Some Memorable Old Westminster Cits
This is by no means the definitive list of WCS higher profile past students. Along with the captains of industry and scientists we also include OWCA characters who have enjoyed ‘unusual’ careers and those who have enhanced and contributed to OWCA.
Please e-mail any nominations to Bob Blanchett email@example.com
GARY ALEXANDER – a Lambeth born professional footballer, entered WCS in 1990. He began his football career with West Ham United, although his Football League debut came with a loan spell at Exeter City in the 1999/2000 season. Gary scored 16 goals in 37 league games at Exeter which convinced Swindon Town to sign him for £500,000 in July 2000. A year later he moved on to Hull City where he scored 23 goals in his first season.
After an indifferent following season Gary moved to Leyton Orient in January 2003, where he soon became a first team regular. July 2007 saw a further move to Millwall, the team he supported as a boy. On 24thMay 2009, Alexander scored twice for Millwall in the League One play off final at Wembley, the first being described as one of the best ever goals seen at that famous stadium. Despite Gary’s double strike, Millwall still lost the game 3-2 to Scunthorpe United.
In August 2010 Gary moved on to Brentford, making his debut on 7th August against Carlisle United. He scored his first Brentford goal a week later against Walsall. March 2012 saw Gary move on again to Crawley Town. January 2013 saw Gary loaned to League Two strugglers AFC Wimbledon. He scored on his debut in a 1-1 draw with Burton Albion. Garry also scored a vital goal in Wimbledon’s last game of the season. A 2 – 1 win which ensured their football league survival. Garry returned to Crawley Town for the 2013/14 season and by Christmas 2013 had made 23 first team appearances scoring 10 goals. In January 2014 Gary signed for Burton Albion making 7 appearances for them before being released in the summer. Now aged 35, Gary decided to retire from playing football. However he has been lured back into the game by ambitious semi pro side Greenwich Borough who play in the South Counties Eastern League. As at mid October 2014, Gary had made 11 appearances for them scoring 4 goals.
Greenwich play their home games at the 4000 capacity Princes Park Stadium in Dartford. Gary took over as interim Manager of Greenwich Borough in December 2015 and signed a long term deal to manage the club in September 2016. In doing so he rejected an offer from Football League Two Stevenage Town to join them as Assistant Manager/Coach.
ISAAC ANOOM – Ghana born Isaac Anoom OWC a student at WCS in the 1990s, was recently honoured and presented with a British ‘Teacher of the Year Award’. His creation, ‘Mr Numbervator’, was invented nine years ago to teach the key skills and concept of mathematics
to all people who feared the subject. He now works on behalf of the Department for Education and Skills in England, presenting a range of activities to schools and colleges highlighting mathematical skills. His fun approach goes down well in school assemblies with individual classes and year groups as well as teaching staff training. “Mr Numbervator” also features in his own television programme called ‘Lucky Numbers’.
JOHN BAXTER CBE, BSc, FR. – Left WCS in 1933 at the age of 16 ‘because he wanted to get on and build things.’ A gifted engineer and designer he built up the firm of Maunsell from a small U.K. organisation of 45 employees to an international force employing over 2,000. He designed the Hobart Bridge in Tasmania, a concept which put British engineering in the forefront of design. However he is remembered for the bot
h reviled and applauded A40 elevated Westway which he designed. A visionary concept running from Marylebone to the White City, it dramatically eased traffic congestion but was damned by the conservationists. He is past president of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He died in 2003 aged 86.
BREBIS BLEANEY – Born in London in 1915 he won a scholarship to WCS and the grounding in Science he received at the School enabled him to secure entrance to St, John’s College Oxford, in 1934. He was a member of an elite group working in the Clarendon Laboratory during the Second World War on the development of microwave techniques for radar. At the end of the war he realised that these techniques could be further applied and lead world wide development in the new field of electron paramagnetic resonance of solids. (Microwave technology!)
JOHN BOYEGA – Born in Peckham in 1992, actor John Boyega entered WCS in 2003. He took part in various school productions and attended further acting training at Theatre Peckham. He was a performing arts student at South Thames College in Wandsworth where he took the lead in Othello to great acclaim.
His talent was recognised early and he was cast in ‘Six Parties’ at the National Theatre and ‘Category B’ at the Tricycle Theatre. This led to a role in the 2011 film ‘Attack the Block’ for which he received six award nominations including the London Critics award for ‘Young Performer of the Year.’
Also in 2011 he appeared in the film ‘Junkhead.’ T.V. and further film appearances followed but his breakthrough to undoubted international stardom will come with the release in December 2015 of the next blockbuster movie in the Star Wars series, ‘The Force Awakens.’ This followed a gruelling seven months audition process which has resulted in John being cast in the leading role of Finn, a trainee Jedi.
SIR MARTIN BROUGHTON – In the world of big business Martin Broughton is, without doubt, the highest achieving OWC. He joined British American Tobacco in 1971 as an auditor and rose to be its chairman. In 2004 he became chairman of British Airways and was appointed Chairman of the CBI in January 2007. As well as these momentous achievements, he found time to be Chairman of the British Horse Racing Board along the way. In a recent Daily Telegraph article his earnings for 2004 were estimated at £2.4 million.
He attended WCS through the first half of the 1960’s with his twin brother Stephen, who has also been extremely successful in his business career. Martin did not set the world alight academically at WCS, but this hardly held him back. The Telegraph article talks about his early life in Fulham: ‘his father, who was disabled, used to repair car upholstery and had little ambition for Broughton. “Nobody wants to know a failed accountant,” he said when his son decided to join Peat Marwick as an auditor. Yet he thrived in bean-counting, joining BAT as an auditor in 1971.’ The rest, as they say, is history. Martin’s media profile increased greatly in 2010 when he oversaw the financial rescue and sale of Liverpool Football Club. He was knighted for his services to business in 2011.
NORMAN ‘BUNNY’ BUNTON – OWCA Life Vice President Norman ‘Bunny’ Bunton, made an extraordinary contribution to OWCA, the OWC Football Club and the School
Born in Camberwell on 1st April 1928, he fended off April Fools jokes for the next 89 years! Bunny entered WCS, at an extraordinary time in history. Bunny’s first day at WCS was 1st September 1939, just two days before war was declared. He arrived in Palace Street to be immediately evacuated to Edenbridge, Kent. Fortunately Bunny was taken in by a loving family, the descendants of whom he remained in touch with throughout his life. Later in the war, with the new threat from flying bombs, the School moved to Exmouth in Devon. Bunny returned to the bomb scarred WCS with the School for the autumn term of 1945 and spent the last year of his time at WCS in Palace Street.
In January 1947, Bunny was called up for National Service and trained as an RAF wireless and radar mechanic. After basic training he enjoyed an idyllic posting to Malta. They finished ‘work’ at 1pm everyday and the rest of the time was spent enjoying the Mediterranean climate, Maltese hospitality and playing sports. He was demobbed in April 1949 and got a job working for a carbon products company who gave him day release to study and obtain a degree in Chemistry. Bunny moved on to work in the Assay Office of the Royal Mint from 1952 to 1960.
In 1960 he joined the Laboratory of Government Chemistry where he became a senior Chemist working on many projects including food nutrients. His published research is still available on the internet. Bunny remained at the Government Lab for 28 years before retiring in 1988. He married Anne in 1954 and they have two children; Chris (who played for OWCFC) and Carol. Bunny and Anne celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2014.
Bunny made his debut in goal for OWCFC in the 1949/50 season against Kew Association and went on to play regularly for OWCFC until around the 1967/68 season, playing his last game for a vets side in the late 1970s. During this time he played for every eleven in the club. Bunny was also a talented cricketer and played regularly for the Old Boy’s cricket team which sadly disbanded during the 1980s. He was involved with running Mitcham and the bar for around 50 years from the late 1950s up to around 2009. A truly remarkable dedication to the club, which generations of footballers and cricketers benefitted from.
The OWCA Centenary Dinner in 2008 provided the perfect opportunity to make a presentation to Bunny to acknowledge his 60 years of massive contribution of time and effort to OWCA. In 2008, Bunny was made president of the Southern Amateur League. Bunny served on numerous OWCA committees and was, until last 2013, a trustee of the Old Westminster Citizens’ Trust Fund.. He was a WCS Governor and became Chair of Governors through the 1990s where he successfully steered the School through probably the most difficult time academically in the School’s history. A tremendous character and it was always great to be in his company.
Sadly, Bunny’s health began to fail in 2014/15 and he died on 5th October 2017. Over 100 people attended his funeral on 25th October and many ‘Bunny’s Rounds’ were drunk in his memory at the reception afterwards. A fitting tribute to a great SAL and OWCA legend.
Sir JAMES CASSELS – A pupil at WCS from 1887, he began his working career as a press reporter in the gallery at the House of Commons. He qualified at the bar in 1908 and became an MP in 1922. He was appointed a High Court Judge in 1939 and knighted. He died at the age of 96 in 1972.
SIDNEY COLE – Entered WCS in 1919. He became a major film producer and editor working on such classics as ‘Went the Day Well?’ (1942), ‘Dead of Night,’ (1945), ‘The Antarctic’ (1948), ‘Train of Events'(1949), and the masterly Ealing comedy ‘Man in the White Suit’ (1951). In the 1950s, Sidney Cole embarked on television production for the new commercial stations producing ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood,’ ,’The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, ‘The Buccaneers’ and ‘Danger Man.’ He was still involved in film making and television up to the 1980s. He died in 1998 aged 90.
LIONEL COSIN – a surgeon and geriatrician was born in London on 8th November 1910, entering WCS in 1921. He was a pioneer of geriatric medicine and one of the eight founder members of the British Geriatrics Society. He established a worldwide reputation and his department in Oxford trained many of today’s leading geriatricians. Cosin became a member of the Ministry of Health’s Committee on the Chronic Sick in 1947 and helped persuade the Chief Medical Officer to aim for active geriatric units in general hospitals.
His most original idea was the Day Hospital for the Elderly opened in Oxford 1957, which was the first of its kind in the world. Cosin was widely honoured abroad, lecturing at over 90 universities and holding several visiting professorships. In the United States he advised on the establishment of a Community Health Care programme in Chinatown, San Francisco, and presented a paper to a Senate committee on ageing. He also worked for Jewish charities in North Africa and in Czechoslovakia. A ward at the Radcliffe Infirmary, in Oxford, was named after him
Cosin died in London on 31st March 1994. He is remembered as one of the greatest innovators in the field of geriatric health care.
STUART DAVIES CBE – Stuart Davies attended WCS from 1918 – 1923. He was chief aircraft designer for A.V. Roe and Sons (AVRO) during the Second World War. Davies played a part in the design of the war’s most famous bomber ‘The Lancaster’ and its post war civilian adaptation, ‘The Manchester.’ He was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1958 becoming president of the Society in 1971.
A.V. DESCLOS MC – He joined WCS in 1889. Desclos was born in France and educated at WCS, having both British and French nationalities. He founded the British Institute in Paris and was awarded the Military Cross and the Croix du Guerre for his exploits in the First World War. In the Second World War he helped organise an escape route for British airmen from under the noses of the German H.Q. in Paris. He was a Member of the French Legion d’Honour.
CHARLES DREW MO V – A pupil at WCS from 1928 to 1935, he was a gifted surgeon and consultant at Westminster and St. Georges Hospitals. He was called in for diagnosis during the illness of King George VI and assisted in the subsequent operation on the Monarch in 1952.
G.H. ELY – George Herbert Ely was one of the original pupils at WCS joining in 1877. He went on to become a prolific writer of children’s annuals under the pen name of Herbert Strang. He also published collections of stories for girls edited by “Mrs.” Herbert Strang. Five of these annuals published between 1914 and 1931 are considered collectors’ items and very valuable today. He died in 1958 at the age of 92.
WINSTON FLETCHER CBE – Winston Fletcher was a leader in the advertising industry, serving as President of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and later as chairman of the Advertising Association. He also wrote 14 informative and sometimes irreverent books on marketing and advertising, including a history of his profession. He was one of the first to argue that much of the industry’s output was sexist and patronising to women. At the same time he defended the industry against ill-thought-out government regulation.
The son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and the youngest of five children, Winston Fletcher was born in the East End of London on July 15 1937. His childhood was far from easy. After long bouts of unemployment, his father ran a shop during the Second World War, but in 1947 spent time in jail for smuggling watches.
His mother suffered from schizophrenia and spent long periods in mental hospitals.A bright child, Winston won a scholarship to Christ’s Hospital in Horsham, but his career there was brief, in fact he was so unhappy he ran away. He was much happier at Westminster City School which he joined around 1950, from where he won a scholarship to St John’s College, Cambridge.
Fletcher was influential in the charity world. After his retirement he served as a trustee of Barnardo’s and later was chairman of the British autism research charity Autistica. From 1998 to 2008 he chaired the Royal Institution. A lover of fine wine and the theatre, Fletcher was a West End “angel” (an investor in commercial theatre productions), and served as a juror for the Olivier Awards and as a patron of Garsington Opera.
Appointed CBE in 2010, Fletcher died on 4th September 2012.
He married Jean Brownston in 1963, who was an art director at Robert Sharp agency, where he then worked. She survives him with a daughter; a son predeceased him.
REVd. DR. PETER GALLOWAY OBE, JP, PhD, FRSA – An author of books on British Orders of Chivalry and former vicar of Hampstead, he is now Chaplain of the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy and Chaplain to the Royal Victorian Order. A past trustee of OWCA.
H.H. GEORGE MC CBE – Leaving WCS in 1909, he obtained a degree at Cambridge and saw Army service during World War One, winning the Military Cross. He entered the Civil Service and rose to Under Secretary in the Ministry of Health.
GAWN GRAINGER – a leading British stage and screen actor, was born in Glasgow, Scotland on 12 October 1937. He entered WCS in 1948. He trained for the stage at the Italia Conti School. Grainger made his first London appearance in 1950, when he played the Boy King in King’s Rhapsody at the Palace Theatre. He began his professional career at the Dundee Rep in 1961. He joined the National Theatre with the Old Vic Company in 1972.
Grainger has appeared in numerous stage plays, movies and T.V. productions. He is also the author of the acclaimed plays; Four to One (1976), Vamp Till Ready (1978), Lies in Plastic Smiles (1979) andParadise Lost (1980). He married actress Zoe Wannamaker in 1994.
MIKE GRANATT CB FCIPR – Entered WCS in 1961. Mike Granatt, a former senior British Civil Servant was the first head of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat of the Cabinet in 2001.For nearly 20 years Granatt held a range of the most senior communication posts in British government service and was press secretary to five cabinet ministers, both Conservative and Labour.
Alongside his management roles he specialised in crisis and counter terrorist issues. In his final posting he simultaneously created and led Britain’s civil crisis management unit and the professional grouping of government communication specialists. He made numerous media appearances as ‘the official spokesman.’
JOHN HACKETT – John Hackett entered WCS in the mid 1960s and went on to study music at Sheffield University. He is a top British flautist, the younger brother of revered guitarist Steve Hackett, who played in superbands Genesis and GTR.
Although John’s primary instrument is the flute he also plays guitar, bass and keyboards. John comes from both classical and rock backgrounds and has played with ensembles such as The English Flute Quartet and the Westminster Camerata, as well as appearing in concert and on albums with his brother, Steve. John has recorded numerous albums covering a wide range of styles from Rock to Classical.
His classical flute recordings include the critically acclaimed “Sketches of Satie with Steve Hackett on guitar and “Velvet Afternoon,” an album of John’s own compositions with Sally Goodworth on piano. He also explored improvisation with the ambient group Symbiosis which has led to several recordings and commissions for the B.B.C. In recent years John has returned to the world of rock music with the release of a solo album “Checking Out of London” with lyrics by Nick Clabburn.
Incidentally Nick is another Old Westminster Citizen who played several seasons for OWCFC in the 1970s and was John’s contemporary at school. The John Hackett Band also played live concerts throughout the U.K. including appearances at The Boardwalk, Sheffield and The Astoria, London.
CHRIS HARE – Born Fulham 1950, entering WCS in 1961, leaving in 1967 to work in entertainment. During a 40 year career Chris production managed, booked and produced numerous stars live on stage, along with countless community events, location film shoots, Royal Shows and Festivals. (Chris is pictured here working with Tommy Cooper in 1978.) He worked on over 30 professional name pantomimes and for 10 years directed a multi award winning International Jazz Festival which was broadcast around the world. He staged a vast diverse world wide ‘who’s who’ of the entertainment world ranging from Morecambe & Wise to Bill Bailey; Sarah Vaughan to Danni Minogue!
In 2000 he won the coveted Theatre Venue Manager of the Year award topping a national poll, voted for by agents and artistes. He was runner up in 1997. In May 2012 he received the ultimate accolade from the showbusiness world with a Lifetime Achievement Award presented at the annual Theatre Awards Lunch by singer/songwriting legend Buddy Greco.
As a performer, his numerous credits range from introducing world icon Maya Angelou on stage to proposing the toast at a celebrity lunch honouring Sir Norman Wisdom. His anecdotal talk to clubs and organisations about his career, entitled ‘Forty years without a Proper Job’ has been described in the press as ‘hilarious.’ A regular guest on London radio stations, Chris writes a monthly humorous column ‘Harelines’ for Encore Magazine.
He ‘played’ for OWCFC for 20 seasons and researched and wrote the OWCA Centenary Celebration Book. Chris’s father Ken was an Ivor Novello award winning musician and his mother Louise modelled for Bear Brand stockings. Hence, in Chris’s own words, ‘My inherited love of music….and great legs!’
ANDY HAMILTON – Fulham born, Andy joined WCS in 1965 going on to read English at Downing College, Cambridge. He first came to prominence as a script writer in the 1970’s contributing to a huge range of TV programmes including “Shelley”, “The Marti Caine Show” and “Not the Nine O’Clock News”.
His radio work included “Week Ending” and “The News Huddlines”. In 1984 he produced and wrote for Channel 4’s “Who Dares Wins” and created the sit com “The Kit Curran Radio Show”, working with Guy Jenkin. Andy achieved national recognition creating with Guy Jenkin the 1990’s hit show, “Drop the Dead Donkey”.
Andy is a regular performer on T.V. and radio shows such as “Have I Got News For You”, “The News Quiz”, “QI “, “I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue” and many others. He has the extraordinary achievement of being nominated for 6 BAFTA awards, winning one outright for “Drop the Dead Donkey”. He has won the coveted Top Comedy Writer award at the British Comedy Awards and also been honoured by The Royal Television Society and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain.
Along with Guy Jenkin, Andy created the TV series ‘Outnumbered’, which has received enormous acclaim. In 2009, Outnumbered won the Royal Television Society Award for Scripted Comedy and two Broadcasting Press Guild Awards for ‘Best comedy/entertainment’ and ‘Best Writers.’ Outnumbered won three awards at the British Comedy Awards for ‘Best Sitcom,’ ‘Best British Comedy,’ and ‘Best Female Newcomer,’ (Ramona Marquez.)
Andy’s first feature film screenplay ‘What We Did On Our Holiday’ starring Billy Connoly and David Tennant was released in 2014. Andy is married to Libby Asher and has three children, Pip, Robbie and Isobel. They live in Wimbledon.
PAUL HEARD – Paul Heard joined WCS in 1971. He is remembered as a keen musician at School and first came to the public’s attention playing bass for punk band Orange Juice in 1984. He is best known as a founder member of the band M. People, who enjoyed massive success in the 1990’s. In the year 2000, Paul’s new London home was featured in the Sunday Times magazine.
T. HEBRON CBE – At WCS from 1907 to 1912. As registrar and Chief accountant at the Chapter House, Westminster Abbey, Hebron served as Gold Staff Officer at the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. Made a CBE and MVO the latter being a personal gift of the Queen. He retired in 1964 as Receiver General.
PETER HENSHALL – Entered WCS in 1961, his sudden death on 16th January 1992 robbed journalism education of one of its great practitioners and champions. Graduating from University with an honours degree in English and Philosophy, Peter went as a School teacher to Uganda specialising in teaching English as a second language. He narrowly escaped from that country, literally just avoiding life threatening detention by General Idi Amin.
Returning to England he worked firstly for the Carlisle Evening News but soon landed a job at the prestigious Birmingham Post as leader writer and wine editor. The urge to travel returned and he was recruited by the University of Papua New Guinea to teach journalism. Peter stayed for seven years in that part of the world becoming co-ordinater for UNESCO’s enormous Pacjourn programme, giving media training to 13 participating countries in the South Pacific.
His innovation and methods became the template for UNESCO’s future education programmes. At well over 6ft Peter was a towering figure both intellectually and physically. He collapsed and died whilst playing basketball and is survived by his wife Felicity and two children Abi and Jamie.
Prof SIR CYRIL HINSHELWOOD O.M. FRS – Attending WCS from 1909 to 1916, Hinselwood came from a humble home, being brought up by his widowed mother. He won a place at Oxford and later became a Professor of Chemistry. He was advisor to the British Government and his discoveries in the field of bacteria had great importance in the development of anti-biotics.
He was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1929 and knighted in 1948. He received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1955. He also received numerous awards and doctorates throughout his career. A gifted linguist, he was fluent in six languages, including Chinese, and a connoisseur of Chinese porcelain. He died in 1967 aged 70.
ANATOLE KALETSKY – Is a journalist and economist. He is Editor-at-Large and Principal Economic Commentator of The Times, where he writes a thrice-fortnightly column. Born in 1952 in Moscow, Kaletsky also spent his childhood in Poland and Australia. He has lived in England and the US since 1966.
On arriving in UK, Kaletsky was educated at WCS going on to Cambridge where he graduated with a first class honours degree in Mathematics and at Harvard University where he gained a masters degree in Economics.
He was voted ‘Newspaper Commentator of the Year’ at the .BBC’s ‘What the Papers Say’ awards for 1996. He has twice received the British Press Award for Specialist Writer of the Year; has won the Wincott Award for economic journalism and was first recipient of the coveted Cernobbio-Europe prize.
PROFESSOR MATTHEW KAUFMAN – was a pioneer of stem cell therapy who developed world-leading practices through working with mice. Professor Matthew Kaufman was the first to culture the embryonic stem cells of the small rodents and cultivate them in a laboratory.
The academic went on to produce The Atlas of Mouse Development – an internationally regarded textbook on the subject of mouse embryology. His works also included a host of papers on medical history, including anatomy teaching in Edinburgh in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Kaufman was born 29 September, 1942 in Hackney. He entered WCS in 1953 before going north to Edinburgh University in 1960. Qualifying in 1967 he spent time working in Birmingham in surgery and medicine, before becoming Senior House officer at Luton and Dunstable Hospital. Matthew then returned to Edinburgh working in obstetrics.
Drawn to reproductive biology, he spent time at the Institute of Animal Genetics where he worked on aspects of IVF. He decided that his future career lay in academia and by 1970 was studying at Cambridge for a degree in Physiology. Matthew remained at Cambridge until 1985 where he was a demonstrator, then lecturer in the anatomy department becoming a fellow of studies in medicine and anatomy at King’s College. His research along with Professor Jonathon Bard, laid the foundations for breakthrough discoveries in stem cell biology, chimera formation and cloning.
He helped prepare 3D reconstructions of many of the stages of mouse development and explored normal development and abnormalities that occur when an embryo is exposed to stress factors like alcohol. Prof Kaufman was also curator of the university’s anatomy collections and was elected Emeritus Professor of anatomy in 2008.
Away from public life, he married Claire in 1973 and continued to indulge his love of vintage cars, including Armstrong Siddeleys and Lagondas. Though he habitually wore a black beret, he could regularly be seen in his flying helmet, putting the glorious car through its paces on the Edinburgh bypass.
Professor Kaufman died in Edinburgh on August 11th 2013 and is survived by Claire, his sons Simon and David and grandchildren Angus and Georgia.
PERCY LAMBERT – He joined WCS in 1892. Lambert became the first person ever to cover a hundred miles in an hour on 15th February, 1913 at Brooklands’ race track. He achieved this feat in a 4.5 litre “side valve” Talbot, successfully covering a total of 103 miles in sixty minutes.
The record was soon broken but Percy was determined to better it again. He promised his fiancée that he would give up his record breaking after ‘one last attempt to get the record back’. He went for the record again at Brooklands on 21st October, 1913 and for the first 20 laps averaged a world record 110 mph. Sadly, on the 21st lap, a rear tyre disintegrated and the Talbot crashed. Percy died on the way to Weybridge Cottage Hospital.
Lord LAYTON CH CBE – At WCS from 1897 to1902. A lecturer in economics at Trinity College Cambridge, he worked for the Ministry of Munitions during the First World War. He was made a CBE in 1917 and a Companion of Honour in 1919 in recognition for his war work. He married in 1910 and had seven children. He was knighted in 1930.
Layton was chairman of the News Chronicle newspaper from 1930 to 1935 and appointed Head of the Joint War Production Staff in 1942, playing vital roles in the Ministry of Supply and Ministry of Production. He served as Vice President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe at a most difficult time following the war, from 1949 to 1957.
He was Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party from 1952 – 1955. He died in 1966, aged 81.
ROB Le MESURIER – Paul Wheatley OWC remembers from the 1960’s that Rob Le Mesurier, the son of famous actor and “Dad’s Army” star John Le Mesurier and “Carry On” star Hattie Jacques, attended WCS. ‘Rob had a band at a School disco which filled the main hall with smoke.
He went on to be a Womble and I believe he toured with the Stones and Rod Stewart.’
ROGER LIVESEY – There were three Livesey brothers at WCS during the First World War. All three became actors but Roger was the most successful. Roger Livesey made his stage debut in 1917 and starred on Broadway in 1936. He is most fondly remembered for his screen roles in “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp” (1943), “I know Where I am Going” (1945) and “A Matter of Life and Death” (1946).
Other notable roles include the lead in Peter Ustinov’s “Vice Versa” (1948), the bogus clergyman in “The League of Gentlemen”(1960), “The Entertainer” (1960) and the Gravedigger in “Hamlet” (1969). His last major role was for television in 1974 in “The Pallisers”. He was married to actress Ursula Jeans.
Roger Livesey died in 1976 aged 75.
ANDY MACKAY – Saxophonist with Roxy Music, a hugely successful band of the early 1970’s. Andy was born in Lostwithiel, Cornwall but grew up in Pimlico from where he attended WCS. He first played oboe at the School and won a weekly scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music.
He was the co-founder of Roxy Music with Brian Ferry. In association with playwright Howard Schuman he created the memorable “Rock Follies” T.V. musical which won a BAFTA award in 1976. He has numerous albums to his credit and is also a top class session musician.
A WCS contemporary remembers him as being ‘very quiet with an anarchic sense of humour. Very keen on art and music and a bit of a favourite of Mr. Puttick. His elder brother Chris was at LSE with Mick Jagger. Andy’s name was famously carved into a desk in room 11.’
TERRY MARSH – Terry Marsh was a pupil at WCS from 1969 to 1971. Whilst boxing as an amateur, he was a Royal Marines Commando and then a fireman. On turning professional he went undefeated for 26 fights, winning the World Light Welterweight Title in 1987.
Sadly, his career was cut short when he was forced to retire through illness at the age of 29, only 4 months after winning the World title. He is the only British boxer ever to retire as an undefeated world champion.
WILLIAM MCKEE CBE – Entered WCS in 1953. A town planner, traffic engineer and chartered surveyor by profession, he was Chief Executive of the London Borough of Merton 1981-92. From 1993 until 2002, he was Director General of the British Property Federation and Chairman of the European Property Federation from 1996 until 2002.
From 1999-2002, Will was Chairman of the CBI Trade Association Council, a member of the CBI President’s committee and Vice-chairman of the National Planning Forum.
Will has been a member of numerous Government review bodies. For 10 years he was visiting lecturer at Imperial College London and between 2001-2004 visiting Fellow in Property at Reading University. He has written widely in books, journals and newspapers and appeared on television and radio.
Currently Will is Chairman of property investment and development company Tilfen Land, Chair of the Mayor of London’s Outer London Commission and Chair of the Thurrock Urban Development Corporation. He is Chair of the Advisory Committee of Surrey University School of Management, a member of the Advisory Board of University College London’s Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities and in 2011, he was appointed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England to sit on the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning Sub-panel of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.
Will received the CBE in the 2002 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the property industry. A Justice of the Peace since 1974, Will is a Governor and Trustee of the Rambert Dance Company. Will has been an honorary citizen of Irvine, Dallas, Texas since 1985.
He is a past member of the Lord Olivier Awards Panel (ballet.) Will has also has directed over 20 stage plays and enjoys the theatre, ballet, music concerts and collecting books and paintings. He also found time to play for OWCFC across three decades!
EDGAR MOUNTAIN – At WCS from 1912 to 1915 and extremely fleet of foot. According to the Olympic records archives he competed for Great Britain in the 800m in both the 1920 and 1924 Olympics, coming 4th in the 1920 final and 4th in the semi-final heat of the 1924 games. He also won the AAA 880 yards competition in England in 1921 with a time of 1min 56.8 secs and 1922 with a time of 1min 55.6secs.
A.D. MUNROW – At WCS from 1919 to 1927, he became director of Physical Education at Birmingham University. He was a member of the Wolfenden Committee on Sport which recommended the setting up of the Sports Council and was appointed the first Head of the Sports Council. A.D. Munrow died in 1975.
GIL PAGE – Gil attended WCS from 1947 to 1953 and played in goal for OWCFC across some three decades, bringing great distinction to the football club. In the opinion of many of his contemporaries he is considered the most talented footballer to play for Old West Cits. On leaving school, Gil did national service in the RAF and played for the forces at a high level. On joining OWCFC he went straight into the first X1 and was a member of the team which won the SAL Second Division title in 1957. Gil was then a key member of the 1958 SAL Championship winning side. Gil also had the great honour of being selected for the AFA and FA representative sides.
Although the SAL championship heights were never reached again, Gil did enjoy other notable triumphs with OWCFC including the winning of the Old Boy’s Cup in 1961 and the Surrey Senior Cup in 1965. Gil remained first choice keeper for the club until the emergence of another top goalkeeping talent Barry Mitchell who arrived in the late 1960s. Gil continued to enjoy his football into his forties with us, playing in the victorious Veterans cup winning side of 1977.
Away from football, Gil was a hugely respected pioneer, editor, writer and publisher of children’s comics. His numerous credits include best sellers ‘Battle’ and ‘Eagle.’. His career began in March 1957 on leaving the RAF at 20 years old, when he joined Amalgamated Press as a scriptwriter on the girls’ title School Friend. As his career progressed Gil worked for Fleetway Productions (later IPC magazines), Maxwell PP and finally at Egmont where he became the companies’ Managing Editor.
On the way he edited a number of top selling comics including the revived Champion, Smash! and the Stupendous Series of Fleetway Super Highway publications starring the Steel Claw and The Spider. Gil became the international art liaison for the massive IPC group which employed over 2000 journalists and Gil travelled the world to visit art agencies in search of new talent to feed the 1000 plus weekly page requirement of this enormous organisation.
He was also involved with the relaunch of the iconic Eagle comic in the early 1980s.Gil is remembered with great affection and respect by all that worked with him. Gil was a keen golfer and kept in touch with his former work colleagues, attending a reunion just a fortnight before he died. Gil will always be remembered as a hugely likeable, good natured, intelligent and witty guy, who gave great encouragement to us lesser footballing talents.
Gil Page passed away peacefully in his sleep at the beginning of May 2016. He was 79. Gill was a father and grandfather. He is survived his wife Jean. They had two daughters Alison and Caroline.
IAN PICKFORD – On leaving the School, he entered the antique silver trade. Just six years later he had become lecturer for the Universities of London and Surrey, the National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies and the National Trust. Ian’s writings include the now standard reference book on silver flatware and he is the editor of Jackson’s “Silver and Gold marks”.
In 1981 he was made freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and a freeman of the City of London. He is a regular expert on BBC TV’s Antiques Road Show.
JOHN AUGUSTE POUCHOT – (Known as Jack) was the first OWC to be decorated with the Distinguished Conduct Medal in battle during the First World War. Born 2nd April 1899 he left School aged 15 in 1914 and took a job at the Army & Navy stores. In August 1914, at the outbreak of war, he joined the Queen’s Westminster Rifles by adding a couple of years to his age in order to enlist. Jack won his DCM for conspicuous gallantry attempting to rescue two mortally wounded comrades under fierce enemy fire. It later transpired that Pouchot was still only 15 years old when he won the medal, making him the youngest DCM in history.
Jack remained in France until April 1915 when exhaustion and illness forced his evacuation from France. He later joined the Royal Flying Corps as a pilot .In September 1918 a mention is again made of his bravery and skill when he was in action over Cambrai shooting down one of the enemy. He was then shot down and forced to crash land, but remarkably made it back to his own lines relatively unscathed.
Sadly, on 5th October 1918, just five weeks before the armistice, he was shot down again and killed. Jack was 19 years old. He is buried in the Marcoing British Cemetery near Cambrai.
ALAN REECE – A pupil at WCS from 1936 to 1940, he was geologist to the British-Norwegian-Swedish expedition to the Antarctic exploring Maud Island in 1950. He sustained a facial injury on this trip and lost an eye. He was awarded the Swedish Kongens Fortienst Medajie. Alan Reece was killed in a flying accident in the Artic in 1961.
Right Reverend ALAN ROGERS – Attended WCS from 1918 to 1925. He was an Anglican Bishop who enjoyed an ecclesiastical career spanning some 70 years. Alan was ordained in 1932 and began his career with a Curacy at St. Stephen’s Shepherds Bush. From 1934 he served for the Anglican Church in Mauritius firstly as a missionary priest then as its Archdeacon. He returned to England in 1948 to become vicar of Twickenham. After another five years, he returned to Mauritius as Bishop.
Back in England in 1966, he was appointed Bishop of Fulham, with special responsibility for the Anglican ministry in Europe. Under his leadership, preparations began for the creation of a new diocese of Europe. However, he is said to have declined the new post of Bishop of Europe because of his age (63).
Alan became Bishop of Edmonton from 1970 until his official retirement in 1975. However, he continued his ministry with six years as a priest-in-charge of two small rural parishes in Northamptonshire, serving also as an honorary assistant Bishop in the diocese of Peterborough.
He finally retired to Twickenham in the mid-1980s where, until the age of 93, he was an honorary curate at the church where 30 years earlier he had been the vicar. Alan’s autobiography, ‘Threads of Friendship’ was published in 1989, followed by ‘Walking with God as a Friend.’ Alan Rogers was a regular at OWCA reunion dinners where he said grace up to the year 2000. He died in 2003 aged 96.
His first wife Millicent died in 1984 and he is survived by his second wife, Barbara, and a son of his first marriage. Another son of that marriage predeceased him. His twin sons had been baptised in Twickenham in 1933…
SIR DENIS ROOKE OM CBE FRS FREng – He entered WCS in 1935. Sir Denis Rooke’s remarkable technical achievement and lasting legacy was to build the U.K.’s gas distribution network and unite the gas industry, making domestic gas a cheap and convenient fuel source for millions of people.
President of the Royal Academy of Engineering from 1986 to 1991, he acquired an awesome reputation as “the lion of British Gas”, as the then Conservative Government threatened to break up and sell off British Gas. His devoted employees saw him as the great defender of the industry. He was famously quoted as saying ‘whilst I have to deal with politicians, that does not mean I have to like them’.
Eventually he struck a deal with the then Energy Minister, Peter Walker, and British Gas PLC was created. Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, reveals in his memoirs an awe of Sir Denis, describing him as ‘a large craggy overbearing man, treating Ministers and officials alike with a mixture of distrust, dislike and contempt. To break up the Corporation in any way was a negation of his life’s work’.
Since retiring from British Gas, Sir Denis has served on many national advisory committees and been involved in numerous engineering education programmes, including being made Chancellor of Loughborough University, a position he held until 2003. Amongst numerous honours he was awarded the Prince Phillip medal for engineering achievement in 1992. He died on the 16th September 2008 aged 82.
ROOM 11 – Not so much a famous person as a famous WCS room. Apparently it appeared on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s album “Presence”. The use of a WCS classroom as a location was arranged by English teacher Avril Hardy, whose husband was an album sleeve designer!
Sir NORMAN ROSENTHAL – Was born in Cambridge in 1944, the child of Jewish refugees from Nazi occupied Europe. He grew up in North London, entering WCS in 1955.
After studying history at the University of Leicester he took a job for an art dealer and for a time was Exhibitions Officer at the Institute of Contemporary Arts where he promoted new work from Germany.
In 1977, he was appointed Exhibitions Secretary at the Royal Academy. In this position he curated with Nicolas Serota the acclaimed exhibition “A New Spirit in Painting.” Rosenthal also initiated a cycle of survey exhibitions of 20th Century work that promoted the Academy to the first division of exhibition venues.
As Exhibitions Secretary Rosenthal has often courted controversy notably in staging ‘Sensation’which drew protests from Academicians. Renowned for his ground breaking exhibitions, Sir Norman Rosenthal has already been awarded the highest Honours and Decorations in the art world from the Italian Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, French Republic and the Federal Republic of Mexico.
Sir Norman left the Royal Academy in 2008 and now works on projects around the world.
GIDEON SAMS – Gideon Sams joined WCS in the mid 1970’s where he showed an obvious talent for languages. At the age of 14 he wrote “The Punk” as part of a School project. Gideon had an “unorthodox'” approach to class discipline, which may well have led to this work being rejected by a teacher. Fortunately, it was rescued literally from the dustbin by his mother and published in 1977. “The Punk” is now acclaimed as the first punk novel and the definitive insight into the punk era.
Sadly, after a short and troubled life, Gideon Sams died in Greenwich Village New York, in February 1989 aged 26.
ROBERT SIMPSON – Leading classical musician Robert Simpson was born in Leamington in 1921, and entered WCS in 1932. He wrote his first Symphony in 1951 going on to compose 11 symphonies and 15 string quartets amongst numerous other works. A major force in classical music, he died in 1997 at the age of 76.
PHIL SPALDING – Born London 19th November 1957, Spalding entered WCS in 1968. Now a world renowned bass player, he came to public notice playing for the Bernie Tormé Band and Original Mirrors, before joining Toyah in December 1980, where he recorded and co-wrote material for studio albums and toured with the band until 1983.
Since then he has been a member of the superband GTR and also with Mike Oldfield’s band. Spalding is also a much in-demand session bassist. Lately, he has played on albums for Robbie Williams, Mick Jagger, Celtus, Axel Bauer and Kylie Minogue amongst many other huge star names.
WESLEY STREETING – Entered WCS in 1994. Wesley “Wes” Streeting (born 21 January 1983) went on to Cambridge University where he read History at Selwyn College. He also served as Entertainments officer before becoming Junior Common Room President.
He rose to become President of the Cambridge University Union during 2004-05 and was also a member of the NUS National Executive Committee from 2005 holding the post of Vice President (Education) from 2006-08. He then became National President of the National Union of Students.
Wes was then appointed Chief Executive of the Helena Kennedy Foundation, an educational charity that promotes access to higher education. At the May 2015 General election Wes entered parliament by winning Ilford North for Labour beating the Conservative Lee Scott, who had held the seat since 2005. Wes overturned a Tory majority of more than 5,000 to take the seat.
Dr. MALCOLM STUART PhD – He was at WCS from 1957 to 1964. A pioneering herbalist, whose brands of tea are widely available in Tesco’s.
STEWART THOMPSON – He joined WCS in 1961. In 1984 Stewart pioneered and patented the idea to create small personalised sugar packets, which would allow independent organisations to portray the same image as multi-national corporations. As co-founder of Europe’s largest single portion supplier, Stewart’s company “Single Service” became the sole supplier in the U.K. to Macdonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC and thousands of pubs, hotels and restaurants. In 1995, H.J. Heinz acquired Single Service.
Not wishing to relax, Stewart formed Sugar Stix Inc in Orlando, Florida and invested some four million dollars in equipment. In December 2001 Stewart bought back his original U.K company from Heinz and created Single Source, which is now one of the fastest growing food service companies in Europe. Meanwhile Sugar Stix expands in the USA at an incredible rate. In 2006, Stewart further expanded the Sugar Stix business by adding additional factory capacity in Dallas Texas.
JOHN EDWARD TOMLINSON – Entered WCS in 1950. He is currently a life peer in the House of Lords having been previously a Member of Parliament from 1974 to 1979, and an Member of the European Parliamanent (MEP) from 1984 to 1999.
During his five years in the Commons, he held a series of government posts: Parlliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Prime Minister Harold Wilson (1975-76); Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foriegn and Commonwealth Office (1976-79); Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Overseas Development (1977-79). In 1984, Tomlinson was elected as Labour Co-operative MEP for the new euro constituency of Birmingham West.
He was re-elected in the 1989 European election and in the 1994 election. In 1998, he was made a life peer as Baron Tomlinson, of Walsall.
CHRISTOPHER WARREN-GREEN – at WCS 1966-1972, has held the position of Music Director of the London Chamber Orchestra (LCO) since 1988. In 2005, Vladimir Ashkenazy invited Warren-Green and the LCO to Hong Kong as the resident orchestra for the Hong Kong International Piano Competition.
On the personal invitation of HRH the Prince of Wales, he was invited to arrange the music and conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra for the Service of Dedication and Prayer, celebrating the marriage of TRH’s the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. To mark the occasion of HM the Queens’ 80th birthday at Kew Palace, he conducted a private concert for the entire Royal family.
In 1998, he became Principal Guest Conductor of the Nordic Chamber Orchestra, taking over as Chief Conductor from 2001 until 2005. From 1998 to 2001, he was Chief Conductor of the Joenkoeping Sinfonietta.
He was appointed Principal Conductor of the Camerata Resident Orchestra of the Megaron Athens in October 2004. In May 2009, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra named Warren-Green its 11th music director, effective with the 2010-2011 season.
Christopher has recorded for BMG, EMI, Philips, Virgin, Warner Classics., Chandos and Deutsche Grammophon. He conducted the London Chamber Orchestra in the accompaniment of the wedding of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. In July 2007, he conducted the première of Nigel Hess’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales in memory of his grandmother, with soloist Lang Lang.
He recieved the recent acolade of conducting the London Chamber Orchestra for the wedding ceremony of HRH Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton in Westminster Abbey on Friday 29 April.
In August 2008 he appeared in the reality TV talent show-themed television series, Maestro on BBC Two, as a mentor to Jane Asher, one of the students. Christopher is married to Rosemary Furniss, a violinist and artistic director and concertmaster of the LCO. They have three children and three stepchildren.