Memories of King John School in the 1960s

Remembered by Steve Davis

The following is a comment on the post:
King John School Days in the 1960s – Remembered by Glenn Newman

How very odd to read the names and see the faces of so many many young people from the 1960s.
It not only seems like a life-time ago, it seems like somebody else’s life!

I left KJS in 1968, so I knew all the lads in the physics class photos to a greater or lesser degree; Trev Dear I knew well as he lived just down the road from me. I also knew Richard Coleman & Paul Chidley out-of-school. I think Naresh was from India and was only at KJS for a term or two. However, he made a huge impression on us. He was funny, good at arm-wrestling and taught us several swear words in his native tongue!

Despite knowing most of the kids in your own year group, I guess we all had an inner circle of friends that we hung around with, outside of school. My group included Viv Mead, Lesley Ellwood, Angela Shortel, Trev Harwood, Mick Prewer, Ian Clements, Pete Kinnaird, Mark Stuart and a few more that drifted in and out like Steve Holmwood, Paul Chidley, Gary Faux & some I can’t remember.

Anyone remember Ian Gibbons? I knew him right through primary & secondary school, and met up with him a few times in the 70s & early 80s as we shared a mutual friend, the drummer Pete Thompson. Ian was a friend, but we were not close. He was a talented musician and went on to have a successful career and played with the Kinks for 10 years:

Rather surprisingly, I only saw Ian play 3 times; the first time was in New Thundersley  primary school, Rushbottom Lane, when he climbed onto the stage during morning assembly. You could hardly see him standing behind the accordion. I think he was 9yrs old, so circa1961. I also remember seeing him play guitar with the school group “The Cents” at that hall in Benfleet near the War Memorial. I guess that was 1966/7. And then in early 2019 we were lucky enough to see Ian play keyboards with the Kast Off Kinks. I say lucky because it was a great show, and because Ian died just a few months later. So as it turned out, it was our last chance to see him play.

Ian had fabulous hair and always seemed to have a smile on his face.

I would have been at New Thundersley primary from 1957 until 1963.  My brother (who started there 5 years earlier) used to give 6d a week to the school fund so they could buy a swimming pool. But it wasn’t built until a few years after he had left. It was a simple blue plastic sided pool, where you had to climb up over the sides to get in. It was always bloody freezing.  I don’t think I learnt to swim until I got to King John.

Mark Stuart, Mick Prewer, Steve Davis & Trev Harwood (Tavern-in-the- Town, Southend - 1969)
Steve Davis
Weymouth caravan 1968; Trev Harwood, Mick Prewer & Pete Kinnaird (photo by Steve Davis)
Steve Davis

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  • Hi Josh,
    I don’t think I saw Paul Chidley again after about 1970/1, by which time we had all moved on from 2 wheels to 4.

    I heard through the grape-vine that Paul had driven his old Ford 100E Anglia/Prefect over one of the roundabouts on the A127. The Police were very interested in how this old 1950s car was traveling so fast, but this was due to the Ford Cortina 1600 cross-flow engine that Paul had installed under the bonnet (…maybe he hadn’t got around to upgrading the brakes!).

    As Paul was working for Ford, we joked about this, drawing a comparison with the Johnny Cash song “One Piece at a Time”.

    I remember Jasmin Ali (also ex-King John) mentioning Paul when we were both working at Marconi Basildon, but I can’t remember if they were, or had been, in a relationship.

    By steve davis (13/03/2021)
  • Hi Steve. Great little insight.

    I’m after some information about Paul Chidley if anyone has any! My father-in-law was good friends with him at Ford Dunton but moved out of the country and lost touch! Always brings him up in his stories!


    By Joshua James. (10/03/2021)
  • Well done Steve,
    Carina Cramp…..married Bob Beaurain, if I remember right.
    Fantastic memory you have.

    I knew Ron Gibons also, (Ian’s Father) as well as Ian. Ron was a very talented car painter, skill obviously ran in the family.
    Ian used to be known in the music trade as ‘Little Legs’ and was much revered by most who knew him, a VERY talented musician.

    All these times seem like yesterday to me.
    Obviously ‘rose tinted’ memories I have.
    Wouldn’t change them for anything.
    Ian Roberts

    By Ian Roberts (02/03/2021)
  • I remember that Benny Miller was in our art class and the lady art teacher thought he was marvellous, and thought the rest of us were rubbish.
    She once said “oooh, come and have a look at BENNY’S pot!”
    That was it, we kept repeating her phrase and fell about laughing every time.
    Benny was a great guy, but he got a lot of stick about that.

    Who was the geography teacher that had a cactus called Percy that he was very fond of? Was it Bradley? We used to talk about getting into his classroom at lunchtime to knife Percy…but I don’t think anyone ever did.

    By Steve Davis (24/01/2021)
  • Let me see how many names I can remember.
    Ann Harvey, Susan, Peter Horseman, Ian Gibbons, Angela Shortell, Carina Cramp, Peter Kinnaird, Trevor H. Nigel Sharp, Ian Robberts, Steve Davis, Glenn Newman, Benny Miller, Nigel Watson, Barry Langston, Teresa Keeves, Miss Hartley, Mr Hilton, Lisa Langston, Mr Neale, Mr Evans, Mr Evans (head), Mr Garton, Mr Beddows, Mr Wallace, Mr Buddy Edelen. I learnt to swim at the school pool. Ann was my girlfriend for 2 years. Thank you for the days. x

    By Steve Langston (18/01/2021)
  • Yes, Trev Harwood was a fit, strong young man.

    Unfortunately he had an accident while riding his Mercian racing bike which didn’t result in injury, but he seemed to be in a state of shock afterwards. A short time later he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

    He then gave up the idea of completing the extended course at KJS and left school at 15 to train as a cabinet maker.

    I think the diabetes really took its toll and I believe he died at the age of 55. Only the good die young!

    By steve davis (09/01/2021)
  • Glenn Newman was head boy in my time there with 7 x grade 1’s and a grade 2. Trevor Harwood was faster at sprinting than me. Well done. I remember Steve Davis and Peter and Ian taught me what he knew about playing the accordion. I still play the same accordion today. Bless you all. Ian Gibbons was a good friend as most of you were. Nigel Watson in the dance band and Mr Beddows was in my thoughts last night. Thank you Lord for all the love and smiles of friends in my life, and also the occasional hard moments. So many good memories all coming back. I could talk all night.

    By Stephen Langston (08/01/2021)

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