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NEWS > Life After Judd > Wonderful Visit from Bob (Anthony) Davies and David Haenlein, from the Class of 1957

Wonderful Visit from Bob (Anthony) Davies and David Haenlein, from the Class of 1957

Last Thursday we were honoured to welcome back Bob (Anthony) Davies and David Haenlein (who started Judd In 1954) who wished to look around their old school ....
David Haenlein and Bob Davies with their Judd School Prefect Caps on
David Haenlein and Bob Davies with their Judd School Prefect Caps on


David and Bob in the 50s 

Bob (Anthony) Davies and David Haenlein arrived at Reception very promptly at 10am with Bob’s family (comprising his daughter Nicola -who went to Tonbridge Girls Grammar, and his two grandsons, Matthew and Oliver) whom he wanted to show the secondary school he attended. 

The group were delighted to flick through some Juddian Magazines which I had found from their years at Judd where they both had mentions.  David used to edit the magazine so he was particularly interested to see them, his mention by name because he was in the Ist XV, and they both enjoyed seeing the difference with the 2020 glossy tome we now enjoy today.

They informed me of the coincidence that I had just written an article about Sir Humphrey Burton who had moved on to Judd from the progressive school Long Dene in Chiddingstone. Amazingly, Both Bob and David took the same route. Other Old Denizens who went on to Judd at about the same time were Humphrey's younger brother Rodney, and Klaus Boehm. 

David mentions that,

“Long Dene closed in about 1954 and all 5 of us Old Denizens who also went on to Judd are still part of an ever dwindling group of OD alumni who meet regularly every year.

It was interesting to read about Humphrey Burton's comments on Frank Taylor, Mr Allen and Mr Oakley, who I remember very well.


David in the school boater hat 

I also have a clear recollection of Mr Sutton although he would have mixed feelings in his recollection of me as one of his social history pupils. This is an extract on that subject from my memoir:

“I took my 3 A-levels in the summer of 1957, passing English Literature and German with good grades. My other subject was History, and our Social History teacher had an impressively accurate record of predicting exam questions by detailed analysis of past papers. Of the 8 or so questions from which we had to answer any four, he had prepared us more than thoroughly for at least six. So much so, that when I saw these questions which we had gone over so many times I was overwhelmed with a sense of staleness and opted instead to choose some of the others which were the more interesting for their freshness.  Our teacher’s beaming, smugly smiling face on greeting us as we emerged from the exam room, underwent sudden and dramatic change when I told him which questions I had answered. Nevertheless, I gained a distinction in History, but my teacher, ‘Seedy’ Sutton, still felt I could still have done so much better.”

David decided to 'improve'  his boater to by flattening the crown and curling  up the edges -
"I thought that was very stylish at the time!"


The tour began with the new garden at Lawtons which is looking beautiful with the summer blooms and all the vegetables growing – they were impressed to see potatoes and courgettes flourishing. I explained that Gardening Club meets once or twice a week currently. Students have been involved from spreading manure and weeding to sowing seeds and watering. Along with the courgette and potatoes, they are also growing squash, kalette, sweet corn, tomatoes, chilli peppers, dwarf beans and experimental 'cucamelon' a Year 7 was keen to grow. Year 12s planted out some pollinator friendly flower seedlings last week. 

David, who is the Director Education and Community of the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, was particularly interested to see the music block next with the wonderful spiral staircase designed with a treble clef in mind, and the clever mobile retractable tiered seating which turns the room into a miniature theatre when needed for performances.

They greatly enjoyed seeing the Main School Hall which brought back many memories of assemblies where all the staff used to congregate on the stage every morning; now of course the whole school can no longer fit in the hall for Assembly, now being 1,382 students strong. They were intrigued to hear there are now 150 girls in our sixth form (girls arrived at the school as of 27 years ago), of course, it was an all-boys school in their day.

The gentlemen were delighted to find their names on the school boards just as they left them and that they were still part of the fabric of the school. 

The old Physics laboratories which haven’t changed since their time at school are an enchanting glimpse into the feeling of the school in years past, and entranced Bob’s grandsons who had never seen the like of them before.

The stark difference between the old labs and the new Biology labs in Ashton which they were wowed by (as both grandsons study Biology) and the facilities at Judd are a testament to how much the school has grown over the years.

The beautiful oak-panelled and parquet floors of the upper halls leading to the 6th Form Centre and Careers office haven’t changed a bit in the past 64 years, and again they found their names on the sports boards with photos which brought back many memories.

(please excuse the sticker on the photgraph glass - I can't reach to remove it!) 

They understood from looking around it, how the 6th Form Centre now needs to expand to give better facilities to the large intakes we now have in the 6th Form (470 students in years 12 and 13 this year) and I explained that is our next big project which will be a very exciting development in the coming year or two.

Bob and David enjoyed seeing Ashton and the fantastic light space of the Dining hall and the comparison with the old dining room which now looks so small. 


Old dining room - now staff room 


New large canteen and dining hall 

Bob reminisced that they used to sit in the old dining room on long tables and say grace before each meal, "For what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful. For Christ's sake. Amen" and followed after a pause with "Sit down"

However, he said that his friend, Joe Toft, abbreviated this to "For what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful. For Christ's sake sit down!"

They realised how much of the sports ground has now been taken down to Vizards with the the additional state of the art 3G playing fields which now provide:

  • Seven new rugby pitches (three full size and four  junior size)
  • Two new cricket squares (and three artificial strips) 
  • 5 cricket nets
  • The substantial investment in drainage and surface improvement has ensured a high quality facility.

I explained how Vizards has more than doubled our playing facilities for cricket and rugby - a much needed response to growth of our student numbers and sporting activities over recent years.  

They liked the idea of Headteacher, Mr Wood’s, plans to have landscaping around the school to add more green spaces, and less concrete for the students to get away from the hustle and bustle of school life.  

The gentlemen were so surprised about the number of new buildings added to Judd as in their time it was just the main school and Headmaster’s House which they really recognised.  The aerial view of the difference interested them.  There was no ‘Hands Library’ in their day where the students have a large selection of books from which to study and have a quiet space to concentrate, nor a large Gym with all it’s fitness facilities.


Judd Aerial View 1962


Judd Aerial View 2021


VIzards Playing Fields Aerial View 2021

Both Bob and David remembered to bring their Judd School Prefect's caps for a photo opportunity in the main hall which was delightfully entertaining. They both left Judd in 1957, Bob to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge (the same as Humphrey and Rodney Burton) and David to Durham.

We all had such a wonderful morning and Bob's grandsons, Oliver and Matthew, remarked as to how lucky their grandpa had been with his education.

Thank you for visiting us, and please do keep in touch! 

Photo album of the tour is below: (you need to be logged into the OJ Community to see this) 

Photo

To view this photo gallery

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