What a delight to receive this written piece for the Owenian's website from Robert (Bob) Burns this week. Reading his story and the fond memories that holds for the school really warmed my heart. Thank you for your contribution Bob.
I started at the school in 1954 and it totally changed my life. I lived in the pretty run down area of Finsbury Park and, up to then, had only walked up the road to Stroud Green Road School with the the likes of the late Bob Hoskins. It was a rough school and there was constant fighting in the playground. In those days we had no bathroom, only a tin bath in front of the fire once a week when us three brothers had to use the same water, no TV, no fridges, no freezers, no washing machines and no vacuum cleaners. It must have been a hard life for my poor old mother.
Suddenly, upon travelling by tube to the Angel I encountered a totally different world. I remember particularly a boy named Eskdale who was very posh compared to the lads I was used to playing with in the street.
The then headmaster was Mr Garstang who was soon replaced by Mr Burroughs who also taught German. All the teachers wore black gowns and the prefects wore shorter ones.
The girls’ school was across the road and the playing fields were at Whetstone and I used to take the trolley bus to get there. Mr Tricker was the senior sports master.
We had to use ink pens with the ink in pots in the desk - very messy.
My best friend at school was Geoff Mather and I sadly attended his funeral a few years ago.
Other names I remember are Roger Trumm, Pepper, Crocker,Austin, Beck, Sacker, Tyne, Selby, Rivers and many more.
My happiest years at the school were three with Mr “Baldy” Butler as our form master. I believe he had been a major in the tank regiment during World War Two and had participated in D Day. He commanded the school cadets and we went to the HQ of the Honorable Artillery Company near Finsbury Square.
We had Mr Butler in forms 4, 4R and 5. A formidable man but a great teacher.
I was no great student and left under a cloud in 1959.
Subsequently I had several jobs including the army, merchant navy and various office jobs until in my late twenties I ran my own businesses until my retirement in 2002.
I played football, very badly, for the old boys for several years and remember “Gigs”, Ray Coombes, Pat Haynes etc.
My time at Owen’s changed my outlook on life and introduced me to a totally different world which is why I am very much in favour of Grammar schools.
Now at 80 years of age I look back with great affection at my time at the Angel.
Written by Robert (Bob) Burns