Strange old man dressed in WW1 army gear / dog named lobster

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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coliemore
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Re: Strange old man dressed in WW1 army gear / dog named lobster

Post by coliemore » Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:44 am

I did Chemistry and Biology via heuristics memorably with Bill Kirby; he called me Gubbins. This was pre-Seaman and Seaman's major reforms and sackings - plus Seaman's introduction of school-wide illustrated lectures on sex by the charismatic, psychiatrist Dr Matthews ("homosexuality is an adolescent developmental stage which most boys and girls grow out of quite naturally into heterosexuality"). Chemistry was undertaken as research via classical heuristics by Kirby - which I greatly enjoyed. I was chosen by Kirby in biology to be the life model totally naked in front of the class sketching on my body the skeleton and organs as was his eccentric wont - all a bit embarrassing but after all we swam and had swimming lessons naked so why not? we might have asked I suppose. Clipping toenails and hair to do various practical protein/pH tests. "Uncle" worked with favoured members of the class on meticulous science write-ups in the red log-books. He was a Major in the Royal Signals in WWII and the CCF. It was said that at the time he was the only teacher (perhaps besides VP) using "pure heuristics". Luckily for A level Chemistry I had (another) Matthews who was a rote teacher from Holmyard drilling us in exam questions - with Crosland for excellent A level Physics and Rae for Mathematics - all three getting me very good A levels. But for all his weirdnesses Bill Kirby was an inspiration from a strange age and mores - orienting me to become a reasonable and very happily fulfilled research metallurgist in leading universities globally. RIP.

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Re: Strange old man dressed in WW1 army gear / dog named lobster

Post by michael scuffil » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:53 pm

all a bit embarrassing but after all we swam and had swimming lessons naked so why not?

To quote and misquote Ecclesiastes: To every thing there is a season. A time to be naked and a time to be clothed.

I frequent a nude beach (in summer). I live in Germany so this is not particularly eccentric. But the friends I have from there leave their clothes on when they come round for a meal. Even though it's warm enough to take them off. (Incidentally I remember Mr Tod telling us that the Greeks exercised naked. 'But it's warm in Greece, so there's no need for clothes.' (!))
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Strange old man dressed in WW1 army gear / dog named lobster

Post by rockfreak » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:58 pm

Interesting to see Dr Matthews and his sex education crop up. Elsewhere on the site someone has already reminded us that when said Doc was asked how one should approach one's girlfriend in matters of l'amor he said "it's alright as long as you're both laughing". This puzzled many of us at the time and I've wondered since just how many Old Blues had their love lives strangled at birth because the minute they made their first fumbling attempts at foreplay they burst into paroxysms of uncontrollable mirth.

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Re: Strange old man dressed in WW1 army gear / dog named lobster

Post by LongGone » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:56 pm

“it's alright as long as you're both laughing".
Clearly he never anticipated the combination of pot and sex!
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Re: Strange old man dressed in WW1 army gear / dog named lobster

Post by Katharine » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:33 pm

I cannot imagine any such conversation with an adult in CH Hertford in my day!
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
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Re: Strange old man dressed in WW1 army gear / dog named lobster

Post by DavebytheSea » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:53 pm

coliemore wrote:
Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:44 am
I did Chemistry and Biology via heuristics memorably with Bill Kirby; he called me Gubbins. This was pre-Seaman and Seaman's major reforms and sackings - plus Seaman's introduction of school-wide illustrated lectures on sex by the charismatic, psychiatrist Dr Matthews ("homosexuality is an adolescent developmental stage which most boys and girls grow out of quite naturally into heterosexuality"). Chemistry was undertaken as research via classical heuristics by Kirby - which I greatly enjoyed. I was chosen by Kirby in biology to be the life model totally naked in front of the class sketching on my body the skeleton and organs as was his eccentric wont - all a bit embarrassing but after all we swam and had swimming lessons naked so why not? we might have asked I suppose. Clipping toenails and hair to do various practical protein/pH tests. "Uncle" worked with favoured members of the class on meticulous science write-ups in the red log-books. He was a Major in the Royal Signals in WWII and the CCF. It was said that at the time he was the only teacher (perhaps besides VP) using "pure heuristics". Luckily for A level Chemistry I had (another) Matthews who was a rote teacher from Holmyard drilling us in exam questions - with Crosland for excellent A level Physics and Rae for Mathematics - all three getting me very good A levels. But for all his weirdnesses Bill Kirby was an inspiration from a strange age and mores - orienting me to become a reasonable and very happily fulfilled research metallurgist in leading universities globally. RIP.
This was standard Kirby stuff. I think I posted earlier about a similar experience when W.A. Cross was asked to stand on Kirby's desk in front of the class. I also remember using a micrometer to learn that my hair was twice as thick as the norm. And then there was the poster of the cow on the wall of his lab...

I think I was always a little scared of him - come to think of it, I think I was a little scared of most of my teachers, let alone such fearsome House monitors as Finney.
David Eastburn (Prep B and Mid A 1947-55)

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Re: Strange old man dressed in WW1 army gear / dog named lobster

Post by rockfreak » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:16 pm

Katharine wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:33 pm
I cannot imagine any such conversation with an adult in CH Hertford in my day!

Come on Katharine, I bet DR was a total uninhibited raver.

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Re: Strange old man dressed in WW1 army gear / dog named lobster

Post by michael scuffil » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:07 pm

I can vouch for the fact that Doc M did in fact say this (and although I only heard him say it once, obviously, I gather it was one of his standard lines.)
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Strange old man dressed in WW1 army gear / dog named lobster

Post by Katharine » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:32 pm

rockfreak wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:16 pm
Katharine wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:33 pm
I cannot imagine any such conversation with an adult in CH Hertford in my day!

Come on Katharine, I bet DR was a total uninhibited raver.
No way! The closest she ever came to mentioning the sex act was the infamous Tampax* talk. We were told, in no uncertain terms, that no gentleman would ever want to marry us if we used tampons while still virgin. We weren’t told why they wouldn’t, nor how they would know.
Reader, I did use them while still virgin, and I married a man I would consider a gentleman, and am still happily married to him after 48 years!

*i don’t think other brands were then available, they are now.
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
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Re: Strange old man dressed in WW1 army gear / dog named lobster

Post by rockfreak » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:31 pm

I was not scientifically minded so I'm not really au fait with this, but in the Christ's Hospital Book Barnes Wallis writes a chapter on the "heuristic" method mentioned earlier, and put into practice at CH in the last years in London and the early ones at Horsham by Chas Brown and Professor Armstrong, and then regrets that this was a brief interregnum in which boys were allowed to "discover" science (including perhaps blowing the lab sky high) for themselves instead of learning entirely by rote and theory. He felt that this was initially a more laborious method but which bore better fruit later on. But it was then discontinued, to Wallis's disappointment. Was Kirby perhaps the only, much later, reviver of this idea?
I remember that in Col B in 1956 we had one lad who had been able to brew his own wine in Kirby's lab and who imbibed rather too readily of it (perhaps underestimating the strength of the home brew) and who came back to the house p*ssed and singing and had to be put to bed by Kirby and Bob Rae.

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Re: Strange old man dressed in WW1 army gear / dog named lobster

Post by michael scuffil » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:19 am

Kirby was a hater of fancy words and certainly would never have said 'heuristic' or allowed us to say it. When someone asked 'Is that a scalpel' he replied 'Yes, spelt K-N-I-F-E', and 'femur' for 'thigh bone' was quite taboo.

I think though he was probably more 'heuristic' in his approach than those who paid lip-service to the method, such as Pop Beaven, who had one genuinely heuristic lesson (disproving the phlogiston theory).
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Strange old man dressed in WW1 army gear / dog named lobster

Post by BEANY » Sun Aug 11, 2019 4:43 pm

MrC F Kirby was in Peele A with my Father, Charles E Haynes for the period 1914 - 1917. They often met on OLD BLUES DAYS..There was a time when I was present listening to their adventures! as I was in Peele A durng WW2. I left in Dec 1943.eventually joining the Royal Navy Combined Operations on Tank Landingcraft.........I did need what I had learnt from Mr Kirby..perhaps not all of it !.There had been some missing details of my service and only last year 2018 did I finally receive my service medal with King George on it. I had joined as a Portsmouth rating and transferred to Devonport during my service days Googling PMX739377 will find me.OR DJX739377 that's where the records got mixed up!......

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