King John School - Early History

First known as Benfleet Secondary Modern

In 1938, the foundations of the school were dug and the building was started. Owing to the outbreak of war, building proceedings stopped and were not resumed until early 1948.

May 2nd 1949

Various dates of opening were mentioned and after many postponements the school was finally opened today. Roughly one third of the school, the South Wing, was opened. The children, 170 in all were drawn from the contributory schools of Hadleigh, Thundersley, South Benfleet and New Thundersley.

The Staff were as follows:  Headmaster: A. J. Evans MA

Assistants: Messrs. E. J. Bailey BA, RR Ward BSC, S.F. Treadway, R. Bell, R. H. Fawcett, J. T. Phillips BA, Mrs. M J Punt, Mrs. M. Seaton,  Miss FW Jeffrey, Miss? J F Elliot.

Secretary:  Miss J C Jameson                                      Caretaker:  Mr J R Wood.

May 3rd 1949

Most of the day was spent in allotting places – cloakroom, dining room and classroom. All the preliminary work – the removal of all the equipment was done last week and the staff cooperated wholeheartedly in an attempt to get the school ready to receive the children.

Locally known as ‘The Palace’ while it was being built. However, during the emergency and to lift spirits, entertainments were arranged, including The Salvation Army band, the Palm Court Orchestra, Richard Attenborough, Ethel Revnell and Wilfred Pickles. The school nickname name was changed to ‘The Grand Hotel’.

The headmaster of the King John School Mr A J Evans, received an MBE for his services during the floods, as did Mr J Wood of South Benfleet Primary School.  Mr J Denton headmaster of Hadleigh Primary School and Mr.Farwell caretaker of The King John School received the BEM.

The Benfleet Secondary Modern (as it was first known) was built on land once owned by William Bridge. The land formerly part of Cross Farm. The site was originally intended for a new primary school to replace the one in Church Road.  However due to the 1944 Education Act, which laid down that children aged 11 to 15 should be taught at a separate school and was designed to accommodate 900 pupils.

“Scott of the Antarctic” was being shown at the “Kingsway” Hadleigh. Most of the children accompanied by the staff went to the cinema.

May 5th  1949     120 children and staff visited Chelmsford to see “Tobias and the Angel”

Head Girl Jennifer Rourke 1962-63


1949 -1966             A J Evans

First entry in logbook: 2nd. May 1949. Last entry: 21st December 1966.

1967 -1974             Bernard Vaughan

No entry in logbook. Possibly a new book started and stored at County.

1974-1983             Miss Kate Webb


Comments about this page

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  • I started there in 1967 and I’ve got a feeling that we were the first year after it became a comprehensive school. I was in Lawrence house, Mr Morris was our tutor, (tutor group L2), Mr Vaughan was the headmaster and Mr Rothman the deputy. I left in 1972 to go to SEEVIC.

    By Neil Salmon (24/11/2023)
  • I can only narrow it down to a small period – I went in 1971 and it was a comprehensive. My older sister went in 1964, and it was a secondary modern, and I think it still was in 1969 when she left with CSEs. GCEs were only introduced when King John became a comprehensive.

    By Stephen Seymour-Jones (23/11/2023)
  • Do you know what year it converted to become a comprehensive? Is there any information about this anywhere? Thanks.

    By Stephen (17/11/2023)
  • Dear Stephen, Thank you for pointing out this error. I have corrected it.
    Kind Regards,
    Pamela J. Bird-Gaines (Editor)

    By Pamela Gaines (12/04/2023)
  • Umm, I think that was Kate Webb, not Kate Wedd. She was my headmistress for the first few years I was there (1980-1985).

    By Stephen Harris (12/04/2023)
  • I lost my dad 2 years ago, Warner Barnes Wallace, I found his school report from 1957.

    By dawn (23/10/2019)
  • Went to King John School between 1952 and 1957. Loved reading the teachers’ names. Remembered most of them. Does anyone remember Stanley Rawe, residing in Toronto Canada now, or Hazel Murray nee Phipps, now in Western Australia? Does anyone know where June Winter is?

    By hazel murray (01/02/2019)
  • I was an American who went to King John School in the early 60s for one year. I remember the uniform (blue skirt, blue tie with red and yellow stripes). I also remember some of the students and teachers’ names. Mr. Bailey was one of my favorites. We also had a sewing class which was quite unique for me (age 12-13) since you could only take such classes in the States when you turned 15 or 16. I do remember the female teacher who taught the domestic science. Also there was a pool. I have returned to England several times since then but never been back to the school. I am glad to see it is still going strong. If anyone remembers an American girl from that time, please let me know. I would love to hear about you and from you.

    By Susan Eckman Rosano (19/09/2018)
  • I recall my time at KJS between 1957-59 as some of my happiest school days. Then I had the dubious privilege of passing the 13 plus and moving on to Basildon Fryerns. In doing so I left behind some of the most dedicated teachers I was ever to meet. The one I have never ever forgotten is Mr Lambourne. He persisted in thinking out of the box to explain things so that in the end I really got it. His teaching sustained my first two years in mathematics at the Grammar Tech but then without his wise instruction I never quite got it again! I also remember Miss Johns who tolerated my chatter, called me Jaberwocky, but never slung me out of class. My best friend for my two years at KJS was Rowena Page, she was the clever one. One good thing about moving school was that my art teacher Miss Calvert came along too. It was she who first fuelled my life long passion for art.
    How could any of us forget Mr Evans who was standing outside most mornings to greet us all on our arrival to his beloved school.

    By Jean Wallis (Anthony) (02/03/2018)
  • Hi, I am hoping someone can help me. I’m trying to put a special book together for my nans 80th birthday. My nans name then was Sheila Wiltshire. I do believe she was the first class to attend the King Johns school. I think the dates she attended would be 1948/ or 9 to 1953. 

    Any details, memories or photos would be amazing and greatly appreciated. 

    Kindest regards  

    By Zoe Dean (04/03/2017)
  • Does anyone remember me? My name is Martin Axford and I attended the Benfleet Secondary Modern school in 1955 and part of 1956 before returning to South Africa. Is there any way I could contact the few people I remember from then?

    They were: Michale Morgan, Fay Thurlow, Linda Mackie

    I remember these other bits.

    My first teacher at the school was, if memory serves me, Miss or Mrs Calvert.

    I remember Mr Beddow very well and in particular that he introduced me to the works of Gustav Holst (The Planets). 

    There was also a teacher from Australia who I think was working in the UK for a while. He taught English.

    Michel Morgan told me to ask him about the ‘Kinsey Report’ and knowing what that was I managed to change this to the Kingsley report (The Water Babies instead of the famous sex report) which saved me from I am sure some tribulations.

    There was a girl in the class from the Salvation Army colony who could speak Afrikaans a bit which was quite a surprise.

    Most of the other kids thought I was from another planet at the time.

    I unfortunately don’t recall her name. I seem to remember that she had a friend or possibly sister in the class. Anyway, they were both from the SA Colony in Hadleigh. 

    My grandfather Stewart Pike was a full time member of the SA and lived in Hadleigh until about 1980. 

    I hope someone remembers those times. 

    I haven’t been back to the UK since the early 2000’s and am unlikely to do so (short of winning the Lotto that is). 

    I did have dealings with Hunter Penrose Littlejohn who were in Billericay in Essex (I think) the last time I saw them. The company that I worked for sold large format photographic cameras to the mines here. We also sold and serviced Hasselblad and various exotic pieces of aerial photography equipment. In SA we used more aerial film than anyone except the USA with all our assorted incursions etc into various African countries. I visited HPL a few times and also Hasselblad in Sweden and Opti and Acti and Loge in the USA. We also represented DuPont so it was all very interesting. 

    I was actually born in Nottingham and my parents adopted me at about 6 months. We moved to Hove near Brighton and on to SA in 1948. That was after the King and Queen had been here in 1947. I always wondered if my folks sent them out to check the place for us to make sure it was suitable and so on.

    If anyone remembers me and would like to make contact, my details are below.

    Thank you

    Martin Axford

    Linden, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

    whatsapp +27823034491 

    By Martin Axford (16/02/2017)
  • Hi 

    I was at King Johns in the 70s and it’s great to read your comments everyone, some of the names were still there when I was, I remember Mr Pearce and Johnston (didn’t get on at all!) Mr Johnny Johnston I mean, Mr Pearce was nice,  physical education, Mr Wanstall very strict, Mr Beddows in music, Mr Harper great guy wonder what happened to him, I’d love to say hi, always a blazer light blue flannel slacks and ox blood loafers, I was in Napier 1 then a bloke called Hammond, never got on, does anyone remember Mr Mackenzie and Mrs Jones getting married, physics and biology teachers nice people, I remember Mrs Lounds too, Mr Smith in technical drawing very laid back, I enjoyed my time there had the cane more than once too (done me no harm ??) I’d love to share stories with anyone. ttfn.

    By Simon Bond (30/11/2016)
  • I attended King John (1962-67) before going on to Sweyne Grammar to do A levels. Many years later I became a teacher and later a Headteacher. Harry Ashton was my inspiration. I remember sitting in his history lesson with the blackboard covered in different coloured chalk arrows as he brilliantly explained the causes of the First World War. He was clearly enjoying himself, cracking jokes and having the attention of the whole class. I remember thinking “He is getting paid to do this!!”  That’s what I want to do and I did. Thanks Mr Ashton. Ofsted would have graded you Outstanding! I later went on to marry Mr Lindoe’s (rural studies) daughter. I was still terrified of him! A great school. Thank goodness I failed my 11 plus!

    By Mike Joyce (08/11/2016)
  • Hi, I lived in Hadleigh, Benfleet and Thundersley from about 1970 onwards. I vaguely remember Mr Wanstall, Mr Hammond and I was in Napier 1 with Mr Harper who was a terrific bloke. My mates were Paul Brown and Lee Stafford. 

    I’d love to hear from anyone that remembers. 

    By Simon Bond (06/10/2016)
  • Does anyone remember Barry Studholme who went to K J S in the early sixties? We are trying to trace him for a re-union.

    By Brian Shipway (09/09/2016)
  • I remember going to see Hamlet at the Kingsway cinema at Hadleigh with the school in the early 1950s. I think most of the year I was in went  or were told they had to go.

    By Brian Bellamy (09/09/2016)
  • Also remember Basildon Woodlands School as I went for a term there. Lyn Sharman and his brother and Alan Emery, Malcom Reid, Lawrence Howard also Mr Mansfield was our teacher and Mr Benjamin was the headmaster. At KJS a Mr Settee, an Indian man, taught us English.

    By Brian Shipway (05/09/2016)
  • Does anyone remember Mr Wanstell the maths teacher, Mr Hilton R.E.and Miss Johns the french teacher, and Mr Bell the music teacher? The total length of the school is a quarter of a mile, we had to measure it once as a punishment. Mr Tenee was a Canadian geography teacher.

    By Brian Shipway (05/09/2016)
  • I was at King John School until 1953/4. I remember some of the teachers mentioned very well. I stayed in touch with Miss Elliott and am sad to report she died in February this year (2016) after being disabled by a stroke for several years. I am in touch with Mary Veale and Joyce Jaggers (mentioned).

    I remember Mr Beddows, Mr Forsyte, Miss Finch, Miss Boon, Mr Blake, and of course Mr Evans, among others.

    By Val Pounds (14/08/2016)
  • I remember a Brian Parking. Guitarist Martin Gobell, Richard Bainbridge, Daniel Tellis. There was two girls I remember, Tina and Bridget. This site has jogged my memory. I left school easter 1963. I played the white double bass in the school panto I think it was ‘Cinderella’ with Mr Beddows on piano and Mr Wilson on trombone.

    When at lunchtime band practice one tune we played well was Midnight in Moscow.

    I was sorry to see Melvyn Beddows passing away. He was truly a legend and a person with great  personality, one  that all teachers should try to emulate. He left a real positive mark on my life and I cannot thank him enough for that.


    By Maurice Stapley (19/03/2016)
  • I moved to the school in 1962/3. My music teacher was Mr Beddows. He asked me if I played an instrument. I told him I was learning piano and violin. He said ‘good you can play the double bass in the school band, we will tune it the same as a violin’. He was the best teacher in the school. Every one loved and respected him so none mucked about. My next teachers was Mr Smith, Mr Wallace both teaching woodwork and I believe there was a Mr Davies in metal work, he was a gent. The rest didn’t in my view come any where near. 

    Fritz Evans the head gave me the cane on my hand for calling a student teacher by his christian name as I knew Bernard from church, hence my lack of respect for most of the rest of school.

    By Maurice Stapley (18/03/2016)
  • I was at KJS from 1953/57 and remember good times.

    Miss Eliott was a great PE  teacher, although I did dislocate my elbow while jumping over the horse in gym, as we were doing extra practice!!

    I also remember Mr Beddows as a lovely man who could be diverted from making us sing, by getting him to talk to us about our favourite singers of the time.

    Janet Pain nee Stevenson

    By Janet Pain (08/02/2016)
  • Hello Colin, I was at the KJS from 1955-1961 and I think the lady science teacher whose name you were looking for was Mrs (Elizabeth ?) Fletcher. I was in her class, 1EF, during my first year at the school and I think she specialised in rural science and also ran a small school farm. 

    By Adrian Chapman (16/08/2015)
  • I only recently discovered this page and quickly discovered that reading it brought back a flood of happy memories.

    Starting back in 2011, I think the teacher that Colin Mackenzie was trying to put a name to was the rural science teacher Ms (Elisabeth ?) Fletcher. 

    I was at the KJS from 1955-1961 and she was my very first class (1EF) teacher. She also ran a small farm over on the Shipwrights Drive side of the school. Is it still there ?

    It was a great pleasure to read Doug Mansfield’s tales of the school band’s first double bass player. Doug handed the white double bass to me when he went off to join the navy. I had little idea as how to play the thing, but Doug told me all he knew and that was a good start. With Mr Beddows running the show, you couldn’t help but improve with each session.

    I, like Doug, was very sad to hear of Melvin Beddows passing.

    Not only was he a wonderful teacher, but a good friend too.

    The white double bass – also known as ‘Big Bessie’ – was carted home on several occasions so that I could touch up white finish where the original had been chipped away. I never knew there was a second double bass donated to the school.

    When I left the school in 1961 to join the RAF (our paths must have crossed, Doug), poor old Bessie was in a rather bad state. The bridge snapped twice and was temporarily put back together with the willing help of the woodwork teacher and his secret glue. Then day before one of the big ‘Swimming Pool Fund’ concerts was about to begin, the front and the side casing parted company. The instrument vibrated terribly and had to be held together by same glue and an enormous G-clamp ! Surprisingly the combination held until she was patched up again. It would be interesting to learn more of ‘Big Bessie’s’ ultimate fate.

    Running out of time now, will be back on the ‘Hotrods’ story.

    By Adrian Chapman (16/08/2015)
  • Hi everyone,

    I used to live in Church Road so it’s interesting to read stories from that area and all others about the school.

    Born in 1953 as a Wakeman, I attended this school from 1965-1967 with Mr Evans as Headmaster before we migrated to Australia. 

    I remember a very beautiful Drama teacher (initials B.M.). A sports teacher marrying another teacher at the school. I loved typing and would always sneak along to the top floor to practice on those electronic typewriters! I’m looking at my school reports and there are only initials of course not full names for the teachers but a few have come to life after reading names of the teachers in previous posts.


    Editor: You may be interested to know that there is a whole section on this site relating to King John School and within this section is a page on teachers during the 1960s. Please click on  the links to view.

    By Beryl Boom (21/06/2015)
  • I well remember when we had to go to Woodlands Boys School for  a year. We were 2JM (Mr Mansfield’s class) and I along with my twin brother used to get the bus at the top of Kenneth Road opposite the council offices.

    By Lynn Peter Sharman (17/06/2015)
  • Hello to You, Dave Evans, I remember you, isn’t that nice, but the only way for you to know to what I refer, is if you are able to recall a group of Young Ladies, well kids actually, that attended Benfleet Sec. Modern, and were residents of Runnymede House, Church Road, Thundersley.  We called it Boarding School, but in fact it was a ‘Care Home’ for girls, that were in need of TLC…and we surely received it, from our Housemistresses, who were Mrs Cordon and Miss Elliott….and you may remember that they were also Teachers at Shipwrights Drive, where Your Father Mr.Evans was Headmaster…..  You may also remember that Miss Elliott took us young ladies to the Beach at Leigh on Sea, and on various occasions, you came along with the Headmaster, your Dad.. which was a constant reminder to behave…  The Years that I was a pupil, were from 1950/53…..just before the Canvey Island Floods… and it was only when I found this amazing site, that I learned of the Courage of the ‘First Responders’ to save people from the floods. Then the follow-up Humanitarian effort of the Volunteers, to bring help and Comfort to the Homeless.  Your Ever Proud Moment, David, is that it was Your Father’s School, and that he had to begin the Amazing process of recruiting Hundreds of People To do So Many Things….it’s unimaginable now, but He, and So Many Others did the Impossible…..I never knew any of this, Canvey Island and Benfleet, Were so far away from me, in 1953, and in thought, even though I was 13 almost 14……I was then Linda Forester……You couldn’t possibly remember my short time at the ‘Boarding School’  although maybe….Mary Veale, Jane Beecham, Kaye..Marion..Susan Cordon.    I am writing this via the amazing Internet, as like so many others have ‘hopped off’ to Australia.  I now live in Medina Western Aust.  I now know that Kingston Primary stands in the place of my Beloved ‘Runnymede’ ….Do you have any Memories of Our Miss Elliott and Her ‘Well Behaved girls’ …Oh and I have a memory of a broken Toe…..which I think, mended itself…?

    By Linda Lee (10/03/2015)
  • I am Dave, son of Bert (A J) Evans. Good to see so many positive comments. H R Tutt was Head of Hadleigh council school till 1949. He may have become head if WW2 had not stopped any building. After retirement dad lectured at Brentwood Teacher Training college. He died too young  from a heart attack at age 66 in 1973. I went on one of the Dunera cruises to Russia and Scandinavia. 

    By David Evans (25/02/2015)
  • I went to kjs from 64-67. Went on the trip to Ostend and another one to Interlaken. I remember paying 2d per week to pay for the swimming pool. I remember Mr Lindo. I am sure the head was Mr Evans. Wonder if they still have the rubber corridor. 

    By Lynn Potter (28/12/2014)
  • Just stumbled upon this site. I too went to KJS from 59 – 64. Was in 4/5EXT. I still see a couple of “inmates” quite regularly Eddie Challis & John Simons 4/5EX1 and Alison Davis nee Bashford, and until he passed away a couple of years ago Phil Davis, also keep in touch with Terry Campen. I too remember the year of going to Woodlands, does anyone remember the snowball incident in the Woodlands playground? The only other teachers I can add are Mrs Arnold (domestic science), Mr Hotten (English) Mr Bumby (a young trainee in science) and Miss Denton (English). Also recently found a photo of a reunion 21 years I think held at the Holywood.

    By Michael Cecil (03/12/2014)
  • Michael, you are quite right about the group.   We have a page on this site regarding the Hot Rods. Please click here to go direct to this page.

    By Eileen Gamble (21/05/2014)
  • Wasn’t there a rock? of some kind, called the Hotrods in Mr Melvin Beddow’s time, I would guess 1962 ish. or am I wrong?

    By Michael Reed (20/05/2014)
  • Hi Everyone

    I went to King John School and had a great time. I played the Trumpet and Mr Wilson started a small group called the Belltones, I think Richard Rolf was in it. It would be good to hear from anyone that remembers me!

    By Chris McCormick (03/03/2014)
  • G’day folks. Been 21 days shy of a year since I last looked at this page. Shame on me. Reading the up-dates , I see a question from one Steve Nash. Sorry mate, but your name doesn’t ring any bells except that I once owned a Nash Rambler estate-car from the USA. As to when I was at KJS, if my maths is still correct, that would have been from 1953 to ’58. I went to a Merchant Navy radio training college in London for a year after that but finally joined the RAF. I, to, joined the Cubs but was too old and had to move up to the scouts. Didn’t like it so gave it away.

    Mavis Turner, sorry love but your name doesn’t ring any bells either. I believe there were 2 visits to Interlaken, mine would have been in 57 I think. Ah, just re-read your comments, obviously you’re a bit younger than me and there was yet another visit to Interlaken.

    I was sad to hear of Merv Beddow’s passing last year. A fabulous music teacher and friend.

    Been racking my mind for other teachers of my time. I’ll always remember Mr Garten with his bright red hair. An English teacher with a passion for acting. He once played the part of Puck in Shakespear’s Mid-Summer’s Night Dream. Came on stage covered with green paint and a large plaster caste on his arm. However, it wasn’t that which caused the laughter, it was the HUGE cricketers Box he had on under his tights. Bought tears to the eyes of most women in the audience. Mr Bell taught Art as well as Pottery and I remember him dancing around the class room to the music of Victor Sylvester being played on the radio. He once asked us to paint a picture of a space ship and, bear in mind this was prior to America’s space program, I painted a white rocket with writing down the side. He b*******d me and said it was rubbish not knowing that in a few years time, that was exactly what took off from Cape Canaveral. Ah such happy memories.

    By Doug Mansfield (05/02/2014)
  • I well remember travelling to Woodlands School in Basildon for a year. The coach driver seemed to be ancient and as I remember, had absolutely no control over any of us on the coach. The poor man, we must have made his life hell. I believe we used to call him Fossil but I can’t think why.

    By Alan Emery (04/02/2014)
  • How about Miss Thomas, Mr Heald. Yes I remember Mrs Chambers, possibly Mr Wallace for Woodwork, I think he came from Benfleet School originally and lived in Kenneth Road, Thundersley. He also took the Sailing Club, with boats based at Benfleet Sailing Club. Fantastically interesting man and a good boat builder too. All up to 1963, when I left from 5 EXT.

    By Michael Reed (03/02/2014)
  • More teacher names, Mr Laughton – English. He had no sense of humour so for me boring. Didn’t Mr Morgan and Miss Thomas get married? I think Mr Bell lived in Underhill Road and Mr Bailey lived in Clarence Road and had a son the same age as my brother Graham, so 3 years younger than me.

    Does anyone else remember travelling to Woodlands School in Basildon, for a whole year, whilst new ‘Temporary’ Classrooms were assembled at King John School? On Cooks Coaches from Westcliff, I seem to remember, with an elderly coach and driver, both very unhealthy smokers too.

    By Michael Reed (03/02/2014)
  • I remember Mr Bill Langlois, both from school and through my Aunt Ivy Hubbard who used to collect Insurance premiums for the Prudential in Benfleet, Tarpots and Thundersley. Originally on her Bike and then on a Moped. Bill Langlois had a serious Motor Bike accident and broke at least one possibly both legs, leaving him with a limp. My aunt Ivy visited his Mum somewhere near Tarpots, or North Benfleet, where I believe they lived at the time.

    By Michael Reed (02/02/2014)
  • I was at KJS between 1961 to 1965. The head was Mr. Evans, dept head  Miss Boon. I remember Mr Langlois and Mr Blaker, in fact I was in his class. I went on the Dunera, we went to France, Spain and Gibralta and we was all sick. My grandson is now at KJS.

    By Doreen Watkins (01/02/2014)
  • No one has mentioned Mr Morgan. I went to KJS between 59 and 63, my last year was in 4EX2. I was interested in art and design. the art teacher Mr Morgan was one of those inspirational teachers who I wanted to learn from 24/7. So I wangled my way out of those unimportant subjects like PE and RE, went to the art room and got on with my painting. I ended up going to Art School and having a successful career in commercial art/design working for Trebor Sharps and designing the HENRY vacuum cleaner.   

    By Michael Walsh (19/01/2014)
  • I went to King John Secondary Modern School between 1958 to 1962, Mr Evans was the head then. I also went on the Switzerland trip to Interlaken.

    By Mavis Ann Thurley nee Turner (01/09/2013)
  • Living at the top of Vicarage Hill, upon waking one morning I looked out of window opposite my bed; where the view had overlooked Canvey Island the previous day, on that morning in its place was just a wide area of light reflecting water! My parents opened an office down in the Village to note down the details of all the poor people who had been made homeless in the night – to help them to find their other family members, and any pets and possessions that might have be recovered. 1000 refugees were billeted temporarily in my school South Benfleet Secondary, no lessons for a week – if I remember correctly – but some of us went to the school each day to see if we could help with anything. We lived in a house called Brynawel, it was a lovely home with a lovely garden and I wonder if it is still there? I was thirteen years old when The Canvey Island Flood occured. I am now seventy three and remember that time and our lovely home, as if it was yesterday!

    By Belinda Hollis nee Rose (28/05/2013)
  • Doug and Christopher. Can you give a time frame for your time at the school as I went there from 1964 to 1969 and went to the Thundersley cubs then scouts. Regards Steve.

    By Steve Nash (03/03/2013)
  • I saw Tony Baptist’s comment above, we were several years apart at KJS, but I knew him as a scout but in a Thundersley group. We met up again at MTE Control Gear at Progress Road, Leigh-on-sea.

    By Christopher Davis (01/03/2013)
  • G’day all, greetings from near Adelaide, South Australia. I’ve just read your comments and many of the teachers mentioned were there when I attended the King John Secondary Modern School as it was then known. I ended my time in Mr (Bill) Bailey’s class. During my time, I went on the Interlaken (Switzerland) trip, was house captain, prefect (Keith Merill head boy at the time) but was probably best known as the bands first bass player. Remember when I painted it white with black edging. Melvin Beddow’s was well surprised but never said that he was displeased. 

    As previously said, great days, happy days. Today I am still in touch with one girl/lady and we correspond regularly. No names as she might like to retain her privacy. I’m happy to email anyone who wishes to contact me, not got much more to do at current age ;-(Keep the memories coming).

    By Doug Mansfield (26/02/2013)
  • I think the domestic science teacher was Mrs. Lightle. Not sure if this is spelt right. Nice catching up.

    By Rosalinda Pope (08/07/2012)
  • Reading through the comments I began to realize just how few girls I actually knew at KJS other than those you might travel with on the bus. We were segregated at play times and lunch time and with separate playgrounds, other than Celia of a previous piece, I can only remember one other girl named Olive Smith. Is it just me or do others have the same lack of memory?

    By Colinmac (25/02/2012)
  • Hello again Alan, it’s good to hear that information from this site has helped you to unravel the ‘mystery’ regarding your family history search. I said that I would contact you if any information came to light but now that you know the connection regarding Harold’s wife May, I expect you will put this one to bed. If we do hear from anyone with memories of May and her husband, I will contact you.

    By Eileen Gamble (18/02/2012)
  • Further to my last post re Harold Edward Farwell caretaker at KJS during the floods of 1953. After finding mention of him on this page I have managed to research further and it seems he was not a blood relation after all. It was his wife May who was related, she being the daughter of my grandmothers sister, which made us 1st cousins once removed. Still nice to be able to put the matter to bed after all these years. Many thanks.

    By Alan Perry (17/02/2012)
  • During the time I spent in the domestic science class at the school, we were making cake which required the beating of fat and sugar into a “light and fluffy” texture which was quite tiring. One or two of the girls complained that they had got tired doing it so I was volunteered to do it for them. The first girl was named Celia, after having beaten two or three lots it was me that was getting tired and when the Teacher asked if anyone else wanted a rest I put my hand up. Fortunately that brought a halt to me being the creamer of butter and sugar. 

    But not long ago I had a email from Celia saying it had been her who I had helped, Celia is now living in Canada and was able to put me in touch with the other girls I had known at the school, some as far away as Chelmsford and Melbourne, what a circle that got going. 

    By Colin Mac (16/02/2012)
  • Further to the comment I made in Sept 2011. I have just found mention of the caretaker of KJS under the heading May 3rd 1949 on this page. The reason for trying to find his name was due to the fact that I believe he was related to me in some way and can recall being shown a medal (which I now know thanks to that entry to have been the BEM), on one of our visits to his home way back, probably late 50s early 60s. All I could recall is that he was awarded it in relation to the 1953 floods. 

    A couple of my cousins recalled his name was either FARWELL or FARRELL which I knew at the time of my post but needed confirmation. I knew him and his wife as Uncle Ted and Aunt May. They had a son David who was about my age. I was born 1948 and they may have had a daughter as well who would have been older. 

    Does this family ring any bells with anyone? If so I would be most grateful for any snippet of info so I can research further. 

    Thanks Alan Perry.

    By Alan Perry (25/01/2012)
  • I was at KJS from 1968-71 before moving to Lincolnshire. Played loads of sports and remember Roger Hare, Mr Knight and John Rossiter. Also Mr Turner was a great teacher and Mr Bevan. What happened to Sid Wright, Gaynor Sunderland, Susan Kelsey, Ann Wright, Vicki Price? Fun Days.

    By Martin Paddison (23/01/2012)
  • Yes, I went on the Dunera cruise probably the next year to Denmark, Germany and Norway, very seasick!  

    I was at KJS from 1959 to 1965, Mrs Lale, French. Mr Birchinall, English. Mr Haskew, Maths. Mr Lalley, Biology.  Mr Moyol Robeson, Georgraphy. Mr Regal, Commercial.  Mrs Chambers, Art. Great school, happy days.

    By Janice Hand nee Baptist (31/12/2011)
  • I was at KJS between 1955 & 1959. Some teachers I recall are Mr Thomas and Mr Langlois both P.E.  Miss Boon R.I. and Deputy head.  Mr Lambourne maths, Mr Hilton R.E.  Mr Birchinall english, Mr Blaker maths, Mr Harris science, Mr Sanger ?, Mr Beddows music, and of course Mr Evans known affectionately as ” Fritz”, happy days !

    By Alan baptist (19/12/2011)
  • I was at KJS from 1960 to 1964. The teachers I remember were Miss Millier, Mr Ashworth, Mr Grocott,  Mr Beddows, Miss Punt,  Miss Mason, Mr Lambourne, Mrs Marpole,  Miss Boon and Mr Evans the headmaster. 

    Does anyone remember going on the school cruise to Norway,Denmark, Germany and Holland on the Dunera?

    By carol powley nee southward (19/12/2011)
  • Eileen.  Although I don’t know the lady’s name I don’t think it was the name suggested by Eileen as I had left the school around Easter 1953. Names I can recall were Mr. Ward (Science) Mr. Bailey (English) Mr Bell (Pottery) Mr. Treadway (Carpentry) and Mr Fawcett (PT) who used to teach archery after school and he let me use his bow, which had a hundred pound pull and could easily send an arrow from outside the gym the entire length of the playing field, well beyond the girls playground. 

    There were others of course such as the RI teacher and the music teacher as well as the girls PT instructor whoever she was and of course the metalwork teacher, were there more I wonder.

    By Colinmac (10/12/2011)
  • Does anyone remember the name of the Domestic Science class teacher?  As I had decided I wanted to be a cook, I was allowed to spend half a day in her class and two days a week I was allowed to work in the school restaurant, as we had to stay on until we were sixteen then, no one knew what to do with us that year.

    By Colin Mackenzie (24/11/2011)
  • Colin, I went to King John myself from 1965 to 1969. At that time the domestic science teachers were Mrs Marpole who had many admirers, both the boys and the teachers. Miss Dunn, a very small lady who I think was Norwegian and Mrs Rhobie, an excellent teacher and cook but even so most of the children teased her mercilessly (including me). I think that Mrs Marpole and Mrs Rhobie had been there for some time before this, perhaps you recall them.

    By Eileen Gamble (24/11/2011)
  • One of the caretakers at KJS when I started in1956 was a Mr Hume who lived on Albert Road in Tarpots. He must have been there in 1953 and his grandsons were pals of mine and one started there in 1956 with me.

    By Tony Baptist (29/10/2011)
  • Am I wrong but I thought at one time Mr. Tutt was headmaster for a short time at KJS. He certainly gave the children rather good lectures on local bird life. Colin Mac

    By Colin Mac (08/10/2011)
  • As part of my family history research I am trying to find the name of the caretaker of the school around the time of the 1953 floods. I only know his christian name of Ted, probably short for Edward. His wife’s christian name was May. Any little thing would help. Thanks.

    By Alan Perry (02/09/2011)
  • I have been a teacher at the kjs for 31 years (1980 to present date) I have many photographs and memories! My husband Martin Jeffery was head boy at kjs in the mid 50’s and we have several photographs of sports day in this era. I have found the history of the 60’s very interesting.

    By Linda Jeffery (28/07/2011)

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