The Staff

Updated September 2020


Name Role(s) photo Report
Mr Herbert, 'Bert', Keen Olphin


The Head Master was a Classics major, a very formal man with impeccable manners which he imposed on the pupils.  One of his rules was that, in the presence of a lady teacher, all boys had to wear their jackets. - Sue Baker (staff)

Closely resembling a seedy 1950's fish shop proprietor from some Northern wasteland, specialising no doubt in deep fried pomposity, this humourless didact was the educational equivalent to Mr. Grimshaw.  Floating around the school precincts in his moth-eaten MA gown, plainly under the delusion that Blackwell was some concreted manifestation of the illustrious 'School on the Hill’, this uninspiring little fellow and self-regarding oligarch engendered nothing but antipathy from his charges and, one suspects, from the more sentient members of his staff. - Brian Lynch

While conceding his laudable success in introducing 'O' and 'A' Levels to a marshalling yard for 11-year old intellectual failures, his humourless, self-regarding pomposity made him an impossible figure to like or respect.  Why, after all, wear an academic gown in a school staffed by training college graduates, except to exact constant deference.  Similarly the dramatic, door-crashing, gown-flowing entrance with his cuadrilla at every morning assembly when his staff, until then perched on wobbly chairs on the stage, had to immediately stand as though he were OC of some tweed-jacketed, floral-printed army.  Some of his decisions were breathtakingly daft: appointing a known member of the National Front as headboy; building a huge Phantom of the Opera non-functioning organ in a classroom; organising teams of parental peons to construct a horrible concrete pit, call it a swimming pool and force skinny kids into its unheated fecal depths on freezing March mornings.  Surely he was as mad as a hatter. - Barry Lynch

… HK Olphin, the Mr. Chips manque, who seemed in denial that he was running a sec. mod and strutted about in his academic gown like the headmaster of, at the very least, Eton. - Barry Lynch, Skibbereen, Co. Cork. ('59-'65)

We called him Batman because when he walked down the corridor his gown flowed behind him like Batman’s cape. - Tom Rothwell

I can still see him racing down the corridor with his cloak flapping about him.  For an 11-year-old the sight of him could be quite frightening. … he also taught Italian in an after-school club. - Les Pearce ('61-'66)

Ted Sutton, Julian Howell Jones and the rest of the class who "failed" into Blackwell in 1956, it would be great to hear from you.  In fact it was the best failure of my life as Blackwell under the ever-optimistic and energetic Mr Olphin and his staff worked to re-build shattered ego's and convince us we really could succeed.  Thanks to Blackwell, I went on to A levels and then to a university degree. I now own a financial consulting company with offices across Canada.
I know I am not unique in this but to this day my blood boils when I remember the effects of the eleven plus on those of us who didn't pass.

What a great school and environment Blackwell was. I shall always be greatful {sic} for the rescue! - Tim Egan

I had a great time at Blackwell, I agree with Tim Egan - we were in the same class and Julian Howell-Jones.  HKO was an excellent teacher who was way ahead of his time.  The annual school plays were magnificent, and the Speech Days always had unusual and contraversial guest speakers - eg Tony Benn - when still Lord Stansgate.  I owe a great deal to the education that I received under his guidance. - Madeline Howell-Jones (née Wood)

Tim you are right, Mr Olphin was an inspiring head and very many of us owe so much to him, I know I do. Without his encouragement, I would never have had such a great career in education and sport. - Ken Charles (staff)

…a day when the class was playing up and Olphin walked in.  He slammed the cane he was carrying on a desk overiding the teacher.  He spotted that Mike (Michael Donnelly) was chewing a sweet and told him to spit it into a waste bin.  Mike however faked it.  He kicked the bin pretending the noise was the sweet going in.  Olphin didn't twigg this, but the class did.  Arthur Biggs was also caught chewing and told to spit it in the bin.  He did the same and kicked it - only this time Olphin saw this and was enraged.  Mike couldn't stop laughing.  Olphin hit him with the cane which only made him laugh more.  It finished with Mike being hauled out of the room still laughing and being caned all the way down the corridor to his office. - J Harniman

I started at Blackwell in September 1963.  Mr Olphin was a strict but very fair Headmaster.  He had standards he wanted to maintain. - Yvonne Larkins, 1963-'68

He took a lot of stick from the staff but he got things done for that school that were way ahead of their time.  In the sixties, for example, Des Bowker and I were teaching sixth formers to drive on the school service roads.  In the classroom we covered road safety theory and explained how cars worked, got the kids to change tyres etc. etc..  Are any schools doing that anywhere now - 50 years later??  As soon as the pupils were old enough they took their tests and were on the road ahead of all their mates. - Mike Cuggy (pupil and staff member)

Mr Olphin, whatever his faults, provided us with the best education he could.  I think someone mentioned elsewhere in your website that Olphin was responsible for getting A-levels provided at Blackwell.  I think the prevailing idea at the time was that if you were capable of doing A-levels, you should transfer to the local grammar school. - Dick Franklin, 1959-'66

I can't remember my English teacher's name, but no matter - she wasn't very popular.  Someone or perhaps more than one person managed to take her bicycle and take it to pieces and hang it from the top of the Great Hall roof.  It may have been the Gymnasium but the effect was the same.  I was interviewed by Mr Olphin who simply asked me if I had anything to do with it.  I honestly answered no.  He immediately accepted my word, such was the relationship and respect we had for each other.  I know other students were interviewed and I heard nothing more about it, but it was one of those things one never forgets. - Sidney Eavis, '54-55

During the period 1932-34 Mr Olphin, a graduate of King's College, wrote a biography of George Tierney, the leader of the Whig Opposition from 1818-1821.
Mr Ronald M S Vicary

Deputy Head

One of the original staff members who taught at the Camp School.

Well let's be fair, Old Man Vicary wasn’t that bad, he was a softy under all that bravado.  His wife, taught the Home Science classes and that's how I got my start in the Catering Industry. - 'Dingo' Danes

Striding across the playground with his clipped moustache and straight back, he had all the military bearing of a lance corporal in the Catering Corps.  Seemingly suffered from slightly fugitive false teeth which were always being sucked back into place.  Nice line in tobacco-mix sports jackets and twills.- Barry Lynch
Miss Edith G Oyston

Senior Mistress

Miss Oyston transferred to Blackwell Secondary School from Chandos Girls Secondary School in 1950.

Miss "Edie" Oyston - Assistant Head.  Amiable, cud-chewing, pillow-chested Grande Dame.  Always wore an ironic smile at the cavortings of the student body.  Retreated each evening to a bijouette flat off Baker Street. - Barry Lynch (born ’48)

My first day at school, a very small, shy, introvert.  I was dressed in absolute school uniform from head to toe - or so my mother thought.  She had put a bright yellow ribbon in my dead straight shiny black hair.  As I sat amongst the other newcomers cross-legged on the floor, she came to the very edge of the stage bent over and bellowed "You girl - the one with the yellow ribbon in her hair.  Take it out now and don’t wear it again".  I could have died and wished the floor to open up and drag me down to the depth of the dungeons below.  Fortunately I had an older sister at the school at the same time and she explained to Miss Oysten {sic} about the mistake our mother had made.  It didn't make much differance to me mind you, I still hated her from that moment on. - Wendy Rowe

I heard that she used to suck/chew her tongue.  She was supposed to have a hole in it - not sure if that was true or not?  It's funny, because looking back, I found her to be OK. - Yvonne Larkins

… a strong disciplinarian but a fairly accomplished teacher. - Tony Houlahan

Mrs Oysten {sic} I always quite liked because she assumed we could learn as much as she knew and taught us accordingly.  She had a special trick of putting a pile of papers on a desk and then pressing down on it and turning it so it formed a beautiful spiral shape. - Roger Walker
Mrs I Playford Secretary The well turned-out and apparently prim school secretary.  Always seen striding about the school with HK Olphin, the clip-board clutching, begowned, badger-haired, self-regarding Headmaster.  The exact nature of their relationship was the subject of endless speculation, much of it obscene.  Given that they are both probably dead, can any former junior staff member enlighten prurient ex-pupils? - Barry Lynch

It is quite wrong to suggest that there was ever some sort of sexual liaison between Mr Olphin and Mrs Playford, the school secretary.  I worked with both of them and I can assure you that was never the case. - Richard Franklin. (Headboy in 1966)
Mrs A List Assistant Secretary  
J Pitt School Keeper  
M Andison   - '55 Autographs
Mr A E Andrews Music
(Photo: FR - organ)
Mr Andrews held the key for the bike sheds - locking them at 9.15 and unlocking them at lunch-times and at the end of the day. - Colin Moore

Bringing a touch of Bohemia to the staff line-up, Music Maestro Andrews resplendent in fading purple smoking jacket (exotic for the grey flannel 60’s) conceded to the Dame Myra Hess of the Common Room, Mrs Munday, in the piano playing stakes - which may perhaps have explained his undefined air of Schumannesque melancholia. - Barry Lynch

A proponent of the project for the rebuilding of an organ. - Blackwell Magazine, Vol 2.

I believe the organ was never completed (at least that's what an item in the school’s 50th anniversary section on its web site indicates).  I suspect it was an ingenious Sisyphus-style project intended to occupy the less academic streams and keep them out of mischief.  I suspect it was dismantled in recent times as impossibly elitist and the wood used to fashion politically correct Kalahari wind-pipes or Inuit snowshoes. - Barry Lynch

He was a complex caractor but I grew to like him.  I can remember him completley loosing it during a lesson.  It was at the hieght of the Cuban missile crises.  He told us that he and we could be a blotch accros the wall by the afternoon. To be so honest and also to display his humanity so openly left a lasting impresion on me, although it did not do much for my spelling skills - as you may observe. - Ian Hutchison

Mr Andrews couldn't really control his class effectively.  My younger brother, Alan (’58-’63), knew he could 'play him up' - so did. - Anne Moxley
Miss Jean C Ashby   Went on the Switzerland trip c. 52. - Barrie Howard
S Asken   - Anne's autograph album.
Mr Bennett Maths Had the ability to make you ask for help when you would normally look over to a class-mate for the answer.  His summing-up of every pupil was fair and accurate, getting us all working on the problems and enjoying the lessons. - Chris Spreadborough
Mr Frank Bergin Science /Physics He rode a motorbike - a Triumph Tiger Club - to school.
One of my fellow class mates was David Bergin, one of Mr Bergin's sons.  He had one leg shorter than the other and wore a boot to assist his walking.  We affectionately called him "Boot".  Sid Eavis '54-'55

Grizzled veteran of the science labs.  His clothing resembled the terminal stages of an experiment testing the longevity of Harris Tweed. - Barry Lynch
Mrs J M Bevan    
Mrs J Blyth   Left in '61.
Mrs H Bonnett   - Barbara Dodgson
F H Bowater   - Anne's autograph album.
Mr F Bowdler    
Mr Des Bowker Woodwork His ‘whacker’ was a work of art.  All nicely varnished with holes drilled in it for wind resistance - Don Affleck

Pipe-smoking and rotund with a soup-strainer moustache, he resembled le patron of a fly-blown cafe/bar in the Midi.  Always associated with his skinny woodworking colleague Mr. Dennison: together Blackwell’s Ollie and Stan. - Barry Lynch

He was my woodwork teacher - not a bad bloke.  He got us all making this massive organ in the class room.  He must have been two whistles short of a set of pan pipes. - Graham Maidlow

I was on the end of his airflow whacker a few times, but a great guy and teacher. - Jordan Duffy
J G Bowles   - '55 Autographs
Miss A E Box Pottery I never made the Wedgewood grade.  Still good at knocking handles off cups and teapots.
I remember this kid coming into the pottery classroom 'last’, the teacher was missing.  He said "Where’s FOXY BOXY?" to the class.  He then got a whopping clip around the ear.  Well how was he to know she was behind the door.  (Ok, ok, you guessed it right - it was 'ME’) - Graham Maidlow
M A Bradley   - '55 Autographs
Mr A Burley   Started in 1961. - Magazine, Vol 2
Mrs J Burrell   French, English, Games.  Best teacher in school, treated us like adults.  Last day of school we carried her shoulder high from girls gym to swimming pool then threw her in… then we all stood around crying. - Wendy Davies
Mr R K N Buttery Tech. Drawing
(Photo: Magazine, Vol 1, p39)
… thin with black wavy, but wirey hair, was once a pro footballer with Torquay Utd and could still play a bit in 1970. - Jordan Duffy
Mr Ken G Charles History
(Photo: FR)
started in '55.
left in '64.
Took over from Eric Worthington and Tony Smith.  Promoted Basketball as the school's preferred sport, elevating Blackwell as the premier source of country players. - Ken Charles
Miss P M Curl    
Mr B Crix    
Mr D Rhys Davies History Mr. Davies: the 'History'.

Languid, almost catatonic Welsh history teacher given to casting a cynical eye on HK Olphin's more bizarre activities.  He was particularly amused when Olphin decided to introduce Italian lessons after a holiday trip to Venice - "Thank God he didn't go to Tibet." - Barry Lynch
Mr Davis Metalwork Mr Davies who taught woodwork and I think taught me to play the recorder. - Pat Hoar

Miss Ross got off with Mr Davis, Metalwork teacher. - Graham Maidlow

Dark and diminutive metal work maestro.  His anvil work was exquisite: two heavy blows on the hot metal followed by a declining triple on the anvil itself.  Combined the spiritual with the temporal by teaching the recorder to misguided members of the music club. - Barry Lynch
Mr F J Denison Woodwork Woodwork & Metalwork teacher, was nickname "DYNAMITE DENNISON" for his bad temper to which i was on the receiving end on too many times.  Today he would be charged with assault. - Colin Lane

Metalwork teacher, sadist and bully.  My father came down to school and told him never to raise his yard long metal ruler at me again. - Jordan Duffy
Mr R F Dunn R. E. Bespectacled and pencil thin, this bicycle-clipped Christian, carrying into class the world's smallest khaki rucksack on his back (containing what?) could explode into profound and disturbing rages for no apparent reason belying his ostensible Mr. Kipps persona. - Brian Lynch

I recall Mr Dunn (Rodney), but as well as RE, I am sure he also taught maths. - Les Pearce.

I used to work with the son of Mr Dunn, the RE teacher.  Mr Dunn died 9 or 10 years ago (so, in about 2008) in his late 80s or early 90s. - Yvonne Larkins, '63-'68
Ei.. Parry Evans    
Mr Ian Fairclough Art Left in '62.

A hunched character from the North, he resembled a bookie’s runner with asthma. - Barry Lynch
Mr A P Findlay Science Science master and patrician Cerberus of the bunsen burner units, tall, white-coated, greased hair wrapped around the lower half of his head fading away to domed baldness on the upper levels.  Fought a losing rearguard against shattering test tubes,and dodgy gas tubing. - Brian Lynch

I was a pupil at Blackwell School for the last two years of my schooling being those until I left at 16.

I had moved from Whitefriars through a special programme that allowed me to choose to attend a school better suited to the electrical sciences in which my interests have always lain.

My science teacher was a Mr Finlay and I took every opportunity to help maintain his telephone system which meant crawling along the tunnels beneath the corridors.  I enjoyed every minute of them.

I became a prefect and Mr Finlay trusted me to repair the school bells that marked the break times.  At one time I became involved with some stage lighting stuff.  Not a great deal of work but it gave me the chance to see the impressive stage and its facilities back stage.  I am sure this experience inspired my later involvement with the stage at Hatfield Polytechnic. - Peter Pollard (1960-’62)
Mr. Fisher   Quiet, white-coated, long-suffering lab. technician to the terrible trio of the science rooms, Bergin, Finlay and Sanderson.  Perhaps he sought solace in the various chemical substances for which he was responsible. - Barry Lynch
Ms Flood History 'killer’ horrs (sic) fancied Mrs Flood. - Douglas Clark

History teacher, but in 1960/61 was a Probation Officer at Colindale N.W.9. - Dorothy Clare
Mrs Fuller    
Miss M J Garrett Gym - Anne Moxley

- ’55 Autographs
Mr Gasson   Old-Testament-bearded RI teacher.  His Talmudic logic was probably lost on the diminutive habitues of Blackwell, but he was, at least, an interesting character.  His take on Judeo-Christian ethical relativism, a predicate in those years, would probaby be a challenging position in these times of cowering dhimmi anticipation ("What the ... !") of the forthcoming caliphate.  Good bloke. - Barry Lynch
Mr Gaywood   Taught at the Camp School. - Brenda Reeves
Mr G A Gearing PE
(Photo: Magazine, Vol 1, p40)
Lantern-jawed, primate-browed, bow-legged, hyper-kinetic PE/Games instructor, forever bellowing at pale spindly kids in string vests and over-sized white shorts. - Barry Lynch
Dr H M Geduld   I always liked Mr Geduld but didn't realise he was Dr. Geduld.  He gave us a period each week where he would read out to us Asimov’s "The Twighlight Zone" to us.  I would always drift off and escape. Other than my grandad (ex-grammar school chap) my family was not into reading.  Sad!  Thus I liked Geduld and 'Geduld’ in German means 'patience’ - which I think he had plenty of to have us lot!  I was always bottom of any English class but at least I know there are two "t"s in 'bottom’!  :)  - Peter Pollard, 1960-'62
Mr D F Gibbs    
Mr. Glanville French Reflective junior French teacher who walked with the aid of a stick and wore the mandatory tweed jacket with leather elbow patches.  Given to sudden outbursts of retributive justice.  He shut one pupil in a storeroom after chucking in one of those sulphurous "Biggest stink since Hitler" ampoule stink bombs.  These days such amusing antics would probably result in his dismissal, questions in the House and similar nonsense. - Barry Lynch
Mr L J Green   Science teacher and Tutor of A3.  Amongst his interests were Photography & Chemistry (hence looked after the swimming pool chlorination plant), was a good friend but could be strict, shouted well! - Graham Scott
Mr Griggs Woodwork He signed a form for me to enable me to wear the appropriate badge on my scout uniform.  He was a good teacher and we made things like teapot stands to take home to our long suffering parents. - Chris Harrington
Mr Gurly English All I got {from his teaching} was writer’s cramp! - roofan
Mrs Halmshaw   She resigned from teaching in Easter '61.
O M Harper   - ’55 Autographs
Mr Pat Hawes
Hawes was an excellent jazz musician. - Ken Charles

Pat Hawes wasn't one of my teachers but he had been at school with my brother, Reg.  It was generally known that often a certain Miss Flood would exit Mr Hawe’s classroom a bit flushed - need I say more.

I found out after Pat's death that, a brilliant pianist, he later played in Cy Laurie’s Jazz Band - a professional band.  He was more than an accomplished pianist and for the jazz enthusiast Pat played with nationally known bands like Ken Colyer, Humphrey Littleton, Dave Carey, Monty Sunshine and many others.  He was also a solo recording artist and attach a photo of him launching his one man show "Live in London 2000".  He was also the supporting pianist to International musicians, one worthy of note was Big Bill Broonzie.  I wish I'd known that when he was alive, but then I had moved to Australia.  He died April 2017.

Reference to the staff photo, Pat is the young larrikin, open-neck collar at the right hand end, second row from the back. - Sidney Eavis, ’54-’55

We nicknamed him ‘Killer Hoars’ (sic) as he was very demanding in games.  If he caught any boys fighting he would set up a boxing ring and make you do it properly.  He also seemed very friendly with one of the lady teachers. - Jim Bennett

Mr. Hawes - burly red-headed character with a high complexion.  A rough-hewn gingery character resembling Warren Clarke.  Infamous for his lecture to troubled second years on the perils of onanism. - Barry Lynch

Mr Hoarse (sic) was History Teacher and had a very bad habit of gazing into space and picking his nose. - Margaret McLean
J Roger Henthorne    
Mr P V Hewitt (Photo: FR) - Graham Maidlow
Mr André F Hill Head of Drama Left in ’62 - Magazine, Vol 2
Mr Holly   Features in Paul Gibson’s 1956 Class 1/33 photo.
K D Hood   - ’55 Autographs
Miss Barbara/Beryl A Jenkins (married Mr Mayhew) English
(Photo: Magazine, Vol. 2)
Got married, best English teacher … ever, (xcuse grammr), best sense of humour, so committed, so passionate about her subject.  Always remember you.  Hope you are still happily married.  How many kids you got now? Never forget you. - April Farrell

Mrs Mayhew was a lovely lady with patience and encouragement... she cared!  Didn’t care too much for her husband though. - Jordan Duffy

Charming English teacher and all round good sort, was one of the more sympathetic members of the female staff, a group mainly peopled by diffident youthful trainees fresh out of teacher training college, dotty committed spinsters with the occasional virago thrown in for good measure, and ancient time-servers dreaming of the south coast, afternoon tea and a pension. - Brian Lynch
Mr A B Jones   Left in ’61.
I remember Mr Jones and Mrs Mitchell hiding out in the school library with other cronies - an alternative staff room.  They always treated me as someone with a valid point of view for which I was grateful. - Rodger Walker
Barbara (née Jordan) Prentice History
(Photo: Magazine, Vol 2)
Mrs {sic} Jordan had a fair top set. - 'Dingo' Danes

Mrs. P used to have a certain Joan Hunter-Dunne-style charm back then, but now I suppose she's a poor old pillow-chested soul encased in sensible cardigans stalking the corridors of memory on feet like violin cases.  Cripes, maybe she's become a Mrs. Mitchell doppleganger.  Perish the thought. - Barry Lynch
Mr A P Kimber French Affable, slightly distracted French teacher.  Always gave the impression he’d rather be sitting at a galvanised table on the terrace of Deux Magots sipping Ricard and discussing existentialism with a pony-tailed disciple of JP Sartre.  But then who wouldn’t.  With his hair suitably en brosse the affable, bucolic looking and tweed-jacketed Mr. Kimber taught a reluctant pupilage the basics of french in the then cutting edge 'audio-visual’ method ie cartoon stick men awash in lurid pastel backgrounds demanding the whereabouts of the local railway station.  Perpetually puzzled by the pre-EEC indifference of his charges, he was often to be seen seeking refuge and comfort in a pint of bitter in the pub atop Harrow Hill. - Barry Lynch

Departed for Chandos Girls School in ’67.

Mr Kimber is still going strong (2003) and living in Pinner.  He makes very good home-made wine and enters it in the Harrow Show among other places. - Eileen Turner
Mrs G M Knight English Left in ’60.

She was a nightmare in the English classes.  We had to be totally quiet and she would tell us what to do by raising and dropping her hands.  Then she would lock the door and read the Harrow Observer. - Margaret Mclean (’53-’57)

I left in ’56 but sure remember Mrs Knight.  As a punishment she used to pinch the hairs on either temple and twist.  Quite painful at the time.  She used to call it "going for a bike ride".
Talking of bikes, do you recall that she used to ride her bicycle to school and at the gates get one of the kids to walk it in for her often getting them to pump up her tyres.  But most of all, do you remember her bike being smashed up by some of the 5th years on the day they were leaving.  What was left of it was daubed with green paint. - J Harniman

She was a stern disciplinarian demanding total silence in class - but a good teacher.  I remember there was little left of her bike the day it was trashed. - Anne Moxley

(In about 1957/8) Mrs Knight would make us chant: "Who, Whose, Whom, Which, What, That".  We were told we would never forget it, and I never did. - Jacqueline Percy, nee Austen
Mr A Kosky   left in '61.

Woodwork teacher notorious for his noxious, constantly bubbling glue pot, his wooden briefcase and large, simian eyebrows.  Looked and sounded like a minor apparatchik in one of the more obscure Warsaw Pact countries.  He loved his woodwork and grew almost lyrical when discussing joinery.  Even his Soviet-style suitings seemed fashioned from veneer. - Barry Lynch
Mrs J M Lamont PE
(Photo: Mag. Vol 1, p35)
Jean M Lawrie   - Anne's autograph album.
Miss Marion Lindsay Typing and shorthand Had the sweetest of natures.  I can't imagine how she remained as serene as she did amongst the pupils she taught! - Mary Lee

She was quiet-spoken and gentle.  She taught me typing - one of four subjects comprising my 'Commercial Course’.  Being Secondary Modern pupils, we were only allowed to take a maximum of four O'-levels. - Anne Moxley
Beryl Eileen Littler Acting Head ('74)  
Mr John M Longhurst Head of Drama (Photo: FR) A florid Welshman - Barry Lynch

Put on "Wind in the Willows". - 'Dingo' Danes

Great teacher, real human being, got on well with a funny Welshman teaching english. - Colin Lane

I used to baby-sit for him and his wife at their home. - Anne Moxley (’53-’58)

John Longhurst encouraged me to continue with drama and I ended up being a drama teacher.  I am still involved with drama today!!! - Madeline Howell-Jones

Departed for a school in Abingdon in ’60.
Miss M Lowe   Left in ’61.
Mr D J Mannion    
Mrs Doreen L Mitchell Maths (Photo: ‘Montreux, circa.1961’ sub-album with 'Jimmy’ and at 1997 Reunion) Taught at the Camp School (operated in 1949).

An awesome presence. - Pat Hoar

Although resembling an escaped pantomime dame on downers, Mrs. Mitchell was a delightful person who bore the psychic scars of her long Darwinian struggle with Headmaster HK Olphin to determine who was de facto head of the school.  She had a certain terrifying Amazonian aspect which intimidated many of the more sensitive male students into a life-long interest in pursed lips and Judy Garland records. - Barry Lynch

Being at Blackwell school brought me disaster for my maths.  I held tops at Whitefriars {until aged 14} and I always loved it (applied, was a bit easier than the abstract).  But "Ma Mitchell" I couldn't connect with.  She had a gravelly north American (Canadian maybe?) accent.  Well, drop one of those "l"s in gravelly and that's what it became for me and my maths.  She would throw an eraser at those who appeared to be "not attending".  I often got hit. I know it's not easy being a teacher, I am married to one and am sometimes still treated like an insolent pupil ;)  - Peter Pollard
Mr A Morrill   Became head of Elgar after 'Jock’ Stewart’s retirement.  Turned up at my house one day to ask my parents why I hadn't attended school the previous week.  They weren’t happy. - Geoff Gwillym
E M Morris   - ’55 Autographs
Mr D J Moss   Accompanied school trip to Grimentz, Switzerland where he contracted German measles. - Magazine, Vol 2
Mrs H Munday Music She used to teach English I think.  Before she came to Blackwell she taught at Harrow Weald Grammar, so my mother told me, so she must have been quite old by the time she came to Blackwell. - Patricia Maisey

She used to punish boys by grabbing hold of their sideburns and giving them a damn good wiggle.  (More painful than it sounds). - Don Affleck

She made the girls eyes water when any time some poor lad was in trouble and she did the "Hair Thing".  I was in her English group my first year (1965), I think it made her feel powerful. - Philippa Brydon (’65-’70)

She was a music teacher, & my form teacher for about a year.  We blow the lid of her desk one time & even my brother, Lindsay, suffered because of me when he got her in about 1962 when I was already in aussie. - Colin Lane (’52-’56)

Redolent of Edwardian evenings of gaslight, Elgar piano novelties, cigar smoke, and fine port, Mrs. Munday seemed spirited from another age.  Ample bosomed, resplendent in old lace and black bombazine to provide the musical accompaniment to the School Play (invariably 'Peter Pan' for some reason), Mrs. Munday was a pianist of talent, far superior to the metronomic trepidations of Mr. Stewart’s endeavours.  She wisely stayed clear of the blurred acoustics of the Great Hall organ and presumably had no truck at all with the unplayable half-finished monstrosity languishing in one of the class rooms. - Brian Lynch
Mr Newman (Photo: FR) He taught short-hand and typing on the first Blackwell Commercial course.  Nice guy.  All the girl students loved him! - Christopher Harrington

- Anne’s autograph album.
Mr Nobbs   Low-key and affable lab assistant and useful medium-pace trundler for Wembley Cricket Club.  Paradoxically joined a school where no cricket was played, but rather basketball - a kind of slouching netball for lanky geeks in coloured vests and rubber ankle boots.  Often seen spending his lunch break in Headstone Rec. where he evidently sought refuge from the inane twitterings of the staff room. - Barry Lynch
Mr Oliphant    
Mr Ronald B C le Paul Maths Chalk thrower extraordinary. - Bob Ponton

Maths teacher.  Contrived to take a boring subject and make it even duller.  Resembled an English poisoner from the 1930s.  He appeared in a school version of The Winslow Boy where his performance was so wooden that Messrs. Bowker and Dennison were co-opted to write the review. - Barry Lynch
Mr Jim W Pearce RI
(Photo: FR - organ)
Avuncular, heavily-jowled head of Dunant House.  With his demob suit, sparse strands of slicked-back Brylcreamed hair and pre-war masher’s moustache, he embodied Central Casting’s idea of a Lyon’s Corner House manager circa 1935.  He taught Religious Instruction and gave the impression that God was a senior clerk with a bowler hat and winged collar working from musty offices in Farringdon. - Barry Lynch
Mr Penfold   Can anyone remember Mr. Penfold who was a teacher when I first started at Blackwell in 1956.  Wonder what happened to him, does anybody know? - Anne Maidlow
Miss J Pointing (Mrs Guy) PE
(Photo: FR - standing with Stuart Alcorn?) 
What a progessive school.  She was a disabled P.E teacher.  And who could forget her little black book where she kept a record - for want of better words - so she knew when the girls could shower or not.  Memory dims but she seemed to be 4 foot nothing and her husband, also at the school, was over 6 feet. - Carol Gardner (’62-’66)

I have memories of her dragging one or two girls to the wash-basins and washing their make-up off! - Janice Gregory

She was known to be tough but fair with a little sense of humour. - Brian Eustice

Short in hocks. temper and allure, this music/games teacher exhibited all the symptoms of what we now call stress and then called moody. - Barry Lynch
Barbara Potter (Photo: FR) - Susan Dunworth
Miss H Purdie   Left in ’61.
Miss P Redford   Left in ’61.
Mrs Reed PE
(Photo: Magazine Vol 1, p35)
J Reid   - Anne's autograph album.
Olwen E Rhodes   - ’55 Autographs
A Richards   - ’55 Autographs
V I Rogers   - Anne's autograph album.
Miss J Ross   Left in ’61
Mrs S D/A Ross   My first tutor. - Graham Maidlow
Miss Joan Sanderson Science and Biology Elegant blonde science teacher.  Donned specs and white lab coat to add gravitas to a palely loitering demeanour.  She did not, from a pupil’s perspective, appear to have any sense of humour but rather an air of perpetual irritation.  Perhaps in the staff room she was a highly comedic gag-meister, but it seems unlikely. - Barry Lynch

She was a fellow science and biology teacher, about my age and obviously well liked by pupils and staff.  She was very good to me. - Sue Baker
Mr Sandford Science Technician - Raymond Rapaport
Mr Tony A Smith, 'Smudger’ PE
Started in 1949 at the Camp School.
Departed in ’56 for Lyndhurst School, Borehamwood.  He was eventually Head of Brittans School in Essex. - Ken Charles

'Smudger’ Smith introduced basketball to the school.  I was one of the first players (centre) and played in the under 12’s.  He had a bayonet wound in his back from the War. - William Watkins

Mr Smith whom we all thought was sweet on the girls PE mistress.  He himself was the boys' PE master. - ?

I remember him trying to teach us to play rugby for the first time.  He took this egg-shaped ball and told us to stop him running to the other end of the field by any means.  He made about four yards and was left well-battered and minus the ball by me, Brian Wilson, and many other teenage lads.  This may have occurred at the P.O.W. Camp as I do not recall a field at Blackwell. - David Sharratt

Tony Smith was our PE teacher and encouraged us in basketball to the extent we became rather good at it.  We were called the Blackwell Bombers.  We beat every other school we played and not by insignificant scores - often 150 to 5!  We were so good Tony enrolled us in a local evening league, which was for adults.  We lost every game we ever played, up against men twice our age and in some cases height.  What a let down - but such was life. - Sid Eavis, ’54-’55

Besides sports, he also took the first sex lessons. - Colin Lane

I remember that he had an endearing habit, I don't think it was an admonishment.  After a basketball practice and all the boys were on their way to the showers, he would administer what he referred to as the "red hand gang" signature - a smack to a bare backside.  When we came out of the shower the administered signature appeared as a red hand on the recipient's backside.  There was no malice in it and we all accepted it as a bit of fun.  You can just imagine if that happened today! - Sid Eavis, 1954/55
D Tare   - ’55 Autographs
Mr Reginald Tarp   Maths teacher or was it Geography.  A crusty old sod.  Well when he found out I was doing the African trips on the liners he got hold of me and introduced me to a female who was with him in the last war.  Did you know he was in the MI5 during the war and boy oh boy did she tell me some wild stories about that guy, no wonder he had a foul temper. - 'Dingo' Danes
Mr J Desmond Thomas   Mr. Thomas 'the English’.

Whippet-like Welshman with a balding-clown head and shiny dark grey suit.  Seemingly strayed from the set of a monochrome 50’s comedy where Welsh villagers battle an evil English mine owner.  He would play Mr. Ifor Jones, wages clerk, with Beryl Jenkins (later Mayhew) as Bronwyn the sensible sister of the ingenue, played by a specs-free, scrubbed-up Miss Sanderson.  As the mine owner, well, who other than H.K. Olphin with his badger's crop, theatrical eyebrows, heavy jowls, northern accent and pompous self-regard.  Lights, camera, turnover... - Barry Lynch

Mr Thomas was my tutor class teacher, would never make me a prefect and called me "tulip" - but was great. - Joan Roberts
Mr W G Trott   Left in ’63.

My old tutor - Peter Gregory (’63-’69)
Mrs V M Tucker   Left (retired) in ’61.
Mrs A M Vicary Home Economics  
Mr R Ward   Left in ’61.  Went to a school in Leighton Buzzard.
Miss Wheeler FrenchMy hero, she gave me confidence through her teaching.  I went on to be an Au Pair in France whilst studying for my A level French.  She gave me a passion for learning languages - even at my age!!!  I went on to be an Au Pair in France whilst studying for my A level French.  She gave me a passion for learning languages - even at my age!!! - Jean Kirk née Rogers

I believe it was Miss White {Wheeler? - CP} who taught us French.  Her blackboard writing was difficult to understand and I thought the letter Q was some strange French letter.  Unfortunately, she lost the notebooks of several members of my class including mine.  She told us to copy all the missing notes from a friend.  Of course, I wasn’t able to do that because nobody would lend me their notes as they needed them for homework.  Learning French without notes meant I was never successful at learning that language. - David Soward ('50 - Downer contingent)
Miss S J Williamson    
Miss J M Witley   Left in ’61.
R Wodhili   - Anne's autograph album.
Mr Eric S Worthington PE In '52 Worthington was P.E. Teacher and Mr Woods was the other cruel sod who made us play basket ball - nearly killed me that did.  After a game, last lesson, we had to cycle back home to Stanmore up that bloody hill. - 'Dingo’ Danes

Departed to Bexley Grammar. - Ken Charles
Mr Woods    
Mr Raymond Woolrich Maths Raymond(?) Woolridge - I am sure he taught us maths between 1958 and 1963.  One of the best teachers I ever had and helped me a lot when I was having a difficult time at school. - Rodger Walker

We once sprayed his room with deodorant - Pat Hoar

He was our French teacher in 1950.  He used to pound up and down the classroom between the desks with a stern look on his face shouting at us in French.  He said it was the best way to learn French. - Raymond Rapoport

He taught me French.  He tried to put me off a French pen-friend exchange as my French was pretty poor and he was rather anxious following an incident the previous year when a boy with only basic command of French had gone abroad and caused some difficulties.  But, having saved-up for it, I was determined to go and convinced Mr Woolrich that my outgoing temperament meant that I was well-suited to it.

I stayed with a lovely family in Paris, the Houssays.  When their daughter, Denise, did the 'return’ and stayed with us in Hatch End, my Dad, who could speak no French, became very exhasperated trying to talk some basic English to her - ending up gesticulating.  She repeatedly responded with "I don't understand".

Subsequently, my parents visited the Houssays in Paris a couple of years later. - Anne Moxley

With his wiry greying hair, jutting chin, teeth-clenched, steel-stem pipe and high-energy approach to teaching, 'Woolly' Woolrich was the business.  A keen member of the now extinct St. Bruno tobacco set, he was constantly wreathed in clouds of smoke (surely no longer permitted) and subject to spluttering choking fits.  Hopefully, his kippered lungs are still going, but it seems unlikely. - Barry Lynch

When he came in he always said "Sava?" {sic - "Ça va?"} (How are you?).  To which we replied "Sava Bien!"

I had a period when I was 12/13 when I started suffering panic attacks (they were not called that then).  He was very good at calming me down by using distraction techniques.  I do mental health support work and is something I use today.  He also helped me get some medical help.  I will be eternally grateful to him. - Richard Franklin
Miss G Yellop (Photo: Mag. Vol 1, p36
and FR)
Miss Yellop attracted a lot of teenage boy attention but always acted as if she didn't give a damn. - Rodger Walker
Mr Anan Science I remember doing the bronze Duke of Edinburgh award and Mr Annan (I don't know if I have the spelling right) was in charge of the route-march.  Afterwards a whole crowd of us went back to his house for take-away Chinese. - Christine Schwick

Yes Chris, we nicknamed him Pan Am (they were still flying then!)

Nice guy I seem to remember. Science teacher if memory serves. - Carl Wagner
Sue Baker Science and Biology From New Zealand.  Married to Alan Baker, an internationally renowned evolutionary biologist. - Andrew Forester (DGS)

I was at Blackwell for a short time as it was a relieving position that I had from Feb. 20th 1968 until early in July the same year.  I left when the person who was going to be teaching for the next year came in for the last week before school ended. - Sue Baker
Mr A Burley   Started in 1961 - Magazine
Mr Byron Woodwork Mr Byron did marry Miss Davey, who as far as I know lives in the Belmont area (saw approx 13 years ago whilst taking my children to nursery! She hadn't changed a bit, still had long brown hair).  She was my Tutor in E.41.

I believe Mr Byron is still teaching at Hatch End High, can anyone confirm? - Paula Henry
Mr Chapman   I went on a many field trips with him - Lulworth Cove was one.  We all found the only pub there, with Mr Hunt, Chapman and Pimm. - Barry King
Mr B Crix
Mr Mike Cuggy PE I remember him as a pupil one year older than me.  We played in the under 13's, then later the 1st team together (football).  He was friends with the Paler twins, Roger and Kenneth.  I remember him thru school and becoming Headboy.  Heard about him becoming a teacher later - Michael Nugent

I remember him because he was still at the school when I joined in 1958 in the first year.  He then disappeared (presumbly to train as a teacher) and reappeared when I was in the fifth form as a PE teacher(?).  We all called him "Cuggy" as we had done when he was Head Boy, until Mr Gearing started telling us to show respect by calling him 'Mr’ Cuggy.

I remember him as quite amiable and certainly not bothered at being recognised as a former fellow pupil by us. - Rodger Walker

Did he teach P.E. and Maths, drove a home-made sports car?  Pleasant bloke.  Losing hair? - Brian Eustice

He had a sports car and we thought he was the greatest.
We sang a song:
"We love you Mr Cuggy - oh yes we do" and I got told to stay behind after class but that was no punishment to stay in the class with him .... - Sylvianne Harber

I am certain he taught English - his wife was a PE teacher. - Graham Bruton
Mrs Cuggy PE My old tutor. - Peter Gregory
Miss Davey   Married Mr Byron.

My father couldn't wait for parents evening {to see her}.  He made sure he never missed - well she was fit! - Mark Roke
Mr K Feldman Maths If I had stayed, I think I would have learned a lot from him. - roofan
Mr J Fuller   Started in '61.
Mr R Galbraith Art Summer 2004 - Hatch End High School Magazine:
"It is with sadness that we announce that our longest serving member at the school and the Art Department, Mr. Galbraith, is leaving at the end of this term after a record breaking 40 years!

Mr. Galbraith joined Blackwell Secondary Modern in 1964 and he has worked with seven headteachers since that time.  He has led several trips to Art Galleries in Europe, run the school's Chess and Pottery Clubs, organised a poetry competition on the theme of The Stephen Lawrence Affair, taught photography…… and other things too numerous to mention.

In 1995 he won both the Barclay Award for Teacher Placement of the month and the North West London Training and Enterprise Council's Rubicon Award for Teacher Placement of the Year for a photographic project working in conjunction with ..."
Mrs P Gooch Science Started in '61.
Mr Guy English Mr. Guy was un-married when he first came to the school.  He was tutor of Churchill 30.  A great teacher and inspired me, amongst others, to join the profession and to copy his feel for the pupils.  He taught English. - Brian Eustice
Mr Harris   The P.E instructor, yes he would have been at home in the R.A.F!!! Harris was it?  A Scot or Geordie. - roofan2000
Mr Hunt Geography His name was Brian and he was a teacher from my Middle school (Weald) so I thought I was well-in when he came to Blackwell, it didn't do me much good though, I was treated like everyone else. - Kim Johnston

There was gossip flying round the school that he was dating Miss Davey.... but I don't know if there was any truth in that rumour!

I also recall he ran a school debating class.... - Christine Schwick

Unlucky Mr Hunt - although I believe he married another geog. teacher, Ms Devlin, I think. - Barry King
Mr H Levy French With his Roman nose, obsidian features and huge implacable actor’s head, "Honker" Levy brought a frisson of drama to a staff seemingly escaped from a 'Carry On' set.  Given his allusions to mano-a-mano combat in the Normandy bocage he was clearly not to be mucked about with.  Also taught fencing to budding suburban D'Artagnans. - Barry Lynch
Mr Little   Dunant house tutor... . - Elaine Ockwell
Mr A Luff   Started in ’61.
Mr Mansell English - Peter Gregory
Mrs Mascott    
Mr J E Maunsell English Started in ’61.

Clark Kent doppelganger from Canada.  Taught English Literature.  Had the ironically detached air of an Ivy League graduate.  Also taught games where his 'Kicking Horse Pass' emblazoned track suit implied Herculean sporting triumphs in the Rockies.  No doubt now, in his late sixties, as he downs Molsen suds with his buddies by a sparkling bend of the Bow River, he recalls his days in a dreary London suburb and thinks "What the **** was that all about". - Barry Lynch
Mr Derek R J Mayhew   Started in ’61.

Very tall English teacher, I think it was Mr Mayhew.  He always played the "baddie" in the school play.  I wonder if he's still teaching. - Philippa Brydon (Hunt) '65-'70

Brillo-bearded and edgy. - Barry Lynch

Bearded Welsh bard, clad in the archetypal fustian or Harris Tweed sports jacket with the leather patches protecting the elbows and circumnavigating the cuffs.  When he wasn't lost in some celtic twilight or Eisteddfodic reverie his irritation with the perceived turpitude of his pupils could assume Snowdonic proportions.  Part of the sizeable contingent of pedagogue third columnists from the valleys eg. Longhurst, Davis, Davies, Jenkins, Thomas, Roberts, ad infinitum. - Brian Lynch
Mr Geoffrey O'Donovan   His initials were GOD.  God’s gift - Simon Chandle
Mr Mel Pimm   Remembered with great fondness.  Always a smile and great fun.  I still have a photograph of him taken on a canoeing trip on the Norfolk Broads!  Always lived in blue and white tracksuit.

Also remember Mrs Pimm, our D.S. teacher ..... - Paula Henry
Mrs Barbara Prentice History Engaging, if slightly snippy, English/ history teacher and netball coach.  Much admired by the school's incipient lotharios.  Paradoxically looked years younger than the prematurely matronly and dowdy members of the senior netball squad.  Why so?
Were he alive, Dr. Magnus Pyke would no doubt supply the answer with vigorous and entirely inappropriate gestures. - Barry Lynch

I was in Mrs. Prentice’s (or Barbara, as I suppose I could now call her) Tutor Group from 1965 to 1969. - David Potter
Miss Reynolds Biology Married 'Jock’ Stewart. - Richard Mason
Mr J W Roberts   Started in ’61.

Although I didn't actually go on the school trip to Calais (c. '63), the rumours that flooded the school were terrific.  One I heard was that there were two teachers in particular who were amazingly the worse for drink and got up to all sorts of things on the return leg of the trip.  I wished I had been there!  The two teachers were Miss Thorpe and Mr Roberts. - Claire Mcgarry

Mr Roberts was brilliant to me.  All I achieved in swimming (for Middlesex) was down to him.  I used to stay late after school (in the summer) to practise and train in the pool.  He then used to drive me home in his Ford Classic.  A great guy whom I will always remember with fondness. - Martin Avis
Mr R Stewart, 'Jock’ Music Started in ’61.

Did not like that class! (being at the time a Deviants fan! - 'member them?). - roofan

I remember old 'Jock’, I was on the wrong end of his slipper.  I`m sure he enjoyed it more than he should. - Don Affleck

… the kinky Beethoven worshipper.  I joined the slipper queue regularly in my first year, outside the stock room next door to his classroom.  I think he even looked like Beethoven. - Lyndon J Connah

He whacked me with it too!  Also remember the G & S 'Tit Willow’.  Great fun - also remember him getting us to sing it and one row of us would stop singing at a time leaving him singing it at the top of his voice - he was oblivious when he was underway! - Claire Mcgarry

Mr Stewart was my house Master (Elgar).  If you said the 'right’ things to him I found he always treated me very fairly.  His Scottish accent was a decent one although he got a bit agitated when I used to get the cane.  Oh yes, it did happen once or twice, but he was a decent bloke. - Martin Avis

Epicene Scottish music teacher with a perfectly triangular head and pedantic Morningside accent.  Although presenting as a strict Calvinistic disciplinarian he was paradoxically popular with musical Ganymedes. - Barry Lynch

I started at Blackwell in September 1963.  I had lost my father in June 1963.  I was a very sad young lady when I started there, but Mr Olphin and Mr Stewart knew about my father’s death and both were so very kind to me.  I always liked both men very much. - Yvonne Larkins

Married Miss Reynolds, the Biology teacher. - Richard Mason

A great teacher even though I detested music.  Used to take me and a few others up to the Case is Altered some lunch times for a pint and a ciggy. - Jordan Duffy
Miss Thorpe    
Mr A Thrupp
Miss L M Tyler   Started in ’61.
Miss Diane Westbury/Wedgebury   Miss Wedgebury was absolutely gorgeous.  I was head-over-heels in-love.
My lasting memory will be kissing her when I left. - Richard Mason

Wasn't it Miss "Westbury"?  I think she is the teacher that taught me shorthand and typing.... small and blonde... all the guys loved her... - Elaine Stephens

She wore the shortest mini skirts and was an absolute fox.  She could not have been a great deal older than us at that time and as a hormonal little boy I am sure everybody's thoughts were the same as mine. - Paul Millar (from FR)
Mr Stuart Wilkinson Geography - Peter Gregory (’63-’69

Graduate of Brunel at Osterley.  Now lives in Somerset. - S. Wilkinson (FR)
Mr Douglas S Clarke Headmaster Started in 1970.

Having taught at Downer Grammar in the late ’50s and at Lascelles in the ’60s. Douglas [Nobby] Clarke [if I remember what he told me correctly] went to Lascelles, then as head of Blackwell which was a real "challenge" that he sorted-out and from there on to the "old" Harrow Weald County and set it up as a "new" Sixth Form college and made it a great success.  He is now retired, living in Devon.

I’ve had a couple of long telephone conversations with him and he is still the delightful chap he always was.  Somebody told me that he is not in great health (2002) but of course that old Spitfire pilot - stiff-upper-lip - mentioned nothing about such things...  Andy Forester (Downer Grammar, ’55-’62).
Mr Hunt   - Christine Chisholm
Miss Stone Sociology Ros Stone, later married to become Mrs Hayes (I think).  Very trendy teacher, used to refer to class pupils as 'people’. - Christine Chisholm
Miss Szymanska Chemistry Anyone remember a chemistry teacher called Miss ‘Shemanska’, no idea of the spelling.  Nicknamed ‘Shemanska the Polish refugee’.  Unfortunately she discovered that written across the front of my exercise book. - Alan Ruffell

Reference Sources:
The Blackwell School Magazine - Volumes 1 and 2 - particular thanks are due to the 'Lynch’ twins whose eloquent and entertaining contributions paint particularly graphic and engaging portraits of their victims.
e-mails from individuals
… and face to-face sessions with individuals.