Newsletter No 11         February 2000


DOWN ON THE FARM  (Part three)

The birds and the bees


The affectionate if slightly irreverent memories of an old Ag student


I think this will have to be the last of this series of agricultural memories as I am running out of material due in part to the dodgy memory. There are however still a couple of events which persist in staying in the brains only memory cell. One in particular is not for anyone of a nervous disposition as was amply evidenced at the time and the other required the kind of bravery needed by those who go big game hunting with only a camera and a mosquito net.


I’m pretty sure it was during my first year that we had a potentially fatally ill chicken which was suffering from a condition known as crop binding. We’ve all seen chickens scratching around picking up bits of grit and grain but they will also eat grass and other bits of greenery. Now, when we were young we were exhorted to eat our greens so that we would grow up big and strong and have curly hair. I don’t want to digress too much but not only is my hair not, nor ever been, curly, generally speaking my hair is not. And since I was, and still am, a greens eater I think we can dismiss all the bunkum about the tonsorialy beneficial effects of eating greens. For chickens it’s a different story because the grass can form a mat inside their crop which then blocks the exit to the digestive system and causes undigested food to build up. The ultimate outcome will be the death of the chicken by either, I suppose, starvation or a burst crop. Mr Hughes made the decision to operate on the chicken and have all the Ag boys present and make it a very practical biology lesson. Mr Hughes was to be the surgeon and one of the students was selected, or maybe volunteered, to be the anaesthetist. The stage was set and the proceedings went something like this.


The bird was anaesthetised by putting it’s head in a brown paper bag with a pad of cotton wool soaked in ether. This worked very well but you can’t leave it’s head in the bag all the time as it has to have air to breath so the bag has to be removed and then replaced if it starts to wake up. When it was unconscious the feathers were plucked from its breast where there was a large hard lump which was the swollen crop. After rubbing the area with a disinfectant an incision was made about two inches long through the skin but not into the crop. The look on various faces said it all. Some had their eyes closed and others had taken on a hue which did not bode well for long term survival of these proceedings. Having passed the first layer (no pun intended) an incision was then made into the crop. Now it got really nasty. The crop had to be cleared and the contents were spooned out onto the desk now being utilised as the operating table. This was the point which proved too much for some and a rush for the door ensued as the green compressed mass of evil smelling putrefying grass was liberated from the unfortunate birds digestive tract. Not a pleasant sight.


Putting the bird back together again was a fairly simple process as first the incisions in the crop and then the skin were sewn together in best quality silko, but it was not possible to replace the feathers. What happened to the bird? It recovered very well and continued to lay eggs and be a useful member of the flock. As for some of the boys, well, I think an ego or two were a little dented. Me? I just swallowed hard and crossed veterinarian off my job list.


What is small, buzzes a lot, has six legs, stings and lives in a hive? Right, a bee. If we were talking about a bee there would be no problem but this incident refers to a swarm of bees consisting of several thousand. One of the after school activities on offer was the apiarist club of which I was a not too confident member. We had some six or seven hives which gave a generous amount of honey which, like so many other agricultural products, was sold on the premises after being put into jars. One particularly nice summers day the bees from one of the hives swarmed and members of the club were collected by Mr. Hughes from whichever class they happened to be in at the time in order to chase the swarm and get it back. This was another occasion when some masters found their attitude towards the Ag students, not unreasonably, a little strained, Bees swarm because they have a new queen and since there can only be one queen in any hive they have to fly away and find a new home. We gathered together with the veiled hats which were the only protection we had against a beast with a potential ten thousand stings, worse than any Chinese torture and considerably closer. The swarm was spotted on the branch of a tree just past the kitchen garden in the woods running parallel to Common Lane. They were about eight feet from the ground and buzzing threateningly. At this point the bees are resting while scouts are out looking for suitable accommodation, buzzing around the local bee estate agents trying to find a modern all mod. con. close to the shops. It is now a race because we humans are also scouting around looking for the all mod. con. the bees will like and in addition we are also looking for a means of transporting the bees to the new home they hope to find.


We won. Their new home was an empty hive we already had and the means of transporting them was in a large cardboard box but we still had to get the bees in the box. I seem to remember this being accomplished by someone, not me, standing under the swarm with the box above their head and someone else hitting the branch and causing the swarm to drop into the box. Who these brave beings were I cannot recall but they have my unconditional thanks for sparing me from all the nasty things which would probably have happened if I had been holding the box.

Roger Hodge (1953-57)

Response to Newsletter No. 10

In the newsletter, Jim Austen, asks who was the ginger-haired School Captain from the Ag. facility. Could that have been Trevor Parsons ? His pa farmed at what is now "Stone Lodge Rare Breeds Farm Park", judging by the A-Z. I got on with him quite well, and I think that his pa and my step-father knew each other as lads.


I recall being on the school trip to Switzerland with Trevor, under the wing of Mr. Hopkins. Trevor became ill, and I was very impressed that he was able to diagnose a vitamin deficiency and to prescribe Vitamin C in large doses by way of countless oranges. In a moment of weakness, he announced that he was planning to spend a day in bed and to sweat the illness out of his system. As he slept that night, all of the dormitory's duvets were quietly and carefully piled on top of him !!  He felt a lot better by the next morning !!


In the next letter, Jeff Boult recalls that Mr. Hughes was known as "Jack-o'-Bow", and he wonders why. Unless Jeff is pretending not to know the origin of this nick-name, I can now reveal to an expectant world, that the full nick-name was "Jack-o'-Bow Legs", because of his habit of wearing gaiters which emphasised his bow-legged stance. I always maintained that he would never have been able to stop a greased pig !!


Jeff is right about Jack's daughters, and I remember standing head bowed in front of him together with, I think, Duncan Green, while Jack gave us both a bollocking for some misdemeanour, probably of trifling importance, while his two daughters walked past behind him and waved their fingers to us, knowing full well that we would have sold our mothers into slavery for such an invitation in normal circumstances, but were unable to raise even an eye-brow in greeting!!


At some time in the near future I'll send you a paper on the real story behind the Model Railway Club and how Neil McKay nearly collapsed from nicotine poisoning as a result !!


Yours Aye,    John Gatland (1954-60)


Another find through the Computer  Trevor Rigg (1957-1962)


A very pleasant surprise to hear from the past and to be able to renew contact with my contemporaries! Indeed, I am the very same Trevor Anthony Rigg and would be very interested in joining a reformed association. I am intrigued as to how you managed to get my address - do let me know! (The wonders of Computer Programmes, ed.)


I look forward to further news of the Association and do let me know if I can be of assistance in any way.


On leaving Dartford Tech in 1961, I went to Bromley Grammar, largely because the Tech couldn’t offer me languages, which I loved, and not because I was particularly academic [in fact, I remember I was useless at Science and only average at  Maths]. There, I took up German, Italian, Latin as well as French and went on to Reading University to do French and Italian.


A year out in France [Poitiers] shortly before the country erupted into revolution [1968] and Italy [Naples] where fortunately nothing erupted except my social life, was followed by a fancy scroll and six months voluntary service in Italy near Ancona on the Adriatic, working in a community for the physically handicapped. It was a rewarding experience on the human, social and personal level. I flirted briefly with various career ideas before deciding that teaching might not be so bad after all, took a teaching post in Gloucestershire [Fairford], a delightful location better known at the time for its trial runs on Concorde than for its American bomber base, took a year out in Strasbourg in Alsace [1974/75] on a teacher exchange, where I joined a Hungarian dance troupe and went on a dance tour of Hungary, before quitting the post to teach English in Germany in a state ‘grammar’ school. Ostensibly to improve my knowledge of the German language, my two year stay [1976/78] was a real eye-opener socially and professionally, introducing me not only to new teaching techniques but, not least, to my wife-to-be, a Scots lass, born and bred, from Aberdeenshire. Her softly-spoken Doric lilt, as well as culinary and dancing skills, clinched it for me really, and since then I have been engaged in what will be a life-long quest to understand our northern neighbours a little better.


Anne had just settled in Edinburgh at the time, so it seemed a good idea to join her there in July 1978 [especially as she had a flat and I had nothing!] and in Edinburgh we have lived ever since. At first we imagined ourselves as international itinerants, wandering from one stimulating working environment to another, one country to another; we still had a foot-loose, fancy-free notion of our lives, which we quickly lost as the onset of the Thatcher age made everyone value secure employment more highly. Anyway, I felt as if I still lived abroad, as I had done on and off for a number of years, among people I only imperfectly understood and a culture notably different from the land of my birth.


In 1983 we moved from our central Edinburgh flat to the outskirts, to a sixty-year old bungalow with a commanding view of the city and mountains, to the north, across the Firth of Forth and to the south, across the vast emptiness of the Borders. Edinburgh is a great place to live in, a few years ago voted the most agreeable city in Britain, with all the advantages of a capital city and yet which has not yet lost the human dimension, a harmonious blend of Georgian and late Victorian architecture, well endowed with green space afforded by some unusual geological features like the extinct volcano, Arthur’s Seat, right in the town centre. Surrounded by a back-cloth of magnificent mountain scenery, with endless recreational space at its doorstep, the city has rightly deserved its enviable reputation.


And now, after some intervening vicissitudes and twenty-seven years in the teaching profession, I have just taken early retirement [June 1999] and am not regretting it for one moment! It gives me the security of a modest income and the luxury of being able to indulge in some interests for too long squeezed out by pressures of work. Hill-walking, cycling, swimming, Yoga, photography and Scottish country dancing. It allows me more time too for the luxury of writing!


We have travelled quite extensively. In the early seventies, I had spent several summers working as a volunteer on youth work camps in Denmark, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Italy. Since then, continuing to enjoy long summer school breaks. We have been privately on tour to the American West, Canada, China and Japan, the former Soviet Union including Siberia, and Europe is a favourite destination too.

After singing endless peons of praise of Scotland, I will temper them with just one regret .... that the continent of Europe and for that matter my family and many friends in the South, are quite so far away... ach weel, you canae hae a’ thing! However, distance in the modern world is no barrier and I’m always looking out for reunions.


I would very much like to hear from my contemporaries, more especially, Barry Norris, Quentin Walker, Frank Pearson, Ray Marsh [with whom I did stay in contact for a number of years but who went off to live on the continent] and others whose names escape me for the moment. I have stayed in touch with Tony [Tich] Dix who has spent many years in Tasmania but who was over here visiting just recently. [I can alert him to the Association address] I have some fond, and not so fond!, recollections of former teachers, Twinkle-toes / Dobie, Potty, Pinhead, Froggy, Maggie, Jake, Jessie, Bracket!. I have often marvelled at the inventiveness of nick-names in those days - you certainly don’t get that now.

Well, until we meet or hear from each other again ........


Lang may yur lum reek!


[long may your chimney smoke, or put less ambiguously and rendering the sentiment more accurately, long may you have the essential comforts of life, light, warmth, security and food to eat, provided symbolically by the smoking chimney in your home!]


Memories From ’56  -  Roger (Wally) Hammond  (1956-61)


Having attended the Old Boys dinner at the school earlier this year and the recent Sunday lunchtime get together for my year, at the Horse and Groom, I thought perhaps I should put something back into the Association and how better to do that than a contribution to the newsletter.  Hence here are a few of my memories of what now I recognise as a rosy era of my life although perhaps at the time, this was not quite so apparent.


Let me say first of all, that on the occasion of the dinner, I spent some moments wandering around the

grounds of the school and felt nothing but anger at the sheer vandalism wrought through the destruction of the lovely old house, Wilmington Hall.  It was not grand, it was even less grand when we had finished with it, but it was certainly better than what has replaced it.  For those who have not visited the school, only the old Physics and Chemistry Lab block remains with what was the Drawing Office and Nature Study, sorry, Biology classroom above; the canteen building is still there but the bike sheds have gone, sacrilege! as has Mr Joyce’s (the caretaker) lodge house.


I remember arriving at the school and, in assembly, being told that the part of the new building then completed formed one eighth of the final plan and that work towards completion would continue shortly.

Needless to say, no further building took place during my five years at the school.


When looking back on one’s school life, those members of staff who had a major part in the enjoyment of those days come to mind.  The member of staff who had the most important impact on me throughout my life at the school was without doubt, Mrs Saunders, the lab assistant, what a cracker!  It was sheer sadism on the part of the governors to appoint such an attractive 23 year old woman to walk about in her close fitting lab. coat in such close proximity to us impressionable and imaginative innocents.  I was in love with her, but unfortunately so was the rest of the class.  I remember on one afternoon, we were queuing up in the quad to go into the old Physics Lab, when Percy Black arrived, hot foot from the staff room, and led us inside.  As he went in, Mrs Saunders, clutching a box of magnets destined for the New Physics Lab,  came out and, unfortunately for Percy, given the choice between following Percy or Mrs Saunders, well, what would you do?  With one mind, the whole class proceeded Indian file behind Mrs S. off towards the new Physics lab.


As we disappeared from the quad onto the drive, there came the inevitable roar from the lab, indicating that Percy had, by then, found himself completely alone therein.  To his credit he did see the funny side of it with the roar turning into laughter as he emerged from the lab to see his class snaking away, together with some scuffling at the front as boys fought to be first behind Mrs S.  Some years after leaving the school, my prayers were answered when Mrs Saunders came into my house one evening.  Unfortunately she was appearing as a contestant on Take Your Pick, the television quiz show, so in today’s parlance, it was only a ‘virtual’ dream come true.


The above incident was a ‘spur of the moment’ reaction to a situation.  This was not the case with some of our ‘larks’, which were definitely pre-meditated and required development and detailed planning.  You will recall that it was often necessary to black-out the lab for the purposes of an experiment and blinds, complete with drawstrings were provided at all the windows.  Often the experiment would take the form of a demonstration by Percy on the raised bench at the front with all the class seated around. Conditions of darkness are recognised by burglars and other mischief makers as ideal opportunities to create havoc and this concept was not lost to members of the LCC, (Lark Co-ordinating Committee, whose names remain on the Official Secrets List even to this day).  Prior to the experiment, the LCC had secretly attached a length of cord to the drawstring of the blind to the right of the bench by the entrance door and briefed the class of the forthcoming event and the actions required by all those involved.  In due course, the experiment was in full swing with Percy pouring forth on refractive indices and parallax during which time, under cover of darkness, the cord was passed around the class until it reached the boy sat at the opposite side of bench on Percy’s right hand side.  At the appropriate moment, this boy slowly released the cord and the blind on Percy’s left hand side began to rise thereby spoiling the experiment.  Percy, not bothering to look up, at his time of life bored with little boys playing with the blinds, motioned to the boy sat nearest to the blind and murmured, “Leave the blind alone, lad.”


The lad, professing innocence, raised both his hands and said, “It’s not me, Sir.”


The blind continued to rise.  “Leave the blind alone, lad,” said Percy to the next boy, this time looking



“It’s not me, Sir,” said boy number two.  The blind started to come down slowly.  Percy’s blood pressure started to rise quickly.


At this point, Percy realised that this was no idle fiddling with the blind which was endemic to most experimental periods, but was something much more interesting.  Glaring, with his ‘I am not amused look’ at the next boy, the request was repeated and elicited a similar response from boy number three.  The three boys nearest to the blind were now sat with their hands aloft and a look of cherubic innocence on their faces.  The blind continued to move apparently oblivious of the impending storm it was brewing.

Percy, fearing that the laws of physics were being undermined by this shower, determined that somebody

must be moving the blind and turned quickly to the next boy, then the next, then the next, moving round the whole of the class with the blind continuing its apparently magical travels.  Inexorably, the glare moved around the circle of boys leaving in its wake everyone in the class with their hands held high, looking like a bank hold up, until the last lad, furthest away from the blind, was reached.


“Put your hands up,” said Percy, to the remaining lad, sensing victory but sounding more like an angry James Cagney than the Percy we loved, with whom we had started our lark.  As the lad obediently did what he was told, there was no-one left to hold the cord and the blind flew to the top of the window with a clatter wrapping the cord into a bird’s nest of a tangle.


Percy did not see the funny side of this one!


It was on occasions like this that Percy brought his favourite weapon into play.  He was a master of the

‘left slap feint’ a technique that he perfected on me and one or two others.  I pride myself on having assisted in its development, arts the worth of which has been sadly lost to the educational establishment

along with all other forms of punishment.  When one had been identified, falsely of course, as the perpetrator of some misdeed, Percy would stand in front of you and look up into your eyes (you will recall he was of a quite diminutive stature) and his left arm would swing up rapidly towards your right cheek.  This was the feint.  The real blow was delivered as one’s natural reaction moved the head speedily away from impending impact only to meet Percy’s right hand which, by then, was rising even

more rapidly towards the left cheek having been dispatched at exactly the precise moment for maximum

effect.  Those were the days when the teaching profession had real skills.  Kids today! Huh! They don’t know they’re born.


I find that as I write this article, more and more instances come back to me but this is probably long enough for this one issue of the newsletter.  Perhaps another instalment in another issue.

Roger (Wally) Hammond 1956-61



The School in the early Fifties


For the second time I find myself doing the unthinkable and writing to you about Dartford Technical School, if only to refresh someone else’s memory again.


June Braxton, who took over running the office from Miss Hombden when she left to get married, appears to need some help remembering the names of some members of staff during the 1950’s. Maybe some of the names I am about to put forward will bring back those lost memories for her:


“Charlie” Harris - head of English and the one responsible for my mis-use of it.


“Chang” Gordo - the tiny Physics master who took a whole term trying to explain Archimedes Principal to us Ag boys.


“Master Archie” Andrews the gardener - gave me a Saturday morning detention (I obviously tried his patience a bit too much).


“Nobby” Kneeshaw - Geography. His nose collided with Johnny Tremains’ fist one lunchtime and was broken - sad to say I missed that bit of excitement!


Aileen Power was the Science mistress who married Ted Harper. I never could concentrate on the subject when she taught us as she had the most distracting habit of coming and sitting on the corner of one’s desk. Thanks June, you have settled a forty-five year old puzzle, she would never tell us her Christian name so we called her “Annie”.


Other names that spring to mind are Mr. Bigglestaff - P.E. and Mr. (Bas) Seaman - Science a huge man who rode a B.S.A. Bantam motorbike and made it look like a toy bike.


I have varied memories of June Braxton as well. Her low-cut summer dresses wreaked havoc with the hormones of this particularly pimply adolescent, as they did with a lot of the other boys - and all quite deliberate I’m sure. That is one of the few happy memories I have of my later days at Dartford Technical School.


On that wonderful July afternoon in 1956 when I and most of my Ag classmates walked out through the School gate for the last time after letting off fireworks and stink bombs all over the place. I tossed my tatty old cap back over the boundary wall and vowed never to return. Occasionally over the next couple of years sheer curiosity almost got the better of me (the criminal who returns to the scene of the crime perhaps) I always managed to resist the temptation however.


A couple of months ago I had to travel to Dartford by public transport. On its way the bus went round Swanley passing another of my old schools in St. Marys Road before wending its way through Hextable and into Wilmington. You can imagine my utter amazement when it turned into Common Lane. My jaw dropped open when I saw the hotch-potch of buildings where once football and cricket pitches had been and where is the old “Hall” itself? That was one of the very few redeeming features of the school. I did recognise the block that housed the Physics and Chemistry laboratories with the Technical Drawing and Biology rooms above, the rest looked totally foreign and uninviting to me. My one-time curiosity has been satisfied now.


One thing you may care to investigate for future newsletters is who was responsible for hanging Percy Black’s bike out of the top floor window on the last day of Summer term 1955? I think it is about time the culprits owned up, as that was one of the best end-of-schooldays stunts that had been pulled off in those days, and one which we planned to repeat in 1956. Of course Percy was wise enough not to fall for that trick a second time and kept his bike securely locked away all day.

Regards Dave Diboll (1953-56 Ag Form)



Thanks for contacting us again. I would certainly be interested in visiting the school, and if I can make it on 6th May I will be there. I have never returned to the school since leaving on July 20th 1963, why does that date stick in my mind? ( spooky).

Fascinating reading some of the names from the past, Mr James who we always called Jessie, lived quite near me in Sidcup, and in all those years I never realised his name was Wally! Also remember Sam Austen (Tech Drawing and Cigarette Card Club) also remember the photocopier where we all used to get high on the ammonia fumes, incidentially I was one of his worst ever pupils.  Mr Cartwright, I think he taught Geography, I also remember Mr Hollingsworth who taught History. Does anyone remember Mr Pearce, a really excellent English teacher who could turn you to stone just by staring at you. He was always warning us to stay away from the LCV's , those girls who were 'Low, Common and Vulgar. We were always looking for them, but to no avail.

On the pupils list, 1957-63, I remember some of the names, but amongst my closest friends, only Carl Targett and John Pritchard are listed, although I also remember Keith Salmon, he studied very hard, which was a rare commodity in the 'C' stream.

Still enough of my ramblings for now.  Keep in touch,    Richard Arthur (1957-63)


Dennis, many thanks for your e-mail of today. I have just spent a very happy 3 hours reading everything on the Website. Brings back memories, names and roots that will endure. I recognize many names and glad to see them listed as members.

I do not believe that I am related to David William Walden and I have no recollection of there ever being another David Walden at DTHS, however he is certainly in evidence and actively involved with the Club.

I do remember Len and believe that I can picture him, although not 100% sure. I read the available News Letters and hope that 5 through 9 can be added as they make fine reading.


I have added my information to the site and look forward to future newsletters. I left for Canada in 1966 and have only been back twice - 1972 and 1990 - on both trips I drove by the School but did not visit (weekends I believe).

Thanks for your interest in finding me and showing me the Website. Could you pass my details onto Christopher Bull and Brian Freed.

Best regards,   Dave Walden (1960-66)

(Ed. This contact came after Wade Nash, our Webmaster, found a message that had been left on an open email page for Dartford in 18 months ago)


and the result

Dear David,

What an unexpected delight to receive a letter from Dennis Wells enclosing your address. I remember you and your sister well and have wondered from time to time how you faired in Canada. It is amazing to read that you emigrated in 1966; where does the time go?

For my part, I left DTHS in 1968 to work for the Wellcome Foundation where I remained for 28 years! I actually retired in March 1996 and now lead a life of leisure. Don't ask me what I do because I cannot say; the time just flies by enjoying myself doing whatever takes my fancy. I thought I might feel guilty giving up the work ethic but to be honest, I have not!

Although I have stayed local to Dartford, I have never seen any of our classmates and I have never re-visisted the school, although I have always meant to. You might be interested to know that I "bumped" into Janice Degnin at Wellcome during the 1980's. Unfortunately, she had lost both her parents but generally was in good spirits; married, divorced and now living in bucolic bliss in deepest Kent.

When time permits, please bring me up to date on your life.

Best wishes  Christopher Bull (1960-68)





Gregory Avey (Greg). (at WGSB 1985-1992)

Gregory left Wilmington School in 1992 having achieved three “A”’s in his A-level exams for Biology, Chemistry and Geography. He went on to the University of East Anglia to study Environmental Science. During his three years there, he had the opportunity to spend 3 months in Uganda (Toro Game Reserve) with “Frontier”, studying the wildlife there.


After he left the UEA - having gained a First Class Honours Degree - he spent three months with the RSPB at their reserve in Abernethy, Scotland. At the end of 1995 he had the great opportunity to spend the following year in S.Africa, in the Kalahari desert, with a research project studying the Meerkats (his most favourite animal!).


He left for S.Africa in January 1996. Unfortunately during the late spring, early summer his left leg (which had been causing intermittent problems) gave him so much pain he had to come home, ostensibly to get medical treatment for whatever was wrong before returning to S.Africa. However, he was diagnosed as having a Ewings Sarcoma (a very rare form of tumour) which had destroyed part of his pelvis (he had to use crutches from then on). He had a successful operation at the end of ’96 to remove part of his pelvis and hip joint, but also had to have lots of chemo therapy; and also other problems which involved radio therapy and further operations, and the cancer spread to his lungs. However, from January until April this year he was able to make several journeys that he had wanted to make, meeting or going with friends to Scotland, Wales, Jersey, San Fransisco and Capetown. In between these visits he had to have lots of hospital visits to have blood transfusions, anti-biotics, etc.


Gregory deteriorated very suddenly during the last week of May - although we were all aware (including Gregory himself) that his time was running out the end came very quickly. He died here at home with his two brothers and ourselves present. In accordance with his requests we were able to organise an “environmentally Friendly” funeral, (involving a basic “cardboard” coffin), and a tree will be planted at the site. Gregory achieved a great deal in his short life, although he obviously would have gone on to greater things. We are very proud of him.


Mrs. Margaret Mountjoy

Mrs. Mountjoy (Maggie) was born in Canada in 1914 and passed away on Friday, 14th January, 2000. Mrs. Mountjoy joined the Staff of the School in 1942 and although she retired in 1979, becoming the longest serving Member of Staff, she continued to do relief teaching for another five years.


She was our Guest of Honour on two occasions, the first being a Summer Buffet in July 1995 and the second being in March 1997 at our 4th Annual Reunion Dinner


Mrs. Mountjoy lived in Wilmington, but spent much of the summer at her retirement Cottage in Farnham, Surrey.


More details in the next Newsletter. If any Member has any special memories of Mrs. Mountjoy, humorous or otherwise please send to Dennis Wells for publication in the next Newsletter.


Web site - http://www.odwa.freeserve.co.uk


Have you visited the Old Boys website yet

Lists in years of those on the Database

Old Newsletters  -  News

E-mail:  oldboys@odwa.freeserve.co.uk



Annual General Meeting and Millennium Reunion Dinner


Arrangements are well in hand for our Millennium Dinner, which we hope will be well supported, if there is sufficient support we plan to use the main hall this year which will give us more room.


We have changed our Caterer this year, and have secured the services of Stan Gilkinson, who catered for our earlier Dinners while he was in charge of the School Catering. (see accompanying letter for Menu).


We have received a number of helpful comments from the forms sent out with the last Newsletter, and hope to be able to implement some of them, the main hall being one of them, which will also allow more space to display old pictures and records around the small hall and entrance hall, plus more room to view. We will again have a microphone available, which has been declined by our Guests in the past, but will be needed in the larger hall. We hope to have some background music.


From the forms and emails received expressing hopes to attend we should have a very good attendance this year, with responses received from members of most years, with a good attendance from 1954, 1956 (who have done tremendous work searching for their year and have found to date 56 members, of which they hope many will attend). Current searches are being made by Neil McKay, myself and members of 1957, 1967, 1970 and 1984, who all hope to have a good attendance. Any other year group that wish to find more of their past friends can contact me, as I now have copied all entrance lists between 1952 and 1984.


We are planning to arrange a guided “Nostalgia Tour”, if you are interested in a tour of the grounds (subject to weather) and School, please complete details on the application form for the Dinner, the plan is to arrange several tours, subject to demand, one to start at 3.00p.m. and the next one at 4.15p.m. The Bar will open for the evening at 6.00p.m. but tea or coffee will be available for those on the early tour.


As an Association we are still able to continue to run without a Membership Fee, this is due almost entirely to the donations received from our generous Members, but as the Association is continuously growing, we now have over 1000 names on our Database, the increased quantity of Newsletters that require to be printed and mailed we may have to reconsider this in the future.


Unfortunately the health of John Daley has not improved greatly, so Marion Miller has kindly agreed to handle the Bookings for this years Dinner

Dennis Wells (Chairman)



on Saturday, 6th May, 2000

Mr. Graham Nicholls (Member of Staff since 1970)

will be our Guest of Honour.

Come and Toast "Twizzle"

Menu and Booking Form with this Newsletter


Mrs. Mountjoy with some of the class of '59 at the Buffet Supper on 15th July, 1995


Check out our web page www.odwa.freeserve.co.uk


Your next Newsletter is due to be published in July/August for which I need articles and correspondence. Comments with regard to your memories

while at the School or details of your own life since leaving will be greatly

appreciated, also any memories or pictures of Mrs. Mountjoy.


Please contact Dennis Wells, 3 Millbro, Victoria Hill Road,

Hextable, Swanley, Kent BR8 7LF.  email: tartwells@aol.com





Dear Old Dartechs, Wilmingtonians and Friends,


Once again I have the opportunity of writing to you as Chairman of the Old Dartechs' & Wilmingtonians’ Association, and look forward to the chance of meeting you and again, or for the first time, at this years A.G.M. and Millennium Reunion Dinner. Your partner is welcome to attend.


Please find enclosed your copy of the 11th Issue of our Newsletter, which I trust you will find interesting. Should you feel able to contribute an article for the next edition it would be appreciated, see details in Newsletter.


We are hoping to arrange Nostalgia Tours of the School and Grounds (weather permitting) with Guides, if you wish to join one of these tours please enter your preferred time on the slip below.


You are invited to join us at our Annual General Meeting and 7th Annual Dinner, with our Guest, who this year is Mr. Graham Nicholls, to be held at the School on Saturday, 6th May, 2000. We hope that the demand for tickets will be as good if not greater than previous events so please return the attached form with your payment as soon as possible. Dress to suit the occasion, i.e. not untidy.


Tickets are priced at £16.00 per person. There will be a Licensed Bar, which will open at 6.00p.m. and a variety of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be available. The Annual General Meeting will take place at 6.30p.m. with Dinner being served at 7.30p.m. The evening will end at approximately 11.00p.m.


A Raffle will be organised with tickets at £1.00 per strip.


The Menu for the meal will be as follows:

Mixed Hors d'Oeuvre

* * * * * * * * *

Chicken with Apricot, Cream and Brandy Sauce

Lemon Stuffing

Vichy Carrots and Courgette Provincial

Olive and Rosemary Roast New Potatoes

* * * * * * * * *

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Caramel Sauce

or Lemon Meringue Pie

* * * * * * * * *

Coffee with After Dinner Mints


Please advise on the slip below if you require a Vegetarian Option




Dennis R. Wells (Chairman)



Please cut off and return this slip to:




Mrs. M. Miller, Old Dartechs’& Wilmingtonians’ Association, 16 Hurlfield, Wilmington, Dartford, Kent, DA2 7BH.  

I would like ......... tickets @ £16.00 each for the Annual Dinner on Saturday, 6th May, 2000.

Name     ...............................................…............ Pupil/Staff at School from ................... to  ....................


Address      ................................................................................................................................……….......

e-mail address  ............................................................................... Vegetarian Option required  .......... Cheque, payable to ODWA enclosed for £.....…........ includes donation to Association Funds.

I would like /do not wish to join the Nostalgia Tour at 3.30p.m./4.15p.m. (delete one or both times please)