Jasper Dodds on film

Norman Martin (1942-47) has sent in this photo of his form group taken in 1946 and featuring the renowned J.J. ‘Jasper’ Dodds. Norman writes:

My only memento of my time at Bournemouth School is [this] photograph taken in 1946 showing the 5th form of that year presided over by J.J. himself and flanked by two of the veterans of that form, Messers Mudway and Hunt. Some of the members of that form had carried over from previous years and as the youngest member, aged 15, (5th from the left, back row) I recall thinking that I had joined a class of young men. Charles Gray was another member of that form but was apparently absent that day. (Charles Gray was to become a famous actor – perhaps best known as Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever?)

Jasper Dodds was indeed unlike any other member of staff at that time. He was a strict disciplinarian. He demanded (and got) everybody’s absolute attention, no one ever failed to hand in homework and his was the only class whose pupils always lined up outside the room whilst waiting for him to arrive for a lesson instead of sitting around larking about! And all this without ever having to raise his voice. Fifty years on, I have to say I count myself fortunate to have come under his wing and to have seen him in his prime.

At the time there were very few private cars on the road, Jasper drove to school in a pre-war Morris 8 registration number CEL 57. The fact that, even today, the number comes easily to mind speaks volumes. Everyone’s radar was tuned to this vehicle and it needed to be because to be spotted by J.J. walking along East Way from the bus stop in Charminster Road without wearing the school cap was practically a capital offence. The sight of CEL 57 appearing over the top of the hill as it approached the school was the signal for the bareheaded ones to make themselves scarce.

Of his own time since leaving the school, Norman says:

I left school to work for Preston & Redman the solicitors in Hinton Road. After National Service I joined the Trust Division of Lloyds Bank and managed branches in Guernsey, Ipswich and Nottingham before retiring as head of financial services in the North West region based in Liverpool.

118 thoughts on “Jasper Dodds on film

  1. Yep I was there 1960 to 1967 and Jasper Dodds stays in my memory as the worst teacher ever. I learnt nothing about history. It was history wasn’t it that he was teaching. All Jasper seemed interested in was seeing us all sit up on the last two inches of our seats with our backs ram rod straight and our arms folded. We had to do that for the whole lesson. He was a weirdo to say the least. Who knows what was in his mind.

    • Oh yes Frank, I remember Jasper a huge presence in class, also a huge coward. He died alone in flats in Boscombe, not far from where you used to live
      Steve Crawley

  2. I was at Bournemouth School from 1966 – 1972. I lived in fear of Jasper and only ever encountered him once when I was in detention. A few of my 5th form contemporaries formed a rock band and called themselves “Jasper Dodds” – apparently he went mad over this but nothing was done.

  3. Jasper taught both myself and my father so I had prior knowledge of the fearsome reputation of the man!!!
    He certainly was an oddball with his ramrod sitting positions and strict discipline.
    I can’t help but feel that in the swinging sixties his form of teaching was treated more with ridicule than fear

  4. I attended Bournemouth School for only two terms, commencing in the autumn of 1959, and departing in early 1960, when my family moved to north London.
    I was ten years old when I joined, and became eleven during my first term.
    How busy we were, and what a high standard of teaching, and expectation from us there was.
    I well remember Jasper Dodds, his compulsory two siiting positions for pupils, and the manner of standing in front of the class with your arms outstreched above your head for what seemed an age, for errant pupils caught in a minor misdemeanor in the classroom.
    I learnt my history, but I was terrified.
    I don’t think that the end justified the means.
    Still I have enjoyed a wonderful career throughout the world in the international Oil & Gas Industry. I have, of course, met many very strange individuals throughout this time, often in high authority, so perhaps having Jasper as a teacher was an early straw in the wind.

  5. I am now aged 72. Jasper Dodds taught me history for 4 years from 1954-1957.

    I think it’s a pity that there are not more disciplinarians like Jasper in all our schools!

  6. I must have been in Year 8. The foot steps would be heard, the heart would tremble, standing straight at your desk then sitting in the painful position, back so straight, not a word, a deadly silence. The master of control. The leap to attention and any look at a friend meant the corner by the door. Having been a teacher myself that control was remarkable yet does not teach the subject. I was taught the meaning of fear not the encouragement of expression,research, the will to knowledge and the pride that a student can ask a question and the teacher can say I don’t know try and find the sneer your self and stand up and tell the class and you will be the Jasper Dodds.

  7. The brothers King (Joe and Jim – not in the same class) in the late fifties inadvertently provided an anecdote involving Mr. Dodds that has stayed with me as an example of humour erupting in the most forbidding of circumstances. I can’t remember precisely how this short exchange started but the feared Jasper had asked Jim King (approximately – in reply to something that had already got the sneer in gear) “er – boy – I hope you are joking?!” Comic genius – Jim shot back (approximately) “please sir, no sir, I’m Jim King!” Howls of laughter from everyone and I don’t remember the outcome. It’s possible even Jasper was amused at the incident and retold it in the Staff Room; it was my impression he wasn’t entirely humourless!

  8. I attended Bournemouth School during wartime , when the buildings were shared with Southampton Grammar School . Jasper Dodds instilled into me a hatred of history which lasted into my old age (and much the same could be said of mathematics under Mr Laurence)
    These two men ruined for me subjects which could have been very useful in my subsequent career (I ended up as a Principal Professional in the Civil Service.)

  9. i was at the school 1964-69 and dodds was my teacher for 1 year. looking back,i think he really was all bark and no bite,albeit a quiet bark! his obsession with seating positions was quite ridiculous and he could ahve done with washing his clothes occasionally.The quality of teaching was ceretainly very variable-some truly awful eg stokoe,cushio,nwilliamson,and the deeply unpleasant Cutler (what was his problem??).some couldnt control their temper eg mccabe and walker and some excellent eg maxted,sanders,sefton. have standards improved since those days?

    • I was there from ’69 to ’74 (officially) and I would imagine standards must have improved or the place would, surely, have been shut down. I was fortunate enough to have had Mick Webb as a Form Master for two years and he made the place just about bearable. As to the rest of them, Reynish, Dodds, McCabe and their ilk I really don’t know how they got away with it. By the way Maxted took a serious beating at the hands of some sixth formers in the pavilion changing rooms for getting a little too friendly with someone in the showers. Oddly enough nothing was ever done about that.

      • You must have been there about the same time as me then. I had Mick Webb as form teacher too. Jasper was useless and put most of us in a coma. The worst teacher I remember was Wiggington in French. I got the cane off Barraclough twice for extracting the urine out of him.

  10. Ron Chilcott on 1st February 2012

    I was at the school from1949 to 1954 and well remember Dodds.To my mind he had a cruel streak which he took out on defenceless pupils.I well remember merely asking the chap in front of me to pass my football boots back to me and subsequently being dragged out into the corridor by JD and pushed around for speaking without permission.He would not get away with it these days

  11. I was at Bournemoth School from 1951-59 and loved almost every minute. Dodds was a low spot. Teaching consisting of a test on last lesson’s homework then setting the next homework. I dropped history as soon as possible and regret that I don’t have more knowledge of the subject. Frankly I think he had an inferiority complex and used his power over his unfortunate pupils as a form of compensation. Having been a teacher all my life the one thing he taught me was not to treat pupils like that! Ultimately I felt sorry for him

  12. i am surprised that Len considered Dodds to be a good teacher.As derek clarke says,most of the lesson was a test on the latest homework!
    it’s awful that violent unstable men like mccabe,walker(i was witness to his worst assault i ever saw in 1965),cushion and others were allowed to get away with their behaviour without anything being done. I guess we were all too young to speak out to anyone.

    • Oh dear! Perhaps it’s a good thing we don’t all have the same opinions! I found Walker (Johnny, I assume) to be inspirational. As a mere scientist (Physics degree) he gave me an interest in art that I have to this day .As a classical music enthusiast I respected his ability in that area too. We had many friendly exchanges on the subject. And Percy? He taught me for 4 years and, although strict, his logical methods suited me perfectly and I’ve never regretted all those years of latin. No, their methods would be frowned upon now, but the world has changed and they can only be judged in the approaches of that era.
      But Dodds was another matter. He totally failed to interest anyone in history.

      • derek,i wouldnt dispute your comments regarding johnny walker.Nevertheless,I was 18 inches from his prolonged and unprovoked assault of a classmate which was far worse than anything else i witnessed in my time there.

      • I was at BSB from 63-70, and felt that many of the teachers in that era were both very knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects. However, they couldn’t really understand or cope with the youth of the sixties, who were probably less willing to accept the status quo than their predecessors. As a result, some teachers used fear and/or bullying more than was acceptable.

        I doubt that Dodds had ever known different – he would probably have been dismissed today, either for all that fondling and touching, or for poor teaching standards.

        I too witnessed a savage beating administered by Johnnie Walker in year 8, for a fairly innocuous remark by Steve Beck. Makes me shiver 45 years on. Passionate about art, but unacceptable anger problems.

        There were, however, teachers who managed to actually communicate with you and “sell” you the subject. Tom Bircher, RJ Williams and David Hilliam spring to mind. I think the ethos of teaching in the school was definitely changing around the time I left (for the better).

    • It satisfies me to see my father described as ‘violent and unstable’, having an inability to control his temper.
      These points are exactly right. The consequences of his behaviour for me have been a psychiatric diagnosis aged 22 and a total of about 2 years spent in a variety of psychiatric hospitals. How he was ever employed as a teacher is beyond me. Still, look on the very bright side; HE’S DEAD.

      Dominic McCabe

  13. Comments have been made on this thread about former Bournemouth School teacher Nick McCabe, and about his occasional bouts of temper. My father was the Headmaster at the time and the man responsible for appointing Nick McCabe to his teaching post. I can recall one particular occasion when Nick McCabe had assaulted a pupil somehow, and the matter came to the notice of the press. I think I was about 13 or 14 at the time, so I would place this incident in about 1961. So far as I recall, the Evening Echo ran front-page stories on the assault and the boy’s father was demanding action. I recall my father being very troubled about the affair but decided that this was not a resigning or sacking issue, though no doubt he would have had strong words with Nick at the time.
    Nick McCabe taught me French in the sixth form. He was also choirmaster when I was in the choir. As my French teacher, he would have groups of pupils around his home of an evening and some French conversation took place as well as a fund of entertaining stories. One that I recall was how Nick McCabe, who was a strong church member, dealt with two Mormons who called at his house. Nick gave them an ear-bashing, which prompted one Mormon to say to the other: “Come along brother. Let us no longer cast our pearls before swine”.
    Another concerned an archery competition which took place between Bournemouth School and a German school on some kind of exchange visit with German pupils and teachers. As the first arrow failed to hit the target, Nick exclaimed “Missed!” A German teacher beside him said: “Ach, so you have ze same word for zis as in the German!”
    “No”, said Nick. On further enquiry, it came out that the German word ‘Mist’ translates as ‘Sh*t’ in English.
    OK, so Nick would occasionally lose his temper with a frustrating pupil. But surely those who were taught French by him and who had anything to do with the musical side of the school would recognise here a teacher who made a really huge contribution to the life of the school.
    One thing that has prompted me to make this comment is the help that Nick McCabe gave to me and the family when my father died on 8 October 2005, one day after his first great-grandchild was born. I was stuck with how to organise a reception for my father and not knowing what to do, living a long distance away, made a provisional arrangement to host a reception at the Five Ways pub, just near where we used to live at Ashling Crescent.
    Nick was horrified, and together with the recently-departed David Hilliam (condolences to all his family and friends) saw to it that my father’s funeral arrangements and reception for guests at Bournemouth School were properly and fittingly carried out. He also played the organ at St. Francis Church at the funeral service. Whilst at Nick’s home, planning the arrangements, days after my father’s death, Nick turned to his piano and started playing one of my parents’ favourite tunes, a Brahms lullaby. It made me break down crying inconsolably and even typing this now still brings a lump to my throat thinking about the tune – and also ‘Lord of All Hopefulness’ which Nock also played at the funeral and which was my father’s favourite hymn.
    I am eternally grateful to Nick and to David Hilliam for all they did to help me arrange a fitting send-off for my father.
    And Nick was grateful to my father. As those who knew him will recall, Nick had a very bad stutter. My father was I think able to see well beyond that and recognised his qualities in offering him the Modern Languages appointment. I hope most would agree that Nick McCabe was a good choice and a major and positive contributor to the life of Bournemouth School.
    My mother incidentally made a donation to the school following my father’s death for the Maths/Science block and to endow a couple of prizes. On 6 April this year her struggle to manage independently in her lovely Glenferness Avenue flat ended and with my brother Stephen’s help, she is now settled in a wonderful care home, Whitegates, near Hastings in Sussex.

    • I was taught German by Nick McCabe to o-level and a-level in the late 70s. I remember him as an outstanding teacher who was interested in students as people, was ready to listen to slightly off-piste teenage questions ( eg Mike Weinhonig’s poltergeist) with patience. I also remember the ” missed” story quoted earlier, along with others in a similar vein, eg the one in which a student teacher confused the verbs “Schie” and “”ski” to hilarious effect.
      Yes he did snap at kids being silly, but I could see why and it seemed entirety fair – unlike sending students off to be caned which other staff did.
      I’m a teacher myself now and have nothing but good memories of his teaching; if I turn out to be half as good, I’ll have done well.

    • Interesting insight, Tony. I liked your father very much and remember him not only at the school but also as a regular attendee at St Francis’ Church next door, where he always acknowledged me (I was an ‘acolyte’ there for a time in the late 1960s). Your father had very piercing and vivid eyes, that seemed to look right through you, as if he understood what you were thinking…. I also delivered the ‘Evening Echo’ from Cradock’s Newsagents to your house in Ashling Crescent from 1969-1973. After your father retired, standards when very sharply downhill under ‘Harpic’.

      I knew the rather eccentric Nick McCabe quite well, and went to his house from time to time. He liked me and we got on well, but I know he could be awkward sometimes!

    • Tony – Should you get to read this comment: I’m Jim Scouse, appointed by your father in 1968. I have fond memories of him which I’d like to pass on ….

      • Hello Jim, This is Mike Webb. I remember you well from many years ago. One memory is that you were doing a mime cricket match with a junior form at the top of the playing fields. Hope time has been kind to you. Best wishes.

  14. I remember when Jasper Dodds bought a bungalow in Solent Road, Southbourne, and he lived there with his sister I think. Whatever the relationship, she was of the same pallor and skeletally thin like Jasper, and had ginger hair – dyed by the look of it. I lived a couple of roads away, and Hengistbury Head was my playground, therefore took the utmost care when passing his place. We did meet once, he recognised me and was actually most civil.

    I read the comment about Ray Cutler being aggressive. At least he called a spade a spade, and didn’t stand any nonsense. The geography he taught me stood me in good stead, and helped me in various jobs in the oil company I was with. I still see Ray occasionally through friends, and have a good chat.

    McCabe was mad. He physically assaulted me in class for no reason than that I was the nearest when he flipped. That must have been in about 1961. If I met him on the street I would possibly return the favour!

  15. Yes Mccabe certainly was mad! His behaviour was indefensible and he should have been fired,however ‘good’ his teaching was considered to be.
    As for Ray Cutler,the point ,Alan,is that it is possible to be hot on discipline without being so unpleasant and menacing,which he assuredly was.

  16. I was there from 69-74 and not exactly a star pupil. Jasper’s lessons were fairly boring and at that time he was well past his prime. was there ever any truth in the rumour we had of him being an ex Japanese POW? We had Ernie (now he WAS eccentric!) and then a Mr Wiggington (absolutely useless and I got the cane from Barroclough twice for winding him up). Mike Halpin was ok as were several others. Overall, although I wasted most of my latter years there as the career I had set my heart on needed no academic qualifications, I had some excellent times there and would recommend it’s ability to educate the kids that were lucky enough to get in there at the time.

    • I remember the day that Wiggie finally broke. As a kid it was amusing to watch. As an adult I feel terribly sorry for him. Teaching was truly the wrong profession for him, given his inability to command respect and control a class. Needless to say that I wasn’t even entered for French O-level. Jasper on the other hand completely killed any joy of history and it’s not been until much later in life that I have started to enjoy it again. In retrospect, I wonder if his methods would now be considered abusive.

      • Hi Kelvin,
        I started in 1969 also but managed to avoid being taught by Jasper my whole time there. Being taught Latin by Pettoello though was an experience….if you made a mistake in your homework he used to underline it in the thickest, reddest pen you’ve ever seen…maybe it was blood??
        Yes, Wiggie was totally unsuited as a teacher, we did treat him badly and I feel guilty about it now. Ernie Veater was truly eccentric as you say, kept going on about his Jaguar car having 2 fuel tanks. When he took us for hockey in a Wednesday afternoon he’d sit in his car drinking tea while we played!

        Good memories of BSB though.

      • I was taught by Ernie Veater, in fact I was present in his last lesson before he retired in 1979.
        No trace of a French accent, he taught entirely in catchphrases
        (“Malade, m’lad?” Etes vous le derrier?)
        However my reason for replying is that I feel similar sympathy for Mr “Lodge” Smith, similarly completely unsuited to teaching and in hindsight miserable. He was treated cruelly and really would have been better off in a quiet office somewhere.

      • Yes, another of Ernie’s favourite phrases was ” Vouz meritez une bonne fessee” which, I think, meant ” You deserve a good slap!”.
        Yes, I agree about Smith aka Noose….a decent enough bloke but unsuited for teaching….maybe a librarian??

      • Steve: my memory of that phrase was having to say “Je merite une bonne fessee sur la derriere”. I don’t remember him actually giving a boy a spanking – it was probably just wishful thinking!

      • Ernie would ask “Qu’est ce que vous mëritez?” and I think your answer is spot on! He was eccentric but part of life’s tapestry as far as school life was for us!

  17. Have just read this thread with interest. I attended BS from 57-64 and remember some of these teachers all too well. I had more than my fair share of Jasper “Dewdrop” Dodds, who was certainly eccentric and succeeded admirably in extinguishing any slight motivation and enthusiasm for learning history that his hapless pupils may have had. His opening remark when everyone had dutifully filed into class and sat up ramrod straight was always “Homework for today?”, articulated in that wheedling, rasping voice I recall as if it were yesterday.

    I don’t remember anything particularly negative about Cutler – didn’t he teach woodworking with Sefton? I think Cutler was 2/ic to Neame in the naval section of the CCF, which was my main contact with him.

    Anyone remember Spike Whitaker (French)? Quite a character…

    • I remember Spike Whitaker very well. Whilst still at school he organised my first ‘gig’ at a hotel on the East Cliff. I was paid £2 for it. Since then I have stayed in touch with Roy Dymott who played the violin. Spike left Roy his violin in his will and he still plays it at his home in San Diego.

    • Jasper reminds me of Montgomery Burns in The Simpsons….fortunately I avoided him for History lessons as he retired shortly after I started there (!969).

    • I was at BS 58-66. Had to spend 3 yrs in Sixth Form due to poor A-levels first time round. Headmaster’s son. I remember JJ Dodds, Cutler & Whittaker, of course. I have to say I quite enjoyed Jasper’s fabled ’10-minute tests’. I have always had a slight backward slope in my handwriting which he was forever trying to correct. On one occasion he told me: “It’s a good fault, but it’s a fault all the same”. He was the Housemaster for Forest. I was in Romsey. In a Romsey v Forest cricket match, I somehow managed to accumulate 21 runs, maybe I top-scored that day. The next day near the Tuck Shop he accosted me and said: ‘Jolly good innings last night”. How kind!

    • Spike Whitaker was a very popular teacher in my day (1949-56), partly because of being the most eccentric man on the staff (leaving aside JJD, of whom enough is said elsewhere in this thread).

      In Form 4A (1952) he took a fancy (I believe quite innocent, by today’s standards) to one of my fellow-pupils, and used to cuddle up to him at his desk – in the middle of a class – calling him by his pet name and embarrassing the hell out of him. I will not name the boy here, to save his blushes. Oddly enough, I can’t remember at all what subject Spike was teaching, but I do now vaguely recall that he played the violin.

      And then there was RE (“Goofy”) Murray, French teacher extraordinaire, cycling sedately up Charminster Avenue. Happy days !

      • Having found by chance my friend David’s post has brought back so many memories of my time at BS (1948-1955). As everyone else across the decades I knew the iconic Mr JJ Dodds ; I clearly remember him addressing a boy named Bates as “Er, Master Bates….” to uproarious laughter. I remember Mr Stokoe (Physics) telling me that I would never make much progress academically (MA Oxon, PhD London). In the examination hall Goofy Murray was an invigilator and, coming up from behind where I was sitting, hit me full force on the back of my head. No idea why; I never had him as a teacher. I didn’t learn much from Mr James (Physics), too busy recording the number of the words “actually” and “really” with which he peppered his monologues ; usually about 50 of each. And, when the students left one of his classes attended by my brother Roger, there was young Roger left slumped over his desk fast asleep. Mr James was OK though. I remember a student twisting and peering up at Mr Baraclough to ascertain how tall he really was. I remember the click-click of Mr Segger’s bicycle as he walked down the corridor to the teachers’ room after arriving at school. I spent much of Mr Wareham’s woodwork classes kicking a piece of wood around scoring “goals”.

        My favourite teacher was Mr Swain, who asked me to bring up a piece of paper that I was laughing at; this was a very rude limerick that I can still remember today. Mr Swain just shrugged; he was killed shortly afterwards in a car crash, so I was told. Helas. I quite liked Bernie Walker (Art), not sure if he’s the same as the maligned Johnnie Walker maligned in these columns. And so on and so on. Happy days indeed !

      • As an addendum to your post, David, ‘Spike’ was a very popular master with a wry wit. He would make jokes about spanking errant boys (this was before political correcness, of course) to entertain us. On one occasion, he reprimanded my classmate Wareham: “What is your name bo-oy?” he asked. “Wareham, sir,” replied the pupil. “Well, we will see in a moment if you do, bo-oy!” Even ‘Spike’ couldn’t withhold a repressed smile at his own wit.

  18. I remember “Uncle Spike” He tried to teach me the violin.He advised me to give up, saying that I was scraping the horses tail over the cats guts.
    Dave Rowlands taught me A-level biology which was more successful.

    Jeremy Ludford (1957-1964)

    • Hi Michael, regarding Nick McCabe I did see him recently, he is very frail but hasn’t lost his sense of humour. I can try and find his address for you if you wish.
      Regards, Steve Beedie in Bournemouth (at BSB 69-76)

  19. I was a pupil at BSB from 1955-61. Dodds must have been one of the worst history teacher ever – it was the only subject out of 9 at O-level I failed, and I have always been interested in history. Our O-level year had 1815-1914 as its core period, and I was bored stiff. I have since found that it was an incredibly interesting period, and Jasper seemed to have successfully ironed out just about every bit of social and political importance of this period. Once when he was ill we had the then headmaster Mr Arrowsmith for history lessons, he was brilliant.

    • I attended BSB from the middle of the third form in February 1959 until 1963.
      My first impression was formed when on my first day I was sent home for not wearing the school uniform. I possessed only the uniform from my previous school in my home town Sheffield, my family having relocated from there. My mother pleaded with Mr Bennet to make allowances for one week, as my dad was working in London and she had only grocery money (credit cards then unheard of), but he was adamant. You would think I might at least have been lent some textbooks, especially as curricula differed from place to place, and I had been studying completely different material. The fact that this idea did not even occur to a school headmaster gives some indication of the low priority accorded to actual learning.

      The following Monday I started school there appropriately clad, and marked as a trouble maker. I had been something of a favorite at my previous school as someone who played the violin, wrote well, and was a canny slip fielder and medium fast bowler. Teachers and prefects mocked me for thinking of university, even after my 7 high O levels. I went on to get A’s in English and History at A level, but a C in French, despite scoring well in the lit paper. The French language (grammar etc) was taught by Mr Bennet. Having myself spent 40 years teaching a foreign language and training language teachers, I can look back on his chronic incapacity to facilitate language learning. I don’t think he had ever understood the basics eg how to make a proper lesson plan, let alone how to conduct learning activities.

      My final encounter with him was when, in my last year of university, I wrote to ask if he would write a To Whom it May Concern letter of reference, often then one of the required documents in job applications. That would have been his chance to tell me he was glad I had turned out well, after my rocky start with the green blazer and the mis-conjugated irregular verbs. He wrote back “Dear Loughrey”
      (Had he considered, I wonder, a courteous “Mr.”, god forbid a conciliatory “Terence”?), stating that in order for him to oblige he first needed to know specifically what I was applying for, whether it was for example a position as a bank teller or a butcher’s assistant.

      As for the accounts in this thread of physical assaults and the general demeaning and domineering attitudes (favorites are necessary to that as in any harsh institution), the atmosphere of a school, what is or isn’t tolerated, what is or isn’t encouraged, is very much set by the stance of its head.

  20. Sorry to join this conversation late and sorrier still to echo all of the negative responses above. Dodds was a bully and a petty tyrant. He ruled by fear, inspired no-one and was a generally appalling person. Let’s go further. I can count the number of inspiring, supportive, vocational teachers I met at BS on the fingers of one hand. I became a teacher largely to become the sort of teacher I always wanted to encounter but sadly rarely did at BS. I look back on my time there with sadness.

    John Regan 1962-69
    Teacher 72-2010
    Headteacher 1987- 2010

    • That sounds like a pretty negative experience John. I am glad both that you managed to change it into the inspiration for a positive career, and that BS had changed significantly by the time I arrived in 1994. I look back on my time there with fondness.

      • I did my A-Levels there between 1993 and 1995. It was a truly horrible experience.

        Looking back B.S was just a factory that produced undergraduates. Like any other factory it had no soul.

        The colour of the uniform reflected the school- grey and dull.

  21. “Misty”Kaye
    I was at BSB from 1946 -1949 and certainly remember Jasper Dodds with his authoritarian
    rule. Although a flying blackboard duster was common fare I was never aware of any physical assaults by masters. We had the usual mixture of good masters e.g. Seggar for French, Williams for history and Warburton for Chemistry and eccentric ones such as Wiffles White (Chemistry). What a lot of the previous comments do not appreciate was the great facilities we had there. This really came home to me when my family moved to Hastings and I could have wept when I saw my new school.

  22. I attended BSB from ‘57 –‘64. I immigrated to the USA about 10 years later and followed an amazing career in the high tech industry. Being away, I lost contact with almost all my fellow pupils and never managed a reunion. I recently came upon this thread and it ignited many dormant memories of the school and the staff. Of course I remember “Jasper”. Not only did I have him for history, I was one of the pupils who rode a motorcycle to school and parked it on East Way. “Jasper” was not amused. I am not sure if it was because I rode the BSA bantam to school or whether it was because I did not wear my cap!
    The things that intrigued me most about these postings were the comments about the bad teaching and violent incidents against pupils many people mentioned. I do not remember any of that. What I do look back on is what a good well-rounded education I received at BSB. I took science in the sixth form and went on to be an engineer and my grounding in maths and physics proved invaluable, Later in life as I got involved with my children’s high school and even college educations I was amazed at how I could still help them conjugate that French verb, identify that place on the map or construct that English sentence from my grammar school classes. I am now retired and living the dream as a charter boat captain in the Florida Keys. When on the water I still recite to myself the old adage “If to starboard red appears, t’ is your duty to keep clear” which was one of the basic navigational rules of the road I learned whilst in the naval section of the CCF. I know I did not appreciate it at the time but a good basic education shapes the rest of your life and I feel very fortunate that I went to BSB.
    However, I must agree with the other posters in this thread and admit that I was lousy at history and felt that I never learned much that was beneficial to me in later life. I am not sure that it was because I had “Jasper” Dodds as a teacher, or the fact he never taught American history!
    Good times and fond memories of BSB.

  23. I attended BGS at the age of 10 in September 1949 until end July 1950 after which I removed to London. I remember Jasper Dodds but only because he had bushy black eyebrows. At least I think it was he. The only other teacher I recall was Mr Webber who taught music? I think the culture was, in general, one of fear but that may be just down to my age at the time. Having read some of the comments from other Old Bournemouthians I think it was a good thing that I got transferred to Willesden County Grammar.
    Main things I recall about my time there are, having to take cold shower at end of sports session; the playground and woods below where we played cricket against tree trunk; being bullied by Prosser and his mate whose name now escapes me. There are a couple more memories but not really worth mentioning.
    I shall be attending a funeral at Crematorium next week and am considering a visit to the school. Doesn’t look as though it’s changed much physically after 67 years.

  24. I was at the school from Sept 1956 to December 1961, and was fortunate enough to only encounter JJ in one of the first five years. I agree with all the previous comments about him, the only exception being when I had him for history in 5 Remove for my last term before joining the Royal Navy. During that term he did show a small degree of humanity.
    Regarding inspirational teachers, one such was Mr Killacky, who taught French and was 2i/c of the Army section of the CCF. I well remember the day Peter Menczer was hiding behind his desk lid, to illicit the remark “Menczer, the art of camouflage is to be inconspicuous, not invisible. Now come out from under there!”
    On another subject I recall the Old Boys’ blazer being rather resplendent in mainly white with brown and blue stripes. Does anyone know if they are still available?

  25. Having experienced life with JJD, he did have another side that has gone unnoticed and that was that he turned out for the Masters football team in the annual soccer match against the School first eleven at least once in my memory of 1946. School won 4-0

    • Unfortunately a number of photos from the website 5+ years ago were lost in a server crash. This was one of them. The original post here is from 2009.

      • Thanks for getting photo re-posted. It’s fascinating for me to see Mr Dodds again. I wasn’t able to recall his face; just the bushy eyebrows as he glowered at people. I once again sense the feeling of fear and trepidation. How awful to instil such feelings in others. I wonder how he became such a bitter, vindictive, tyrant of a man. What made him so? Should I feel sorry for him that he was the way he was? I will never know.
        Interesting to see so many pupils with open neck shirts. As I recall, we had to wear school tie at all times but maybe that rule was relaxed for older students.

  26. It was by accident that I came across the Old Bournemouthians website with the comments on Jasper Dodds et al.
    I attended BSB from 1963 -70, and noticed an old classmate, Tony Wickham, had left a comment regarding my being assaulted by Johnnie Walker. I’d forgotten all about it, and the episode where Nick McCabe smashed a chair over the head of one of my fellow German pupils (can’t remember who). But despite those incidents, I have to say that I loved my 7 years at BSB, where I met lifelong friends and enjoyed the cut and thrust of dealing with the various characters who taught me. From ‘Thunderbum’ Murray to Percy Cushion to ‘Holy Joe’ Lenton to ‘Chubby’ Reynish and Dodds himself. What a mishmash of characters they were, and boy did we have some fun taking the Michael, while learning a few things as well!
    I think my favourite was Tom Bircher (who unfortunately succumbed to a nasty brain tumour while still a young man), a great English teacher who called us by our Christian names (a first, as I recall) and got the respect he deserved. I’ll always remember his ‘coaching’ the 2nd eleven football team on a trip to play Swanage Grammar School. By half time we were winning 15 – 0, and Tom said it would be a beer and a cigarette for every player if we could double our score – we won 36 – 0 and Tom was good to his word.
    Yes, they were wonderful times and I’m sure many of my old schoolmates would agree.

  27. I remember a Steve Beck being dared to shout a rude remark about Chubby Reynish outside the staff common room, and doing so – before disappearing round the corner at a rate of knots.
    I was there 63 to 66 before moving to Poole.
    Remember the same teachers – Bircher definitely a favourite, Thunderbum (wonder if he ever knew?), Harpsichord, etc
    Positive on the whole.
    Mostly avoided Jasper. Nearly but not quite got caned by Barraclough. Chief negative was a cocky young music teacher who took the piss out of my singing in Year 2 and put me off for life.
    Did one term of the 4th year (and CCF) before we moved.

  28. Was there 1963-1969. Best day was the day I left. Have never revisited, was not the ideal place to be for a hippy. Learned history names/dates by rote from Jasper Dodds. Was he a good teacher? Well, I learned the facts, and that got me through the exams; his anachronistic ways ensured I did my work and provided a butt for our jokes.
    All instantly forgotten afterwards in the haze of the Sixties/early Seventies. The actual problem was the way history was taught, not him in particular. I’ve recently written a book involving history, and regretted having to learn it all again.
    For me, the most inspirational teacher was Mr Mahoney, who I think started around 1965 or 1966, and taught English. Other good memories involve the CCF band and our cupboard under the stairs where we met at break times.

    • I was only at the school from 1965-1967, but can remember, with horror, Jasper Dodds. God help you if he took against you! You had to start and finish every oral answer with ‘Please sir’. Absurd. Hated my entire time at the school, and only made 3 friends – Colin Kirsch, Robert Lane, and John Hammond. After I left, never maintained contact with the latter two, but did renew my friendship with Colin for a year or two in the mid 1970s.
      Despite my loathing of the place, I still have my Report Book!

  29. I was at BSB from 1968-76 ish ( I forget the exact dates) and I remember I used to do an impersonation of Jasper Dodds on a regular basis…one day prior to a history class I stood at the front reprimanding classmates and doing my “show” when the laughter turned to a stony silence….unbeknown to me the great man had entered the door behind me and had stood to watch my display…..then he uttered those heart melting words we all dread….” see me afterwards Davies…..I think we will have a ten minute test boys” Great times….

  30. I came across this website and thread wondering what happened to Tom Bircher. I attended BSB 1961 -68. He was the most inspirational of all the teachers, I remember Mr Stiles (George?) who taught us mathematical ways of drawing sketch maps.I can do you one now of the great lakes of north America! And the industry pnemonics (DAFT, FFAT ellectric STIC!).

    I witnessed an assault by Nick McCabe on Nigel Jenkins. He was knocked out for burping in a choir recording and Paddy Roberts (Head of PE) was sent for. It got on national press. McCabe bought Nigel an Airfix kit of the Ark Royal, I think as he recovered from concussion in hospital.

    Sport at the school was great. Ernie Veater took us to cross country events in his Jaguar. There was a real bully in the third form called Des Mutton. Ernie Veater knocked the hell out of him one morning after a group had chanted abusive language after a Bournemouth match at Dean Court.

    I was a member of the CCF. We fired live .22 rounds in the firing range each Friday afternoon under the supervision of other (senior) pupils.

    Jasper Dodds, and Thunderbum for French. No wonder I have no understanding of history and failed French A level. But I went on to become a Headteacher myself and had learnt exactly what sort of teacher not to employ!

    Played cricket for Old Bournemouthians. Got a duck at Burley. Cars hooted around the perimeter. Really embarrassing at 16 years old. Ray Cutler was a fast bowler and taught me woodwork, which has proved useful!

    Chris Bugden

  31. I’ve just stumbled upon this thread… thanks guys it was great reading. Really brought the memories flooding back. Was there 1969 to 1976.
    Never had Jasper except for one class when the usual teacher was ill. The whole lesson was taken up with practicing how to put your hand up!

    We had two years out the back in the prefabs with no heating, and Ernie Veater making us do warm up exercises before French lessons.

    • Ah, the infamous prefabs with their wonderful air conditioning system ( like fridges in the winter months). Avoided being taught by Jasper the whole of my time at BSB….what did I miss??
      As for Ernie Veater he ‘taught’ us hockey….which involved him driving his double-tank Jag down onto the school playing field, sitting in it drinking tea while we played hockey!
      Fun days though. And no bleeding Ofsted!!

      • I attended 1969-73 (same year as Terry Hall, Kelvin Hill & Graham Holding) and managed to avoid being taught by Jasper apart from one lesson as a stand-in when ‘Harpsi’ was unavailable. He didn’t have a clue what to teach us as Music wasn’t his subject, the only thing I remember is how mean & nasty he seemed to be.

  32. I went to BS from 1965-72 and was glad to see the back of the place by the time I was 18. I was taught by Jas in the 1st, 4th and 5th years. We were terrified of him in the first form and well remember his ‘positions’… arms folded both behind back and in front of back, palms by sides, hands on head, heads on desk (boys with glasses take them off) and palms on desks. The chair was only to be used as a balance and you had to sit on the very edge of it! By the time we were older, he was coming up to retirement and we thought of him as a huge, anachronistic joke, especially when he told a pupil who was taller than him to stand up and then threatened to put him over his knee! He drove a green Wolseley, CRU 21C.

    We used to make Stokoe’s life hell and his Physics lessons often ended up in total mayhem and riotous behaviour.

    Nick McCabe was a complete schizophrenic who could turn from a mild-mannered gentleman into a bellowing, unstable lunatic in a trice. He once made me stand in the wastepaper bin.

    I was never taught by ‘Lodge’ (J.R. Smith) but remember the shouts of derision he used to attract as he walked along the corridors. There was a rumour he once tried to hang himself.

    Looking back, I think some of those teachers were control freaks from a bygone era and strange to say the least but there were a few who managed to break the mould. Tom Bircher and Jim Scouse to name but two.

      • ‘Lodge’.

        I was part of the form (3.20, l believe) in 1965/6, which was responsible for the nickname change. Several of the more entertaining/disruptive elements (the names Hale and Kuhler spring to mind) barely concealed their use of ‘Smudge’, but for some reason decided that ‘Splodge’ was funnier.
        In due course this transformed into S P Lodge (no idea why), and this in turn became ‘Lodge’.

        Mr Smith was never really able to control the class, and often berated us for playing up. To this day I vividly recall him leaving at the end of a disrupted lesson, complaining that not only was he unhappy with the form’s behaviour, but didn’t appreciate having his nickname changed!

        I’d like to say ‘Ah, happy days…’ – but they weren’t.

      • Shows how times have changed that adding the initials S. P. in front of his name caused us so many hours of merriment! Still, at least being childish wasn’t perceived as being uncool – not sure I’d want to be in my early teens these days.

  33. Jasper was only the most extreme of a collection of oddballs, wierdos and downright lunatics. Some of the teachers in the late 60s and early 70s were extremely unpleasant people, such as Killer Read, Hawkins and Ted Reynish, who should never ever have gone into teaching. I never came into contact with McCabe, thank God, but you could see what a headcase he was just by looking at him.
    Pettoello was a grade A nutcase, as were Harpsi and Ernie Veater.

    Stokoe, Lodge and Wiggy were beyond incompetent and, again, should never have even considered teaching as a career. Very few of this bunch were any good at all at their job and seemed to think the precise length of pupils’ hair was a moral issue.
    None of them would hold down jobs as teachers these days – some of them would be sent to prison.

    RDF Williams once spent a double Physics period telling us what a tragedy it was that the British Empire no longer existed and that all our former colonies wished we would come back and rule their countries again, like in the good old days.

    Stickland, Mahony, Tony Yonge and Mike Reed stick in my mind as decent people and good teachers, but boy were they the exception that proves the rule.

  34. I was at the school 1961-68. I am sure that the “Walker” referred to in previous comments could not have been ‘Bernie’ Walker. He never showed anger, nor did he ever have any problems with discipline as his lessons conveyed the sheer enthusiasm he had for knowledge. He was an inspiration to me and gave me the foundation for a career in art and design. He never shirked from constructive criticism and, when I pointed out on graduation how he would (metophrically) tear my drawings to pieces, he responded with “He loveth him whom he chastiseth”. This is a link to a website devoted to him: http://bernardwalker.co.uk/
    He and Mr Petoello were great friends and often took holidays together. On his return from Italy, ‘Bernie’ told us how he and Petoello disagreed on just about every work of art they had seen there. How frustrating, we said. ‘No,’ replied ‘Bernie’, ‘if we agreed on everything, how boring would that be?’ Another lesson in life.

    ‘Jasper’ Dodds did, indeed, appear to place discipline above inspiration but he did push us to succeed. I still have a deep interest in history. On reflection, I think he was actually a very shy – and perhaps lonely – man who hid behind his austere exterior. As the school’s self-appointed artist, I once produced a poster for the debating society that displayed a caricature of him. My peers suggested this was an expulsion offence. However, as JJ passed the poster, he was seen to peer closely, give a quick smile and continue on his way to class. So there was a humour in him, after all. He was a compassionate man and helped many of his pupils outside curriculum activities.

    The school gave me an education that I value deeply to this day. We were taught by deeply dedicated masters, men who had expert knowledge in their fields to pass on to us – ‘Smudge’ Smith, Watts (an expert cartoonist), ‘Spike’ Whittaker, Styles – to mention a few. I was terrified of maths and failed the O-level. Messrs Truss and Hopkins gave up their lunch breaks to give me tuition – and I achieved a very comfortable pass, having found my confidence. Thanks, chaps.

  35. Mercifully, my time at Bournemouth School was only from 1962 to 1966 when a move of home took me to Devizes Grammar School which was less than half the size of BSB; it was also co-ed, and the staff, although not without some mild eccentricities, were enthusiastic and effective teachers.

    I was never taught by Dodds, although he did once stand in during a double period which should have been taken by the art teacher, “Nimbo” Neame. Much as one avoids amateur psychology, it’s difficult to view Dodds as anything but a psychotic bully who compensated for his own inadequacy by terrorising adolescent boys. The real disgrace is that a succession of headmasters failed to curb his unacceptable behaviour

    My own worst experience was with a teacher whose name I’ve forgotten; if not on the PT staff, he certainly took PT classes, chasing boys around the gym with a brass-buckled army webbing belt. As the least athletic of boys, I can testify how much that hurt. When, one Monday morning, the Head announced in assembly that the guy had been killed in (I think) a climbing accident, I doubt I was alone in rejoicing.

    Interesting to see the comments about Ray Cutler; I don’t remember his being notably unpleasant and, indeed, his first-form geography lessons introduced me to the wonders of OS maps which still fascinate me. I knew his father slightly as he was on the committee of the small-bore rifle club of which I was a junior member.

    As an aside, when attending the school I lived on East Avenue in Talbot Woods. Dodds lived in a flat on the other side of the road only 100 yards or so away.
    Some time in 1962, Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies also rented a flat on East Avenue; what a delicious irony it would be if it were the in same house as Dodds’ flat.

  36. I was at BSB 1961-68. I found this site while searching for Tom Bircher, the only teacher I remember with admiration. Shocked to learn that he died young. I remember him teaching us Twelfth Night in the year he was performing it as Malvolio on Brownsea. He once told me that my essay was the funniest thing he’d read, and I remember him having the book The Iceman Cometh on his desk, so I felt amazingly proud that my own schoolboy work was considered better.

    For maths we had a Mr Morley, who was deaf and wore a hearing aid. We wound him up by mouthing words to him silently, so that he assumed his aid was too low and turned it up, whereupon we would shout and deafen him.

    There was a teacher with an artificial leg, which clicked as he walked. I remember Jasper, of course – who could forget the sitting positions, the ‘Please, Sir’s. I don’t remember learning any history. A geography master who taught complicated algorithms for constructing maps of the Great Lakes and Newfoundland. He went with us on a school trip to Switzerland: staying at Spiez. I remember him in the coach delightedly pointing out “Look, boys: drumlins!”

    I lost my wallet once, and discovered much later that it had been handed in to Barraclough, who put it away without telling me. I complained to Bennett about him, and got a beating for my trouble, I think. I made my own small rebellion by choosing a shiny scarlet lining to my Sixth Form grey jacket. Needless to say, I wasn’t invited to be a prefect (spoiling the opportunity for me to rebel by refusing it).

    Incomprehensibly after this experience, I took Science A-Levels instead of English, and have had a career as a maths lecturer, lastly at Bath University. A few years ago I was invited to give a careers talk at Bournemouth School for Girls (finally fulfilling a schoolboy ambition to get inside that orchard of forbidden fruit), and called in at BSB; the headmaster wasn’t interested in my doing the talk to the boys.

    Only now, in retirement, have i published my first novel, The Hammond Conjecture:
    https://books2read.com/u/4Dyygr or via mbreed.co.uk.
    I’m now working on a prequel, using my BSB experiences, which I’ll dedicate to Tom Bircher.

    • Correction: Tom Bircher was of course cast as Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night on Brownsea. But my memory is of him prancing down the aisle in class, performing Malvolio’s speech about his ‘yellow stockings, cross-gartered’.

    • Hi Martin, Tom Bircher was my English teacher at Glyn Grammar School, Epsom. He taught me from 1971 to 1977 and I visited him at the school in about 1978, after I had started at university. He was a fantastic teacher, I agree, and a thoroughly decent bloke. I guess he must have moved to Epsom after he had taught at Bournemouth.

  37. I was at BSB from 1966 – 73. I emerged from the exam sausage machine okay with 3 A Levels. I obtained a BA in Public Adminstration at Sheffield Poly and then did a Masters degree in Social Sciences at Birmingham University. I’ve really enjoyed the prevoius posts.I would like to say hi to Howard Wragg who was in my class in 1 -17. The masters at BSB ranged from the absolutely dreadful to the inspirational. I think man for man the French department was the worst with McCabe, Veater, Cheeseman and Wiggington.As a result of that shower I got Grade 9 at O Level and Grade 8 in the resit ! Like a previous e- mailer McCabe told me I was rubbish and made me stand in the wastepaper bin. Veater used to make me go in front of the class and theatrically smack my bottom.The other two had little class control. I remember the English, History and Geography departments as being fairly strong with the odd exception. A guy who was odd who hasn’t been mentioned was the Maths teacher Furze. At the start of each lesson you had to write the date in your exercise book and underline it but the line couldn’t touch the date. I remember once he kept the whole class back after school practising writing the date and underlining without touching the numbers.When he marked the end of year exams he’d read out the marks – then he’d remark and change them a couple of times. Beyond my understanding that – surely in maths it’s either right or wrong !

    • Mr Furze was what one might think of as a ‘gentleman’. He was portly, dapper, balding, with a grey moustache – and always urged us to behave as gentlemen. I owe a debt to him. I trailed in maths, as it scared me. In the 4th form, at my request, Mr Furze sent me exercises over the Christmas break and then marked them in his own holiday time. I passed maths at O-level thanks also to Messrs Hopkins and Truss, who gave me extra tuition in lunch breaks. I owe them gratitude, too. I appreciate the education I received at the School: had I gone to what was then a secondary modern, I would not have left with the armful of qualifications I did achieve – and what the cadet force would term the ‘character-forming experience’!

  38. Hi David – I was pleased to hear of the support you received from Mr. Furze. He taught me when I was 12 yrs old and at that age I just found his teaching method and petty rules exasperating. Your description of him was spot on. I was also taught Maths by Messrs. RJ Williams, Truss and Hopkins – they were all dedicated teachers who could manage a classroom. The only Maths teacher I struggled to learn from was Mr. Eaglestone. It wasn’t entirely his fault. The hardnuts in my class made his life such a misery he found it almost impossible to teach.
    I realised today that the posts are supposed to relate to Mr. Dodds and ex pupils have widened the scope to include memories of other teachers.It’s funny how your mind recalls seemingly small events so clearly. I was never taught by Mr. Dodds but experienced just one period of him when he was on sickness cover. I clearly remember sitting really uncomfortably for 45 minutes with a voice in my head saying – ‘go on, stand up and tell him this rigid posture nonsense is not conducive to good teaching and I’m going to write a letter of formal complaint to the Governors’ – but of course aged 12 I didn’t have the bottle.
    Anyway, the class Form Teacher was an English teacher named Mr. Gass. The following day at morning registration a forest of boys hands went up complaining about Mr. Dodds. He replied that it seemed the older some schoolmasters got – the more grumpy they became. He said that although younger boys were terrified of Mr. Dodds, sixth formers thought the world of him.

  39. i attended Bournemouth School from 1958-1965 and can still recall the culture of casual violence and physical assaults that seemed commonplace from some members of staff, and also from 6th form prefects to lower year boys. What seems to have been overlooked is that this culture existed only because it was permitted (indeed perhaps encouraged) from the management of the school, in particular the Headmaster at the time, E.G. Bennett.
    This was a man who seemed to relish caning younger boys, and whose sneering tone when addressing pupils unfortunate to come before him did much to cultivate the fear factor remarked upon in many of these posts.
    His efforts to suppress the story of the assault perpetrated by McCabe on the pupil violently knocked of the stage in the School Hall was an indicator of how he viewed what was acceptable.

    • I think I was in the same class as your brother Kevin – a good footballer and powerfully built. We played in the same football and cricket teams. We spent a lot of time talking instead of doing our 3D drawings in art. Hope he is well.

  40. Hello, everyone! I am not an old Bournemouthian, but I am writing to tell you what I remember about one of your teachers.
    Tom Bircher taught English at Glyn Grammar School, Epsom, Surrey from about 1970 or 1971 until 1977, when the school became a comprehensive. He was still teaching at the same school in about 1978 when I visited, after I had started at university. I regret that I lost touch with him after that.
    He introduced us to Shakespeare while we were still in 2nd Year and directed and produced every school production of Shakespeare. (I played Second Witch in his production of ‘Macbeth’.) I also remember reading Laurie Lee’s ‘Cider with Rosie’ in his class and he shared some of his own memories of growing up near Stroud in Gloucestershire.
    Tom used to share a lot of information with us about his life and loves, though I don’t remember him mentioning his time at Bournemouth. Our Tom Bircher is definitely the same one that taught at Bournemouth though. Initially he was clean-shaven and his mouth was very slightly distorted as a result of his operation. Then he grew a beard to hide behind. He smoked a lot and occasionally wore a ripped gown.
    I loved his lessons, especially his A-level classes when he introduced us to Joyce, Milton, Wilfred Owen, Chaucer, Wordsworth etc. I cannot read a poem by Keats without hearing his voice: clear, gentle, erudite. He introduced me to the metaphysical poets and to W.B. Yeats. Teaching literature for Tom was not so much a profession as a passion.
    I remember seeing him play Enobarbus in an open-air amateur performance – “Be my witness, oh you blessed moon …” – and it was truly moving.
    He had a beautiful wife called Margaret and every time he read a love poem you’d know he was addressing it to her – “Ah yes, my children, that is the real thing!”
    Tom Bircher has been a lasting inspiration and influence. He taught me not only to read, but also to feel and experience literature. I was so privileged to have him as my teacher.

  41. “A breath of fresh air”. Tom Bircher was my form master (4-2) at Bournemouth Grammar in 66, and had the knack of “being one of us” without ever losing control. He was ahead of his time, and I remember the genuine sadness when we heard he was ill.

  42. Paul Harris, BSB 1961 – 1965, 1X – 4X

    By and large, I remember the School with fondness, even though there were some fairly idiosyncratic masters!

    Perhaps, most notably – and already well-commented by others, was Jasper James Dodds. Well remembered for his “body odour”, and his crazy discipline. Ways of sitting (hands on desks, or straight down), edge of seat, back ram-rod straight. Ways of addressing “Please, Sir”… Handwriting could NOT slope backwards….I remember I did an impersonation of him ….one day prior to a history class I stood at the front doing my impersonation – when the laughter turned to a stony silence…. unbeknown to me the “great man” had entered the door behind me and had stood to watch my performance… Aaargh.. clipped under the chin!

    Other notables….
    Harcourt-Smith (Harpsichord -Smith) – Music…. despite him, I turned out fairly musical…
    DRF Williams – CCF; enjoyed my time in the CCF and the bandroom under the stairs, which has continued to my playing euphonium to this date….
    Stokoe – Physics – enjoyable and understandable!
    Petoello – Latin; a valuable grounding
    Spike Whittaker – French?
    Ray Cutler – woodwork? Viscious, I seem to remember
    Neame – CCF RN and woodwork – he would not put a point on penknives due to his naval background…..
    Cheeseman – German – gentle
    Furze – maths?
    Barraclough – can’t remember subject Geography?

    A good – great! – school, but only in retrospect… Some great colleagues and friends…

    Paul Harris – ended up with a PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry; and a subsequent career… can’t have been all bad!

    • Hi Paul,
      Interesting memories! Pettoello used to put the fear of God into people if they mixed up their datives and their ablatives! If you made a mistake in your exercise book I’m convinced his red marking pen contained blood (whose, I wonder?!) instead of ink as it was so deep red! Barraclogh did indeed teach Geography, a gentle giant but you didn’t mess with him. Cutler used to throw bits of wood at you. Harpsy would look over his upright piano and chide you if you weren’t singing ( I mimed!). Mostly happy memories indeed.

  43. Great morning reading all the comments on here and finally remembering some of the names of other teachers other than JJ. They clearly helped us all steer our ways in life despite their idiosyncratic ways.
    Paul Eldridge, Sep 59 to Dec 64

  44. The sad news is that Peter Harvey passed away eight days ago. He was Head of Geography at the school and he ran the First Eleven soccer for a number of years. He was a very fine classroom teacher who got the best out of his students – especially if the drew Liverpool football badges for homework! He was 93 but still played golf on his own golf course several times a week. In retirement he gained two further degrees and worked fir Citizen’s Advice for a number of years. I am sure that many Old Bournemouthians and former members of staff remember him with great affection. Mike Webb.

    • That’s sad news…I enjoyed his Geography classes. One of his frequent sayings during lessons on agriculture was, when referring to sheep, ” like Harvey, they are prolific breeders!” (I think he was up to 6 kids when I left the school in 1976). He was very generous with his marking if you did good homework. Woe betide though if you talked in class when he’d warned us to be quiet . Also, he couldn’t help being a Liverpool fan! Fond memories….

  45. I think the show “The Durrels in Corfu” began with a scene that was supposed to be at Bournemouth School.

    I also think the school brought in Mr. Bennett to improve the discipline at the school, and perhaps that’s why some of the teachers were martinets. Perhaps, too, those who served in the war wondered why they had risked their lives for such ungrateful boys. The French teacher with the clicking leg–we called him “pegleg”–was probably an RAF hero, but he got no respect from all of us Biggles readers. Mr. Stokoe suffered from shellshock–who would think boys could be so cruel as to make sudden sharp noises just to set him off. Who was the other physics master with the Welsh accent and epilepsy. I wish I had been a better person.

    Jasper Dodds had me in fear, and I dreaded Day 6 when its first period was History. But I think he was once a star footballer, now reduced to that sea of snivelling faces. I loved the way he’d drape himself all over his armchair while making sure we perched on the edge of our chairs.

    I remember Percy Cushion as a man who lived up to his nickname (“Persecution”), and the only teacher who said something like, “I taught your father, boy, and he was an idiot too!” He could toss an exercise book to the back of the room with impressive aim.

    I was in the cross-country team under the tutelage of Mr. Veater and his pink Jaguar. He also taught us French, with his peculiarly English accent. “Boys who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and boys with big, fat, juicy bottoms shouldn’t talk in class. Vous avez mérité un bon coup de fessée sur la derriere.”

    I enjoyed learning about bookbinding from Mr. Neame, even though the book was “Light,” a book fated to be our guide in next year’s Physics classes.

    And I remember Mr. Bircher fondly; I’m glad to hear he was married because I had always thought he was unlucky in love.

  46. That is sad. The demise of ‘Uncle Pete’ was no doubt not as impactful as it deserved to be. I mean co-author of the classic biomes text book with Mike Web alone would make him a legend.
    Excellent classroom teacher.

  47. I have just found this site. I left in 1970 but I’m a bit slow. I have enjoyed the memories and am struck by how much has been written about a small number of teachers, and how much perceptions of them vary.
    There were two Mike Webbs (three if you count the teacher) when I was there.
    Mike Webb has posted here before but to make it clear – I’m the other one.
    I hope this helps!

  48. I attended Bournemouth School from 1958-1965 and find the recollections of fellow past pupils fascinating. As our dear late Queen once commented “recollections may vary”. Unlike many, I found ‘Jasper’ Dodds a highly motivating character-I had the fortune/misfortune to have him for History for all but one of my seven years at BS, (Roy Lenton for one year-a real gentleman) not to mention him being my Housemaster (Forest). It might have been my prowess on the sports field and accumulation of house points that induced him to cut me some slack!
    The common thread running through so many comments on this site is the recollection of the casual violence employed by teachers at the time, in the name of discipline. I subsequently went on to have a career in teaching, and now believe that had there been such a thing as an OFSTED inspection at the school during my time there a new category below ‘needs improvement’ would have been required!

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