Michael Cherniavsky

Share your memories and stories from your days at school, and find out the truth behind the rumours....Remember the teachers and pupils, tell us who you remember and why...

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michael scuffil
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Re: Michael Cherniavsky

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:42 am

And one came from ThB, removing one of my rivals for a monitorship.
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Re: Michael Cherniavsky

Post by jhopgood » Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:07 am

michael scuffil wrote:And one came from ThB, removing one of my rivals for a monitorship.
From memory, Kirker from ThB, Philips and Bostock from MaA.

Philips was House Captain, followed the next year by Bostock, who tried to get me to run with the Cambridge Harriers, from Blackheath.

Judging from the 1961 photo, Simms and Miller came in together.

With the exception of Ledeboer, whose brother remained in the house, I can't remember the names of the other monitors, only that one had a very long arm and was able to perform "owls" on squits, from a sitting position at meal times.

I have a vague feeling that Ledeboer moved house, but since it was my first year, I had no idea that changing house was an unusual occurence.
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Re: Michael Cherniavsky

Post by rockfreak » Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:22 pm

michael scuffil wrote:My contribution was deleted presumably because it quoted the offending post. I can only say what was in the public domain at the time, namely: Three BaB monitors were de-monned (for reasons unknown to me); three monitors (incl. a house captain) were brought in from other houses the next term; Chern was replaced as housemaster by Chris Miller.

I presume (and so did everyone else) that the reason for the latter was that Seaman thought a tougher hand was needed. Chern was, as everyone knew, not a disciplinarian, and I think even his admirers (of which I was one) would agree that he displayed a certain unworldliness which might not have made him the best person to run a house in the context of c. 1960.

Pat Cullen was junior housemaster; he was presumably 'next in line' for a senior housemastership, and moved to ThB when John Page moved to ThA. (But I don't think this happened at precisely the same time as the above, though I can't remember.)
Well said Dr Scuffil! Publish and be damned, I say! If this site is not to contain contentious and controversial stuff then it's a pretty poor affair. Some of the stuff that has already been published on the site suggests that CH in the '50s (or maybe later) dealt in what can only be described as child abuse and I don't know why the moderators are so keen to suppress it. In this day and age when more and more is being revealed about boarding schools (the preparatory schools still take them in from age five, by the way) it serves no interest to sweep things under the carpet. I did history under Chern for a year and he was lovely old cove, but if he was not doing his job as a housemaster then this is a legit subject for debate. As for discussing it somewhere else, as Julian has suggested - where? BBC-1? Channel-4? Classic Rock? Trail Bike? Cage and Aviary Birds? You strike a blow for free speech, Doctor. Award yourself a glass of Croft Original. On second thoughts, pour one for me.

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Re: Michael Cherniavsky

Post by jtaylor » Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:36 pm

By all means set up your own site, talk to the BBC, whatever you like.
Abide by the rules, or leave - sorry, but it's that simple.

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Re: Michael Cherniavsky

Post by rockfreak » Sat May 02, 2015 5:26 pm

I do love people being "de-monned", Michael. It's a bit like vicars being unfrocked.

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Re: Michael Cherniavsky

Post by J.R. » Sun May 03, 2015 1:02 pm

rockfreak wrote:I do love people being "de-monned", Michael. It's a bit like vicars being unfrocked.

I often wondered why vicars were 'unfrocked'.

What happens to Nuns in the same situation ??

PERHAPS YOU'D BETTER NOT ANSWER THAT !!
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Re: Michael Cherniavsky

Post by coliemore » Mon Dec 14, 2015 1:35 am

Michael Cherniavsky and I were colleagues and friends for about a decade at the University of Waterloo (UW) in Canada. The most prolific researcher in the Faculty of Science at UW was WB Pearson a former SG and perhaps the first Engineering Grecian at CH in the 1930's and winner of a DFC in WWII. The most prolific researcher in the Faculty of Arts was a historian Michael Craton who was at CH in the 1940's and by some measures I was the most prolific researcher in the Faculty of Engineering - and was memorably taught English by Michael at CH in the 1950's. We were all full Professors in one of the best Engineering Universities in North America (inventor of the BlackBerry). Michael was a very quiet non-publishing and reclusive Associate Professor who was out of his element. Michael regretted leaving CH. This proves that these three Old Blues were hard-working academics who knew the rules whilst Michael was incredibly shy at UW and ignored the rules of the game. Alan Ryan who knew the rules of academia visited UW and we three had a fine weekend. Michael became depressed I'd say. We had many discussions over sherry about CH and its antediluvian academic system.

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Re: Michael Cherniavsky

Post by Richard » Mon Dec 14, 2015 7:10 pm

Why antediluvian? If it were so, why exactly did Michael regret leaving CH?

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Re: Michael Cherniavsky

Post by LongGone » Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:40 pm

I doubt if much had changed since the school moved to Horsham up to 1960. In fairness, this was true for much of the educational system. My undergraduate degree in Zoology would have looked very familiar to someone from 1900: for example DNA was never mentioned once, even though the seminal Watson-Crick paper was already a decade old.
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Re: Michael Cherniavsky

Post by Richard » Tue Dec 15, 2015 5:40 am

I doubt if much had changed since the school moved to Horsham up to 1960.
I disagree most profoundly with this opinion.

In brief, for matters academic the curriculum at CH was greatly broadened to include science at the start of the 20th century. Not only were these subjects (physics and chemistry initially, but also biology, mainly for pre-medics and would-be agriculturalists, about a decade later) emphasised, but they were taught most effectively by adoption of the heuristic method. CH's laboratories, still in the Old Science School, were also unique in 1902. All this made CH the leading school in the UK in the teaching of science for several decades after its arrival in Horsham. This was due almost entirely to two men, Professor Henry Armstrong, FRS (London University) and Mr Charles Browne, head of science at CH for several decades. Also the second HM of the 20th century, Dr WH Fyfe, introduced grecians’ studies of history, music, modern languages, etc. Even Fyfe’s predecessor, Rev Dr W Upcott, in appearance and behavior a typical Victorian, brought large and unique changes to CH, such as adding science and engineering to subjects at the grecians’ level. In Upcott’s time the Manual Training School was also established, where practical skills and handicrafts were taught. They included woodworking, a smithy, a foundry, a metalworking shop, bookbinding and a printshop. These were primarily intended to teach useful manual skills to young boys and allow older boys to pursue these activities as hobbies if they wished. This was never any sort of trade-apprentice training. Upcott ensured that swimming and gymnasium facilities were added (by conversion of previous cowsheds, which served for over 50 years). Most of these expansions of facilities and subjects taught were then very novel in the UK, most especially the high level of science studies.

In addition to changing academic matters drastically Fyfe introduced a most humanitarian ethos. There is a great deal written on all these matters, which I do not think are in dispute.

Three excellent references are The Christ’s Hospital Book, by a Committee of Old Blues, Hamish Hamilton, London 1953, Henry Edward Armstrong: Educational Work, by Charles E Browne and Charles E Browne: An Appreciation of his Work for the Reform of Education at Christ’s Hospital 1899- 1926, by Ernest H Rudd, Harrison & Sons, 1966. For anyone interested in CH, the former should be read (11 copies are available on Amazon). It deals with some Science too. For those interested in Science and CH the latter two are indispensable. But this pair of books is very difficult to obtain (Amazon does not have them).

Finally, for quite a while after Watson & Crick’s seminal publication, the vast contribution of physics to all life sciences was not appreciated, in spite of their prescient reference to cell duplication in the initial publication. So for that reason there was little reference to this crucial work at CH, or indeed in most other places too for far too long. It has been said that if their paper were submitted for publication today to a very prestigious journal, it would probably be refused, because it was so novel (and short).

So VAST changes took place at CH in Horsham between 1902 and 1960.
Last edited by Richard on Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:43 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Michael Cherniavsky

Post by DavidRawlins » Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:12 am

We were taught about Watson and Crick's work in 1952 by Mr Davies, who had just come down from Cambridge.
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Re: Michael Cherniavsky

Post by Katharine » Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:54 am

Not only Horsham, but Hertford led in Science teaching. I don't have details here, but it was very forward looking that a Science block was built after the little boys went to Horsham. I believe it was one of the first girls schools to have dedicated labs for the three sciences.

I wonder who insisted on it?
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Re: Michael Cherniavsky

Post by Richard » Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:45 am

Almost certainly Armstrong, who also strongly advised that girls have some experience in science - far ahead of his time there, as elsewhere.

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Re: Michael Cherniavsky

Post by Katharine » Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:41 am

Thanks Richard. It is good to know that we were remembered, many was the time we thought we were forgotten, even neglected, by the Foundation. I suppose that building the school at Hertford was a time when they couldn't really forget about us!

The basic structure of the labs didn't change much in their 80 years of use. I believe, but was out of the country much of that time, there was talk of the Physics lab benches etc going to the Science Museum as an example of state of the art science teaching in the 1900s.
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Re: Michael Cherniavsky

Post by michael scuffil » Thu Dec 17, 2015 6:53 pm

Many thanks Richard for your memories of Chern and your interesting points about CH teaching. It does occur to me, though, that many of the major innovations you refer to were (literally) built into the new premises of the school in Horsham. The Old Science School was pioneering, but the New Science School (30 years later) was not very different. When my wife, a German physicist, went to look at CH teaching in 1975, she was equally amazed by the modernity of the 1902 layout and by the old-fashioned nature of the 1902 equipment. So while in 1902 the school was highly modern (largely it seems due to Armstrong) I wonder if you can really say that 'vast' differences took place between then and c. 1960.

(I know from personal experience how old-fashioned modern-language teaching was, and I also know -- because he said so -- that Neil Simms was horrified at the state of PE when he arrived in 1962).

Chern wrote a piece in The Blue about CH teaching, which I've mentioned on the Forum before, and which might explain the word 'antediluvian'. It mainly concerned the pre-Seaman extraordinarily elite sixth-form, which had historical reasons that I've also explained here but was seriously obsolescent by the 50s.
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