Jeremy Gaskill 1954 - 1956

Jeremy Gaskill

Jeremy and Tim Gaskell

Here’s a few memories of over 50 years ago :

My name is Jeremy Gaskell, and at that time I lived in Lower Oddington, and we all went to the School on a steam train, myself and few others from Adlestrop Station (now demolished), of the Edward Thomas WW1 poem fame.

The one or two coach train started at Kingham, and stopped at Moreton-in-Marsh and Blockley before reaching Campden station. I seem to recall that the engine for the train was usually an ancient 0-6-0 Dean Goods engine, probably dating back to the 1880’s! As we waited for our afternoon return train, it was thrilling when a Worcester/Hereford express thundered through Campden station on the banked curve heading down to the Campden Tunnel. Especially when it was hauled by a massive “King” Class 4-6-0 steam locomotive, the pride of the old Great Western Railway! (though it was British Rail by then).

From the station we walked to the school in the summer and the first half of the autumn term, and an ancient coach took us to and from the station the rest of the year. Walking was always good fun as, amongst other things, we could buy for 3d (just over 1p), bags of cherries in the season, and other fruits as there were orchards most of the way.

I started there in 1954 having apparently been in the top ten in the area for my year in the dreaded 11+ exam. Fail the exam and you went to “Lock’s Academy” better known as Moreton-in-Marsh Secondary Modern School. I had been intended to go to Christ’s Hospital School from my preparatory school at Oddington, but failed their entrance exam at 10, so my parent’s finances dictated that I went to the Grammar School for just over two years instead.

I can only recall a few teacher’s names, was there a Mr Unstead? Teaching us in one of the several wooden huts needed to accommodate us all, was a very nice young lady teacher (Miss Miles?) who we all fancied, and we thought she fancied Mr Longden (or vice versa!)  The Headmaster was Mr Jones and the Headmistress Miss David, who seemed absolutely ancient to an 11-13 year old. But to my surprise, when I returned for a reunion in the 1970’s with my younger brother Tim, who also went there for a brief while, and our cousin Paul Lockyear who likewise went there, Messrs Jones and David didn’t seem that ancient after all.

In order for me to pass the Common Entrance Examination for Public Schools, to enable me to attend my Father’s alma mater ( Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood, Middlesex), it was necessary for me to have extra lessons in French with Miss David and in Maths with Gerry Longden, whom I recall also took on sports coaching. With Miss David it was in her office, and with Mr Longden in his flat in the High Street. I may have had extra Latin as well, but the details escape me.

It all obviously worked, as I passed the exam and left in December 1956 after 2 years and one term. At that stage, everyone thought I would end up at University and it says a lot for Chipping Campden Grammar School’s ethos that I went off with their blessing. Mr Jones’ equable take on my my future scholastic journey being ” Jeremy will get there (i.e University) in a Rolls-Royce instead of a Ford”.

Unfortunately, I let my teenage hormones affect my studies at MTS and flunked my ‘O’ levels and left before my “A levels. Luckily, in those days, not having a degree was no bar to a good career, which I went on to have with Westminster (later NatWest) Bank, ending up a Manager in 3 different Branches in Kent and Sussex. This despite attempting to be a pop impresario managing local Cotswold bands in my spare time in the mid-1960’s, namely the Sugarbeats, The Panthers and lastly the In-Sect, some of which included younger Campden boys.The Bank did NOT approve!  Working for NatWest, especially as you advanced up the career ladder, you had to move around a lot, so after working at Oxford, Stratford and Banbury, I then found myself travelling the country for nearly 6 years on computerisation, then back to branches in London, Kent & Sussex.

Who do remember at the school ?- in my class Jennifer Davies upon whom I had an awful unrequieted crush (we weren’t very advanced at 11-13 in those days), Elizabeth Taylor, and of my year Dickie Clements who was killed in a motorcycle accident aged 16, and Mickey Minett who died a few years later in an agricultural accident. Also David Kibblewhite whom I saw in Stratford-upon-Avon where I had opened up the new Westminster Bank branch in 1961. He became a teacher.

In the year above were Lock, son of the Lock’s Academy Headmaster, Dumble and poor old Rolfe who also came to a tragic end. Then Robert Fowles whom I contacted more recently through Friends Reunited (which has a Chipping Campden School link). Of course, Robert’s father taught at the School, with the obvious nickname of “Chick” Fowles. Apparently Mr Fowles lived on until he was 91. There was a master who had a very nice Wolseley saloon car with a long bonnet and running boards, very much like the police cars of those days – what a sensation when he crashed it!

This page was added on 27/02/2014.

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