LOST - Written by Mr. W.H. (“Jesse”) ,]James, Staff 1957-89

In the “good old days”, when School Certificate (in my time) and G.C.E. (in that of many of you) were

designed to test suitability for further study and ability to learn, - don’t ask me what G.C.S.E. is designed to test; I never succeeded in penetrating below the jargon in which “aims and objectives” were couched - before the phrases “directed writing” and “rôle-play” had been coined, when it was assumed that they could write without pictures, diagrams, tables and a page of instructions, candidates were given a list of eight or so topics, told to select one of them and write an essay.

I now find myself in the position of many of my past pupils, except that, unlike them I have only one topic - the past - and have a month instead of one hour. However, I’ll follow the advice I gave them :

(a)      Write about what you know, and what you know best is yourself.

There’s no problem here. I have thirty-two years of memories to draw on, of a few thousand pupils and a hundred or so teachers, in settings ranging from class rooms in Wilmington to cafés in the Swiss Alps, from “my” chair in the staff room to any one of several pubs.

(b)      Find a theme to guide you in the selection of material and to give shape to your essay.

          Therein lies the problem.

I could write about pupils I have known, but that would not be fair. Some are memorable for reasons they would rather forget; and I would not like to hurt the others whom I remember - and there are many – but whom I could not include for reasons of space. Nor can I write about teachers I have known. I can’t tell you about the one whose hands trembled as he groped for a cigarette after (and sometimes during) a lesson; nor about the one whose hands trembled before he went to a lesson, he was so terrified. You would not be interested in a picture of Mr. Grason, Mr. Austen and me doing “The Times” crossword, and I cannot find words to describe the look of horror softening to one of reproach on Mr. Pearce’s face when I got into his car with a cigarette in my hand.

Changes I have seen is a possibility. There have been a great number. There have been name changes, the trivial one from Dartford County Technical School to Dartford Technical High School, the more significant one to Wilmington Grammar School. There have been changes in numbers, from 1957 when there was a first year entry of 120 to 1990 with an entry of 21. There have been extensive building changes, not counting the new Wilmington School, but those would be best dealt with by plans (a good idea, Mr. Editor?). I could go on listing changes, but I will have to select sooner or later.

Then again, the school has gained from some changes, lost from others. Which do I choose: gain, loss or both? As a teacher, I concentrated on faults, giving praise rarely, so that, when I did so, the pupils knew they had done well. I’m still the same person. What the school has lost it shall be.

At the time that I retired, it seemed to me that the school, like all secondary schools, had lost its Head aHead Teacher. I am not suggesting that he should teach in the sense of having a time-tabled class; that doesn’t and can’t work. But the school, staff and pupils should feel he is there, that he is aware of them that he knows what is going on, both the good and the bad, and not just what someone has chosen to tell him.

Mr. Wall was there. There was no need for a Staff Common Room Association to act as an intermediary. The pupils knew he was there. He was on the field, watching house matches and occasionally inter-school fixtures. He read and signed every report. In those days we had single sheet reports, one line for each subject with boxes for percentage and form position, together with space for overall percentage and form position. He returned the reports with comments, commendatory or otherwise, when he felt they were deserved or necessary. Exceptionally low marks and teachers’ adverse comments would be circled or underlined in red ink. He knew what was going on.

Over the years, the Head became more and more the Head Administrator, a figure who appeared at assembly and then disappeared into his office or who could be seen hurrying to or from the other school, giving one a charming smile as he passed. The institution of Heads of Schools isolated him even more. They seemed to cut him off from much of the good.

On my last visit to the school I saw a hopeful sign, a Merit Certificate (Mr. Williams’ influence?) . I hope it is presented, and in some cases, awarded by the Head.

The school did not so much lose its Head Teacher as have him stolen by outside pressures. I hope it gets him back.

(“Has anybody seen Mr. Lawson?”)

The school has lost the house system. To refresh the memories of some of you and to inform most of you, there were four senior houses, Darent, Cray, Thames and School, the order dictated by the name of the school. Two junior houses, East and West were added, unfortunately not integrated due to lack of large rooms, when the entry changed from 13+ to 11+. Each house had a colour, and the school tie had a central stripe, the colour of which was that of the wearer’s house.

It is a pity that reorganisation within the school and a falling roll led to the collapse of the house system. It countered the horizontal one imposed by years of offering a vertical stratification which helped to integrate pupils of different ages, and gave an opportunity to a greater number to assume responsibilities normally available only to prefects and form captains (something else lost). It also gave opportunities for competition.

It has always amazed me that teachers have allowed themselves to be brainwashed into believing that competition is an evil. The outside world is full of competition; and education is supposed to be a preparation for life. Where better to learn how to deal with both the rewards and disappointments of competition than in school where it can be controlled, where the competitive instinct can be used as a stimulus, and the pupils helped to come to terms with the fact that we are not all equal?

The house system offered lots of competition. There were house matches for different years: football matches, cross-country, cricket matches, athletics. Nothing shows what has been lost so much as Sports’ Day. I know that diminishing numbers and the absence of fifth and sixth formers are contributory factors, but the day became an extremely well organised but dull event, coming to life only during relays when inter-form rivalry injected some excitement. When the houses existed, the competitors wore numbers and house colours, programmes told spectators what was going on; there were medals, certificates and cups. There was intense and noisy rivalry. There was fun.


My memories of Sports’ Days are an amalgam of a dozen or so years condensed into one. Noisy boys, parents, some staff wives and children are behind the staked ropes. A few boys relish the privilege of being inside the ropes near the finish ready to take a result sheet to Mrs. Holden who, looking beautiful in a summer dress, enters the results onto the master sheet. The sheet goes on to Mr. Austen, in his linen jacket; he carefully inscribes - “writes” is too casual a word - the names of the place winners on certificates. At the end of the events I lose my temper with the crowds of boys who break through the ropes during the relays.

When arrangements have been made, the sweetest first year, looking smarter than he has ever done since his first day in school, presents a bouquet to the lady of the chief guest who presents medals and cups to somewhat sheepish winners. Finally, guests, staff and wives have tea with Mr. Wall.

(“Where’s Mr. Lawson?”)

Gone, too, is the concept of a pass. It is still present in the end product, the external exam., but it has gone from the earlier years.

Those of you in the school up to the early 60’s will remember the all-important 40%. He who did not get an average in the end of term exams of at least 40% was in trouble. Had he passed, i.e. had he sufficiently profited from the year’s work to go up? It seldom happened, but there was always the possibility of being kept down a year; and the pupils knew it. In later years, after we had gone to a five point scale, one of the greatest problems facing my colleagues and me was how to minimise the effect on the rest of the class of the presence of the persistent EE pupil who “progressed” with them through the school. That the effects were so limited is a tribute both to the staff and to pupils.

(“Sorry, I can’t. I’ve got to cover for Lawson.”)

We lost the old building. Only those who taught and learnt there can appreciate with what feelings we saw it come down. There were few greater pleasures on a hot summer’s day than to be in Room 2, opening the french windows, and taking one’s class out to sit in the shade of the trees around the lawn and grass tennis court.

The school lost caps. And a good thing too. It ended the ridiculous sight of a sixth-former wearing the cap his mother had bought in his first year. But boys have lost the joy of throwing it over the fence or contributing it to a bonfire on their last day at school.

We lost Mr. Lawson.

The most important thing the school has lost is time. There used to be eight 40 minute periods and an hour and a half for lunch, with no afternoon break. School ended at 4.10 (To the delight of the boys and thedismay of the affected teachers, Period one began at 9.00 and so did Assembly.) There was time for lunchtime activities. For Mr. Austen, Mr. Gough, me and others, there was time to play cricket at the back of the pavilion, which used to be where the craft block now is. Ignoring the school rule about playing with balls near the windows, a rule we had no hesitation in enforcing when on duty, we would play with a hard ball, once nearly giving Mr. Amess a heart attack when a ball crashed into a window of what was then known as 4N. Later, when the tennis courts were laid, there was time to have lunch, get changed and play tennis before afternoon school. Messrs. Cartwright, Moyle, Dougal, Jenkins, Hollingsworth, all will remember how much time we had.

The good times did not last. German was introduced, causing immense time-tabling problems, compounded when the school day was reorganised and an afternoon break inserted. Some of you will remember the six-day time-table with fixed Wednesdays, fixed because we sometimes played inter-school matches on Wednesdays. Later still, the building of Wilmington Secondary School brought about 35 minute periods and a school day ending at 3.30.

Other factors have affected time. External and internal exams. started and finished much later than today; and fifth and sixth formers did not leave school until the last day of term. The gap between the end of term exams. and the end of term led to problems, but it was a time when one could hold cricket matches, have two days for standards, another two for heats, organise a soft-ball and stool-ball inter-form competitions - to have fun.


Every term offered time. In the autumn term there was time for Goodwill Week and for the old people’s party. There was time for theatre which grew out of the party. I had a small group of sixth formers for extra- curricular activities whom I talked into providing some entertainment. I’m afraid the only name I can remember now is O’Halloran. We put on the “mechanicals”’ scenes and their interlude, “Pyramus and Thisbe” from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. The next year we put on the Shepherds’ play of Mac , the Sheepstealer, for which I made a bed which appeared in all the later pantomimes until the next-door school decided to use the wood.

Ambition grew. The first of several “Snow White’s” followed. There were at least two “Cinderella’s”; there were “Peter Pan”, “Hansel and Gretel”, “Robin Hood”. You may remember Mr. Adams singing “I am a Lumberjack”, Mr. Black sing-speaking “I’ve got a little list”, the cinema sketch with one of our several charming French assistantes playing (I think) an usherette, and one of my spluttering crisp crumbs over Mrs. Miller, or Mr. Mogford singing “A Marvellous Head am I” to the tune of “A Wandering Minstrel I”, marred only by the fact that he never learned the recitative opening and sang it to Handel while the pianist played Sullivan.

Short though it often was, there was time in the Spring term to prepare, and sometimes to lop a few days off the end of it, for a skiing trip. I didn’t go on the first one, to Champéry in the French Alps, - Mr. Russell and Mr. Parker went on that - but I went on the later ones to Les Marecots in the Swiss Alps. I have many happy memories of those trips, especially that the staff went from station to the hotel by car with the luggage, while the boys exhausted themselves up the zig-zag path. We spent many an hour in the Café des Marecots, drinking Rives du Bisse before dinner. After dinner we would check on the boys in Le Chaperon Rouge before testing the vintage in other cafés.

 One memory  will  give  you an idea of how teachers’ minds work, especially when on holiday. Most teachers

know that school rules are necessary and that they will be broken. They also know when to turn a blind eye. Smoking  in those days was not the social sin it is today, but it was against school  rules. We (Mr. Russell was the leader that year) made it clear without saying so that we did not want to catch the boys smoking. We were walking down the road and saw some of our boys coming towards us one of them smoking. When he saw us, he cupped the cigarette in his hand and put his hand in his pocket. So we stopped and had a chat about how they were enjoying themselves. We didn’t keep them long.

There was time for more sport in the summer term than I have mentioned. There were inter-school cricketmatches on Saturday mornings and a staff v. school match. There was time for that most enjoyable of all athletics meetings, the Kent Technical Schools Trophy which took us all over Kent, from Erith and Sidcup to Broadstairs and Tunbridge Wells.


For County athletics purposes, we were part of N.W. Kent Area, comprising Dartford, Crayford, Bexley and Erith, until they split us up to give the others a chance. Early in the term there were area trials to select a team for the County Championships. We had quite a few champions in the school, though I remember only White in the long jump and Boakes in the discus. One or two of our boys went on to the National Schools Championships.

Then there was the year when, at the last minute, the area was responsible for staging the National Championships at Crystal Palace.

I could go on, but I must stop somewhere. I have almost certainly looked back through the filter of nostalgia, but I hope I have stirred some memories.

I was  going  to end on a loss that is a gain, the loss of uncertainty. It is over thirty years since I first represented the staff  at a school reorganisation meeting, since when scarcely a year passed without the threat of amalgamation or closure. After I retired the school became grant maintained and the future seemed secure, But, even as I am drafting this, politics once again threatens. However, the school has survived and is certainly stronger and, in some ways, better than it has ever been.

Now somebody must write : What the school has gained. But it won’t be me (Careful, James! The verb “to be” is a verb of state and takes a complement which, when a noun or equivalent, is in the nominative case. The nominative form of the first person singular personal pronoun is “I”, “me” being the accusative or dative form. Gone are the days when English teachers taught grammar. As I was saying) It won’t be I, I’m afraid. I must potter up the post office to procure my pension.                         W.H. (“Jesse”) James 1957-89


NEW SCHOOL MINIBUS - by Mr. P. Collins, Staff, 1991-

The tragic accident on the M40 in which a teacher and a number of pupils lost their lives in a minibus raised the consciousness of parents across the country to the need for seatbelts to be fitted to all seats in minibuses. With this in mind, the Headmaster and governors have for some time been considering the issue if minibus safety, and when it became apparent that the fitting of seatbelts to the school's existing minibus was not likely to be cost-effective exercise, the decision was taken to replace the 'bus. Research began into the various options available, and the final outcome of the enquiries was the decision to purchase a brand new LDV Sherpa.

The new 'bus, with 17 seats (two more than its predecessor) and a highline roof, is due to be delivered to the school at the beginning of April, and comes by courtesy of Beadles Ltd., Sidcup. It is fitted with a 2.5-litre diesel engine, seat belts on all seats, a sliding side-entry door, and is finished in the school's livery of dark blue with a yellow stripe. The purchase of the vehicle comes with a package of “extras” which includes favourable terms, a minibus-driver training course for four drivers, signwriting of the vehicle with the school's name and badge, and a tachograph for travel abroad. This package comes courtesy of Old Dartech Mr. Peter Liddle of Beadles, to whom the school is indebted for his generosity and assistance. The school (and especially those pupils who are frequent users of the minibus, such as the sports teams) look forward to a new era of safer and more comfortable travel to and from sports fixtures, visits etc.

The cost of the new 'bus is to be met by funds raised by the pupils and PTA through events such as the annual Sponsored Walk, and the various PTA activities which include the Autumn Fair, Dinner-Dances, Quizzes etc.


REUNION DINNER FEBRUARY 1995 - Dennis Wells, 1954-59, (Chairman)

The Reunion Dinner held on Saturday, 4th February, 1995 was once again a very successful evening with a good attendance, which, although not as good as the inaugural dinner in July, 1994 it was nice to see a few new (old) faces, that had not been able to attend in July. One of the reasons given for the reduced attendance was that many Old Boys were not keen on travelling large distances in the middle of Winter, so although it was announced that next years event would be on the first Saturday in February, the Committee would be interested in thoughts of Members as to possibly changing this to March.

It was very pleasing to hear the thoughts of our most Senior Old Boy (1943-46), but who most will remember him as being on the Staff from 1970-91, Ivor Jenkins, and also the comments of Trevor Stevens from 'the class of 59'.

I trust that all those who attended enjoyed their evening, and that those that were not able to attend will be able to do so at our slightly less formal Buffet Supper on Saturday, 15th July.


Many Old Wilmingtonians will recall with pleasure their Woodwork, Metalwork and Technical Drawing lessons; perhaps in some cases the results of these lessons still exist.

In the 1990's these subjects have been superseded by Design and Technology, and Graphic Communication, which contain many of the elements of the former subjects. Whereas the end-product of those Woodwork lessons was always a piece of craftsman-made furniture, the emphasis now is more on artefacts or products using a wider range of materials, involving variously simple mechanisms or sometimes electrical or electronic circuits. In one sense, however, the subject remains the same: the end products are three-dimensions and highly visual, and therein lies a large part of the appeal of the subject. If we can also introduce an element of pleasure into the designing and making, we have a very special activity which allows pupils to enjoy learning to use their imagination and communicating their ideas on paper as well as learning the craft skills of handling and working metal, plastic and wood.

It is always important to have displays of this kind of work, both in order to show pupils what has been done before as an example, and as an encouragement to do good work. We were therefore delighted to receive a large display cabinet, complete with fluorescent lighting, from Beadles Ltd. of Dartford, through the kind auspices of Old Dartech Mr. Peter Liddle. The cabinet is now installed in one of the Technology workshops and is in use to display examples of recent work for the benefit of the pupils and visitors.



by Mr. J. Daley, Staff 1963-92

Over the years it is not unknown for educational establishments to change their name and location, and our School is no exception.


 The School’s spiritual beginning can be traced back to the Free Lecture Society and Science and Art classes established in 1888, and possibly to a Mechanics Institute even earlier.

Lectures and classes were held in local halls and schools until the Dartford Technical Institute was built in  Essex Road in 1902. In 1920 the name was changed to Dartford Technical College. The building still exists today as Enterprise House.

In 1934 a new Technical College was built near Lowfield Street on land adjoining the Central Park. This building is now the Adult Education Centre. Both buildings were used. The old premises in Essex Road catered for the academic studies, whilst the workshops and gymnasium were in Lowfield Street.

In 1941 a Junior Technical course was established within the organisation of the College for pupils of School age ( 13+), as a form of introduction and pre-entry.

As a result of the 1944 Education Act, the name was changed in 1949 from Dartford Junior Technical College to Dartford County Technical School for Boys.

An attempt was made to build a new school on the Lowfield Street site (now the New Market short stay car park), but was unsuccessful due to the presence of a subterranean stream.

After the Second World War both sites were considered too small, and so the new College of Technology was built in Miskin Road.

In 1950 the School moved to Wilmington Hall, a large country house, with magnificent grounds, formally the home of Sir Dudley Gordon. During 1956 and again in 1964 many new buildings were erected.

In 1962 the name of the School changed to Dartford Technical High School for Boys. Following a K.C.C. directive in 1982 the name was changed yet again to our present title of Wilmington Grammar School for Boys.

N. B. In 1888 Dartford Grammar School for Boys had only 30 pupils.


by Mr. J. Daley, Staff, 1963-92

For your information and amusement the following entries have been made so far

Mrs. M.E. MOUNTJOY, Staff, 1942-79

The longest serving member of the teaching staff in the history of the School.

Mr. G.A. GOUGH, Staff, 1953-85

Thirty-two years of teaching without a single days absence.


The School’s most famous “Old Boy” - lead guitarist in “The Rolling Stones” Band.


The last pupil to be caned on 10th October, 1985.

Mr. A.M. LAWSON, Staff 1962-80

The highest number of day’s absent for any member of the teaching staff in the entire history of the


Mrs. S. HOLDEN, Staff, 1968-

Longest serving School Secretary and Nurse.


“HARMONOGRAPH” - From Jim Austen, Staff, 1954-74

I wonder how many of you remember the “Harmonograph”, a VIth form D.O. project.

A free-swinging pendulum through a plotting table controlled an arm, at the end of which was a Biro; according to the relevant angle at which the pendulum was released, the pen wove an involved, continuous doodle on the plotting sheet, producing either scribbled rubbish or otherwise fascinating near-hissajou curves.

From a casual enquiry by a member of staff the ‘Harmo’ (if you’ll forgive the expression) was transferred to the staffroom, where, instead of receiving a cursory glance of disinterest from the intelligentsia, it became the focal point of feverish activity; any staff member seen hurtling across the car park to the staff-room during a free period was almost certainly Harmo-bent.

It proved to be the biggest time-waster next to staff-meetings (N.B. Mr. Titterington - only joking of course).

Additionally it had an insatiable appetite for scrap paper and devoured it faster than a commercial shredder; the staff room had never been so tidy, not a loose sheet anywhere.

The Harmo was quietly removed after a traumatic a.m. coffee session. All staff members present became suddenly absorbed in confidential conversations, crossword puzzles or otherwise found something to do which required their undivided attention.

The reason was due to the presence of one workaholic member of staff hunting high and low in every nook and cranny whilst asking in a plaintive voice of nobody in particular, ‘Where are they? I left them here yesterday morning; I can’t think where they could have got to; all the 5th form reports, I left them here all finished apart from my form report’.



Should any Member wish to make any comments or suggestions concerning the Association please forward them to the Committee at the School, so that we might be able to discuss them at our next meeting, especially re finance.


CORPORAL PUNISHMENT - by J. Daley, Staff, 1963-92

The following information on this subject was discovered in the School’s punishment book. It is a survey conducted by a former Headmaster to determine the effectiveness of caning:

October ’83 - October ’85


                                                          Richard M.                                                      2 

                                                          Alan H.                                                           2 

                                                          Ian B.                                                             2*

                                                          Nicholas S.                                                      2 

                                                          Scott H.                                                           2 

                                                          18 Others                                                        1 




                                                                                                                                               Incident                                Boys

                         Misbehaviour on bus                                           1                            3

                         Dangerous fooling about/fighting                        4                            6

                         Smoking                                                             2                            6

                         Disobedience                                                      2                            2

                         Fighting (outside class)                                       1                            2

                         Misbehaviour/disruption in lessons                      2                            2

                         Truancy                                                             1                            1

                         Rudeness                                                             4                            5

                         5 detentions                                                       1                            1

                                                                                                 ——                       ——

                                                                                                   15                          28

*The only case where a similar offence was reported - so only one boy - on one occasion - repeated the

offence. For the rest it can be claimed, therefore, that the cane was beneficial.


                                                                                                                   Incidents                                           Boys

                                   1981-82                                 13                                  18

                                       82-83                                 16                                  24

                                       83-84                                 11                                  19

                                       84-85                                  6                                    8 

                                       85-86                                  2                                    2 

Since introducing a school cane as a Raffle prize at the Annual Dinner in February, some Old Boys have expressed a desire to own a cane as either a souvenir or conversation piece. This can be arranged, please contact me for details.

The following entries appear in the Punishment Book:

1.   Repeated misbehaviour in a series of lessons - 2 strokes.

2.   Having five detentions in a term - 2 strokes.

3.   Shooting flaming gas from a bicycle pump in laboratory - 2 strokes.

4.   Obscene language after messing around in a lesson - 1 stroke.

5.   Dropping a bag down a stairwell - 1 stroke.

6.   Swearing at a Member of Staff - 2 strokes.

7.   Truanting (after warnings) - 2 strokes.

8.   Smoking and having a lighter - 1 stroke.


From MARK INSTON ( 1977-84)

Alan Costar and Marion Walkey set the ball rolling in October, 1981 for the School exchanges to Hanau in Germany. This was the impetus not only for excellent relations between the Hola Landesschule and Wilmington Grammar, but for friendships and understanding between peoples of differing cultural back- grounds. For me, it was the impetus for my choice of A-levels and career and a great influence on my later

life. I am now studying and working in Frankfurt. I left Wilmington Grammar in 1984, having studied for three A-levels in English, French and German and joined the Foreign Office as a member of the Diplomatic Service. Two years in London followed an 18 month posting to Lagos, Nigeria and then a two year stint at the UK Representation to the EU in Brussels.

At 24 I resigned from the Diplomatic Service and took up full-time study in Würzburg, Germany. I spent a half year learning German and Latin and started a degree in German law in the summer of 1991. After three years of provincial life in Würzburg I moved to Frankfurt in 1993 to continue my studies.

Funding has been a major problem for my studies. The EU Erasmus programme arranges for EU students

to spend part of their studies (normally one or two semesters) at a University or Polytechnic of another member state. This requires, however, that the student is enrolled for a course in his home country. Funding for EU students wishing to complete all their studies in another member state has been repeatedly rejected by the EU Council of Ministers since the European Parliament first proposed such a directive in 1979.


So at first I worked in cafes, restaurants and in the local theatre in Würzburg as a stage hand. Once my German was up to scratch I worked as a freelance translator, then as assistant to two law professors in Würzburg. Working at Würzburg university was very stimulating but not all that lucrative. In Frankfurt I took a part-time position in the Controlling Department of Deutsche Bank head office, where I am now.

I will start to work as a trainee lawyer next year and hope to take a PhD in my spare(!) time. I will stay in Frankfurt.

The school exchanges on which I took part in the early eighties broadened my perspectives; it founded a

number of firm friendships I value very much; and most of all I learned the necessity for communication

which requires skills in language and human relations, and most important of all, an interest in other people.


ERIC LEWIS - Written by Mr. I.M. Smith, Staff, 1957-93

One of the outstanding personalities of the school in those days when it was called Dartford Technical

School and later Dartford Technical High School for Boys was Eric Lewis.

Eric was appointed to the staff in 1950 and quickly established himself as a prominent member of the community. He had a wide range of interests and in addition to his teaching responsibilities in the Science Department he formed a Christian Union which was by  far the largest club or society in the school. When Colin Cowdrey, Kent and England cricketer at the time, came to speak to the CU, for example, a high, percentage of the school population were present, and for once, classes were very late in starting that after-


As a dedicated Christian, he was involved in many local activities and he was in constant demand as a preacher in Churches in the district. He had a gift of communication with young and old alike. Having been, by his own admission, a bit of a ‘lad’ himself when young, he was well aware of the potential for disorder in gatherings of young people. He and his friend and colleague, Pearson Black would often spend break times patrolling the playground, apparently deep in conversation, but in reality making sure that trouble behind the bicycle sheds or the gym, would not arise.

It was a sad day  for the school, when in 1970 he left, to become Head of Science at what is now The Grammar School for Girls in Wilmington. One of his more permanent legacies was the Good Will Fund which he was instrumental in starting , and whose  purpose  was to make contributions to charities. A range of these have benefited over the years and no doubt  continue to do so as a result of efforts by the present generation of Wilmingtonians.

Having moved from Dartford to Clevedon when he retired, Eric died in July 1993 aged 75. In the best sense, he lived a full life so that when a thanksgiving service was arranged in Dartford Methodist Church last autumn, a crowded congregation made up of family, friends and admirers, was able to unite in an act of praise and recognition for a good and faithful teacher, father and friend to many.


From CHRIS PORTWINE, - 1957-65

I very much enjoyed reading the Newsletter, I would like to take issue with an entry in the School History - it concerns the name change in 1962. I think the school title prior to 1962 was Dartford Technical School, the school magazine shows this title from 1957. I think the school had the word 'County' in its title prior to 1957. I remember some pupils having a blazer badge with DCTS on it.

While I'm being pedantic, (I haven't changed!) I think there was only one  4 form entry year between 1957 and 1965 and that was my year which entered the school in 1957. I was part of a bulge in the birthrate at the end of the war (a victory baby). I think most schools had to have extra forms that year.

Now to my CV:-

I left DTHS in July 1965 and joined the Kent County Constabulary as a Police Constable. I served for two months in Gravesend and one year in Dartford. I had a six month period of unemployment before getting a position as a sales representative with Rothmans. Early in my period of unemployment I went to Argentina to be with my brother (Ken) who died in hospital there, having been rescued from the Antarctic by the Argentinians. Ken was a pupil at DCTS from 1949 to 1952 (I think).

Six years after leaving Dartech I decided to put my academic qualifications to some use and went to Avery Hill College to train as a teacher. On qualifying I obtained a post at Thomas Tallis School in Kidbrooke. After two and a half years I moved to South East London School for Boys in Deptford (now defunct) where I continued to teach Maths (sums) and Computer Studies. In 1979 I moved to Blackheath Bluecoat School in Blackheath as teacher in charge of computing.

I left school teaching in 1990 and am now working for Oracle Corporation UK as a trainer.

A couple of incidents I remember from my police days that concern the school:

One year I had to go to the Kent County Show in Detling to help police the show ground. On the second day I noticed that a party of junior pupils from the school was attending the show accompanied by Eric Lewis. A couple of the youngsters were behaving in a silly way - not the sort of behaviour we expect from Dartech boys, I had a few words with the boys, suggesting that their behaviour was not appropriate and hoping that I would not have to report this to Mr. Black.

I wonder what those two boys thought - they had travelled half way across the county to be confronted by a copper who threatened to report them, not to the headmaster of their school but to the master who looks after discipline. Is there anything the police don't know?

On a sadder note, one pupil decided to rob the owner of the corner shop near the Foresters pub. The pupil was arrested at the school and taken to Dartford Police Station. I was relieving the station officer and was standing in the doorway to the main corridor as the boy was wheeled in to the police station. He seemed to be quite at ease until he saw me - I will always remember the double take.

I look forward to hearing more about the school in the future and hope I will be able to attend some of the functions and meet some of my contemporaries. I tried to make contact about 15 years ago when Frank Pearson 'advertised' a reunion on local radio to take place at the Bull at Birchwood, but the only two who turned up were myself and Mr. Black.



SUNDAY, 16th JULY, 1995

On Sunday, 16th July, 1955 the P.T.A. are organising a Fun Day at the School from 12noon - 5p.m., and you are all invited to attend. During the day Old Dartechs Cricket Team will be playing a School Team on the Fields (2p.m. - 6p.m.), when our New Scoreboard will in use.



The Proceeds from the Raffle at the July Buffet Supper will go towards the purchase of a Motorised Systems Classpack. This equipment is a Motorised form of LEGO that helps pupils explore mechanical principals and their application with speedily assembled models, and contains extensive Teacher and Pupil support material.



by Mr. J. Daley, Staff, 1963-92

1.   No membership fee or subscription.

2.   Good opportunity to meet old friends and colleagues.

3.   Agreeable and entertaining social events at low cost.

4.   Free Newsletters.

5.   Exhibitions of old school newspapers, magazines and photographs.

6.   Reproductions of all the above available on request.

7.   Information on all School matters. Visitors are welcome at any time, or by appointments.

8.   Names, addresses and telephone numbers of old friends supplied.

9.   Good raffle prizes (all profits and contributions go to the school and directly benefit pupils).

10. Reproduction souvenir canes supplied in return for a modest contribution.


REPORT OF COMMITTEE MEETINGS - held on Monday, 20th March & 22nd May, 1995

The Committee of Old Dartechs’ and Wilmingtonians Association met on Monday, 20th March, 1995 at

the School with the Headmaster Mr. Titterington, as President, taking the chair. From the volunteers present the Officers were elected for the year :

                                      President                                          Mr. Titterington, Headmaster 1992-

                                      Chairman                                          D. Wells, 1954-59

                                      Vice-Chairman                                  T. Whiffen, 1954-59

                                      Treasurer                                          A. Hamerschlag, Staff 1970-84

                                      Secretary                                          K Prebble, 1954-59

                                      Membership/Social Secretary            J. Daley, Staff 1963-92

                                      Newsletter Editor                              L. Hollingsworth, Present Staff

                                      Other Members                                 A. Boyling, 1953-56

                                                                                              N. Davies, 1964-69

                                                                                              D. Seal, 1965-71

                                                                                              N. McKay, 1954-59

                                      Co-opted Representatives of

                                        Old Dartechs Cricket Club               C. Stringer, 1969-75 and J. McSweeney

(It is hoped that other sections will be established in the future)

In addition two Auditors are required to audit the Annual Accounts of the Association. The Committee would be very pleased to hear from any members who feel able to take on this responsibility. Please contact John Daley at the School if you are able to help in this matter.

There was much discussion on the Constitution of the Association, with a final draft to be published in the next Newsletter and then presented to Members for approval at next years A.G.M.

Membership fees were discussed, but at this stage it was agreed that no fee be charged, but with the ever increasing mailing list some form of income would be needed apart from the Raffles at the Dinners.

The proceeds from the Raffle at the 4th February Dinner had been intended to finance a Scoreboard for the Cricket Teams, and although the required figure had not been reached a generous donation had been received to cover the balance of the final cost.

It was hoped that Old Boys would be able to help with Work Experience positions for present pupils and a form to be sent to all members was discussed.

Considerable discussion was made with regard to the next event (Saturday, 15th July, 1995) and although a formal dinner was mentioned it was felt that perhaps a less formal occasion might receive favourable sup-

port with the formal Dinner continuing in February (as mentioned at the February ’95 Dinner) or perhaps

in view of possible inclement weather in March.

It was hoped that some form of Publicity could be made to find more of the Old Boys, with perhaps other groups like the ‘Class of ‘59’ being encouraged, also that sections could be formed to encourage the younger Old Boys, i.e. Sporting as the Cricket Section.


    The Committee meeting on Monday, 22nd May was spent mostly discussing the Buffet Supper to be held on Saturday, 15th July, 1995, details of which can be seen in a separate advert.


We are hoping to continue without Annual Subscriptions, and as you will see on the enclosed letter re the Buffet Supper our expenses are rising due to the increasing mailing list of Old Boys, so should any wealthy Members feel that they are able to assist, any donations will be gratefully accepted, if at all possible an amount can be added to your payment for the Buffet Supper Evening, or if you are not able to attend we will be pleased to accept a donation in lieu of your apologies.

                                                   Dennis Wells -1954-59, (Chairman O.D. & W.A.)



This re-drafted Constitution is being published to allow for Members' feedback prior to ratification at the next Annual General Meeting.

1.   The name of the Association shall be The Old Dartechs' and Wilmingtonians' Association.

2.   Membership is open to all former students and staff of the School. The current Headmaster shall be invited to be a member of the Association.

3.   Other persons associated with the School (including present members of staff) may be invited to be associate members and thereby attend activities of the Association at the discretion of the Committee.

4.   The aims of the Association are to

a)   provide opportunities for members and associate members to meet together

b)   engage in activities which support the School

c)   encourage the formation of social and sporting groups made up of members and associate members.

5.   The President of the Association shall be the Headmaster, who shall have the ultimate decision on all matters affecting the School.

6.   The management and control of the Association shall be vested in the Committee which shall consist of the following:

i)    The President

ii)   The Chairman

iii)  The Vice-Chairman

iv)  The Treasurer

v)   The Secretary

vi)  The Membership and Social Secretary

vii) The Newsletter Editor

      In addition others to a maximum of ten may be co-opted to the Committee to assist and advise.

7.   Committee meetings shall be held as and when the President deems necessary.

8.   The Committee shall have the power to co-opt and to appoint any sub-committee, and shall prescribe the function of any sub-committee, provided that all acts and proceedings of any sub-committee be fully reported to the full Committee.

9.   No alteration of the rules may be made without approval at the A.G.M. The notification of any proposed change must be submitted in writing to the President at least fourteen days before the meeting.

10. The Treasurer shall keep an account of all income and expenditure and shall submit accounts to the Committee.

11. The Association's accounts shall be independently audited.

12. Any matter not provided for in the Constitution shall be dealt with by the Committee and the President's decision shall be deemed final.

13. The A.G.M. will be held annually, normally in February or March, and in any event not more than fourteen months after the previous A.G.M.