Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

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Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

Post by John Saunders » Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:05 pm

I have been watching the black and white BBC Coverage of Churchill's funeral. When the "Head of State" procession entered the Cathedral it was headed,I am sure, by Corks looking splendid in full clerical regalia. Has anyone else recognized him? JHGS

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Re: Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

Post by DavidRawlins » Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:14 am

I know he was there about then; a minor cannon I think. However I did not see the programme.
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Re: Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

Post by Clive » Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:01 am

The may have been a cannon or two by way of military salute but I suspect you mean 'canon'....!

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Re: Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:09 am

Can you tell me roughly how far into the broadcast this was?
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Re: Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

Post by Richard » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:50 am

Since very many Blues know nothing about this unusual man ‘Corks’, something further about him may be of use.

The Rev WCM Cochrane (Cecil) was a Cambridge man, the Director of Music at CH in the 40s and 50s, highly regarded as a musician and popular with boys. His sermons were usually much more humorous than those of other preachers. He was a very competent organist and had an excellent baritone voice, but, unlike his predecessor Dr CS Lang who composed canticles for the quatercentenary in 1952 and other occasions, he was not a composer. Corks was a kind man, a bachelor and junior housemaster of Col A, who got on well with his senior housemaster (Kit Aitken) and all the house. He was very fond of beer but never to my knowledge appeared the worse for it. On one memorable occasion he had a barrel of beer in his study, presumably to allow hosting of friends. However the HM (HLO Flecker) visited him then, but Corks was lucky enough to have enough warning, so he could cover the barrel with a cloth of some sort. He was happy to recount this near-miss. All this shows what sort of fellow he was. He left CH, in part allegedly because Flecker’s successor, CME Seaman, was so much more straightlaced than Flecker and less tolerant of Corks.
Last edited by Richard on Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:08 am

I only ever saw Corks the worse for drink once, and that was after he left CH. It was in his 'local', the Rising Sun pub next to St Paul's.

Having said that, comparing photos of him in the mid 40s, and how I knew him in the mid 50s, does reveal that alcohol took a certain toll.

He had a voice that could fill the chapel, which made his Saturday chapel practices a very different experience from those of his successors, the very unpopular Rust and the very popular McKelvey.

Corks is buried in Itchingfield churchyard, where the headstone reads 'Priest and Musician'.

Seaman was certainly strait-laced and much more hands-on (a 'new broom') than Flecker in his later years, and though Corks was totally untainted by the sexual improprieties that were Seaman's main concern to sweep clean, I can imagine that it was Seaman's arrival that propted Corks to look around for something else.
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Re: Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

Post by sejintenej » Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:44 pm

michael scuffil wrote:I only ever saw Corks the worse for drink once, and that was after he left CH. It was in his 'local', the Rising Sun pub next to St Paul's. .
Just onne of his locals. I caught up with him one early morning (the pub in Smithfield opened around 3.00am) before we decamped to a pub near Borough Market. He belonged to one or more of the West End "clubs" where you could drink until daybreak. I never saw him drunk but I understand JW knew him far better.

My last parent died whilst I was in Col A. When I got back from the funeral the Chain offered his support but it was Corks, being "solid" who really helped me through the rest of term.
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Re: Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Feb 02, 2015 2:52 pm

It is very definitely Corks in the procession, and a good shot of him too. It comes at 1 hr and 1 minute into the broadcast. Those were the days: the King of the Hellenes, the Crown Prince of Ethiopia... One is almost waiting for the Tsar of All the Russias.

At 1 hr 11 minutes you will catch a glimpse of the Chairman and founder of CND, Canon Collins (a canon of St Pauls) -- the guy with the horn-rimmed glasses.
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Re: Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

Post by eucsgmrc » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:05 pm

michael scuffil wrote:I only ever saw Corks the worse for drink once, and that was after he left CH. It was in his 'local', the Rising Sun pub next to St Paul's.
Corks was a considerable drinker, and I seem to remember that Kit could match him. That said, they could hold it, and they could stop, so, by the standards of the day, they didn't have a problem. I have a vague recollection that the "Little Bricky" - not far off a barley wine - was their choice to conclude an evening.

As a minor canon of St Paul's, Corks had a magnificent but very decrepit eighteenth-century house in Amen Court. He lived there in chaos and let young Old Blues stay in spare rooms or sleeping on sofas while they began their student/working lives in London. It looked exceedingly squalid; it was in fact huge fun. He and we were completely irresponsible, but he looked after the Cathedral's music perfectly adequately, and the world turned a blind eye to everything else. He was the kind of Good Man who would nowadays be hounded and bullied by authority and do-gooders and the press.
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Re: Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

Post by Richard » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:51 pm

Photos of Corks

I have just been looking at the thread, “Strange old man dressed in WW1 army gear / dog named lobster”.

On 25 Jan 15 eucsgmrc posted a message including the web address https://www.flickr.com/photos/jandsw/55 ... 099253537/

It shows shots of Cecil Francis Kirby’s strange laboratory. (He was a very eccentric biology master, bachelor, OB, formerly a medical student and major in the Royal Signals, who headed the CCF Signal Section.) However if one views other images of this long series of photos (after and to the right of the laboratory photos) there are several Col A house photos from the mid 1950s. Each shows the senior housemaster (EC Aitken) and on his left Corks, without a clerical collar, which was how he was dressed most of the time. The other master in the house photos is (I think) David Herbert, perhaps then serving as a more sporty, adjunct junior housemaster. These photos were clearly posted by a member of Col A and show a great variety of Housiana of his days.

Near the end of the series of photos there are (ironically) a few images of a performance of “The Pirates of Penzance” from the early 1960s. It’s ironic because Corks, when Director of Music, never allowed a school production of any Gilbert and Sullivan opera. So either this was a house production, or if a school production it took place after Corks’ departure from CH. Does anyone know?
Last edited by Richard on Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

Post by sejintenej » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:33 pm

Richard wrote:Photos of Corks

there are several Col A house photos from the mid 1950s. Each shows the senior housemaster (EC Aitken) and on his left Corks, without a clerical collar, which was how he was dressed most of the time. The other master in the house photos is (I think) David Herbert, perhaps then serving as a more sporty, adjunct junior housemaster. These photos were clearly posted by a member of Col A and show a great variety of Housiana of his days.

Near the end of the series of photos there are (ironically) a few images of a performance of “The Pirates of Penzance” from the early 1960s. It’s ironic because Corks, when Director of Music, never allowed a school production of any Gilbert and Sullivan opera. So either this was a house production, or if a school production it took place after Corks’ departure from CH. Does anyone know?
Herbert was previously a professor at the uni in Seville, Cordoba or Granada; if he was in the picture it had to be 1961 (or winter 1960) because he taught me Spanish so I could avoid German (doing A level you also had to do a non-exam language you hadn't done before).

Pirates of Penzance was a Col A house performance produced in the Prep school hall. I HATED the thought of being on stage so I was on lighting , sandwiched between the wall and a huge great baking hot lump of iron containing all the lighting resistors. In swimming trunks I was dripping sweat and worrying about it linking up with the electrics!. To us the performers sounded weak so the entire stage crew was singing along with them. I think the opera went off OK. As for Corks views, I can't remember if he was still at CH - I think not.

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Re: Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

Post by postwarblue » Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:49 am

Trial by Jury was a Coleridge House Play one year, organised by Gad Malins (he also on the piano). Colin Alves was the Judge and Beare of Col A played the female lead which places it about 1949.

We did have The Beggar's Opera one year as a school thing, can't remember the year.

A story someone told me after Corks left was that Seaman told him in effect that the choral stuff was all very well but there was a lack of everything else. The impression I got was that he had been sacked. My recollection of School Concerts was that there was always one piece for the whole school to sing (to keep us awake I suppose) and it was always uniformly dire and boring - Browning's Boot and Saddle for example.

In the Chapel we had Zoltan Kodaly's Missa Brevis (put together by Mr Terry with his blue-tinted glasses) and another year the Messiah, in which yours truly got carried away by the Hallelujah Chorus and in a practice roared out and extra Hallelujah after everyone else had finished.

Corks certainly had a reputation in Col B as a boozer.
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Re: Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

Post by eucsgmrc » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:42 am

Richard wrote:Photos of Corks... if one views other images of this long series of photos (after and to the right of the laboratory photos) there are several Col A house photos from the mid 1950s. Each shows the senior housemaster (EC Aitken) and on his left Corks, without a clerical collar, which was how he was dressed most of the time. The other master in the house photos is (I think) David Herbert, perhaps then serving as a more sporty, adjunct junior housemaster. These photos were clearly posted by a member of Col A ...
Yes, they are my photos, or in many cases my mother's. When you look at them in Flickr, it may be worth scrolling down the pages to see the descriptions and notes and other information attached to each photo. For instance, some of the ColA house photos have a key to say who's who.
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Re: Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

Post by eucsgmrc » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:51 am

postwarblue wrote:... A story someone told me after Corks left was that Seaman told him in effect that the choral stuff was all very well but there was a lack of everything else...
CMES was right, but until I read this I had never realised that he was aware of music. There were in Corks' time two peaks of high musical excellence - band and chapel choir - separated by a slough of dismal inadequacy in almost every other kind of music. So widely separated that, if you were standing on one peak, you might easily miss seeing the other.
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Re: Rev W Cochrane. (Corks!)

Post by eucsgmrc » Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:03 pm

Richard wrote:Photos of CorksNear the end of the series of photos there are (ironically) a few images of a performance of “The Pirates of Penzance” from the early 1960s. It’s ironic because Corks, when Director of Music, never allowed a school production of any Gilbert and Sullivan opera. So either this was a house production, or if a school production it took place after Corks’ departure from CH. Does anyone know?
To confirm what sejintenej has said: The Pirates of Penzance (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jandsw/55 ... 6099253537) was a Coleridge production in 1961, after Corks' time. Paul Wade was the Pirate King, Ian Packington was Frederick, Bill Corbett-Singleton was the Police Sergeant, and I was Major-General Stanley.
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