On Yer Bike ....   -   Chris Snuggs (Berners/Halls 58-65)

Bikes? Yet another subject over which the Fog of Forgetfulness has descended. In Berners from 58 to 60 I do not recall anyone having a bike, nor indeed during my later years in Halls - yet SOME boys had bikes as seen here in this photo from circa 1958. When and where did they ride them? I have no idea.

I remember getting bike when I was in the 6th form but very shortly before leaving, and I have no idea when or where I rode it. It was kept in a rack somewhere near the music rooms as I recall, and I gave it to Sebastian Randall when I left.

I have absolutely no idea of the parameters of bike use. Reading Robin's account of cycling to Ipswich raises a question. That MUST surely have been sanctioned by the staff - presumably the Head, but was the parents' permission ever sought for their sons to ride a bike on public roads? I can't imagine being Headmaster and NOT seeking such permission, but I have never heard of it being asked. Or did boys just get a bike and ride it anywhere?

Did one have to get permission even to HAVE a bike at school? Did boys ride bikes to Chelmo and other local places? Where were they KEPT apart from the rack near the music rooms? Did cyclists get any TRAINING or ADVICE about how to ride in a group on a public road? Another puzzling thing is that in no printed document I have ever seen is there any reference to keeping and using a bike at WHS, yet there must have been some rules, no? The entire subject is a mystery to me, but perhaps others can raise the Fog!

Robin Skinner - Johnstons 67-74: “Yes, I had a bike ... it was BRS delivery ... was still using it when I went to college ... long bike rides ... Holbrook, Shotley ... all over the place. Ipswich was great going but Freston Hill was a killer coming back. We got the OK to go out, my case Jim Hyde or assistant master, and off we went ... sandwich in a bag for lunch ....”

Daniel David O'Byrne - Johnstons 67-72: "I had a bike at school which I loved (thank you Mum & Dad). No gears. I think I got it in the 2nd or 3rd year. I was chuffed when it arrived by BRS I think, or my parents delivered it themselves by train. What ever happened to that bike I just don't know. I remember going on bike rides throughout the peninsula. Freston Hill was hard going. I've got a feeling that I didn't have it for many years - stolen? left at home?"

Jim Hayter - Corners 69-76: “We rode just about anywhere when outside of lessons and school activities. Ipswich, Dedham, Brantham, Flatford, Shotley, Holbrook, Pin Mill. Usually weekends outside of lessons.”

John Tuddenham (formerly McGown)- Hansons 52-57: “I took my bike to school in 56/57..... remember trying to keep up with the bus down Freston Hill!!! Often went to Pin Mill. I think I just put it in the goods carriage on the train - free I think. All the way from Middlesbrough!!”

Tony Pye - Berners ??-??: “I have no idea where I kept it in Berners (59-66) but I do recall riding back to Bethnal Green three times at the ends of different years. My last year I was so knackered leaving in December, I fell asleep while pedalling . . . twice. Huge props to Chelmsford police for lending me the fare to get back home.”

Chris Snuggs: “Tony Pye - you rode a pushbike from WH to Bethnal Green - THREE TIMES?!!! I am stupefied with admiration ...... and wonder.”

William Bauer - Halls 54-60: "I'm sure I had a bike. How else would I be able to get Chelmondiston to meet my girlfriend?"

Eric Coates - Corners 57-64: "I twice cycled home and back and then left my knackered bike at Woolverstone when I left in 64. Home was at Langley/Slough on first occasion and at Ashford, Middx on second. Riding through central London, it was about 100 miles and took about 9 hours.

On the last return ride, I got a slow puncture, having to pump rear tyre every four or five miles, so I took a train from Shenfield to Manningtree (I think it cost 3/11d - about 20p).I arrived at Woolverstone too late for a school meal and Pegleg gave me extra supper buns etc at Corners.

I don’t recall how the bike was first transported to school but it was probably by BRS (British Road Services)."

Chris Snuggs: "It would have made sense to transport a bike to WHS in the luggage department of the COACH used to transport US (assuming there was room), but I don't remember EVER seeing a bike at County Hall."

Ron Gould - Corners 50-54: “I left in 1955, rode home on my bike. I think I got it in 1954. It was kept at the back of Corners, no idea where it was when I rode it into school every day. I remember quite a few bikes in those days, and about 5 or 6 of us went to and from Woolverstone for holidays. "We either rode our bikes to and from school, left the bikes at school for the holidays, or had them transported by Carter Patterson."

Roger Evans - Corners 68-75: “In my day, the bikes were kept in the courtyard of Corners, on the right hand side, as you looked at the main door. This front door was, incidentally only for 6th formers' use. Wonder if that ever changed later?”

Chris Snuggs: "I must confess to being staggered that parents would let their young teenage boy cycle 90 miles to or from WHS. No parents would allow that today, surely?"

Daniel Dave O'Byrne: "My brother cycled to school from London. What a hero I thought at the time - and now. He carried a water container that must have held a couple of gallons!! The bike wasn't that great, not many gears if any."

Steve Johnston - Hansons 59-64: "When we moved house, me and brother Dave (1958) decided to ride our bikes from Putney to Oxford. Seemed quite normal at the time. And they were heavy bikes with Sturmey-Archer gears. And didn't the bloke in 'Lessons' go riding off every week to Shotley, in what we called at the time 'scrubbing'?"

Eric Coates - Corners 57-64: "Briggsy in danger of ripping a trouser leg right up the seam - as I once did just before the 4pm French class because I didn’t bother with my cycle clips."

Robert Dilley - Hansons 53-60: "In my last Summer at Woolvo I cycled from my home in Cumberland (as it was then): a little over 300 miles. I took my time, staying in Youth Hostels and doing some sightseeing. I don't remember any problems in storing the bike and I know several others had bikes. We used to travel around - Shotley, Felixstowe etc - without needing permission."

Bob Wightman - Johnstons 57-61: "I was with these guys in Johnstons from 57-61, initially in the Wartime Nissen huts then to Orwells when it was built and finally in the 3rd form we moved to Johnstons. We all had our bikes kept out the back of our building, near the kitchens. We rode all over the place: Ipswich, Holbrook, Manningtree, and even Felixstowe, where Mike Draper was the expert at windsurfing the busses. Wouldn't let my kids do that now."

Terry Ashcroft - Berners/Johnstons 58-63: “I had a Claude Butler fixed-wheel bike during my time at Berners (58 to 60). I remember about 5 of us once cycled to Clacton. We had a crash going down the hill in Brantham (Manningtree), but managed to carry on to Clacton.”

Having a Bike at WHS