Class of 1959 Reunion
On Saturday 28th September 2019 a dozen or so “boys”, most of whom joined the school on 11th September 1952, congregated at Judd to meet the Headteacher Jon Wood for a tour of the school.
L-R Messrs Pettitt, Russell, Dibble,Gunn, Knight,May,Wood (HeadTeacher), Buck, Greenwood, Barnes, G
The tour was the first part of a two day celebration of the 1952ers' reunion (we call the group by the year they started in, rather than the year they left).
There was much to see and, indeed, learn for the school has changed a great deal in the passing of the years. It is fair to say that this was not the first time in all those years that the “boys” had been back to school for this 2019 reunion was the eighth such occasion for the 1952 group and, of course, there have been other events that have brought many of them back to the school from time to time.
The buildings and facilities have increased in proportion to the increase in the school roll. In 1952 the number of boys was in the order of 360, the first form entry being two classes of 30 or so whilst in 2019 the roll stands at 1313, and includes girls, with a six form entry in the first year. Much of the site in 1952 was not built on at all: the Common Room Pitch (rugby) where now stands the gymnasium, the sports hall and a hard playing surface previously the tennis courts; the sloping pitch (rugby) with a second small cricket pitch at the top now the all-weather hockey pitch; the quadrangle where in the old days stood the air-raid shelters.
Much of the older part of the school remains the same and readily recognisable although it seems that some classrooms have gone to be replaced by newly divided areas of offices and study areas. The tour covered most of the site and the party was particularly impressed with the new dining hall and the library. Along with appreciation of the new there was much affection for the old – those relatively unchanged parts which held memories of lessons, experiments and misdeeds past recalling happy and some not-so-happy times.
The group was very grateful to Mr Wood for giving up his Saturday morning and treating them all to a most interesting and nostalgic tour of the school.
The next event on the Saturday timetable was an evening dinner at The Rose & Crown Hotel in Tonbridge High Street. Twenty OJs attended and enjoyed a fine meal and conversation. Some attendees were moved to say a few complimentary words about their time at Judd and how it had affected their life and career. Reflections on their experiences, masters and friends at school, some of whom are sadly no longer with us, lasted long into the early morning.
The final event was a buffet lunch on Sunday, also at The Rose & Crown, attended by a total of twenty eight - this time the “boys” were accompanied by their wives. This second excellent meal provided not only further opportunities for reminiscence over a glass or two but a fitting conclusion to a most successful reunion. There were the usual goodbyes, promises to meet and keep in touch together with the speculative suggestions that there would have to be a further reunion in two years' time when the when the "1952ers" will reach the ripe old age of eighty. We shall see....
Geoff Pettitt (Judd 1952 – 59)