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A Short History of Victoria College: 1972-1979

Compiled by A.M. Bellows

1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979

See also Sources and Selections


1972

 
Monday 22nd May 1972 saw the visit of Princess Ann to the College to open the new Science Block; the Headmaster, Martyn Devenport, in his official speech gave the name "The Princess Ann Science Wing" in honour of her visit. Peter Le Feuvre, head prefect, presented Her Royal Highness with a set of twelve silver spoons engraved with the twelve Parish Crests. In her speech of reply, Princess Ann said that they would always be a happy reminder of the occasion, and alluded to previous Royal visitors, but doubted whether "previous visitors would recognise the College now as it advances rapidly in the scientific fieldÖ it sounds to me as if youíll be building your own rockets."
 
The end of the summer term saw two masters leaving, the Head of the Junior School, Lieutenant-Colonel J.A. Fearon, and the master for Religious Education, the Reverend C.K. Thacker.
 
Colonel Fearon, an Old Victorian himself, was also French master, and had for many years supervised the pupils on the "School Cruises" on the S.S. Nevasa and S.S. Uganda in the Mediterranean. He retired to Greece, finding a house not far from the sea close to Athens.
 
With the departure of the Reverend Thacker, the College saw the end of the tradition of appointing a clergyman for both Religious Education and to hold services in the Great Hall, and the altar there was removed. Mr Geoffrey Powell took over as Head of the Junior School, and was also placed in charge of scripture teaching.
 
The term also saw three College boys, R.C. Poole, R. Hollick and J.R. Jones made the headlines when, out in the Sailing Club boat, they saved the lives of two men whose sailing dingy capsized near Gorey.
 
Two masters also saw fame during the school year. Mr Christopher Phillips (Mathematics teacher) became Dr Phillips, having gained his Doctorate from Oxford after three years work on a thesis on a mechanical engineering problem, and Mr Robert Tilling (Art Teacher) had an exhibition of paintings at the Bareaux Art Gallery - on birds, and the way they fly.
 
The year also saw the Temple refurbished and restored, and partly used for housing the College Archives.
 

1973

 
In the Spring Term, the College learnt that Mr Brian Tricker would not be returning to teaching at the school after a serious road accident. This was a great loss, for as well as being Head of Science, Mr Tricker had been the driving force behind the design and implementation of the new Science Block. Mr E..G. Le Quesne, Old Victorian, came from Manchester Grammar School to be appointed the new Head of Science.
 
College building work in the year took the form of refurbishing and redeploying the rooms made vacant by the use of the new science block. So the old General Science Laboratory became a geography room, the old Biology Laboratory became a languages room, bearing the name "Moliere", the Old Physics Laboratory became a Mathematics Room, named "Eden", and the old Chemistry Laboratory became a much needed new Mastersí Common Room.
 
The summer term saw the retirement from Victoria College Prep of a teacher whose career spanned forty-seven years under Miss Binnet, Mr A.F.J. Hopewell, at Bedford School with the College Evacuees during the Second World War, under Mr W.H. Thorne and the current headmaster, Mr. R.H. Tostevin. This was the much-loved Miss V.A.M. Aubrey, popularly known as "Vic." who had set hundreds of Old Victorians on the road to success. Prep. also saw the departure of another stalwart, Mr Aubrey Jolley, who had served there since 1948, and who would be remembered for the inspiring English teaching with the Greek Myths he knew so well, and imparted with such zest.
 
Amongst Old Victorians making the news at this time was Dr. A.E. Mourant, who received the Karl Landsteiner Memorial Award for his ground-breaking work on human blood groups. Also the Reverend T.A. Hampton returned to the Island to be instituted as Vicar of St Aubinís Church.
 
Sport saw a notable cricket match of the College against Elizabeth College, Guernsey, captained by S. Ringsdore, in which the College won by nine wickets. Also of note was the College Cricket Colts providing five members of the Jersey Under Eighteen XI and six members of the College First XI.
 
In addition to the C.C.F., College Activities during the year included the electronics club, chess club, art club, woodwork workshop, gearchists, C.S.U., and sailing. The year also saw the demise of the Debating Society.
 
Outside the College, on 20th November 1973, the States debated the "Report on the Re-Organisation of Secondary Education". The Education Committee assured the Governors that "the future of the College will be safeguarded".
 
Finally, the 18th December 1973 saw the death of Alexander Coutanche, Old Victorian and famous war-time Bailiff of Jersey.

1974

The summer of 1974 saw the retirement of Captain N.C. "Paddy" Blomfield, a talented and well-liked master who had given the school the much coveted Blomfield Trophy for best House achievement in sports during the school year.
 
Major Reginald Bruce Horne, popularly known as "Pop", also retired.
 
There were other changes of teaching staff, with Dr. K.A. Smith leaving the Chemistry Department to be replaced by Dr. A.E. Hill. The Reverend Geoffrey Baker also took up a position as social tutor and careers advisor.
 
The final new face was Mr P.G.A. Gem, former headmaster at Oswestry School, who joined the College to teach history and scripture, and also was appointed head of Braithewaite.
 
The "Gearchists" activity on Friday afternoons was re-named "Island Field Studies", as it was felt that this more accurately represented the purpose of the activity, which was to study, over three terms, the Islandís geology, archaeology and history; the latter two continuing the tradition of former teacher M.C. Greenís local history outings.
 
The Computer Studies Group began as a Friday afternoon activity, under the supervision of Dr Christopher Phillips. They utilised a teletype link to a Honeywell Time-Sharing Computer in Manchester, using this to program in BASIC, FORTRAN and ALOGOL. They also visited Channel Data Processing to see the commercial aspect of computing.
 
The Debating Society was "exhumed" by pupils Guy de Faye, assisted by Peter Ducquemin and a few others.
 
Mr L.A. Landick had joined the school in 1951 and taken charge of the Victoria College scout troop the same year. This year he was presented with an award in recognition of his twenty-four years with the group. He retired from leading the scouts in November.
 
Foot and mouth restrictions in St. Ouen meant that the school cross-country race across the sand-dunes had to take place on a shortened course.
 
Two distinguished Old Victorianís made the news.
 
Arthur De La Mare (at College 1926-1932) retired in March to make his home at Walton on Thames. He was a distinguished civil servant who counted amongst many other notable appointments, three years as High Commissioner in Singapore and a further three as Ambassador in Bangkok.
 
Major John Blashford-Snell, known to the popular press as "Blashers" began preparations for an expedition down the Zaire River.
 
17th July 1974 saw the death aged 63 of old Victorian Ralph Le Marquand, brother of Senator John Le Marquand. He had been at College for three years from 1924. In 1938, he had bought Le Brunís Bakery (now Island Bakery) and expanded in after the War. The firm was continued by his only son, Brian.


1975

Old Victorian Peter Crill (at College 1935-1944) was appointed Deputy Bailiff, while his near contemporary, Vernon-Tomes (at College 1942-46) was appointed Attorney-General; both appointments commencing on the 1st of January 1975.
 
Jurat Roy Bailhache (College 1921-1925) was awarded the OBE for services to the Royal National Lifeboat Institute.
 
Other Old Victorians making the news were six who were successful in the exams of the Institute of Chartered Accountants - Jonathan Scott Warren, Andrew Furzer, David Williams (Part 1 Final) and David Bisson, David Boleat and John Gough (Part 2 final). All were articled to Jersey firms of Chartered Accountants. Also Geoffrey Pirouet passed section 2 of the professional examinations of the Association of Certified Accountants. These marked a significant change in career choice towards the nascent finance industry of the Island.
 
The Reverend Peter Manton (at College 1930-1935) was sworn in as Vice-Dean of Jersey.
 
Two boys were allowed to take part in the second Jersey International Chess Congress in May. One boy, Ian Henley, ranked second only to the Jersey Champion, netting himself the £10 prize. Taking part were locals, Germans, French and a couple of International Masters.
 
The College Dramatic Society produced Willis Hallís "The Long and The Short and The Tall" - producer Stephen Lucas. Stephen Ringsdore was completely menacing as the loud-voiced Sergeant Mitham, replete with moustache and sten-gun; Nigel Miles, also starring, had some difficulty with his Welsh accent.
 
Activities saw the introduction of "macroeconomics" with four teams, under the supervision of Dr Phillips, participating in an economic game model run by Reading University.
 
April saw the official opening of the Victoria Tower observatory. This was a facility available to all schools in Jersey through the Victoria Tower Astronomical Society, which itself, as the name implies, had close links with the College.
 
The School Science Fair, organised by the Science Advisory Council, was held in July. John Hallam and Alan Binnington were class winners with their project on "Kirlian Photography".
 
This year also saw the foundation of the Victoria College Bridge Club, which met every Wednesday evening. The original conception of a Bridge Club came from Mr Stockton and Mr Lucas. Pupils taking part were R. Dodds, I. Henley, R. Le Sueur and B. Daswani.
 
The summer saw the departure of two teachers, Mr Mason from English and Dr Phillips from Mathematics. Dr Phillips was leaving to take up a position of Head of Mathematics at Skinners School, Tunbridge-Wells, while Mr Mason would be the new Head of English at Le Rocqier School, Jersey.
 
There was also a departure at Victoria College Prep, where Mr Raymond Tostevin retired, and Mr John Hibbs (Old Victorian 1948-1954) became the new Headmaster.
 
In November, James Martland produced "The Real Inspector Hound", in which John Bechelet made a good debut performance; also of note in reviews was Nigel Miles as "Birdboot" who wore "an air of composure and confidence which came through with clarity of diction and expression".
 
Finally, this year saw the cessation of Stateís Scholarships to the Colleges as this was deemed inconsistent with the adoption of a non-selective system of education. However, the States did agree to provide one scholarship a year from the St Mannellier and St Anastase funds, and for the College to be permitted to seek private sector funding and sponsorship for scholarships. A successful appeal to local banks by the College resulted in the formation of a Trust; this awarded three scholarships being awarded in autumn 1975.
 
Mrs E.H. Le Brocq also funded a scholarship to commemorate her late husband Henry Le Brocq (at College 1912-1912), who has been a notable Chairman of the Governing body.


1976

 
This was a good year for sports at the College.
 
Shooting was the strongest for some time. A team score of 789/800 included three possibles from M. Restall, D. Campbell and A.R. Binnington. The Captain of Shooting, M.A. Restall, had the signal honour of being selected to shoot for England in the Pistol International Competition against Scotland and Wales.
 
Football saw the first XI win the Island League once again, finishing well ahead of De La Salle and Hautlieu.
 
It was decided to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Opening of the College in 1977 by the building of two squash courts on a site adjoining the cricket pavilion, and an appeal was started this year. The total cost was budgeted as £25,000. Of this, the College would seek to raise £7,500 backed by a similar amount from the Education Committee, and the balance of £10,000 funded from a bank loan. Mr E.G. Le Quesne began the fund-raising with a "squashathon" , using existing facilities, which raised £350. By December, the appeal had raised £6,155.
 
The Activities on Friday afternoon were restructured, with Year Three now having a new "Introductory Course" in which they had the opportunity to try many of the varied activities taking place, and so have a better idea of the kind of activity they might wish to pursue in the Fourth Year and after.
 
Scouts were again proving popular. The increasing size of the College Scout troop saw it split into two separate parts, each of three patrols. In the summer, J.J. Dawson and Dr A.E. Hill supervised a camp on the edge of Dartmoor. Most notable, however, was the Chief Scouts Award presented to scouts Tim Cox, Martin Taylor and Bruce Ferguson.
 
In July, there were again departures of staff. Geoffrey Powell and Geoffrey Baker left. Mike de Boucier left to become senior mathematics master at Le Rocqier School. Finally, Mr Clarke left the geography department to explore the sunny climate of California.
 
Geoffrey Powell, who had been at the College for nine years since 1967 asked for no gifts for himself but instead for donations to fund a Powell scholarship.
 
New members of staff included C.T. Benson (English), M.J. Bithell (history), M. Allnut - an Old Victorian, I. McWhinney and M. Sheldrake (geography).
 
Old Victorian John Averty joined the board of Modern Hotels Group.
 
Baron de Lancey presented a new scholarship to be awarded annually to the most successful pupil from Victoria College and Jersey College for Girls. In a ceremony in the Temple on 30th September, the first award was made to John Cousins. Baron de Lanceyís wife also presented a runner-up award to Andrew Devenport.
 
Finally, John Hallam received a prize from the Cambridge Board of Examination for achieving the best result in "A" Level candidates amongst about 5,000 candidates; only two such prizes are awarded each year, so this was a most important honour for a Victoria College pupil.

1977

 
This year saw the retirement of long-serving teacher, Colonel J.F. Hamon, although he would continue to teach part-time. Mr. M. Charlton replaced him as a teacher of French.
 
On 1st February, a group of thirty-two pupils under the supervision of Mr Lucas and Mr Cottrill visited the Pompeii Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly, and explored that fascinating microcosm of life in the Roman Empire.
 
A new activity was the St Saviourís Hospital Group, which visited the patients every Friday afternoon. One patient, named Jock, particularly caught the groupís interest with his autistic-like behaviour. He amused himself by emptying out a box of dominoes, then neatly replacing them, and repeating this for hours.
 
The fourth year Religious Knowledge activity began, for the first time, an O-Level course on the Synoptic Gospels taken by Peter Gem. There were twelve candidates.
 
John Hallam continued his academic success by winning the King Charles I Scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford.
 
Old Victorian A.G. Harrison who published the JEP during the Occupation, was awarded a CBE.
 
A Silver Jubilee medal was awarded to Miss Victoria Aubrey in recognition of her services to the College; it was presented at Government House by the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Desmond Fiztpatrick.
 
The Howard Davis Hall underwent major changes as the green seats were removed and replaced with twelve rows of grey tiered seats. The building was renamed the Howard Davis Theatre. A new octagonal building linked to the Theatre housed the music centre.
 
December saw the opening of the Dean Jeune Library, together with a new Sixth Form Centre built at the back of the main College building. Belk, once a Library room, now reverted to being a classroom once again.
 
The Department of Postal Administration issued a set of four stamps to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the founding of the College.


1978

 
The Parent Teacher Association made an appeal for funds to install solar heating panels to provide heat for the swimming pool.
 
In February, the scientist and astronomer Dr John Taylor visited the College and gave a lecture on "Black Holes in space"
 
Three members of the Computer Studies group - Derek Facey, Alan Le Couteur and Duncan A. Nightingale -worked towards and gained an O-Level in Computer Science. This was the first such O-Level taken at Victoria College. The whole group also paid a visit to the Jersey Evening Post to see the new computerised typesetting in operation.
 
Old Victorian Michael Andrews, a qualified geologist, helped the Island Field Studies group interpret the geology of the rocks around Elizabeth Castle.
 
The Drama Society produced "Toad of Toad Hall". In the review, it was commented that Richard Rondel played Mole in an endearing and totally natural manner, Marc Furvel was praised for his clear diction and good singing voice, Edward Devenport made a fine Badger, and Guy Vautier made an excellently comic Toad. The producer was Mr Richard Smyth.
 
The Debating Society became a joint venture with the Jersey College for Girls, overseen by Mr Benson (VC) and Mrs Phillips (JCG). Items debated included "Man is the weaker sex", "Marriage is an outmoded institution", "Democracy is the finest form of government", "The use of cannabis should be legalised" and "The handicapped should be restrained from parenthood".
 
The Historical Society of Victoria College held its inaugural meeting in the Dean Jeune library. It was well attended by twenty-five boys, as well as masters Mr Lucas, Mr Gem, Mr Sheldrake and Mr Cottrill. For the first meeting, Mr Cottrill gave a talk on how he came to write the book "Victoria College 1852-1972, explaining that "hours of meticulous research could come to nothing" and also noting "why the real truth had sometimes to be glossed over".
 
The Electronics Activity group was also newly formed, and worked on the creation of a variety of gadgets, including a metal detector, a T.V. games unit and an analogue computer.
 
With the two squash courts now in use, the College team beat Elizabeth College from Guernsey by three games to two. The last time Victoria College had beaten their opponents was in 1970 and before that so long that no one present could remember.
 
July saw the departure of chemistry teacher and scout leader Jonathan J. Dawson, master at Victoria College since 1969. His new appointment was Head of Science at Wycliffe College Junior School, near Stroud. The Scouts also presented a digital watch, and engraved silver tankard and a cabbage walking stick. Mr Roy Lewis also awarded Mr Dawson the Scout Medal of Merit for his contribution to Scouting.
 
Christopher Buckland also left. He had been at the College since 1971 taking chemistry and biology classes. He was now leaving teaching to take a diploma course in Fish Farming at Plymouth Polytechnic, and then to take up organic farming in some form, long before it became fashionable.
 
There was a large influx of new teachers in the Autumn term. These included Miss L.S.E. Biddles (English), A.J. Dykes (Mathematics), R. Gasston (P.E., History and Geography), P.T. Germain (Technical Studies), P. Stevenson (Science) and A.J. Vardon (Biology and Chemistry).
 
Mr Frank Lewis, the College Porter, donated a trophy to be presented annually to the year two swimming champion.
 
The Old Victorians Association saw a change in committee structure, with the secretaryís post being split into two - an Honorary Secretary and a Membership Secretary.

1979

 
In April, Mr Higgins left the Music department to take up a post at La Moye School.
 
In the same month, pupil David Minty saw the Constable of St Helier unveil a plaque at West Park to commemorate his August 1977 swim around the Island of Jersey when only fourteen years old.
 
Glen Newey won an Open Scholarship to read History at Jesus College Cambridge.
 
The Computer Studies Group, while still using the facilities at Highlands, were also looking forward to use of a new microprocessor based at the College.
 
Playing Bridge became a Friday afternoon activity for the first time, but the Bridge Club still continued to meet twice weekly.
 
A new activity was Gardening, which attempted to straighten out various unkempt patches of land around the School buildings.
 
Physical Education and Recreation was also started as an activity under the leadership of Mr Goulding and Mr Gasston. The education side of the course looked at the physiological and anatomical aspects of Physical Education, and looked at breaking down skills into steps. The recreation side was to put this knowledge and techniques into practice.
 
A similar new activity was Athletics. Although this was still a sporting event, the activity aimed more at basic fitness than competition, looking at such aspects as sustained running, and circuit and weight training.
 
The Drama Society saw a production of "The Merchant of Venice" in which Christopher Scolefield gained good notices for "a powerful voice, a powerful frame and a powerful stage presence."
 
The School Science Fair saw a winning entry by J. Le Fondre and S. Bisson on hovercraft performance. The major prize - the Shell Prize - also went to a Victoria College entry. This was won by Jonathan Carter with his project on oil pollution control.
 
A Junior Science Club was established for years one and two, meeting in the Science Block twice a week during the lunch hour.
 
The summer term saw the official departure of College Porter Frank Lewis, although he would continue to be active in College Activities for some years to come.
 
Having raised the funds, solar heating panels were put in place at the swimming pool, enabling the pool to be used for longer periods, and not just a few months at the end of the Summer term.
 
The School Secretary, Denise Le Pennec also left. She had worked hard to administer the department with one assistant in an era of 620 boys, and had managed only by her efficiency and long hours of work.
 
Geoffrey Powell returned to the School to take her place as Secretary.
 
Old Victorian F. De Lisle Bois (at College 1967-1974) published a book "Jersey Walks for Motorists".
 
Another Old Victorian in the news was A.R. Pallot. Tony Pallot had gained a B.Sc. (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering at Southampton University, and had now married and returned to Jersey to take up a post at the Meteorological Department of Jersey Airport.