- The Official Forum for Forest Hill & Honor Oak, London SE23
Online since 2002   11,000+ members   72,000+ posts

Home | SE23 Topics | Businesses & Services | Wider Topics | Offered/Wanted/Lost/Found | About | Advertising | Contact | |
 Armstrong & Co Solicitors

Post Reply  Post Topic 
Pages (3): « First < Previous 1 2 [3] Last »
Forest Hill School
Author Message

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2016
Post: #41
03-10-2016 10:25 PM

My memories are more in line with earlier posts. I do wonder if the view you formed had anything to do with the house you were in. I was in Shackleton, house master Stanbury later Haswell when Stanbury became deputy head. My recollection was that Shakleton was fairly academic and there were some real thugs in Harvey and Drake

I was there from 61 to 68 and my recollection is that classes were streamed for most topics and that you could be in a different stream for maths and English. When I started there were 8 streams and I fell into 1.5 but 1.3 for maths.

Whilst I cant say they were the best days they weren't that bad

Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2015
Post: #42
09-10-2016 04:49 PM

there were some real thugs in Harvey and Drake

No shortage of thugs in the school then.

You could well be correct, probably down to The bully Francis obcession with sport.

I remember once he was trying to heavy handedly co-erce me into 5 a side football, after hours at that, I have never forgotten his response to my assertion that I could not give a damn about football in any way.

His response, "What will you talk about with your friends when you leave school if you don't like football?" has in retrospect summed up his contempt for the less scholarly working class lads he was in charge of.

Lots more to my life after that, motorbikes, girls, books, films how to make a few bob, how to buy a house...girls.

I am pleased to say I have done better in life that he did, or he ever said I would.

I made quite a few bob indeed, and invested it well in land.

Sorry if that sound a bit "loads a money"

Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2017
Post: #43
29-04-2017 09:02 PM

Read your words "the most miserable years of my young life, I was so glad to leave." with sadness. Rang so true. I was at Forest Hill from 1972-76 and can honestly say, I hated and dreaded every day. On the last day I walked out and never once looked back. Like you, I did just fine once away from the ghastly nightmare of a place.

Can fully understand your words about never using anything you learnt there "except never trust authority".

I was in Browning B4, by the way. Remember the names Walsh, Agnew, BIF, Stanbury, and more.

Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2017
Post: #44
22-05-2017 06:35 PM

I guess there were some good teachers at the school. Law of averages means that there must have been. Sadly, the whole structure and organisation was horribly wrong in my opinion though. Even teachers that I got on with, I ended up distrusting in the end. I did well in the first couple of years or so (still hated it but did reasonably well) and was liked by the teachers. Things went very much downhill after that.

Does anyone remember Tony Wiltshire and David Flatt (Music teachers), Mr. Dee (English), Richard Price ("Dickie") who taught French? And the rather unusual character Roland Polastro?

I remember a few that I particularly disliked. Johansson (RE) and Innes (woodwork) and, I think, the whole of the P.E. department without exception.

Like I say, there must have been some good teachers in there somewhere.

Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2017
Post: #45
21-08-2017 10:40 AM

I watched The History Boys on TV last evening, and found myself musing about my time at Forest Hill School. I was born in 1945, so joined the school in its first year. I left in 1959, I think.

I’m afraid my memories of FHS are decidedly mixed. On the positive side I remember school plays: Julius Cesar, and Henry lV Part one; school holidays to Sayers Croft, Skokholm, Ve-Ve in Switzerland, sailing the Norfolk Broads and the Bristol Avon. I remember, too, a boy playing Beethoven on a piano in the practice rooms under the state – which stopped me in my aimless tracks then; and brings a tear to my eyes now as I hear that tune in my head. Those are memories for which I must be grateful.

But if there is one abiding and overwhelming impression those years imposed upon me, it is fear. I was frightened by many of the masters; I was frightened at being caned for things I did, and didn’t do; and I was frightened by the many bullies, who reined unchallenged. When I left the school it was because it allowed me to wake in the morning without fear. I realise all of that is as much about me as it is about the school, but boys such as me were as much in need as those who were detached in their world of academic brilliance, and those who were practicing to become full time professional thugs. I could have been optimized if the teachers (and indeed my parents) had spotted me, and seen something worthwhile. Neither did. Thank God, late in the day I blagged and educated myself beyond the clutches of State education in ‘sarf Lunden, ‘ and visit those memories only as spurs to drive my family as far from its limitations as I possibly can (and you would not believe how far that has taken us all). That understanding meant I did not make the same mistake with my own children, who were all educated privately, with the constant monitoring and customized adjustments that investment provides. That financial investment is not possible for most people, but investment in one’s offspring - in time, and ambition, is free to all.

Before the school was rebuilt and re-designated, I thought I might offer to give a talk about ambitions, and how to realise them. That extraordinary and wonderful teacher, Mr Stanbury, remembered me after forty years, and would have liked the idea. It’s too late now, I fear; and I would be considered far too politically incorrect in today’s left-wing education soup.

Hummmm – this has been quite cathartic, for me.

I’d add a few names, in the hope of jogging a memory or two.

Headmaster – Mr Howard
Deputy head – Mr Hooton (was it?) (who I best remember for giving six ferocious slashes of the cane to six boys who had messed about in a school play evening. Three of them had been sitting in front of me in the audience, and had done nothing wrong.)

Browning B3 tutor group – Tutor master Mr Large
Browning B3 tutor group (later) Mr Clarke (young but quite wearied. A decent chap)
Browning housemaster Mr Thresher (A kind and gentle man)
Mr Stanbury biology – the best of the best
Mr Boon arrived a year or two later (had a posh car)
Flemming - horrible bullying man
Harveson - music. (Had BIG hair). His deputy played the trombone
Harris - art (stole my stuffed owl)

Bennett was the head boy – followed later by Colin Ancliffe

Boys I remember:

Alan Green
David Stein
Sean Scully
Adrian Mendoza, who once had a tremendous fight with Scully – a points draw.
John Griffin
Richard Peyman

Isn’t it interesting that there are so few following Forest Hill School, despite tens-of-thousands having passed through it.


Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
Peter Skipp

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2017
Post: #46
05-11-2017 09:11 AM

Was at Forest Hill School between January 1972 (I joined in Year 4, arriving from Bulgaria with no English) and 1975 school year (when I left the Upper Sixth). My house was Browning; cannot remember the Tutor Group, though a Mr Newberry (PE teacher) rings a vague bell.

Head was a Mr Philips (Phillips?), a trad aloof teacher with a toga and mortar board. Deputy was renowned Darwinian scholar David Stanbury, very lively and friendly. He was consultant to a late 70s BBC series on Darwin’s journey with The Beagle. After his mid-1990s death, his heirs bequeathed a large collection of papers to Christ’s College, Cambridge. A related bright spark was a Mr (hmm-m… “N” rings a bell…), an early-30s chap who taught Biology and researched the biology of pain and the fruit fly Drosophila.

English masters were Mr Dawes and Wally Knight, both nearing retirement and both thoroughly excellent. There was also a much younger master, Mr Conti.

History was taught by 30-ish Welshman Jones plus a picaresque 35-ish years old geezer, Alec Richardson. Alec was a Trotskyist and regularly came to work nursing picket line injuries. Two national broadsheets ran obituaries on his early death some years ago. A very right-wing guy called Noble (ahem… possibly) headed the department.

Maths was a shambles. A new building was inaugurated for the subject in 1973 but there was a shortage of teachers. Lacklustre staffers Gubby and Nagy found an Indian teacher called Mr Patel (incredibly fond of cricket) but too late to make any difference to our dismal O-Level showing.

The Sidcup Bypass runs mentioned by others above were over by my time. I recall very comfortable Clarkes of Penge (latterly “of London”) coaches to the sailing boat centre on Raven’s Ait or Crystal Palace facilities.

Odd characters included Francis, known as “Biff” because of his habit of initialling homework with his initials BIF. Biff’s assistant (?) as head of Browning House (?) was a short red headed chap (Colins?) who was forever bemoaning democracy and praising Franco. There was a very aristocratic Russian émigré lady part-timer called Mrs Behr who taught some RE and some Russian to them as wanted it. I also remember the short and lively Colin Finbow who later scored a BBC documentary and some short art movies. Drama was headed by a discretely camp, tall, dignified guy whose name escapes me. His colleague was a flamboyantly dressed tiny lady of a certain age who enjoyed intellectual after-hours discussions, possibly in a local pub. Librarian up in “the UFO” was a Miss Cadell (sp.?).

Fellow students included Simon Steyne, a firebrand with the Schools’ Action Union and later the NUSS, supporter of the numerous teacher strikes of the early 70s. He co-organised the 12 May 1972 school students’ strike directed against school uniforms and much else. Evgeny Daynov, a fellow Bulgar from the year under mine, went on to rank top in the 1979 Tripos at Oxford and is today a political commentator in Bulgaria (where both he and I returned to live). Others I recall were Ralph Meopham, Keith Madden (larger than life, fun, good natured), Ian Goode (a great Black guy whose dad was a School Governor), Brian Weston (amazing homemade cartoon movies), Gerry Waterman (choice Bonfire nights), Tony Price, Paul Scarrott, Bob Hewer (unusually well versed in Northern Irish politics)…

The Sixth Form Forum was a weekly fixture. I recall talks by local MP Chris Price, Spanish Civil War veteran Peter Kerrigan and (then) Goodies’ star Bill Oddie. The Forum was held at Sydenham Girls’ School on alternate weeks.

Also recall the annual Open Evenings to recruit students (I was regularly asked to skin and dissect frogs) and the Sports Days held in the dying days of Summer Term.

The School was still a leader among comprehensives. The shine had begun to wear off and bullying was rife (mainly the “gis tuppence” variety), but the BBC still regularly scouted the School for quiz show and discussion programme participants.

This post was last modified: 05-11-2017 09:19 AM by Peter Skipp.

Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2017
Post: #47
05-11-2017 09:35 AM


Beautifully written. You're half a generation being me, of course. It's clear you recognised and grasped the opportunities available at the school. I wish I'd done the same.

Bulgaria has regained a very special son.


Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
Peter Skipp

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2017
Post: #48
05-11-2017 10:16 AM

Well, kind of you to say so, Zandonai! Not sure I could genuinely be accused of grasping too many opportunities, but enjoy the School I certainly did!

Talking of opportunities, I recall the great 1970s battle between CSEs and GCE O-Levels, with many teachers supporting CSEs and unwilling to even hear of anything as "elitist" as O-Levels. Even if you were in an upper stream, there would often be propaganda by teachers to do a CSE and cock a snook at the establishment. The fallacy that a top grade at CSE was equal to an O-Level pass was widely mooted (and totally false, as I was to find out to my cost). Having said that, once the School sensed Oxbridge material, they spared no effort honing it, as I witnessed with my compatriot Daynov.

Among the assorted characters, forgot to mention the lovely Cockney couple running the Tuck Shop located at the back of the gyms, on the way to the outdoor swimming pool. Oh, and the pool itself: it was a point of huge pride for the School that students had built it themselves from scratch sometime in the late 1960s. Buut... the pool was shaded by huge mature trees, meaning its water was always Arctic cold and often full of dead leaves and tree bark, not to mention assorted raucous amphibians. Needless to say, it saw little use.

Also forgot the nice ginger-bearded Chemistry master who doubled as RE teacher, and an amazingly intelligent, tall Physics master with an upper class accent and manner, who managed to demystify hugely difficult concepts. I regret I have forgotten both their names...

Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply

Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2011
Post: #49
01-06-2018 02:30 AM

Tom Toomey now plays for the Zombies, a well known 60's band. When not touring, he resides in Somerset as a music teacher.

Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2018
Post: #50
20-01-2019 10:39 AM

I was there from 1963 to 1969. Harvey house with Mr (BIF) Francis as housemaster then Mr (Daddy) Dawes

Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2019
Post: #51
20-09-2019 12:15 AM

Yes I was there from 1961 - 1966. I was in Reynolds house. When I joined Mr Howard was Headmaster then he left and Mr Potter became HM. My tutor group was R6 and to start with we had Mr Dalton as tutor way up in the geography rooms I think room 208.

Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2021
Post: #52
10-01-2021 09:28 PM

This thread has gone quiet but I'll have to have to have my two penn'orth (oh dear, that dates me).

I am Barry Brown; attended the school 1967 to 1973. I am still in touch with Phil Szlapak, Trevor Biggs, Derek Boyd, Jim Lownie, Bob Beddison and Ewan Davis.

Do you remember history teacher Howard Norton from about 1970? He went to another school and then took the cloth. I heard him on Radio 4 a few years ago with his male partner talking about the trouble they had had with the Church of England.

We had great fun and learning on the various Sunday history trips that Howard arranged.

Phil, Trevor, Derek and I went to seem them in Winchelsea a couple of years ago. Derek was eager to return a book he had borrowed from Howard - only about 50 years late. It was a bound collection of Punch, so the book was already antique when he borrowed it.

Anyone know what happened to Michael Rush and Peter Turner? I was at primary school with them but they completely dropped off the radar.

Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
Paul Williamson

Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2021
Post: #53
24-02-2021 08:58 PM

Hi, I'm a bit late to the party, but I also remember Fairlawn and Miss Skipper and Mr Thompson. I "think" I was the director on Mutiny on the County, and I also went back to Mr Thompson's home. If I remember correctly his railway went around their bedroom at headboard height, and he had a model suspension bridge which went across the door! Thought nothing of going into his bedroom in those innocent days!
I met Barry Edmands on my first day there and we're still good mates. I also remember John Glover, and we all went to Forest Hill together.
I was in Newton 3, with Steve Mansell and Howard Church. Can't remember who else was in my tutor group, possible Eddy Bonzu(?)
I remember: Bill Rudman, The Korn twins, Dave Gibson, Barry Mayhew, Danny Wagner, Geoff Newton(?), for now.
Someone mentioned being in love with the French teacher. I think she rented a room from Danny Wagner's parents - and yep, I always wished I wasn't doing German - Mind you I fancied Frau Pukwana(?) as well. In fact that was why I did pottery. My hormones must have been going ballistic!
Do you remember those old sports sheds behind the metalwork shop? We found old fencing helmets - which seems mighty strange in a purpose built comp!
I also hates cross country at Sidcup. Who was the teacher with the Hillman Imp California? but I remember running around at Crystal Palace - must have been Sports Day. What I really liked and was pretty good at was cycling at Herne Hill. I joined VCL which was run by Bill Dodds and Sean Purcell and trained in a school gym in Peckham.
I'm sure you'll remind me of a few more things. It'd be nice to know if anyone remembers me, Paul Williamson or Barry Edmands (we've been joined at the hip since 4!

Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2021
Post: #54
25-05-2021 08:27 PM

Hi all. Briefly, I'm very late! I was House Captain of Browning House in 1967/68 and went to Fairlawn in 1958, having been to St Franvesca Cabrini (Fairlawn wasn't built then). I have lots of stories and memories, some good and bad. So if there's anyone out there fancy a chat.....

Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2017
Post: #55
20-03-2022 11:13 PM

Fencing helmets. We fenced at FHS in the late 1950s. Alexander Howard, the first headmaster, was keen to include patrician sports, and thought to turn the riff-raff of the area in gentlemen. It worked for a few - very few.

Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
Wasted space

Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2024
Post: #56
01-04-2024 10:10 AM

Hi guys, forgive me for trying to bring up a subject that "died" a few years ago. I was born and grew up in Forest Hill 73 years ago, from 1955 to 1960 I went to Holy Trinity Primary/Infants School, Dartmouth Road, and then 1961 to 1967(?) I attended Forest Hill Comprehensive School.
I remember being interviewed by Dr A Howard, the then headmaster who put the fear of God into me despite being such a gentleman! I was selected to join Newton 6 in Form 1.3. During that first year I remember a fiction film being shown at school in which one scene showed Mr Babcock being crushed under the school library (does any one remember that?).
The reason I am bringing this up now is because last night I couldn't sleep, my brain was working overtime remembering my youth, so I went to the pc and found this site at 0405hrs this morning. Some of the old postings brought back many memories of past masters, e.g. Mr Dave Stanbury - deputy head, Mr Francis, Mr Nage - maths, Mr Dawes - english (another man that scared me!), "Count" Ashby, Mr "Eggy breath" Kemp - metal work, Mr Phillips - physics, Mr Kelly (& Mr Harris) - art, Mr Haswell pt/geography(?), Madam Davies - french (what a babe!).
My school chums included Andrew Rebbeck - Newton (born musician), Alan Bowman - Drake, John Fford - Newton, Francis DeSmet - Shakleton.
Some of my fondest memories include a house trip to Dinant in Belgium which was cut short due to a lad drowning in the river (I still dream of thesight of his body being dragged up onto the shore), and of year five and being able to choose your sport, I went for sailing at Ravens Ait on the Thames, and later through that connection helped construct a brand new "Mirror" dinghy at school, which was excellent fun.
I will end here and would like to hear from anyone who can share such memories of those "halcient days", and I use term very losely. By the way my name is Ed Owen.

Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
Wasted space

Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2024
Post: #57
21-04-2024 05:19 PM

Hi, Just seen your post I was in Newton 6 from 1961 to 1965, but I cannot remember our Tutor Group Master or you, sorry. Any further memories from then welcome. Ed Owen

Find all posts by this user Quote this message in a reply
Pages (3): « First < Previous 1 2 [3] Last »

Friends of Blythe Hill Fields

Possibly Related Topics ...
Topic: Author Replies: Views: Last Post
  Forest Hill Comprehensive School 1960 - 1965 taxi1950 3 7,500 06-04-2024 09:00 PM
Last Post: Wasted space
  St. Francesca Cabrini primary school may close permanently (Forest Hill Road) samuelsen 0 3,097 21-05-2022 08:12 PM
Last Post: samuelsen
  Did anyone here go to school in Forest Hill or HOP bigbadwolf 63 96,366 01-01-2021 01:22 PM
Last Post: graham Orr
  Forest Hill School 1974 richierich 1 6,818 28-06-2018 05:40 PM
Last Post: ShaulRichard
  Boy asking for sponsorship from Forest Hill Boys School FHParent 5 7,615 03-05-2018 10:04 AM
Last Post: Pico
  Forest Hill School Ex-Pupils Dithers88 1 6,236 31-10-2017 10:18 PM
Last Post: Mr Robin Banks
  Forest Hill School in Trouble hillview 0 4,730 19-07-2017 11:39 AM
Last Post: hillview
  Forest hill boys secondary school assaults Iheartsydenham 20 23,725 01-06-2016 03:48 PM
Last Post: Perryman
  Forest Hill School: petition to stop it being forced to become an academy blushingsnail 3 6,689 12-05-2016 01:35 PM
Last Post: Cllr Paul Upex
  Sainsburys Forest Hill School Children Ban shzl400 75 63,072 28-12-2015 06:00 AM
Last Post: Erekose
  Forest Hill Boys School Fundraising for Evelina Childrens Hospital P1971 0 3,843 08-07-2015 08:49 PM
Last Post: P1971
  Teachers Strike at Forest Hill Primary School Deano 6 10,396 13-10-2013 01:09 PM
Last Post: lacb
  Forest Hill School 'Connected' Family Learning Event Call Out cpa 0 4,578 21-05-2013 02:12 PM
Last Post: cpa
  Fairlawn School takes part in Healthy Eating Week with Sainsburys Forest Hill hrmforesthill 6 10,648 05-07-2012 11:12 PM
Last Post: Deano
  Forest Hill School's Outdoor Centre (Aber) GrahamAgnew 0 7,974 22-12-2011 11:57 AM
Last Post: GrahamAgnew
  Nearly New Sale - Horniman Primary School, Forest Hill BakingMummy 5 9,478 16-10-2010 10:39 AM
Last Post: BakingMummy
  Forest Hill School - Performing Arts Survey SLK 10 15,784 06-08-2010 03:21 PM
Last Post: junegapi
  Note to Former Forest Hill School Children who visited Ty'n y Berth Widehorizons 0 4,807 29-06-2009 09:10 AM
Last Post: Widehorizons
  Forest Hill Central School brian 2 8,428 06-03-2008 02:42 PM
Last Post: IWereAbsolutelyFuming