COSA Update No 42 (June, 2012)

(Editor - Malcolm Williams)

Peter Rowbottom 1958-65 (School nickname Willy - no obvious connotations) has written about the photo of 1b in Update 37. He has looked at the form list and the missing names are Beal, Harbrow, Naish, Nash and Thomas but due to his woeful lack of face recognition skills he is unable to identify which name goes with which person in the photo. Can anyone else help?

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John Stockford (1939-44) has written from Canada. He is in regular contact with Bill Milligan (another  Canadian resident) with whom he was at School. He remembers being at School with the Smith twins (Alastair and Ian – brothers of Dame Maggie Smith) and they were inevitably placed next to each other in the usual alphabetical order. He lost contact with the twins after leaving School. Does anyone know their whereabouts now?



1st. June 2012 marks the 130th. anniversary of the birth in Leytonstone, Essex, of one of our sometimes forgotten Old Boys, John Drinlwater (1892-1897). At the age of 9 he was sent to live with his grandfather in Cornmarket, Oxford and in January, 1892 he became a pupil at City of Oxford School. After leaving School in December, 1897 he went to work for the Northern Insurance Company (now Aviva) in Nottingham and moved with it to Birmingham in 1901. He was the co-founder of the Pilgrim Players, now the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

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John Stockford (1939-44) has written from Canada. He is in regular contact with Bill Milligan (another  Canadian resident) with whom he was at School. He remembers being at School with the Smith twins (Alastair and Ian – brothers of Dame Maggie Smith) and they were inevitably placed next to each other in the usual alphabetical order. He lost contact with the twins after leaving School. Does anyone know their whereabouts now?


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1st. June 2012 marks the 130th. anniversary of the birth in Leytonstone, Essex, of one of our sometimes forgotten Old Boys, John Drinlwater (1892-1897). At the age of 9 he was sent to live with his grandfather in Cornmarket, Oxford and in January, 1892 he became a pupil at City of Oxford School. After leaving School in December, 1897 he went to work for the Northern Insurance Company (now Aviva) in Nottingham and moved with it to Birmingham in 1901. He was the co-founder of the Pilgrim Players, now the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.













This first photo shows Tony Lane and Ken Moore as the Trojans, Capys and Illus













This second photo shows John Cronshaw and Bruce Heywood as the Greeks, Salvius and Pronax

These two photographs were taken when Drinkwater’s play X = 0 (about the Trojan War) was performed as part of an evening’s entertainment by the Sixth Form in 1960.


Mike Cross wrote to me to say that purely by chance he had heard on the radio on 8th. March, 2012 that Drinkwater had given the first poetry recital on the wireless on 8th. March, 1924.


Drinkwater died on 25th. March, 1937 after suffering a heart attack after a happy day watching the Boat Race. Some news reports attribute his death to “overexcitement” at the Boat Race. Given that Oxford had won for the first time in 14 years in “a close race with changing fortunes” this was perhaps plausible.

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I am concluding this Update with the sad news that David Walker, one of the few remaining masters who taught at the George Street School, died at the end of May. It is possible that many COSA members will not have known him as he did not start teaching at our School until the mid-fifties. Mr. Walker was a welcome attendee at the Reunion Lunch when Colin Dexter was the Guest Speaker. He had been a friend along with ‘Eddie Swire’ with Colin Dexter when they used to meet for a drink. He also came to one of the Annual General Meetings to see what had happened to the School premises. He did say that in his time as a master he hardly ever ventured down the corridor towards the Lecture Theatre.