Class was a cut above the rest

The school may be gone but the memories are as vivid as ever - happy days back at the pioneering Crome School in Norwich.

They were the likely lads of the dear old Crome, the secondary school for boys, who gathered for the photographer in Norwich of the 1950s.

Thank you for all your memories of the school following Maurice Kerry's pictures of the football and athletics teams in the late 40s and early 50s.

Among those who got in touch was Richard King, who sent in this picture of the class of 56 – taken at a time when the world was changing so quickly. It came from another chap on the picture, Kenny Essex.

'I have some happy memories,' said Richard.

Pioneering headmaster Mr R W Killingbeck had some quite revolutionary ideas all those years ago, setting up a string of clubs for the boys outside school hours – from chess to walking.

At the time this picture was taken he was urging parents to provide their boys with a pair of stout walking shoes.

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And in 1959 he told the annual prize-giving: 'I believe every boy is a potential owner of a car or motor cycle, and as such should know the theory of engines.'

He set up a motoring engineering course and bought a car – for �5.

Among the boys in the picture who made a name for himself was a young lad who had a passion, not for cars, but for hair.

His name was John Oliver, sitting on the front row, second from the right, who went on to become of the best known and best loved hairdressers in East Anglia,

John was a household name and ran a string of salons across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, along with a training academy called JO.

Admired, respected and loved by all who met him, John opened his first salon in Cromer in 1965. 'It was the beginning of the revolution,' he said.

He said he had wanted to be an accountant but because he missed a lot of school turned to hairdressing. A wise move.

John died of cancer in 2006, aged 63 – but his name lives on.

In the picture we have:

Back row, left to right: Barry Lemmon, Tony Baldry, Roger Grimes, Bernard Sumser, David Kelly, David Lee, John Gilbert, Keith Hannant, Brian Murrell, Roger King, Jimmy Gostling, Michael Amos and Kenny Essex.

Middle row, left to right: Richard King, Michael Sales, Joe Frost, Keith Brown, Ivan Catton, Michael Fulcher and Gerald Gooch.

Front row, left to right: Barry Green, Barry King (twin brother of Roger), David Edwards, John Oliver and Brackenbury.

If any of you would like to 'go over old times' with Richard get in touch with him at

If you have any memories or pictures of Crome School or of John Oliver – perhaps you worked for him – drop me a line at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email