To Sir, With Love
Jenny Crook asked: My father, Richard Reeves, was a metalwork teacher at Mayfield from 1951 to about 1976. I seem to remember he told me as a teenager that E. R. Braithwaite taught at Mayfield briefly and used the experience in writing his book ‘To sir, With Love’. Is this true?
I don’t remember ER Braithwaite teaching at the school but his son Ronnie Braithwaite was in my class in 1961. Mr Reeves was our metal work teacher with Mr Saunders. Mr Reeves used to drive a Rover in those days I think?
It is well documented that E. R. Braithwaite was a teacher in a London school. The name of the school is never mentioned but is frequently described as being in the deprived, bombed out, East End. This doesn’t sound like Ilford which, at that time, was in Essex and not part of Greater London. The school featured in the novel, which was later made into a film starring Sydney Poitier, was set in a co-eductional secondary school. Mayfield, from it’s opening in 1934 to it’s close in 1977 was never co-ed. The photo below is of E. R. Braithwaite
Would just like to confirm that Mr Saunders was the only Metal Work teacher that I can recall during the early to mid 50s when I left Mayfield, and a very good Teacher he was.
I left Mayfield in 1955 and remember Mr Reeves well. I believe it was reported many years ago in an article in the Ilford Recorder that E.R. Braitwaite was a teacher at Goodmayes Junior school for a short time. Maybe this is where the confusion lies.
I enjoyed Mr Reeves’ metalwork lessons, he was a very nice man!
I had Metalwork lessons with your father, I was at Mayfield from 1958 – 1963 and I remember him as being a very informative teacher and laid back.
Mr Reeves was my metalwork teacher too. We would often hang around the forge sharing a fag. From his bench at the other end of the workshop Mr Reeves after a while would get suspicious of what was going on down there, when we saw him sniffing we knew he was getting suspicious and that was the signal to flick the fags into the roaring fire to destroy the evidence. I can’t remember him ever punishing anybody. Indeed, he was a very nice man.
Ilford was part of the Greater London area when I was born. My birth cert indicates that I was born in The Borough of Ilford, yet our postal address was Primrose Ave, Chadwell Heath, Romford, Essex. Our road ended at Grove Road which was the boundary of Ilford and Romford, in those days, so I understand. Interestingly The Becontree Estate at Chadwell Heath was built by the London County Council, in the Greater London area. So were did London end in the 50’s?
Ilford did not become part of Greater London until 1965.
I think in the 50s London ended at Manor Park.
In 1960 I remember Ilford started at the boundary of Manor Park which was about the spot that the River Roding ran under the road at Ilford Hill.
I was at Mayfield from 1960 to 64 having been at school in Walthamstow until the Christmas 1959. I do remember Mr Reeves as he had a very distinctive voice, similar to how announcers used to speak on the radio.
I was interested to read your reference to Ronnie Braithwaite. He was my first boyfriend. His family lived in Chadwell Heath. I have traced him and said “Hello”on Facebook. It was soon after in 1961 when I was 14, that I met my husband. I attended Mayfield Girls for about two years from 1960. It was great seeing the archived photos a blast from the past.
Please add my name which was Gillian Field. I attended from 1960 for two years. It was amazing seeing the photos of my class mates. I was very quiet so probably no one remembers me! Miss Rayward once placed her hands on my carefully backcombed hair and stated ‘The birds will nest’. I was in Mrs. Butlers class. Love to all.
I think you have put me in the wrong year! 1960 -1962!!!
Hi Gillian – Had you stayed the full course you would have left in 1964. Hence the entry 1964 (Left 1962). This system keeps classmates together even if they leave early. – Tony Gocke
I was thinking of Mayfield, God knows why, but I thought of Richard Taylor, great in art. I began to think about the sweet shop on Goodmayes Lane. Richard Berman was in my class, Mr Franklin the English teacher. There was a pupil who wanted to join the army. There was a pupil who lived in the flats across the road from the school. He was always late for school.
We had a Mr Macdougal, a maths teacher. I hated maths and still do. He let me read all the time and that was bliss for me. We had a Mr Woodman, I think that was his name, a good teacher just had to stay out of his way. I forget the metal work teachers name. We had a history teacher who got a job at London History Museum. We had a pupil called Wok. We him taught every swear word we knew. Other pupils I remember are Mike Wilson, Vince Ford, David Crossman and Dave Philips.
I end here some of you may recall me Bob Rainbird. I hope you are all fine now and doing well.
ps – Some of you may remember me showing you how to get into the 6th forms drinks and sweet cupboard
“Jenny Crook”. Always remember your father Mr. Reeves, who was an inspiration to me so long ago. He was meticulous, the essence of a craftsman and possesed an encyclopeadic knowledge of steel fabrication. Certainly helped set me on an engineering path!