Rhubarb 2019

ST EDWARD’S r h u b a r b


Lionel Lethbridge On 18th January 2019, Lionel Lethbridge (CR, 1946-1948). Born in 1918, Lionel grew up on Merseyside in a musical family. He read modern languages and music at Brasenose College, Oxford. As a modern language student, he was obliged to spend time overseas. Easter 1938 found him in Austria, improving his spoken German. Those were troubled times and his landlady encouraged him to keep a low profile. However, Lionel did see Adolf Hitler in a procession of black SS cars when he was touring Austria making speeches for the German Reich. He joined the Army in the early days of the second world war and was in Le Havre, Normandy, when he met Denise, his future wife. He served in the Intelligence Corps, in field security. After the war, Lionel returned to Oxford and John Barham (E, 1948-1952) remembers him from the summer of 1948 when he was on the teaching staff at Teddies: ‘He was my Piano tutor and French master. I remember him well as a most likeable person, unassuming and totally genuine with a quiet sense of humour, and as a patient teacher (he had to be, teaching me the piano!).

Field House, Cowell’s and Segar’s, Mac’s and Tilly’s) it was a very demanding job, with wide responsibilities including supervising the cleaning staff. In the early days of partial co-education, when girls were in the upper school only, Jane was one of the landladies with whom girls lodged. She served with a multitude of Housemasters, over the years: B Gale, J Leach, M Hiner, D Williams, F Pargeter, C Danziger and C Dytor. For much of the time she worked concurrently as College Nurse at Merton College. I have seen the retirement book that Jane was given in 1997, which contained messages from a great number of former pupils and some of their parents. A few extracts will give an idea of the affection and esteem they expressed. It is worth remembering that boarding at St Edward’s in those days was a rather harsher world, almost entirely male- dominated. ‘A blessing in my time in Mac’s.’ ‘Generations of boys (and girls!) have loved their “foster Mum” and all your gentle TLC.’ ‘What a wonderful second mum you were to our two, and far more sympathetic than ever we are. Words are insufficient to thank you.’ Following retirement, Jane continued to give loyal support and to spread joy and mischievous laughter among her friends, her perceptiveness and joie de vivre undimmed. A major stroke that she suffered in 2006 left her without the use of one leg and one arm and a fall and a broken hip not long after dragged out the process of recovery. Since then, she has contended with the discomfort and limitations imposed by the after- effects of the stroke bravely and uncomplainingly. I was amazed at how, when I visited for tea, Jane would often be the one who would cheer me up, rather than vice versa; and when I last saw her a few weeks before she died, we were still finding things to laugh at, and the radiant old smile was still there. I hope that many who read this will smile, as I do, when I think of Jane. She is probably smiling back.

‘For French he was something of a pioneer in those days using audio - we would tune in to the BBC schools programme to listen to the adventures of ‘L’Inspecteur Hornleigh sur la piste’. I often wondered why we had to listen to a Scotland Yard detective speaking fluent French rather than a genuine article like Maigret but that was Auntie Beeb for you! These lessons with Special Shell took place in one of the black huts adjoining the empire of our Corps RSMs, Hill and Tero. Why this was so I don’t remember - our form room was Mr Eardley’s on the top floor of the work block - perhaps it was a question of getting the best reception area for his battery radio? ‘Lionel was Chapel Organist. I remember he played the organ beautifully, and I was introduced to many classical pieces when he played before and after the services.’ In 1948 Lionel Lethbridge married Denise and went to teach at Denstone College. He was a member of the College music staff from 1948-78 and was Director of Music for 24 years. He retired to live in Denstone village, continued to play the church organ until he was in his late 90s and was a great supporter of the local music concerts. Lionel was father to Eric, Alan and Anne Marie and was a grandfather and great-grandfather. He celebrated his 100th birthday in April 2018. Kerry Lyons In July 2018, (Nicolas) Kerry Lyons (CR, 1962-1967). Kerry was a languages teacher at St Edward’s. The following article appeared in the Chronicle , November 1973 (no.574): One can hardly imagine that it was only just over five years ago that Kerry Lyons came to St Edward’s. Although he has always had something elusive about him he had become a very familiar figure about the place. Who will not remember him, head down, hastening across the lawn after lunch with long strides and swiftly disappearing round the corner? Or—I shall never forget the momentous occasion when one day in early spring I watched him, megaphone aloft and complete with bicycle, gracefully submerge on the flooded towpath. He never was one


Lionel Lethbridge

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