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   Members of Staff - May 1931

Members of Staff - May 1931

Members of Staff - May 1931

    (The School Secretary - ? name), Ray "Mooney" Barton, ?, Jack Forrest, Cyril Redhead, Rev Jimmy Gillett
    Seated: Miss Lane, J Twells-Gross, Capt B.W.L. Nicholson (Headmaster), Bernard Astley, (Matron - ? name)

Photo & text supplied by Cynthia McCrae (née Astley) and Alastair McCrae (Rhodes 1943-1946)
- originating from the photo albums of Bernard Astley (Headmaster 1937-1945)

  • Alastair McCrae and Gordon Blake (Hawke 1937-1940) have been reminiscing, and Alastair sent in the following on 31st Oct 2005:
      Ray "Mooney" Barton taught us Latin. His style is beautifully summed up in his nickname. However he was not entirely devoid of dry humour. We had a chap called Quann in the class and in a session of Latin translation Mooney asked him to go take over simply calling out 'Quann'. It was such a duck-like sound that I unwisely repeated it (rather too loudly) as 'Quonk, Quonk, Quonk'. For this I was given detention and the job of drawing 100 ducks!!

      Mooney and his wife Cicely lived in the house at the entrance of the jacaranda drive in a menage a trois, with Dick Coltart the third item. They were all very musical. Coltart was the manager of the Cable & Wireless station where, incidentally, Mooney and others (George 'Pansy' James and 'Lulu' Stokes for example) earned an extra crumb as announcers...... ("This is 7LO, Nairobi Kenya calling").

      (Webmaster's note: Gordon Blake's wife, Margaret, is the daughter of Joe Stewart - he came from South Africa and taught physics at the Prince of Wales School during the 1940s)

  • As this photo was so 'old', the naming of those in it has proved a little difficult. An e-mail from Peter Liversidge (Scott 1957-61) on 13th January 2006 provided the name of Cyril Redhead:
      An e-mail from Alastair provided the clue with Bernard Astley's reference to Redhead in a letter he sent in January 1931. I had previously been working on the assumption, based on the Colonial Lists, that our man had not appeared on the scene before 1932.

      This led me to dig out the Official Gazettes for Kenya Colony for late 1930 and early 1931, and in Government Notice No. 718 of 30 December 1930, under 'Arrivals' I found C.H. Redhead's name, left England 21 November 1930, arrived Mombasa 19 December 1930, on first appointment as an Assistant Master, Education.

      Having this bit of information, I showed a print of the staff photo for May 1931 from the Astley albums and which is on the web site to an acquaintance who, I learned by coincidence, had met Redhead on a few occasions in the 1970s, and asked him if he recognised anyone. He immediately pointed to the man standing second from the right, between Jack Forrest and the Rev. Jimmy Gillette, and said it was Redhead.

  • Mr. J. Twells-Gross was identified in the photo by Barbara Astley (widow of Bernard Astley) in December 2005 when being visited by her daughter, Cynthia, and son-in-law Alastair McCrae. Little is known of Twells-Gross, so we rely on the memories of those who attended to school in the 1930s to piece together an image of the man. On 30th January 2006, Webmaster received an e-mail from Angus McDonald (Hawke 1934-7):
      I never took Latin, and so had little contact with Twells-Gross. If my memory serves me right, he was vice-principal when I joined the school in 1934, and he looked and behaved very much like an absent-minded professor. Short chap with a moustache. In the Original Staff photo of 1931, I would confirm that he is the one sitting on Capt. Nick's right.

      Standing between 'Bush' Forrest and Jimmy Gilette is indeed C H Redhead. Redhead was a teacher of biology and art, and it was easy to distract his attention from the subject lesson to illustrated (blackboard) descriptions of aerial dogfights of WW1. He had been a fighter pilot in WW1, and was involved as was Major Forrest, in the OTC during my time, displaying the rank of captain.

      I can't give names to the ladies in the photo, and can't say they were the same as those in service in 1934. In my time, the secretary was a Miss Rosenblum (I'm almost sure), the nurse was a Miss Lane, and the caterer was Miss Bleakman. I can't help with the chap standing between Barton and Forrest.