Harry Braham R.I.P. — 50 Comments

  1. I can answer question about Nans Pantry, Harry. The building is still there but it’s no longer ‘Nan’s Pantry’. I had my Wedding reception there in 1974 and have driven past it many times over the years and always take a glance. However, King George’s Hospital on the other side of Eastern Avenue has been demolished and replaced by flats. The hospital has moved to the old Goodmayes Hospital site.
    Malcolm Staight

  2. Hi Harry,
    I am the one who made you feel old when we used to take our dogs down to the Ship in Kirby. It’s great to view pictures of my past at Mayfield and to try and recall some of the pupils I met. I have you to thank for talking to my mother and getting me to stay on at school as I probably absorbed more in my last year than the others put together. I also owe a lot to Mr Carrick as he encouraged my interest in maths which helped me survive Mr Ivy who did his best to destroy it. I wonder how we would all have got on with the internet as I remember there were many of the boys in the radio club.
    Vic Hemming

  3. Hello Harry. You taught me art between 1962 and 1964. I wasn’t very good, but I was very keen and I did manage to achieve my Art O level. This was mainly down to my lettering that was taught by another master – Mr Francis. From there I went on to a career in the graphic design industry: trainee commercial artist, freelance artist and eventually my own design and typesetting studio. I was always a very fussy typographer, dating back to the simple spacing techniques I was taught at Mayfield and subsequently developing in to a career that was absolutely fantastic and very rewarding. Without those two years of intensive art work, and a couple of lucky breaks, I would never have enjoyed such a wonderful life in the graphics industry. So a very belated ‘thank you’ Harry.
    Chris Parkhurst.

  4. Hallo Harry, it seems incredible to believe that it is 48 years since 5E4. I have to thank you and Glyn Summers, together with Don Pusey for the encouragement you all gave me whilst at Mayfield. Although I had to do menial jobs initially after leaving school my burning desire for the media was finally fulfilled. On one occassion I was asked by the Programme Director of the flagship CBS mega radio station in New York where my career had started. It was at that point that my mind wandered back to the English lessons you all gave over the years and Glyn encouraging me to undertake drama. I have worked for newspapers, PR, commercial radio and two major stints with the BBC. Without Harry, Glyn and Don it may never have happened. A belated thank-you to you all!
    Alan Thompson

  5. I can’t be certain, but I believe the boy with Harry in the top photo is Arthur Poultney, and I calculate that it was taken around 1950. Some of Arthur’s work is listed in the School Magazine Section. I remember he was very good at art and hoped to go on to be an commercial artist. We were in Mr. Buckley’s class together. Hope this will be of some help, it would be nice if someone else could back this up.
    Roy Barker

  6. Still have a piece of pottery I made dated 26.3.1957 while in 3B and still have the marks on the backside from your slipper, even after leaving could not get away from school as my sister has been and still is happily married to Don Pusey.
    John Poole

  7. It’s bizarre to read these messages. When we were schoolboys I’m sure we never appreciated what we were being given and taught, simply because we were too young to appreciate anything much at all. Now we are very much older we come to realise just how important our school was and how much we absorbed and were influenced. I also realise that being a schoolteacher must be a thankless task – all the kids want is to get away. It’s only many years later that it dawns on them what a major influence it all was.
    Chris Parkhurst

  8. Found the entry by Mr. Braham very interesting. As an ex pupil I find the new website excellent.
    Ken Butler

  9. I left Mayfield in 1958. I still have the photo of myself with fellow pupils in the School Print Room. It was a career in printing that I wanted to do went I left school but never did quite get there. In those days it was a closed shop unless you knew someone in the print trade. It was great to see the old photo in Mayfield Memories.
    Roger Sears

  10. Have only just read ‘Harrys Blog’ and as soon as I saw the photo, before reading other comments, I thought the boy is Arthur Poultney, so I agree with Roy Barker. I was in the same class as Arthur and Roy and have many happy memories of being in Mr Buckley’s class whilst in 3rd form 1950.

  11. Great teacher of art. He always classified my pottery as different and art work as unusual. I’ve no claim to being an artist but my son gained two A levels in art and sculpting. Why after so many years do I still appreciate the teachers at Mayfield when I couldn’t wait to leave?

  12. Well Sir, do you remember the Riddle twins? We both left Mayfield School in 1963 and eventuality followed the same career paths in Customs and Excise dealing with mainly personnel issues. We were both invited to a Garden party at Buckingham Palace towards the end of our careers and I was awarded an MBE in 2007. So we ain’t done bad Sir.
    We still do art work and both remember the pleasant anticipation of your lesson in the Art building in the playground. I recall the clay items we made and I still have a white rabbit that sits in a cubby hole in my bookcase that I made all those years ago.
    We like you because you were very fair and firm. We all knew where we stood with you and liked your sense of humour.

    We have both retired David is always busy, coaching fencing (thanks to Mr Wyatt’s tuition), running a small photographic business and railway modelling in N gauge. I’m into cycling keeping fit, singing in a male voice and railway modeling in live steam.

    I am ashamed to say we still mess about a bit and drive people mad when we get together, kids at heart. Aren’t we all.

    Thank you for all you did for us.


  13. I am Harry Braham’s son in law and we have just enjoyed having a Sunday lunch with him and his nephew David . Harry is 94 and still doing well with 2 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. He lives, as we do in Frinton on Sea, in Read House care home and can’t remember what happened an hour ago but still remembers Mayfield School. I am happy to communicate on his behalf. The Photo below of Harry with his nephew, David, was taken today.
    Roger Evans

  14. Have often spoke of and thought of Mr Braham, he must have taught me well as I enjoyed the lessons very much, to the extent that I have had my own Art Group for some Ten Years. I wish him well as I do all his family. Scholar from 1949 to 1953 in the old prefab buildings.

  15. Wonderful, thanks for sharing that photo with us. I left in 1955 the first of the GCE class ever at Mayfield and remember him well. May he continue to live a healthy life. I have lived in South Africa 40 years this year and still working at 75.

  16. Mr. Braham was my art teacher until 1963 when I left Mayfield to pursue a career in music. I have very fond memories of the time I spent in the art annexe both during class time and socially after hours. Whilst I was not a memorable art student, Mr. Braham left an indelible mark in my memories of Mayfield. I am so pleased to know that he is doing so well.

  17. I left Mayfield in 1973 and remember Harry well as an excellent teacher. I was very pleased to have exchanged a couple of emails with Harry a few years ago on this site and was able to let Harry know he was the first person I knew who was a humanist and that in recent years I became active in the British Humanist Association. Was great to see this photo taken today and please pass on my best wishes.

  18. How well I remember art classes with Mr Braham, like many others, I was no great artist but there was always a word of encouragement. So nice to see that he’s still going strong. Best wishes to him. (I was a pupil from 1952-1957)

  19. Hello. Yes, I remember Mr Braham very well being a pupil at Mayfield from 1954-1959. Also remember the very cold prefab Art Block. I was really useless at art and he would have so much patience with me, I don’t think I was alone as most of my pals were the same. It’s super to hear that he’s going strong and even more so that he lives in Frinton as I’ve been in Colchester since 1972. I’m sure he won’t remember me specifically but please give him my very best wishes and many happy years ahead. I’m 72 next, married 50 years and 3 grandchildren. Mayfield was a super school and gave many of us a good start in life. Great to hear this today. Very best wishes.

  20. I am glad to see Harry is still alive. I often talk about him and how I made him feel old when I spoke to him in the Kirby Ship when he took his dog there and I fed it cheese snips with my dog. Colin, my friend who lives in Kirby, and I helped put up the radio mast in his garden when I was in my mid thirties. I wish him all the best and thanks for keeping us informed as he was a great teacher and friend.

  21. How good to see and read that Mr Braham is well and still remembers Mayfield. I too was not a great art pupil but have pleasant memories of him being very patient and kind to us ‘not so goods’ art wise. I had forgotten that he designed the school badge but well remember proudly wearing it on my new school blazer when I attended a function that a small contingent of Mayfield pupils had been invited to when the Queen as Princess Elizabeth visited Ilford and Goodmayes. I was a pupil from September 1948 to December 1951 a period in my life that I would gladly live again. Have lived in Australia since 1964 but come ‘home’ periodically and hope to make the trip one more time in June this year and a visit to the old school site is on the agenda.

  22. I left Mayfield in 1960, Mr. Braham was my favourite teacher. I joined his radio club and built my first ‘crystal set’ on the end of an old ironing board (much to Harry’s amusement) and it worked perfectly. I would like to thank him for his time and patience and wish him and his family good health very best wishes.

  23. Hello Harry, I am so happy to see that you are alive and well. I was at Mayfield 1957-1961 thoroughly enjoyed the art and being involved with the school magazine, type compositing. I wanted to go into the ‘Print’ but it was a closed shop. I ended up in the electrical industry. I am now retired and living in Thailand with wife, children and grandchildren. I have many happy memories of your teaching. Have a happy life Harry. Thank you.

  24. It’s great to hear that one of the mayfield teachers is still alive and personally I wish him well. But, although I’ve really racked my brains I cannot remember Mr Braham. I seem to recall a rather portly lady being our art mistress. I was at Mayfield the same period as Peter Barnett, commenting above. Perhaps he can put me straight. regards david s. walker

  25. Hello Harry,
    You were an excellent art teacher, and gave all your pupils a helping hand when needed. Thank you for that Harry.

  26. I remember Mr. Braham, my form master throughout the whole of my time at Mayfield (1949 – 1953). We were considered, as the least educated boys in the school, as the class without hope for the future. The very first day that Mr. Braham took us he said that despite our lowly position in the school he was personally going to afford us the very best education of which we were capable; and he did. Throughout those four years he encouraged and inspired us to achieve far more than the school system thought us possible of. If my memory serves me well I believe that one of my classmates, Victor Fair, gained a place into The Royal Academy of Art whilst I managed to win a scholarship to read politics and economics at John Ruskin College, Oxford. I would also like to add that Mr. Braham never once had to resort to corporal punishment with our class, gaining all our respect by his authoritative and fair demeanour. I am grateful to be able through this message to express my gratitude to him, something I have wished to do for a very long time. Ernie Barrett (class 4X)

  27. Sadly I have to report that we heard today that Harry’s great friend and colleague at Mayfield, PE Master Dennis Aston, passed away last week.

  28. Mr Braham was my favourite teacher and through his encouragement I stayed on to the 5th year and gained a good few RSA’s and technical certificates. A few years ago I contacted him and went and visited him in his bungalow in Frinton. We had a good time reminiscing and even went down town and had lunch together. It’s great to hear that he is still well, but a shame his memory is not so good now. Thanks again Harry for your excellent teaching skills and doing your very best in encouraging us all to get ahead in life. I hope you enjoy the remainder of your retirement.

  29. Mr Braham without a doubt changed my route in life. I was in Mr Braham class for the last two years at Mayfield. Back then you could leave in the 4th year, not being one that enjoyed school and not being very good at it this was my aim. My father was a Master Baker, you may remember the loafs and five fishes every harvest festival. Dad got me an apprenticeship at Barton’s the Bakers in Dagenham. I didn’t get it on my ability or education, purely that my Dad was who he was in the industry. I advised Mr Braham of this and he asked me to remain behind after school as he wanted a word with me. He told me that he would like to discuss the matter with my parents and could he visit them. Not them going up to the school, he would give up his time to visit them at home. I seem to remember he was there for some considerable time but at the end it was felt best that I stayed on into the 5th year, which I did. I went on to have a life and lifestyle that I don’t think I would of had if I had taken the bakery position and I feel that this is totally due to Mr Braham’s intervention. A man I will be forever grateful too.
    Thank you Mr Braham.

  30. Hello Mr Braham,
    I left Mayfield in 1953 and remember your art classes which you always made interesting. You won’t remember but you taught me how to draw a tree, and I was bursting with pride when you pointed out to the class what a good tree it was. It’s still the only thing I can draw though, Constable I am not. What a pleasure to read about you after all this time.
    Kind regards – Terry Power

  31. Hi Harry
    I left Mayfield in 1967. Mr Archers class 4b ( didn’t stay on) but I do remember your art classes, mainly pottery. I was one of the school printers and setters in the print room. Very fond memories, so different from today with discipline and order. If you did wrong you were punished but that was an acceptance of the day. I do remember one instance when myself and Russell Turner were caught by Harry throwing clay around the art room. Stick and book from Mr Hicks office and 2 on each hand nearly took our fingers off. All done with a kind of light hearted firmness which sadly is missing today. It didn’t do us any harm and I think we were all better people for it. God bless you Harry Braham, fond memories of, sadly, a bygone age.
    Russell Volkert

  32. Harry Braham taught me at Mayfield from 1960 to 1965. He was a very good, and very generous teacher. The art rooms were really well equipped and he introduced me to so many skills, from sign writing and pottery through to painting, drawing and printmaking. He was certainly the first person to take my interest in art seriously, always very supportive and encouraging.
    I went to Hornsey College of Art in 1967, graduating in 1971. A post graduate year in Birmingham followed. In 1973 I started to teach painting at BA and MA level at Chelsea School of Art. I became a senior lecturer at Chelsea, leaving in 2000 to pursue a full time career as an artist. I have been exhibiting my work nationally and internationally since leaving art school in 1971. Predominantly a painter, I also make prints and my work can be found in public and private collections throughout the world. So thank you Mr Braham for starting me off.

  33. Hello Harry. It must be 50 years since we last met. I got news of you from your nephew David and I am glad to hear that you are alive and and well. I have an image of you in the staffroom at Mayfield, sitting comfortably, puffing your pipe, you seemed the embodiment of geniality. I remember your asking me to do some photos of your daughter’s art work in the art building. I still do some part-time teaching although I shall be 80 this year. I send you my best wishes and prayers for the future.

  34. What wonderful memories the mention of Mr Braham evokes. From making tea for him in the afternoon break to the superb teaching he gave us all. There were even the Art evening classes he took when there was a thriving evening centre, after I left in 1964, in the Goodmayes Lane School. I left with a few RSA Certificates but I had one GCE, in Art! Thank you Harry.

  35. What a pleasure to hear the news that Mr Braham is fine.

    The pottery and art lessons were my favourite and I still write with my broad nib pen (Christmas Cards) as he taught me. He used to say “sit square in-front of your work Riddle, and don’t try and letter sitting askew.”
    It put in very good stead at work. When my boss in Customs and Excise learnt that I could letter she asked me if I would be prepared to letter out all the seat name cards when the Queen opened the new wing of the Custom House in London (many years ago.) I was delighted and I have been pleased to do other similar jobs for the department and friends throughout the years.
    Pottery was a delight and I still have the white rabbit I made in the art block all those years ago. On one occasion just before we cleared up and scrubbed down the bench tops, we made small balls of clay and filled them with water to lob them over to the lads on the other tables. They made such a mess on other boys tables it was great until Mr Braham caught us one day and there was hell to pay.
    Both my twin brother, David, and I remember him well. He was strict but also kind and fair. I do hope Mr Braham reads this and appreciates the lasting effect his positive influence has had on our lives and careers.
    Thank you Sir.

  36. I have very fond memories of my times in the artroom at Mayfield and with Mr Braham in particular. I recall him as a kindly teacher, always ready to give advice and criticism in a way that didn’t offend or give you a big ego. I was very pleased and surprised to hear he is still going strong. I hadn’t used his teachings much until the year 2000 when I started painting again and produced my own art in water colour, which I then scanned and produced a calendar on my computer and gave as Christmas presents to friends and family. It has been my target to produce one every year since and every time I get my paints and brushes out I think of Mr Braham and his advice to keep watercolours clean and not ‘muddy’, Thanks a lot to you, Mr Braham.

  37. I spent this afternoon sharing your kind comments with Harry. He was very touched with all the kind things you had to say and we shall print them out and make them into a Memento folder that he can dip into at his leisure.
    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment. Harry clearly was an exceptional teacher and way before his time forming strong relationships and raising aspirations way beyond what was normal for that time. If any of you pass this way and would like to meet up with Harry we would be happy to welcome you. (Listed Pupils wishing to contact Roger should use the Feedback form to request his email address. – Ed)

  38. I was at Mayfield 1956-1961 and remember Mr.Braham as a well respected and liked teacher. Amazing at 70 years of age to hear of a teacher of mine to still be alive and well.

  39. I had Mr Braham for Art from 1968 to 1973. I was his first student to take the A level Art. I loved being in that building at the end of the playground. We used to hang out in the print room, all the eccentrics. Glad you are doing okay. I did use all my Art skills throughout my working life. Became Senior Photographer at Sheffield Hallam University and worked on Rigs, Fashion houses and Made film props over the years. Thanks for everything.

  40. I was at Mayfield Boys School from 1953 to 1958 and had Mr Braham as form master for at least two years. He also took us for English and in form 2B or 3B he gave me a 10 out 10 for an essay that I wrote – something he said he very rarely did. He was one of my favourite teachers.
    I am retired myself now, and would like to wish him all the very best and a long retirement.

  41. I am Harry Braham’s son in law and I have sad news that Harry passed away peacefully this morning the 6th September 2016 aged 96 years. ‘A good innings’. His funeral is being held on Monday 12th September at 11.45 at Weeley Crematorium, I have the many kind comments made by former pupils but if any one wishes to add anything new I will be happy to include them in the service.

  42. Rest in peace Mr Braham.
    Your enthusiasm in pottery and art encouraged me to pursue a very successful career in engineering and architecture.
    With your passing the world is now a less bright place
    Thank you for all the knowledge and care you imparted to your Mayfield lads, we are all forever indebted.

    Sleep Well
    Sir Roy Malin

  43. R.I.P. Mr. Braham. As a youngster, you and your team inspired me to work hard at my artistic ventures. With only average natural ability but ambitious enthusiasm I made a career of it and have always remembered your help, encouragement and advice. Thank you again.

  44. I was at Mayfield form 1952-58 along with Roy Malin. I too have fond memories of art classes and although I didn’t show much artistic talent that didn’t stop Harry from giving me as much encouragement as he gave all of his pupils.

    I did remember the print classes in later years as I was involved with newspaper and magazine publishing. In fact I worked in the advertising sales department of the Romford/Havering Recorder for a few years and on occasion had to oversee the paper being ‘put to bed’ and had to be able to read pages set in type upside down, a throw-back to those print lessons.

    I eventually went on to become sales director for an International construction equipment magazine publishing company and as a result travelled much of the world. Not bad for a kid from a Council Estate in Becontree!

    I’ve been happily retired for a number of years living in Woodbridge, Suffolk, which I consider one of the best parts of the UK and not a too far away from Frinton where Harry has lived for so many years.

    I can only reiterate what has been said in previous comments about Harry. He obviously left his mark (in one way or another) on so many pupils over the years and was instrumental in pointing some of us in a certain direction. A truly inspirational and caring tutor. Indeed, a Humanist in every way.


    Michael Penn

  45. I was saddened to hear of Harry’s passing. He was our form teacher in 4E4/5E4 for two years. I last saw him a few years ago while in Frinton, and although somewhat frail he still recalled some of my classmates from 1962 – 64. He was a true professional and an inspiration to me. R.I.P. Harry, you deserve it.

  46. I have never forgotten your art classes and your guiding words. May you have time to paint the sky blue and the clouds white.

    Fondly remembered.

  47. Yes indeed …what a good innings you had, as has been commented by many others. We appreciate you Harry and the strong and valuable influence you had on many of our lives. Thank you.
    I was a pupil at Mayfield from 1955 to1962. Harry taught me Art and encouraged an interest which was to develop into a teaching career for myself too. After my 5th year at Mayfield as we used to call it, now Year 11, I was privileged to stay on and to study A level Art and History of Art under Harry and A level Engineering Drawing and Divinity, in the first 6th form ever created at a Secondary Modern School. This was due to the forward thinking initiative of Mr Hicks the Headmaster at that time.
    Eventually after training for teaching at Chester College I returned to Mayfield as a member of staff and enjoyed working for some years under Harry in his Art department. These were great days and I was privileged to have known Harry all that time.
    So ….. on hearing of your passing and that finally you had laid your art brush down, I felt compelled to add my few words of heart felt appreciation.
    God bless you Harry and thankyou so much

  48. Mr Braham taught me Art from 68 t0 73…Still the only teacher I know that smoked a pipe in class… good days indeed…. the consumate excentric… just like his students of that time. I was his first student to do “A” ART at Mayfield and owe him a huge thanks for helping me to become what I am today…. THANK YOU and GOOD SPEED … he will be sadly missed.

  49. I was in Harry Brahams class from 1963 to 1964. His art classes were great. I remember getting 8 out of 10 for a painting. It was unheard of as he never gave high marks unless it was something exceptional, and I was no artist. It’s something I have never forgotten. God bless. Graham Crook.

  50. RIP Mr Braham. He was my form tutor for 2 years in 4E4 & 5E4. I left in 1968 after the Glasbury Duke of Edinburgh trip. I will always remember him for his kindness and support & always encouraging people to do more. Very sad to hear of his passing.
    Christopher Davis

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