by a fete in the school grounds, and also the production of felt pennants, printed with the school’s name and dates – in the characteristic grey and white of the uniform.

I was there from 1963 – 1967, leaving just before the celebrations, and returning as a visitor for the day. It all looked very strange. And very small. For many years the prospectus continued to declare that the school provided a fitting background for those wishing to enter “the colonial or diplomatic services”.

In 1967 the staff are Helen Jordan, Joan Mensing, Winifred & Vyvyan Wallace, Mjr. Peter Williams, and Mrs. Mollie Hawkins

In 1967 the staff are Helen Jordan, Joan Mensing, Winifred & Vivian Wallace, Mjr. Peter Williams, and Mrs. Mollie Hawkins

To be continued …

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Written by Francis Wright

December 15, 2011 at 9:45 am

Posted in Uncategorised

64 Responses

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  1. Oh dear!
    Mum was a dragon all right.

    Philip Hawkins

    November 28, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    • I attended Glengyle school from the autumn of 1957 until 1959 or 1960. I think I was the only American in the school at the time although there were several of us “foreigners” including one Canadian and two Pakistanis, all of whom were good friends of mine. Our Maths teacher was a Mr. Davies, a red faced tyrant who loved to terrify little boys. No class was complete until he had applied a plimsole to some poor lad’s ass. For languages and literature we had Mr. Smith who detested me and all Americans and made that sentiment known on a daily basis. “You’re like all your countrymen, Frymire–you’ve got a big mouth.” Whether true or not, can you imagine a teacher expressing a sentiment like that today? Smith presided at my lunch table and regularly bullied me and others whose accents betrayed foreign origins. To escape him, I volunteered to be a “server” meaning I could eat away from Smith and in the safety of the kitchen. Attending Glengyle was a bit like a Disneyland trip to Charles Dickens Land, complete with dip pens, freezing classrooms and daily brutality. Thank God for Major Williams, a brilliant, funny, and worldly gentleman who made a geography lover out of me–a passion that continues today.

      And the facilities–I can’t imagine a dirtier place. The kitchen was filthy. The bathrooms were unspeakable–I only used the masters’ loo and never got caught. I suppose the place made me tougher and God knows I’ve been dining out on Glengyle anecdotes for over 50 years–I guess that’s worth something.

      Bruce Frymire

      June 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      • Bruce – the wonder of the internet. My name is Robie Macdonald – I was one of those Canadians and I remember you, along with John Lefevre, another Canuck, who had red hair. I seem to recall you were from California. Well, time flies and I could not agree with you more about Major Williams, who I believe did geography and history. Cannot say I remember much except the battle of Agincourt, which was 1415, The questions, which were asked for that particular test, were “Questions 14 and 15, who fought in the battle and what date was it – 14 and 15. I don’t think I got the right answer. And as for cookie – well ahead of his time; he had that perennial 3-day heavy beard, and a cigarette hanging off his lip. I’m at if you are interested.


        Rob Macdonald

        February 10, 2014 at 1:55 am

    • Mrs. Hawkins God Bless!
      I was doing quite well in her Maths class in the basement. Guess so strict I had no choice but to do good back then.She taught me the basics of Maths, thaks to that I was way ahead in Maths
      when came back to Japan. There were few other pupil from Japan besides my younger brother back then in late 60’s.She was the one who gave me confidence in learning since numbers are same all over the world.

      Masaru, SUZUKI

      September 5, 2013 at 7:03 am

    • Hi Philip

      I remember one of Mrs. Hawkins son/s came on the annual school trip one year probably around 1968. Was that you?



      Tariq Syed

      March 4, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    • Does anyone remember the jam pie with custard? I have been craving that for the past 50 years and would like to have it again before this life is over. I was also imprisoned at Glengyle from 1965 to 1967. i still have that 1965 original class picture. I have to find it to figure out which one I am. Now living in British Columbia Canada since 1970.

      Douglas Williams

      December 21, 2014 at 3:10 am

  2. That’s me in the 1967 pic, back row 5th from the right! I was there from around 1966 – 1970 and then went off to Emanuel.

    Yes. I remember Mrs. Hawkins classes…much to be feared. I remember a new Japanese boy called Abo put the words ‘The End ‘ after every homework sum he did once and Mrs. Hawkins went a bit ‘ape’….mainly because he’d spelt ‘ The’ as ‘Teh’! LOL.

    What became of Major Williams. I know he left a year or so after I did?

    Some of the people I used to hang around with:- Hari Tahil, Trevor Morgan, Hiashi (yeh japanese), Abo (another japanese), Suh (korean), Keizo Sakurai (japanese) and loads of others!

    Tariq Syed

    December 9, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    • There were many pupil back then who had either younger or older brother under same sir name. My family name SUZUKI. My yonger brother Nobuyasu (Nobby) and Masaru myself. Ibelieve Japanese ABO was already there when me and my younger brother went to GB from Japan in 1967. Also other Japanese Sakurai, Usui I remember. Definetly Trevor Morgan, we played football together went we were invited to his house. Mr. Matthews who won a lottery pool and bought a camp beetle. Became friends with many through playing football together at school ground. During winter season, took a ride on a coach to a football ground nearby every Monday & Wednsday afternoon and played football all afternoon. I remember playing a match with Squirels,another school close by. Cricket during summer season, orange juice lying on the turf all afternoon. Friday afternoon a ride swimming pool, and routine was to get a bag of chips from a vending machine. One day my mom bought us a Frisbee, with my brother practiced,
      Other names I remember, N Smith, M Gould, K Syed, D Sighn, A Middleton, A Bolton, G Martin, J Wallace, A Wallace,

      SUZUKI, Masaru

      December 9, 2013 at 11:51 pm

      • Hello, and thank you very much for this. The football ground was the Harrodian Club (belonging to Harrod’s Department Store) in Lonsdale Road, Barnes, almost opposite where the new St Paul’s School was to be built. The Wallaces were sons the headmaster, and they were Peter and Adrian. J. Wallace was their sister, Juliet. They lived upstairs.

        Francis Wright

        December 10, 2013 at 6:57 am

      • I believe Sports Day Event in Summer season also took place in Harrodian Club. I remember getting a book for a 1st prize in running. One day I found a pellet in that tree at the far side of the playground by the girls highschool, caused by either Peter or Adrian’s airrifle shot from a window upstairs. Talking of upstairs, one time few of us did something really bad, were called to go up to the head master’s room, somehow I came just that close, but few actually got called inside and came out with face down, believe got smacked in the butt. I still recall our head master Mr. Wallace back then, a man with a generous heart and big thought. A great Head Master that you will never forget.

        SUZUKI, Masaru

        December 10, 2013 at 7:58 am

  3. Yes, Sports Day was certainly at the Harrodian Club as well. An egg-and-spoon-race was open to the mothers attending. James Whaley’s mother usually won it – for two reasons: 1) she wore large skirts that enabled her to stride/run far faster than anyone else, and 2) she always chose the wooden spoon that had the deepest hollow in the bowl, so her egg remained in situ throughout the race!
    I love the story about Putney High School and the air rifle. Many thanks.

    Francis Wright

    December 10, 2013 at 9:46 am

  4. Ahh the gold old days at Glengyle. I was there from 81-84, great school ! I remember going to barnes for football and round Mrs Hawkins house for Maths (live in southfields). Some names I remember are Paul Jeffs, Martin (cant remember surname), Mr Bromfield (Science), Mrs Lewis (French).

    Umar Ahmed

    January 13, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    • My time at Glengyle was significantly earlier–late ’50s! I think I was the only American at the school then, though there were some other foreigners I used to hang with–one Canadian (Robbie, are you out there?), a Danish kid and two Pakistanis. Leaving California one day and a few days later finding myself playing (soccer) football in 30 degree temps (Fahrenheit) in semi darkness with nothing but a shirt and shorts on–talk about culture shock. I loved the fact that we all got on a bus in the middle of a school day and rode all the way over to Barnes. I was less enthusiastic about the communal, luke-warm-at-best bath available at the end of play. No way I was getting into that muck. So I just turned and left and made my muddy way back home on the same bus we’d taken to the fields. I think you had to change buses going back to Putney–at a pub called “the Boileau” (pronounced “boiler” by the conductor. All a great adventure and education for me. Leaving a ten year old to find his way home in the dark in 2014–well, it wouldn’t happen in the U.S. today–can’t speak for London. In spring and summer it was significantly different. All dressed up in whites, lying around on the grass all afternoon waiting for a chance to bat. Very pleasant memories. And by then, I was a bit better oriented and merely rode my bike to Barnes and home. Major Williams was always the umpire–what a kind and charming man he was.

      Bruce Frymire

      January 13, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      • Hello there!

        Thanks for the piece, below. I think that more or less sums up my memories of sports at Glengyle. The Harrodian Club sports ground. ‘Harrodian’ because it belonged to Harrods, the Knightsbridge department store. Do you remember the annual sportsdays ? Mothers in ‘hats’ – and always much older than they are these days. The obligatory egg-and-spoon race for parents: Mrs Whaley always won it because she chose the spoon with the deepest bowl, and wore big skirts so that she could stride like a heron.

        I never used to ‘do’ the bath or shower either. Much better to go home.

        We lived just down the road from the Harrodian Club, but a trainride away from the school. One stop: Barnes to Putney. And then a short stroll up Putney Hill to Carlton Drive.

        Happy New Year, mate.

        Best wishes again, Francis


        Francis Wright

        January 13, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      • We lived in a duplex (we’d call it that in the US–two flats in one building) on Chartfield Place in Putney just a short walk from Glengyle. We then moved all the way out to New Malden. I still mostly rode my bike except in extreme weather, including the slog up Kingston Hill. I dreamed I was going to be the first American to win the Tour de France–doesn’t look like that’s going to happen now…

        Bruce Frymire

        January 13, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      • Hah, yes indeed. It is Robie – see my earlier posted reply typed before I got down to this. And I think that infamous Mr Smith, who taught Art and maybe French, was in that top picture as well as Major Williams. And Mr Davies, yes I remember algebra and geometry. Somehow over time his face and shape have merged in my mind with Nikita Kruschev.


        Rob Macdonald

        February 10, 2014 at 1:58 am

  5. I attended Glengyle Preparatory School from the autumn of 1967 until 1970 I was the only the Norwegian boy in the school along with my brother who went there for one year until he continued at Emanuel School. “Look at the Ceiling” Now look at me” It was Mrs Wallace attending the class.
    Behind the Climbing frame there was a yellow brick wall with a broken glass cemented on top. We used to play climbing on the outdoor pipes.

    Yes I remember Mrs Hawkins who had a serious bad temper at times. I cold sweated when I entered the classroom. One day she folded her hands and took a firm grip behind Matthew`s head and smashed it against the wooden desk lid with a Bang!. That certainly stuck me with fright! It didn`t help telling about the incident at home, though my Parents contacted the School. Mrs Hawkins made a laugh of me in front of the class and later accusing me for telling lies at home. However she had her light moments which I remembered with ease. May her soul R.I.P

    I was a lively and quite active boy at times and we did get black marks for bad behaviour and red marks for exam scores or other noticeable positive achievements. There were other bullies. This Mr Sedden (sorry if for my spelling) He gave me 20 ruler strokes over my fingers followed by a 5 minute detention.

    It was Major Williams who had the responsibility for corporal punishment, I kind of liked him along with Miss Morrent who came from Australia. There were Prefects wearing badges which indicated what House the belonged to. Some of them were Bullies. I remember Emit who had asthma, many did pick on him. Once I got chased by an American boy who was a Prefect.

    “Harrods Games” It was usually Major Williams who gathered us for sport (Cricket in summer and Football in winter. We also got swimming lessons – starting with “Dog Crawling” However there were competitions/levels were you could achieve Bronze-Silver or Gold standard. Some friends I remember. Matthew Thomas, Richard Dalmonty, Michael Cumberland, and Paul Mansfield.

    Lars hornslien

    January 23, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    • Yes, we all had to wear house badges. I was in ‘Purple House’ and had the regulation tin badge pinned to my lapel. And did you maintain the sparkle of your grey and white blazer by embellishing the trimming with chalk ? A good use of breaktimes, I recall. Though the dust could make matters far worse.

      Francis Wright

      January 30, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      • What a surprise to find this blog, I attended Glengyle Preparatory between 1979 to 1983, I remember Mrs Hawkins with her temper however it was that temper that kept my focus during Maths lessons any mistakes made she would say no, no, no, no, no, with a firm grip on my ear, I still think of her she really put the discipline in me.
        Mr Wallace (would teach French) passed away during those years and Mrs Wallace took over.
        I forget the music teacher’s name who would play the piano for our morning hymns.
        I wore my “Purple House” badge with great pride, at times we would have small sporting completions in the playground such as high jump on the tarmacked surface, cut knees and torne trousers.
        On extremely cold days I would hide in the coal storage by the boy’s entrance on the lower ground level while everyone boarded the bus to the Harrodian Club then walk around the empty school while Mr & Mrs Wallace were upstairs.
        Also remember Jeremy’s greasy kitchen, you could have whatever you wanted so long as it was sausage.

        Arin O'Aivazian

        February 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm

      • I too was in Purple House. A few years before you! I am very glad you found my blog.

        Francis Wright

        February 18, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      • Arin,
        the music teacher’s name was Ms. Milcryst (sp?). I left 6th form about the time you came into the school so it would be interesting to learn how those last few years were. I remember I was one of the few boys who was actually asked to go play outside during choir as I would sing so out of tune.

        Michael MacVean

        August 7, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    • Hi Lars

      Yes, I vaguely remember you! Also Emit and was the American boy, Gregory Martin?



      Tariq Syed

      March 4, 2014 at 11:50 pm

      • It may be your younger brother that I used to sit next to during the class held by Mr. Wallace.
        Name Gregory Martin or Martin Gould, Griffith sounds familiar but not sure. I was given a badge and a membership.
        Recall a stink bomb, a little glass flask toy, let off an odour by someone during a class.

        Masaru, SUZUKI

        September 18, 2014 at 6:47 am

    • Paul Mansfieeld name sounds familiar to me. Few more ames I remenber, Nigel SMITH, Martin Gould, Adam BOLTON, Sighn DALIP?, Kawver SYED, IROKAWA, ABO,

      Masaru, SUZUKI

      September 18, 2014 at 7:14 am

  6. Wow, I can’t believe I found this terrific write up of my Glengyle School days. Sounds like not much changed, particularly when it came to Jeremy, the cook, and Mrs. Hawkins, the maths teacher, who had some similar outbursts whilst I was there from 1975-1979 leaving after 6th form.

    I remember one occasion in particular where she calmly but insistently asked the entire class that if anyone didn’t understand to please speak up now and raise their hand. She promised she wouldn’t be angry, would be happy to explain the formula again but threatened to be extremely angry if she continued the class and someone later didn’t understand. What a quandary! I, like the rest of my class, just froze, not looking up or saying anything. Foolishly and naively, my classmate to my left sheepishly raised his hand whereupon she lunged at him, grabbing his hair and repeatedly smashing his forehead up and down against the table! All the while, screaming, “Why don’t you understand? You stupid boy!” etc etc. After the mocking and looking up in a rather dazed stupour with a very bruised head, she was still so cross she actually ordered us all out of the room and blamed the entire class as all being idiots! We were to be shown a lesson– each one of us had to line up outside the classroom and come in one by one, bend over and get smacked on the bum with her ruler! (I’ll have you know, it was the one and only time I was ever disciplined in school!)

    The teacher that really took the biscuit, however, was Mr. Rogers who taught science. He was actually mistaken by a local vicar once as a tramp until dear Mr. Mathews pointed out he was in fact our science teacher! When I describe to others how he was I don’t think anyone believes me! Not only was he terribly unkept with tape between his lenses to hold his glasses together, usually wearing the same dirty nasty black collared stained shirts, trousers and chalky long black cape, he also must have surely been the inspiration for the sadistic teacher in Pink Floyd’s “The Wall!” After having already scrawled notes over three backboards which we were then expected to quickly copy over the entire class period, he would sit there and groom himself, literally running his fingers through his long greasy thin black hair, posing in front of his hand held mirror, and pulling his socks up and down slowly as if admiring his stick long legs. You’d think it was a joke but far from it! When the fancy took him, he’d pick on the handful of students he particularly enjoyed tormenting, I being one of them. I remember one time he pulled my hair and had me crawling on the floor through and under tables and chairs, knocking them over as he led me up and down the room for a good 5-10 minutes or so, twisting his grip harder and snarling cruelties galore.

    On a more positive note, I actually LOVED Glynglye school even so, amazingly enough! My favourite teacher by far was Mr Baines and Mr. Mathews. My sister went to Putney High during this time too and yes, I so get what you wrote there about looking over at the girls across the way. How true indeed.

    I was sad when I learned Mr Wallace had died a few years after leaving and then when the school finally closed, leaving me to wonder whatever happened to Jeremy and Mr Rogers in particular? There was a side to Mrs. Hawkins I actually liked and even missed her, weirdly enough, but I suspect she must have retired. How wild to hear from her son here. Interesting indeed!

    A few of the Glengyle kids went on to Emanuel School where I attended but not until Uni did I ever enjoy my school days as much.

    I would love to reconnect with a few others fromm that time, in particular, Giles Wilson, who I have no idea whatever happened to him. If anyone ever reads this they can find me on LinkedIn.

    Thanks for this reminisce, Francis!


    Michael MacVean

    Michael MacVean

    February 25, 2014 at 4:56 am

    • A superb contribution, and thanks!

      Francis Wright

      February 25, 2014 at 7:03 am

    • Michael, it seems I started just when you left, could not help reading your comments about Mr Rogers with the very accurate descriptions and remembering the torment, unfortunately Mr Rogers did not last much long after that I suspect after many years of intolerable behaviour led the students to do an unthinkable. I remember on a sports day at the Harrodian, we were playing rugby and we were all worked up about what was to follow, at half-time you can imagine the look on Mr Rogers’ face when he realised there were twenty kinds charging across the field towards him with all the worst intentions, when it was all done and dusted he got up on his feet and walked away quietly. Two days later he was called in to Mrs Wallace’s office and we never saw him again.
      Now as an adult when I look back it was a regretful action to take.
      Stange how one can forgive Mrs Hawkins and not Mr Rogers.

      Arin O'Aivazian

      February 25, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      • Thanks, Arin, for your reply. What exactly happened to Mr Rogers? He got beaten up by a gang of school kids? Surely not! If so, regrettable I’m sure even with his own beatings. I would never wish that upon him or anyone. Although he was undoubtedly the most conceited person I’ve ever met and quite sadistic, I always thought it would be fascinating to have had the chance to talk to him as an adult. Who knows what mysteries in his own life (or Mrs. Hawkins, for that matter!) compelled them to act as such. Forgiveness? Never really thought of it as needed as I always realised, thankfully, it wasn’t strictly personal, they were just that way with most kids. In fact,even as school boy I felt distinctly sorry for Mr. Rogers and wondered how his own personal life might have been. Anyway, thanks for the update. Wouldn’t you just love to talk to them all now? Do you know whatever happened to Mr. Mathews?

        Michael MacVean

        February 25, 2014 at 10:20 pm

  7. I was at glengyle from 1980-83. I remember the 6th formers had the privilege to travel to the harrodian sports club for footy and cricket in mr Mathews Capri, on the way he would drive down ferry road where the youngest, an unsuspecting 5th former would get a beating from the others, sometimes we would forget but mr Matthews was on hand to remind us, he would say “ferry road” which was the trigger, it only lasted until the end of the road, he would slow down to make it last longer. It was mrs Hawkins that managed to get us into emanuel, a few made it to kings college. I can’t say the money was worth while but we had great times at the school.

    Chris phylaktis

    March 13, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    • Chris, I think you were a year above me, were you not the one that did well in most sports events, although we lost almost every match against our rival schools? I recall a Simon Bisset would have been in tour class and the drives to the Harrodian Club in Mr Matthews’ Capri. They were definitely very good days.

      Arin O'Aivazian

      March 14, 2014 at 10:55 am

      • I wa sok at footy! I bumped into Simon just before xmas in Kinsgton, his son was playing footy on the pitch next to my son. I still keep in touch with Ebney, we work for the same company now, colt telecom. A few months back I bumped into Santanna de Alwis at Raynes Park station and we reminised the good old glengyle days, he was in the year above me.

        Perhaps we could do a re-union, Ebney, Simon and Santanna live very close to me (Wimbledon) and I am sure we can find Mathews, last I heard he worked for the conservative party in Wimbledon.


        March 14, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      • Chris, that would great to see you all(+30yrs), I often do reminisce about Glengyle days and I do remember Ebney as the one most prone to the “ferry road” treatment. Who would have imagined Matthews as an MP. Please drop me a line on I live in Parsons Green so I’m few stops away from you.

        Arin O'Aivazian

        March 17, 2014 at 3:30 pm

  8. Wow ‘ this is really interesting! i attended Glengyle from about 73-77 ‘in fact the silver Jubilee happend during my final term ‘sadly my final year there was less happy than previously ‘as i started truanting and got social services involved eg ‘ an then went on to boarding school for a few years ‘where i also absconded from at first on a few occasions. My memories of abuse were from my own class teacher during the last couple of years at this school in form lower and upper 3 ‘who would dish out slaps for the most trivial of things such as being slow which i was as i had ADHD ‘unknown at the time. (Think her name was unusual ‘like french sounding ‘mayby german is more likely judging by her victorian like personality) wish i could remember her name ‘but 37 years is a real long time. I do remember Rogers the science teacher and Mr Mathews who would sit on the bench in the lower playground section on break duty chain smoking! he also i think fired the starting pistol during the annual sports day race at that place in Barnes ‘where we also went for recreation afternoon once a week ‘remember the year before i left was the drought of 76 ‘the harrodian sports field turned brown in a few places. Anyone remember the sack races ‘think i came second one year. I wonder where some of those teachers are now ‘didn’t realise Mr Wallace died just four years after i left ‘i always had a deep respect for him ‘anyone remember the old video recorder with exciting narrated stories on reels of tape he used to put on during the odd class with him.

    Diarmuid Kuhle

    April 26, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    • Yes, I remember Mr Wallace’s tape recorder – I think most of the tapes were of BBC radio schools’ programmes. There were also ancient Linguaphone discs (78rpm) of Latin classes played on the record-player. ‘Salvete, pueri.’ … ‘Salve, o magister …’ Remember those ?

      Francis Wright

      June 9, 2014 at 7:29 pm

  9. I have just been to visit the school as it is today – no longer Glengyle, of course. I found a very happy and lively establishment, still a school – with roughly 200 pupils. The building was immediately recognisable, with additions, but now has an air of cheerfulness that was not there in the 1960s. Merlin School is obviously very well run, with friendly and enthusiastic pupils who asked lots and lots of questions about my time there fifty years ago. I had a superb day, and was so pleased to have been invited.

    Francis Wright

    June 9, 2014 at 7:36 pm

  10. Hi All

    I was in Glengyle from 1979 to 1982. Some familiar names and stories on this blog such as Chris and Arin. I had mixed fortunes at this school – some teachers were okay others not so, especially Mrs Hawkins and Mr Bain. Mr Bain used to shout and humiliate me in front of the class. It was the new school year, 5th year I think, and I was dreading this as he was going to be my form teacher. However, on the first day I was pleasantly surprised as I found out he had left and went back to Cornwall (hooray!!) and the form teacher who replaced him , Mr Campbell, was so much nicer. I sort of felt sorry for Mr Rogers as he had a hard time with the students always taking the mick out of him and calling him fleabag – wonder what has happened to him.I remember a Japanese boy called Kuniyaki was leaving and going back to Japan – Mr Rogers gave him his 2 addresses – one in Wimbledon and the other in potters Bar relying on him not tell others – Kuniyaki ran out of the Science Lab up the front basement stairs and told everyone in the playground. Soon afterwards, Mr Roger’s addresses were stuck on the walls all over the school!. I was one of the victims on Ferry Road Chris, I didn’t take too well to it fought back and then was attacked! So Arin now I know how you bunked games! If you ever meet up again let me know – it would be interesting to meet you all as adults as I’ve still got you as children imprinted on my mind. It would also be good to meet Mr Matthews. Until recently I was living in Morden but have now moved to Scotland, but I will visit London several times a year.

    Zaheer Qamar

    July 8, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    • I went to Glengyle from ’79 to ’82 some of the names ring a bell. After Mr Rogers left I think his replacement was a Mr Kirby (Kirkby), had a beard. Mr Rogers was always trying to schmooze with the Art teacher – Mrs Hall??? (drove a brown mini estate from memory). I was the shortest one (even hung up by blazer on the school peg outside dining room) and if walk into the dining room / class room on the right by the disused kitchen hatch there 2 benches one on top of the other. The gap created one afternoon playground session I hid there and Mr Rogers walked in “smooth-talking” Mrs Hall. OK might nor sound good / juicy now but when you’re 10 years old it was something. Also anyone travel with Mr Wallace to away games – his style of driving was accelerate brake accelerate brake accelerate brake – the car literally had the hiccups. Apologies not funny now but finding this blog I was laughing so loud at the memories of Mr Rogers & Mrs Hawkins. Mrs Hawkins most certainly was a case of cruel to be kind. Friends back in the day Mark Ellis & Peter Freeman, there were more!!! but can’t remember the names.

      Hari Ramachandran

      October 4, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      • Thank you for this. Perfect!

        Francis Wright

        October 4, 2014 at 7:08 pm

  11. i am david blake-wilson- i attended glengyle much earlier,the early 1950’s-some names of boys i remember are asquith and greatorex for instance
    i remember major williams giving the plimpsol very regularly-i also remember on the final day ,i boy throwing a tomato at the head and the contents rolling down his face as he stood at the front.
    happy days

    david john blake- wilson

    August 7, 2014 at 8:35 am

    • I was there in the late 50s, but do remember the names Greatorex and Asquith. To a California boy in 1957 a name like Greatorex was odd in the extreme. Since then I’ve learned it carried some sort of Etonian, upper class clout. Vaguely recall a conversation between an Asquith and the hated Mr. Smith in which a connection was established between the pupil and a former PM. Or maybe I’m dreaming. I’m relatively glad I attended Glengyle, if only because it provides endless material for dinner party conversation. No one believes the antics and disciplinary measures of the school staff. I laughed out loud when reading the Hawkins story of head banging a student. I’m sure it wasn’t funny at the time but in retrospect reads like an excerpt from Fawlty Towers. John Cleese? We had bunches of Cleeses.

      Bruce Frymire

      August 7, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      • Oh, it’s all true … and the head banging wasn’t remotely funny. The recipient was terrified. So was I.

        Francis Wright

        August 7, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    • Hello David; I’m Rob Macdonald, who also was at Glengyle in the mid 1950s. Bruce and I have already reconnected, and I certainly remember the names Asquith and Greatorex, although I’d not be able to put a face on either. I think I also remember you from that time – if I have it right you were a slight, fair-haired boy. I would really like to get a class photo or two from those years. I don’t have a print of such, but I do remember them being taken. Other names that have since come to mind include Cyril Newton, the Rettie brothers (I think), and there was also a Hardy and a John Lefevre. Major Williams is unforgettable; other teachers included Mr Davies, Mr Smith and of course Mr Wallace. The gym teacher’s name I don’t recall, although I can still imagine him – he seemed definitely to have cut his teeth in boot camp.


      Robie Macdonald

      August 7, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      • Thank you for this!

        Francis Wright

        August 7, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      • how kind of you to respond- i was as thin as a rake but not very fair
        i used to travel from shepherds bush on my own and very young- i remember john christie being arrested on putney bridge,which i regularily crossed on my way to school- how things have changed
        the trouble is trying to remember these things at aged 70-i can’t even remember last week!
        i was very happy there though-i do remember getting the slipper for lobbing apples at the girl’s school behind the garden
        asquith was related to the former p.m
        has any one looked at the stuff left at the local library?
        very interested in wallace being connected to moseley-never knew that til i read the site
        best wishes

        david john blake- wilson

        August 8, 2014 at 8:00 am



        February 19, 2015 at 8:27 pm

  12. Thank you, David. A visit to Wandsworth Library to look at the archive is on my ‘must do’ list.

    Francis Wright

    August 8, 2014 at 9:34 am

  13. I was there from 60-62. I remember so many little details – having to wear shorts all winter long because I was in 1st and 2nd form; the time some students threw the ball over the wall to the girls school so they could go retrieve it; playing “conkers” on the playground; getting a gold star for doing a flamenco dance (a 6 year old version) after going out to dinner the previous night with my parents at a Spanish restaurant; my brother getting a black star for giving an attractive woman a wolf-whistle…
    I was American and unused to the regimented life at school – I have hated wearing ties ever since.
    While looking Glengyle Schhol I came across this website: The principal was a Mosley supporter, but even more – he and Mrs Wallace were not married! He had a wife in Yorkshire but took a new name and lived with “Mrs” Wallace but never married her.
    Those were wonderful years for me, moving from the American suburbs to Putney. We lived on Wimbledon Parkside, and sometimes in the autumn when the leaves are damp they give off a smell which takes me right back to Wimbledon Common!

    Malik Jeff Haig

    September 17, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    • “Conkers”, yes, threw a small stick branch up the tree. Very strong conker, found out that he had kept it over a year to dry it up to harden. I recall drilling a hole with a drill bit.
      Same here, sometime during the seasonal change now and then, I also time slip back to SW15.

      Masaru, SUZUKI

      September 18, 2014 at 6:57 am

    • See the link in my original post: This claims Walter Wallace was originally Walter Johnson. Walter Johnson married in Yorkshire, then he changed his name to William Wallace and took up with a woman who was styled Mrs Wallace, though they never married. The article says both women knew about the other. I can not verify that the information is accurate, but it seems likely as the rest of the info in that article is part of the public record. I guess officially its just hearsay, but seems likely to be true.

      Malik Jeff Haig

      September 18, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      • Ah, I see – you are not referring to Vivian Wallace, the headmaster when I was there in the ’60s, but to his father. Important to make that distinction. Thanks again.

        Francis Wright

        September 18, 2014 at 4:37 pm

  14. Francis , what a wonderful website..such great memories..i had the pleasure to attend between 1978-80..
    I was in the very loveable Mr ‘throw a boardcleaner at your head ‘Mathews class..hehhe
    and the crazy but weirdly clever Mr Rogers Science class, and the super strict Mrs Hawkins for maths..cant remember but was also fortunate to have that super sexy french asst lady for French who always had her white shirt half she the hotest thing a 11 yr old will ever meet?
    Had the pleasure to meet chris a few months must be destiny for us all to meet up with our kids?!

    Santanna Satindra de Alwis

    December 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm

  15. ps.hi are ol buddy

    Santanna Satindra de Alwis

    December 8, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    • Hello – yes, I remember the jam tart very well indeed. Mr Jermy’s finest. Great custard.
      We seem to have survived.
      Have a very happy Christmas and New Year!

      Francis Wright

      December 21, 2014 at 9:44 am



        January 18, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    • Hello, sorry just seen this, bit slow off the mark. How are you? Post Glengyle I thought I used to see you in the Wimbledon area, was that you. Still in Merton Park, life as with all others on this blog, has moved onwards – wife and 2 daughters. How about yourself? I still drive past Glengyle as its a way to avoid Putney Hill traffic. Still smile / grimace / laugh as I drive past.

      Hari Ramachandran

      March 22, 2015 at 9:50 am

    • I am writing to respond to the message below from Kaspar Mettler. I remember you well. I am Peter Roberts, then from Rhodesia, but now since 1965 in Canada. You always called your father Sir, which I and a few others found quite strange. You were good at everything. We were friends along with Jameel and Heckmath Khaleeli, William Orgill from Australia, Uchiyama from Japan, wonderful guy whose few English words were all swear words that he liberally flung around at soccer games when he got angry (and got punished for too) and others you name. But it is Adelmann, not Alderman. I visited Hikmat (as he had changed the spleeing of his name, as well as Khaleeli to Khalili) in London in 1986. Jamil by then had returned to Pakistan (I happen to be in Karachi at this moment writing this email, but only by coincidence, doing some project work.) I visited Hikmat’s house in Putney then we went to the pub, got quite drunk reminiscing, and then staggered over to the school which was in the midst of being torn apart to make it into the new Girls’ School. We asked the foreman if we could wander through the school for a few minutes. He could see we were a little drunk and thought we were up to some kind of scam, but then the new owner said OK for 10 minutes. So, being carefully watched throughout, we wandered through the building remembering where we had classes, where the gym equipment went in the basement and hung from the ceiling at a slant in what was normally the dining room. so many memories. But I also have a much darker interpretation of some of the teachers–even Major Williams, and Mr Smith, and some others not named. e.g. a Mr Francombe was math teacher for a while. He and Mr Smith led a school trip to Alsace in about 1959 or 60. Very uncomfortable trip. Francombe was a really abusive vicious man. if we made him angry for any reason he would hit us across the knuckles with a cricket stump as we help up the opened top of the desks in self defense. But all that’s for another time. I also have many fond memories, mostly to do with the very international group of kids who attended Glengyle. Let’s stay in touch. cheers, peter

      Peter Roberts

      March 23, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      • So glad to see the Khalilli name again after so many years. They lived just down Putney Hill from me and the whole family was warm and welcoming. I vividly remember being well behind the other boys in maths and having to catch up as best as I could. Think it was Jameel who served as the life saver on more than one occasion. I can see him now saying “It’s quite simple Bruce, you merely convert all the pounds, shillings, and pence to pence. Do the division and then convert the remaining number back to pounds, etc.” All pretty bewildering for a clueless 10 year old from California.

        i rented a car on a tip to the U.K. a few years back and drove from Central London to the old school. Both it and the neighboring school were locked up tight as drums, but it was fun to view the place–home of so many tales and not a few nightmares. I guess Glengyle made us tougher? Hope so. Bruce

        Bruce Frymire

        March 30, 2015 at 1:42 am

  16. Mr. Jermy cooked a sausage with lots of spices that was awsome, also “Minced” ? a ground beef kind of a soup with mashed poatatoes also was one of my favorutes. Yes, custard on a pie was awsome, also simple cheese sandwiched with crackers had a taste.

    Masaru, SUZUKI

    December 22, 2014 at 5:50 am

    • I think it was called ‘savoury mince’ … or just plain ‘mince’ – the emphasis being on ‘plain’ …

      Francis Wright

      March 22, 2015 at 5:02 pm

  17. I was at Glengyle from 72-79..was good mates with Michael Macvean who has posted aove….and very much fancied his sister Laura as well. Loved Ronnie Matthews (nicknamed Penguin – no idea why but it wound him up) and went on one of his summer holiday trips to Devon. 7 kids in that Capri…2 on front seat, 4 on rear and one in the boot….can you imaine even thinking of it today?

    Mr Jeremy’s food is the stuff of legend…those sausages, a shepherds pie with a live spider, disgusting semolina that I was made to sit downstairs for 2 hours until I ate it and the certain knowledge that every day when we lined up for lunch, he would emerge from the toilets without having washed his hands.

    My friends Grant Morton and Omar Ali joined me in setting out to make Mr Rogers life a misery but really liked Mr Bain, Mrs Wallace and the wonderfull Mrs Tassell. Being good at maths must have helped as Mrs Hawkins was always ok with me, although she was a dreadful driver and drove into my mums car on the last day of term one summer.Mrs Ledecker taught me Enlish and calligraphy…I found her srangely attractive…not bad for an 8 year old!

    Happy memories of the playground ncluding conkers,, the old climbing frame and games of marbles. I also had a good punch-up with a kid called Simon Birkinshaw…blacked both of his eyes…Ronnie Matthewws came out to check the fight, turned around and said “my money’s on Burden” and walked away and left us to it That was Friday onday, it was all sorted ad we were mates again. Common sense.

    Mr Wallace cracked me over he back once with his walking stick for talking in French lesson….for an old boy he moved fast and quiet…never saw or heard it coming! I attended his funeral in a church down Putney Park Lane..took the morning off from my secondary school to do so as I had a lot of respect for him and for the genuinely happy and informative years I spent there.

    Edward Burden

    March 21, 2015 at 3:09 am

  18. Ah, the Christmas Nativity play – one of my family’s enduring laughlines. Apparently angels have different subspecies on either side of the Atlantic ocean, characterized by which way their wings point. I forget which way is which, but my mother sewed my costume in the way she saw fit, and dropped me off for the final performance (I guess we did rehearsals in ordinary clothes?) and when we came out on stage, all the angels wings pointed down except for mine which pointed up (or vice-versa – I can never keep it straight to this day). I was oblivious to the difference, being 5 years old and naturally angelic, but my parents were mortified at how their “Americanness” showed thru and caused them to lose face..

    The uniform and the “shorts all winter long” were both culture shocks to me. I learned to pull up the long socks above my knee, and have held my hatred of ties to this very day. The food was abysmal, but became the stuff of legends. My older brother John went to Glengyle one year, then to Coombe House School for the second.

    When we moved back to the US after two years, both my older brothers were put back a year in school, given that they had spent two years in an “inferior school system”. Within a month, both were moved up a year to their normal class, and a month later my oldest was moved a year ahead since he was so superior to any other boy in his grade. Maybe the British school system wasn’t as bad as the Americans thought…

    Malik Jeff Haig

    March 22, 2015 at 2:45 pm

  19. Gentlemen, thank you for these wonderful anecdotes and bits and pieces. They are what keep something like this blog alive and well.
    On the continuing subject of angels’ wings, the American system sounds rather more sophisticated and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ than the regulation Glengyle butter muslin, measured to arms’ length, and cut by Mrs Wallace, the middle being sewn to the back of the sheet we were dressed in. Best to all!

    Francis Wright

    March 22, 2015 at 5:04 pm

  20. I am Ronald Matthews, the teacher who took over from Mgr Williams in September 1971 and left in 1983.
    I remember many of the names in the blog and have only fond memories of Mr & Mrs Wallace and my time at Glengyle. Much of what has been written is very true!!
    Teaching was very different in those days and much has changed since then.
    I am still living (just!) and reside in Southfields, March 29th 2015.
    I would welcome contact with staff and students who knew me.
    Phone: 07931 223878

    Ronald Matthews, now retired, aged 70

    March 29, 2015 at 10:41 am

    • Dear Mr. Matthews, what a delight it was this morning to read your comment here. I remember you so well and Mr Baines. You remain to this day, my very favourite teacher I ever had. I have often thought of you and wondered whatever happened to you so it is lovely to read this. Yes, next time I fly back to England and am in London I would dearly love to meet you for coffee or tea or what have you. The only person I remain in touch with from Glengyle now is Richard Lajlie, having become friends at 9 years old. Whilst our paths have gone radically different directions, we are fiends to this day..across the pond as I now live in Colorado..and have for a very long time actually. I’m am quite sure he would love to see you too. Please give me your email address to mine at Wishing you all the very best and thank you for being a wonderful teacher and example. I cherish many good memories of you.

      Michael MacVean

      March 29, 2015 at 11:20 pm

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