Recent “Life after Hackney Downs” Pages
Gary Gray (1959 entry)
Clove Club 59’ers Lunch October 2015
It was with great sadness that the Clove Club learned of the passing of Mr Ormond Uren – July 2015.
He taught French to the 59ers from their first year up to O Level.
A few fond memories of M.Uren have been recalled in correspondence:-
“I am saddened to learn of the death of Mr Uren. Amazing to realise he had reached 95. He taught my class of 59 from our 2nd to 5th year and I believe most of us achieved a French O Level. Wherever we saw him out of class, be it in the corridor or on the football pitch, we always had to speak to him in French.
He liked trying innovations and I recall a picture story book on something similar to a modern computer tablet screen.
There was a story about a parapluie and it involved his son but I cannot recall the details. I recall that there was some unfortunate background but I do not think that I ever knew the details. The story of the Soviet Agent would explain it to me for the first time. I cannot recall the Jaguar.
Interestingly, shortly after I started in Medical Sciences at UCL, I was walking up Gower Street and he was on his bicycle peddling the other way. He stopped and we spoke for a short while – fortunately for me in English and we discussed HDS, his son and the umbrella. Esmond Selwyn, our guitarist, was in my class and he went on to do French and German A levels and modern languages at Uni.I suspect that Esmond and a few others will also wish to comment. – David Viniker
“Ditto and equally saddened by the news. The song David refers to is called “un petit coin de parapluie contre un petit coin de paradis’ very roughly translated / transliterated
= “a small bit of umbrella in exchange for a small bit of Heaven…”
The scenario is the guy caught out in the rain and corners his way under the umbrella of a very attractive young lady etc etc….!
This is from a naughty song by that great French comedian and character Georges Brassand. This song along with his other very amusing and risqué offerings can easily be found and heard these days on YouTube. ” – Esmond Selwyn.
“A vivid memory I have of Mr. Uren was his entry into our classroom for our first French lesson in our first year. I don’t believe any of us had any knowledge of French, and he instructed us, in French, to stand then sit, then repeated this until we clearly understood. This lesson continued, in French, for the full 40 minutes. We all believed this chap was, indeed, a Frenchman and were astounded when, on giving us homework, he spoke impeccable English. This was a man you liked immediately; a man full of personality and a terrific teacher. Sad that he has now gone, but wonderful that he had a long life. ” – Ray Beckman
“Amazingly I remember his song about the umbrella, both tune and some words
Un monsieur attendez au café du palais
devant un dubonnet, la femme qu’il aimez
la pendule tournee et les mouches volez
et toujours le monsieur attendez
Elle lui avait dit, je viendrai vers midi
mais …….. c’est une heure et demi
That’s about it!
Otherwise, a nice man and a good teacher who made the lessons interesting.” – Phillip Diamond
“Saddened by the news, I remember he was a very good teacher.
In fact I still have my school exercise book copy of the song that David and Esmond refer to – please see attached!”- Howard Rimmer
“See Obituary from a recent copy of the Guardian.
It explains why he seemed to know Hungarian so well; he tested me on a few things such as what a hotel was in Hungarian , and knew the answer better than I did, I had left Hungary as an 8 year old refugee. His teaching was wonderful, I loved being in his class*; it was through him that I achieved the unique feat, I believe, of coming both top and bottom of the year in a set of exams in the 3rd year: top in French, bottom in Art. I was sad to give up French, on Mr Williams’ advice, as he said I should choose between Maths and French and for a teaching career Maths would take me much further, how right he was -he said the English don’t respect linguists; and I’ve had a fantastic career teaching Maths and training Maths teachers. However, I promised myself I’d take up French again when I retired, and did so, with an Open University course, in which, I am delighted to say, i got a distinction (with some encouragement and assistance from my wife, who is a French graduate herself)
*My roll of honour: Ron Gowing, Mr Ogilvie, Mr Kemp, Mr Uren;, amazing inspiring teachers; Malcolm Jacobs, too, who later became my head teacher when I was 2nd in maths department at Minchenden; Ron Bushell, who helped me get a decent grade in Physics and was later a colleague as Head of science at Minchenden and not forgetting Mr Lamont, later Prof Lamont, my form tutor and History teacher, who was in charge of training History teachers when I did my PGCE at Sussex and was very kind to me including me in his group’s socials.) – Bob Vertes
“I’d put Mr Gowing absolutely top, and also Ogilvie and Bushell (physics).
I never had a dilemma about what subject to take, I was pretty bad at everything except maths (and history, where I was spectacularly bad). And I liked Boyd, who took us for Latin.
I don’t actually remember Uren, although clearly he had a big impact on people. I was, of course, pretty bad at French, so it’s probably down to him that I scraped through an O level.”
And “I remember a thing called “Aventur a Fronac”; it was at that point that I got completely lost, I didn’t understand it at all.
I remember writing that “Le Massif Central est un grande gare”, thus demonstrating simultaneously my ignorance of geography and french. – Alan Solomon
“Fascinating stuff. He was always one of my favourite teachers and French my best subject .
Never knew his name was Ormond. Assumed it to be Oliver as it was the only name I could think of beginning with O.
We always thought of him as something of a bon viveur with his sports car and talk of French wines .
I ran into him around three years after I left school when I was working on the audit of Birkbeck College and had a pleasant chat with him .
I can still sing un petit coin de parapluie . Or most of it. I remember thinking in class that it was a little risque .
The point in teaching it to us was to teach us phrases like “J’en avait un ” and the imperfect tense . ”
and “I have come across Stan Gunter quite a few times . Firstly we both use the same sports physiotherapist and then we played against each other several times in inter-club seniors golf matches .
Incidentally I am friendly with one of the governors of the Mossbourne Academy, the successor to HDS and I’ m due to have a guided tour in a couple of weeks.
They had excellent GCSE and A level results and have got several boys going to Oxbridge this year – Malcolm Stern
“Ok boys – we all remember different things but great to hear something some of us may have missed or forgot.
I recall the first French teacher we had – Mr Edwards – pity he left so soon as we would have played rugby – a major sporting miss. Did we ever know their first names?
If you are organising a lunch then l would be “in” too – preferably Tue or Thu. Still have to work some of the days! I can always cut short a morning clinic.
Remember the longer you leave it the more likely our own obituaries will be included! – Danny Baron
“I remember him collapsing in laughter in my response to him asking me to say in french what I had for tea. Instead of saying pate` I said in my awful accent j’ai un pet (which I later found out meant that I had a fart)
Hence my grade D.
Hope to meet up with you all soon. – Richard Gallow
A Reunion Lunch organised by Gary Gray, Brian Ashton (Abrahams), Ray Beckman, Keith Quinton and David Viniker.
Venue – Reubens Restaurant 79 Baker Street London W1U 6RG
Date – Sunday 30th November 2014 12.30
Attendees: Gary Gray, Baruch Brooks, Danny Baron, Ralph Apel, Phillip Diamond, Allan Solomon, Eric Yorston, Jon Ryman, John Leforte,
Malcolm Fissler, Mike Couzens, Robert Vertes, Julian Greenaway, Stuart Brendon, Alan Carvell,
John Hunter, Brian Ashton, Keith Quinton, Peter Law, Bob Caplin, Ray Beckman, David Viniker and Willie Watkins
The following three pictures received with thanks from John Leforte 23rd November 2016
Team was Mike Couzens, Stavros Christofides, Hugh Williams and John Leforte
Class of 1959 – In 1959 (1Z)
HDS Class 2A 1960-61
BACK ROW: ? , Brooks, Moody, Cooper, Alan Solomon, Keith Salmon, John Hunter, ?, Howard Rimmer, Leslie Winkworth.
MIDDLE ROW: Hodges, John Saunders, Alan Davies, ?, Cane, ?, Stuart Hope, ?, Gordon Bye, Bottomley, Brian Francis.
FRONT ROW: Malcolm Stern, Brian Smith, Lucas, Ross, Philip Diamond, Kenneth Ashe Payne, Keith Quinton, Ryman, Gary Gray, Levy, Jim Ward.
FRONT ROW SEATED: Louis Chung, ?, Jimmy Dean, Neil Read.
Class 3A 1961-62
On Sunday 6th February 2011, a group of ‘boys’ from the 1959 intake came together for a reunion at the Met Su Yan restaurant in Edgware.
The group included from left to right David Viniker, Daniel Baron, Eddie Lazarus, Bob Caplin, Dave Patchick, Richard Gallow, Philip Diamond, Brian Ashton (Abrahams), Alan Solomon, Bob Vertes
We were accompanied by Simone Viniker, Deanna Baron, Jacky Patchick, Linda Gallow, Evelyn Diamond, Janet Ashton, Sue Solomon and Marilyn Vertes.
Later in the evening we were joined by Julian and Rena Greenaway.
Haim ben Shlomo – Howard Rimmer (right), David Viniker with our wives Miriam and Simone in a restaurant in South Jerusalem