IHS Alumna Sara Baghai 64-71: WHS Boys & Discos   

Sara Baghai - IHS 64-71: "Hello. I would like to thank Chris Snuggs for accepting my application to join this group and explain why I wanted to join. I am an old girl of Ipswich High School ( 1964 - 1971 ) but I also grew up in Holbrook and as far back as I can remember, Woolverstone Hall was a backdrop to my early life. I went to school with Mr Thomas’s daughter, Cathy and became friends with Ben Turner’s daughter, Susan in my secondary years as the family had moved to Holbrook. I have memories of being invited to Cathy’s home at Corners in a summer holiday and playing tennis on the lawn there. With Susan we took advantage of the empty swimming pool during school holidays!

Later on from 1968 until the summer of 1971 I was in the year groups which received invitations from Woolverstone Hall boys to attend their Saturday night discos. And very good they were too! So over that period I got to know quite a number of the boys. Several were invited home for meals, gatherings and a party. Two eventually married my classmates and one introduced the German language assistant, Gunter Feneis to my parents ( both teachers themselves ) and they immediately became friends. Gunter is still in contact with my mother and visited her in Holbrook five years ago.

It’s hard to explain but interacting with the boys at Woolverstone Hall had a profound effect on me. Without getting too deep, I started looking at the world with different eyes and I was introduced to London life, which, let’s face it, couldn’t have been more different than life on the peninsula! It was an extremely happy period.

The Ipswich High School’s move to Woolverstone Hall coincided with my old classmates turning 40. There was a special event at the school for old girls to say farewell to Miss Hayworth, who had been our final headmistress back in 1971. We decided to turn it into a reunion for ourselves as well. Going down the drive to the Hall felt like coming home. Everywhere was so familiar. It was a lovely feeling."

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: “Beautiful memories and connections. Thank you. ‘Interacting with the boys at Woolverstone Hall had a profound effect on me.’ And it sounds like a positive one. Interacting with the girls of IHS had a profound effect on me too, and I was not the only one! Charles Thomas and Ben Turner were at WHS during my time there (58 to 65), but I do not recall ever seeing their families. I had no idea they had daughters!”
PS: "Thanks for your thanks, but the passing of time has in no way diminished our pleasure at contact with IHS girls!

Louis Parperis - Orwell 63-70: “How wonderful to have you join us and for you to share your memories. I was one of the DJs at the discos you attended (until the end of 1970), though I was insufficiently house trained to have merited an invitation from you. I wonder if you can remember who it was your classmates married.”

Sara Baghai: “Giles Marshall and Kevin Rayment. Sadly both marriages, though long, ended in divorce. And then Kevin died in 2011. I contacted Dennis Blease to speak at his funeral as although they had not spoken for several years, they had been best mates at WH and traveled to and from Germany together as their fathers were stationed there.

I was telling Chris, I first met the pair (Kevin & Dennis ) when I was 13 or 14. It was a hot summer’s day and my parents had stopped to give them a lift at Freston Crossroads as they were hitchhiking to Flatford Mill. They were out on a Duke of Edinburgh assignment. My parents brought them home for a cold drink and I remember them standing in our kitchen!

How could I forget! Giles has died as well. Poor guy; he had motor neurone disease. I learnt later that his old WH pal, Phil Melville (Jack) had been a great support right until the end .I have very fond memories of Jack. He and Giles were part of the sailing crowd. I think they left in 1969. Jack was a really ‘good sort’. I believe he joined the Air Force. I wonder if anyone here is still in contact with him.”

Chris Snuggs: “Going down the drive to the Hall felt like coming home." Still does for me and I suspect most of us, too .... it is a very profound and indeed remarkable feeling.”

Harvey Angel - Hansons 64-71: “I was also part of the 1964-71 intake at WH and enjoyed the discos. It's sad to hear that Kevin Rayment has died. He was in my year. Although I didn't have a great deal to do with him at School, I remember him as a nice friendly guy.”

Sara Baghai: “He really was. He eventually joined the Wells Fargo bank after he and my friend Wendy married in 1977 and they went to live in San Francisco for several years. That’s where their two children were born and they were there when the 1989 earthquake happened.”

Glynne Thomas - Halls 57-62: “Memories, memories - and welcome Sara.”

Daniel Dave O'Byrne - Johnstons 67-72: “That's such a beautiful recollection. Thank you for sharing that with us. Touched my heart ❤. I guess this group is a reflection of life at WH School - 98% male with a magnificent 2% female component. Welcome.”

Chris Snuggs: “... attend their Saturday night discos."??? How many per term did you lot HAVE then? I seem to remember that in 63-64/64-65 we had ONE per term if lucky!”

Sara Baghai: “Was it one or two per term or every month? I can’t remember it being quite as much as the latter.”

Louis Parperis: “My recollection is that there was only one disco held each term at the school.”

Mark Frost - Hansons 70-77: “In the 1970s I think each House was allowed one per term, which on a school basis works out at approx once a fortnight. You were not allowed to go to another House's disco but of course there were always hangers-on...... Orwell House Discos became infamous, with mattresses being part of the offering. I have no idea what went on over in Corners - perhaps someone could enlighten us?”

Chris Snuggs: “I do not remember HOUSE discos in my era (58-65). I wonder who introduced those? Derek T again perhaps!”

Mark Frost: “Derek T left Orwell in 1971 to start up the 6th Form Courtyard, so it would have been under Bob Skailes' tenure that the Orwell House Discos took off. I was not personally present to witness any of the 'goings-on' but they were certainly talked about later, and no doubt exaggerated in true teenage boy style.

I am sure not every House had one a term, but they were certainly fairly frequent which also meant that the same girls could go to a Hansons Disco one week, and then to an Orwell one a month later. Some turned up and didn't bother going to the Disco as they were more interested in meeting up with whoever they had met before.

I remember helping to clear the Hansons dining- room of all tables and chairs and a music deck and strobe lights were set up. When certain 70s hits are played I am right back there. Girls lined up on one side, boys on the other. Shy and awkward - pushed forward by your mates - 'Go on! Ask her to dance!!'”

Sara Baghai: “From 68-71 I don’t think they were House discos unless a particular House took it in turns to set things up. It was always in that single storey building with the swimming pool behind it.”

Mark Frost: “As time progressed I think the School Dances turned into School Discos and finally House Discos. Sounds like yours were held in the Main Assembly Hall and were presumably much bigger affairs held less often? Presumably only 6th formers were allowed to attend? House discos had a wider age group.”

Sara Baghai: “Yes, it was only WH 6th formers but when the invites arrived at IHS our ‘O’ level year was included which is why I attended for three years! Was it the main assembly-hall? I’ve been in there to attend concerts and dramatic productions. The ceiling where the disco was held was a regular height and possibly a partition between two or three rooms was removed to make the space larger.”

Chris Snuggs: “The hall and the new houses were completed in the summer of 1957 I believe, 66 years ago. That IHS still uses most of them is a tribute to the excellence of their design and construction given the constraints of the time. Those who did the full 7 years sat in that hall nearly 1,400 times just for morning assemblies plus more for performances, Speech Days and so on. There should have been (be?) a blue plaque commemorating the architect(s)! Another job for you, Kev?! More pics here: http://www.whs-archives.net/pics/school/in/hall/1.htm

Sara Baghai: “In answer to how frequent were the school discos? I’ve located some of my old school diaries. Even though the writing is teeny tiny I can just about decipher it and the entries for 1968 and 1969 are pretty comprehensive. 1970 drifts off after Easter. The dates are as follows in my era:

It seems I started attending a couple of terms earlier than I remembered! And on the November 6th one in 1969, my friend Jo & I helped decorate the room beforehand. I have no memory of that whatsoever!

Louis Parperis: “The second discos in the Summer term were part of the Sixth Form Festival, officially the responsibility of the departing year group.”

Ron Gould - Corners 50-54: “No discos or dances in my day. As an aside, if you were holding a social event in the late 50's early 60's and you had records rather than a live band it was considered a "crap" event.”

Sara Baghai:“School Discos. What are your musical memories? I have one or two snapshots in my memory bank. Whenever I hear Marvin Gaye’s version of ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ I’m transported straight back to one Saturday night at Woolverstone Hall in either 1968 or 69 when it was played. I was a big Tamla Motown fan, so much so that later on, Steve Coduri gave me his copy of this Supremes LP. I’ve kept all my albums so still have it. Meanwhile his taste had moved on to Traffic and Stevie Winwood.

It was Woolverstone Hall that really introduced me to and gave me an appreciation of Soul Music and I can still picture Nigel Baldwin on the dance floor with my friend Alison, in raptures to a James Brown track. I can’t remember whether the room was always decorated for the night but I have memories of a nautical theme and nets draped over the walls and ceiling with moody lights!”

Louis Parperis: “I think it was probably my copy of ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ that was on the turntable. I believe I have it still, though I haven’t played a 45rpm on my turntable for more years than I can remember. Steve’s greatest contribution to my memory bank was when I was with a small group of people walking towards the gym one morning in the Summer term of 1970 and he was walking in the opposite direction towards the main building, carrying with him a copy of Margaret Mitchell’s novel ‘Gone With The Wind’. We were on our way to sit one of the A level History papers which Steve was supposed to be sitting with us. Eventually, he was persuaded to join us on our journey to the gym, but it didn’t do him any good as he registered an F grade in the subject. He was perfectly capable of passing the A level, but he had lost all interest somewhere along the way. I suspect it may have been something to do with (Looking For A Girl Who Has) No Face, No Name and No Number.”

Sara Baghai: “When Steve should have been doing his homework or revision and I was trying to do mine, he was often in our kitchen talking to my mum or dad! We often had to tell him on a week day that it was time for him to go home! As you say, he was perfectly capable and should have passed that A level. Military surplus was all the rage back then. Steve was a similar build to my dad so he was given my dad’s old Naval great coat with all the gold buttons! Many years later I asked him what had happened to it and he told me it had been passed on to his nephew.”

Louis Parperis: “Much, much later on, and I mean long after it was fashionable, Steve could be identified from a distance because he was wearing an Afghan coat and, in the way of these things, if you couldn’t see him, you could smell the coat, especially if it had been raining! I’ve not seen him for a few years, but I remember him with great affection (though not his coat).”

Sara Baghai: “You last saw him probably at Derek Thornbery’s memorial at the school. My friend and I attended it with him."

Peter Warne - Corners 66-73: “Ironic this. I remember Steve Coduri delivering a fashion death blow to me when I arrived one autumn term wearing drainpipe trousers that I had finally managed to bully my mother into buying. He hardly gave me a glance: ‘Drains are out. Flares are in,’ he said.”

Sara Baghai: “Oh yes, he loved those flares! I think it was in the Christmas holidays that he wheedled some money out of his mum to buy a pair of speckled beige/brown flares.”

Philip Flannery - Berners 72-79: “In 1974? remember on Sunday afternoon service in the school hall, being about the Marvin Gaye ‘Let’s get it on’ album. In Berners us first and second years got to hear the fourth year favourites through the participation. I remember it being ‘Schools out’ by Alice Cooper and aloof Neil Young. Also the sixth former in the end room - Crees? played a lot of Lou Reed and the soundtrack of Cabaret. By the time we got to the 5th year dormitory my housemate (Felix Schroer R.I.P.) brought in the fantastic ‘Never mind the Bollocks’ and ‘Damned, damned damned’. A new era had dawned."

Chris Snuggs: "What are your musical memories?" To be brutally honest, Sara, I don't remember a thing about the music played. For the girls that I danced with, that's another matter entirely!"

Douglas Belle - Orwell 71-75: “Soaking wet floor from the CO².”

Bill Kitchen: “Discos? Discos? I wish ……. didn’t occur in our time at WHS, sadly.”

Andrew Campbell - Corners 68-??: "What about the slow songs that were played at the end? “Nights in White Satin” was a good one for snogging to!"

Chris Snuggs: "Most interesting, but some of us had usually snuck surreptitiously outside by then!"

Some photos with GIRLS making music with us ....

Sara Baghai: WHS Boys & Discos