Happy days at the Crome in Norwich

The days of Crome - when 'Ding-Dong' Bellchambers and 'killer' Killingbeck were the men in charge.

They are stories which have captured the hearts and minds of former pupils of a Norwich school half a century ago.

Photographs and memories of life at the old Crome Secondary Modern School on Telegraph Lane at Thorpe Hamlet in the 1940s, 50s and into the 60s have struck a real chord and the pictures have delighted so many.

And raised a few smiles as people recognised fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers and long lost friends when they were schoolboys.

David Berwick, who went on to become a Norwich author and historian, hopes these photographs will bring back more memories of happy days at the Crome.

'Having failed the 11-Plus examination and feeling the dejection (even rejection) like so many lads and lasses, I was soon to discover that this little school was to be the making of me,' said David.

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'I blossomed there and found so much kind consideration of my needs amongst the teaching staff that I was encouraged to feel good about my education and myself once more,' he added.

David was a pupil between 1955 and 59 when the head was Mr Bellchambers - known as 'Ding-dong.' He was succeeded by Mr R W Killingbeck - known as 'Killer.'

He sponsored David to represent Norwich schools on the Duke of Edinburgh's Outward Bound Award Scheme in the Lake District in 1959 and when he and one other boy left Thorpe Station at the crack of dawn to start their journey - Mr Killingbeck turned up, out of the blue, to shake his hand.

Others teachers he remembers so well include Dennis Drane, I told his story the other day, Mr Fenwick, Mr Murray, Mr Frost, Mr Chilvers, Mr Pennington, Mr Towler and Peter Softley. Such a good man - and keen on cricket.

David found these photographs - there's the jovial-looking Mr Softley, complete with sandwich - in the Lake District in the 1950s. 'I took this picture with my trusty Brownie 127 whilist we were out on the Fells one day.'

The other picture was taken in 1957 when the boys were taken on a week-long camp trip to Trimingham with Mr Fenwick and Mr Murray.

And at the time was very high-tech.

'Mr Murray had a clever camera which took time-delay pictures. We were all struggling not to burst into laughter because, in order to get himself into the picture, (back row right in white shirt) he had to set the timer and dash several yards to get into position - and look composed,' said David.

David in on the middle row, second in from the right end, flanked by two good chums at the time. Michael Brothers and Peter Clarke.

'On the back row next to Mr Fenwick is Graham Carr who I remember for one extraordinary feat.

'He and I were in the school football team and we were awarded a direct free-kick on the halfway line - fifty yards from goal.

'Graham was a well built lad and took a run at the heavy leather ball giving it such a mighty toe punt that it whirled over our astonished heads and smack into the opponent's goal net! What cheering and back-slapping followed,' he said.

Happy days at the dear old Crome.