Souvenir History Book and Archive


Oriel School and Old Oriel Pupils have a real sense of history, of past and place, of community, of shared experiences, childhood and of belonging to something special. A sense underpinned by the schools link to many different generations within the same family.

Oriel School opened in 1936 and in that time it has served the parents, grandparents and great grandparents of many of the children who are here today. This sense of continuity runs like thread through the school creating a sense of identity that spans over 70 years, a sense reinforced by the strong links we still have with many of our past pupils. We not only count ex-pupils amongst our parent body but among our staff, governors and the volunteers who support the school.

Remember Me?

Send us your names, the dates you were at Oriel, a brief pen portrait and a contact e-mail (you must be over 18) and we will post your details here or find us on Facebook and become a memeber of the 'Friends of Oriel' Group.



Brian Viner interviews Mo Farah - The Independent - Friday 13 June 2008

An engaging mix of west London and east Africa, the European 5,000 metres silver medallist has come a long way to be a Beijing contender – thanks in part to the generous encouragement of Paula Radcliffe

Mo Farah was nine years old, a slight sprite of a boy, when he entered Oriel Junior School in Hanworth, one of south-west London's tougher suburbs, for the first time. He had arrived in England just weeks earlier from Djibouti in the horn of Africa and spoke hardly any English beyond the few phrases and sentences his father had taught him to see him through his first day at school. "Excuse me," was one. "Where is the toilet?," was another. But he had also learnt to say "C'mon then," not knowing that it could be misconstrued as provocation. On that first day at Oriel, he made the mistake of saying "C'mon then" to the hardest kid in the school. Farah smiles broadly at the memory. "He twatted me," he recalls. A fight erupted, in which the newcomer gave almost as good as he got. His fellow pupils were quietly impressed.

As with so many high-achievers, it was an inspirational teacher who smoothed his path to success. From Oriel, Farah moved to Feltham Community College, where his sporting potential was quickly recognised by the PE teacher Alan Watkinson. But Farah's English was still limited, and his was one of the few black faces in a school populated mainly by white, working-class kids, making him an easy target for bullying. Nor was his own behaviour exactly irreproachable. "I remember a javelin lesson, the first lesson Mo had with me," Watkinson tells me. "Javelin lessons have to be strictly supervised for obvious reasons but I found him hanging from the football posts. I thought 'Hello, what have we got here?'"

What he had was a boy of prodigious talent, who became the best javelin thrower in the school "by some distance", indeed the best in practically every track and field discipline. He was also a decent footballer. But Watkinson knew where his real ability lay. "I remember seeing him in a cross-country race for the first time. He didn't win because he didn't know the way. He kept turning round to see that the others had gone off in a different direction. But his running was so effortless."

Watkinson used Farah's love of football to lure him into cross-country training, promising him a half-hour kickaround beforehand. His protégé duly won the English Schools cross-country championship in five consecutive years, and by the time Farah came back from the Youth Olympics in Florida in 1998, when he was 15, the ambition to be a full-time runner had supplanted the dream of becoming a winger for Arsenal. In 2006, the year he won silver in the European Championships 5,000m, and gold in the European cross-country championships, he was voted Britain's Athlete of the Year – the first distance runner since Brendan Foster 30 years earlier to claim that distinction, if only because so many votes were split, in the halcyon age of British distance running, between Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram.

Those three men are among Farah's heroes, no matter that they peaked before he was born. "I watch their races quite a lot on YouTube," he says. "They're unbelievable." Another hero is Muhammad Ali. "Yeah, I still have a poster of him in my room. The 'Rumble in the Jungle'? Fantastic." But his greatest admiration is reserved for Paula Radcliffe. "She's very special. She has supported me and still sends texts to me now and then. She never goes to the newspapers and says she's helping so-and-so, but a few years ago she quietly chose a few athletes she thought needed support in different ways, paying for them to go on warm-weather training or whatever. For me, she paid for me to take driving lessons. I couldn't drive but I had to get out to Windsor to train, which was a difficult journey without a car. I look up to her a lot. She's made me believe that anything is possible."

Farah trains these days at St Mary's College in Twickenham, which, on a warm day, is where we meet. He has just completed a lap of nearby Bushy Park, but the only sweat in the vicinity is on my brow, not his. He is an immensely engaging man, with a smile that could light up the Thames on a dark night, and, appealingly, is readier to discuss his frailties than his strengths, as well as his debts to others, beginning with Watkinson.

"It was Alan who started everything for me, and I'm still in touch with him regularly. But even a couple of years ago I was living in halls of residence here at St Mary's, being a lad and not really focusing. I was going out for runs but then I'd go out with my mates and come in at midnight. It was my agent who told me to look at the Kenyans, and then I went to live with them, while they were based here for the European season. That was the best decision I ever made in my life, after the decision to choose running. They train in the morning, come back, sleep, eat, then train again. And they eat sensible food, a lot of unga, which is a kind of maize. I realised that if I was going to have a chance, I needed to live like they did, completely dedicated."

Farah does have a chance now. He is a realistic Olympic medal contender and quite happy to acknowledge that he more or less constantly has China on his mind. "I've never been to an Olympics and of course it's every athlete's dream to go," he says. "People think that you're preparing for a few months before, but it's four years of hard work. So my first job is to stay injury-free and to get there, and then I've got to get through the heats. Sometimes the heats are harder than the final. But I'm very excited by the challenge."

And, just to leap beyond Beijing, does that excitement extend to London 2012? "Oh yeah. I'll be 28, 29 then, and hopefully at my peak. I don't know what event I'll be concentrating on then. I'm very comfortable at 5,000m now, but I would probably want to step up to 10,000m or even the marathon. We'll see what happens."

I venture that a marathon medal in 2012 would be a nice reward for Radcliffe, after shelling out for those driving lessons? He just grins, in his boyish way, offering a beguiling glimpse of what he must have been like as a child. I ask him what memories he has of life in Djibouti, and before that the Somalian capital Mogadishu, where he was born?

"Not many. I went back for a holiday quite recently, and I could hardly believe I used to live there. I spent six days in Somalia, and eight days in Djibouti, which was great. People are very close to each other out there. They're all either related to you or they think they're related to you. Everyone tells you that they're your cousin." He laughs, delightedly. "In Somalia I went running," he adds, "and this guy, this ordinary guy, kept up with me."

It is tempting for journalists to depict Farah's early life in Somalia as one of bare feet and mud huts, and he understands why, but it doesn't quite correspond with reality. "It wasn't like that," he says with an almost apologetic smile. "There are people like that but we lived in a normal stone house with my mother, grandparents and two younger brothers – there's another brother now. My grandfather worked in a bank and we had a comfortable life, not easy but not hard. My father was born in England – he grew up in Hounslow – but he went there for a holiday and met my mother. Then he came back to England so we didn't see much of him. That's why we came to Britain when I was nine, to see more of my father. But I remember his trips to see us in Africa. He used to bring me footballs, and once he brought me some shoes with flashing lights on. That was fantastic. I loved them."

The challenges facing Farah are different now, but in some ways not nearly as testing as those first few months in a strange country, confronting a strange language. 


Dear Oriel,

I came across your newsletter during a “play” on the laptop here in New Zealand.     I attended Oriel School, Hanworth late forties, leaving 1949, thinking I joined probably 1946/47 previously being at Hanworth Infants school.    My names is Keith Leggett , lived on Tudor Park Estate early years until 1949,  lived in East Twickenham a while before settling down in Chertsey, Surrey. I remember  Mr Silk who is mentioned in one of the letters , he was my form teacher.   I also remember dancing with his wife at the local village hall and wondering if Mr Silk would refer to it, he didn’t, just a slight pause when calling my name at the morning register before going on to the next name. Principal Mr Taylor gave a rare smile and slight chuckle when I mention that I was going on the stage when I left school. “Send me a ticket, when you get to the Palladium” he stated causing mirth all around. I did go on  the stage and played the London Palladium at the Royal Variety Show, 1968.   I still  regret that I didn’t chase him down and send him a ticket. Mr Wilks, Mr Farrant and Mr Yarde are names I remember .  I recall one of the teacher telling us, who were the first to stay at school until 15, that we would learn more in that year after school than any year before .      My brother Terry Leggett also went to Oriel as did my Cousin Brian Leggett. Both of these have come to live in New Zealand.  Remember The Jolly Sailor pub, just down the road, Chapmans selling first ice lollies I ever tasted, Fish and Chip shop  and the Rex cinema (Saturday morning matinees) School days remembered  with affection so  would welcome belonging to any friends  of the school organisation that there may be. Sincerely yours a long way from ‘anworth – Keith Leggett. old address 26 Camrose ave, Hanworth.  PS- I still possess a card that permits me to use a bicycle to get to school during the war! 

Kieth Leggett


Can You Help?:

My name is Adam. I was a pupil at Oriel from 1984 through to 1991. I then went onto Rectory School (now an academy, but previously know as HCC) in Hampton.

A few weeks ago during a typical early thirties drink infused nostalgia trip, I recalled my return to Oriel as a Year 7 to speak to the then year 6's about Rectory.

We stood in the entrance hall (near the Headmasters office, J Stephens at the time) beside the black & white whole school photographs. I recall speaking to Samuel Tanner and David East at the time (also former Oriel-ites and on the same visit) about the 1986 photo. Both of them could locate their younger selves on the back row, but I could not. This vivid discussion even included a remark of a gap on the back row next to David where I thought I was stood...

Obviously, time moved on and my teenage self quickly forgot all about this.

However, thinking back, which in its self is an ask. I vaguely recall the photo being taken (and being in it) in the Junior playground (near the quite area). I recall the field behind flanked by the 'huts' (which were subsequently demolished and made way for the infant playground by the time I left in 91).

This mental vignette also includes the remains of what could have been air raid shelters or some kind of post war structure on the fields and the Thorn Security building (now also demolished and now a Wicks beside the A316) could be seen over the trees at the end of the field.

To cut to the chase and stop myself rambling further. Does the aforementioned School photo still exist? Perhaps somewhere as part of the schools history that can be publicly accessible? On the Internet?

Here is a letter from an ex-pupil called Roger Bushnell who provides a very vivid picture of life here at Oriel and who because of his own determination clearly went on to be a success:


I was a pupil at Hanworth infants then Oriel from 1949, The primary school use to be downstairs and the secondary upstairs. At the gates was a crab apple tree, and half way down on the right of the path a large conker tree. To the left of the main entrance was the boiler room and they used to shoot the coke in to it from the front of the building.  A few of the teachers at the time were Mr P Taylor (head) Deputy Mr Phillips. Mrs Bateman primary head. Mr Golding , Mr Gardener, Mr Hilston, Mr Woodward. P. Parsons and his brother C.Parsons. Mr Evans, Mr Jones, Mr Cox, Miss Dewthoit. Mr Flexman, Mr Wilks, Mr Laver,Mr Newman, Mr Farrant, Mr Wright, Mr Walsh, Mrs Barry, Mr Storey, I think I was canned by all of them except Mr Flexman the metalwork teacher. It was the smell of stewing cabbage for the school meals that greeted you from the front door. Put me off greens for life. School dinners were horrible, Lumpy mash potatoes, Swede was added in the fruit cocktails for pudding. And we were forced to eat everything before we could leave the table.  I managed to put the greens down my jumper to get a clean plate.When it rained hard the water used to get in the main hall, And all the par-quay flooring use to swell and lift up.

I quite liked Barry, Flexman , Wilks and Bob Farrant. Bob Farrant used to like telling stories about the war, Which was better than music.

I served my last year in De Brome, Being the first 4th year and left at fifteen years old.

After leaving school I had various jobs in the local factories, twenty five jobs in one year, Money wise, Bettering each time. In those days you could leave a job at lunch time and find another for the afternoon. In those previous jobs I learn t the skills of lathe and milling, Welding, Electrical wiring and selling. I started to work for a company on the Feltham Trading Estate and thought I could make a better machine that they were making, So at twenty one I formed my own company manufacturing Electrostatic powder spraying machines and obtained patents.I carried on my company to the age of sixty when I retired. After selling my machines all over the world. I bought a mill estate in Portugal, After three years I sold up and moved to the New Forest to my home now which is a five hundred year old listed thatched property. I have enclosed my school report and the first machine I made. Academically I have no qualifications. Just a strong will to get things done.

 Your faithfully

Roger Bushnell


I was recently contacted by an ex-pupil who attended Oriel just after it first opened, when it was still a secondary boys school!

Dear Matthew,

As an ex-pupil of what was then Oriel Secondary School, from 1937 to when I left at the age of 14 in 1941, I was intrigued to hear from you on the school website that it has become a primary school.

Below is an account of some of the early teachers and their characteristics as I recall them. Few would be acceptable to teach in the modern era except in a juvenile detention centre. There was little rapport between pupil and teacher in those days: it was them and us. Convention was that children did not speak unless spoken to.

Staff at Oriel Secondary School Hanworth 1937-41:

The Headmaster, Mr Taylor, rarely smiled, was universally disliked, and a feared cane wielding disciplinarian.

Miss Talbot was a middle aged teacher trying to look like a spring chicken by using excessive make-up and extremely high-heeled shoes.

Miss Matthews was an easy-going, grey-headed, quietly spoken, elderly teacher, who never lost her self-control and was well liked. Her sole function appeared to be reading Uncle Remus stories about Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit.

Miss Kirby was a middle-aged, flamboyant, aggressive teacher, who quickly lost her temper and was very much disliked.

Mr Vincent was an aged, excellent, and patient teacher that spoke softly but with authority. Not once do I recall him being ruffled.

Science was well taught by Mr Phillips, a tall military-looking man with ginger hair and a neatly clipped moustache

Miss Mills taught poetry and art and perpetually carried a wooden rule in her hand. At the slightest provocation she delighted in rapping a pupil's knuckles with it.

Mr Silk had good communication skills and was very strict. He offered little praise but seldom criticised.

Mr Farrant taught music. Music was a misnomer for the subject that consisted mainly of singing puerile songs and scales and learning nothing about written music or composers.

I remembered Mr Farrant mostly for vigorously playing the piano at morning assembly. One class at a time had to march from the assembly hall swinging their arms like soldiers, in step to Mr Farrant exaggeratedly raising his hands high and bringing them down to thump out a Sousa march on the school piano. Indeed, I came to the conclusion that this was the extent of Mr Farrant's repertoire, as he never played anything else during the four years I attended the Oriel School.

Mr 'Lordy' Lee was an aged teacher with a calm temperament. He taught gardening and woodwork classes, an unusual diverse combination.

Mrs Everard was another aged teacher but I cannot recall what she taught.

I look forward to the development of the already good Oriel website.


Albert Richards, Canberra, Australia.


Hi to everyone!

I am Mike Olive. I was a pupil from 1944 to 1948 and I thought that you might like to know, how Oriel set me up for life!

I have just been on a nostalgic trip, around Hanworth, using Google Earth. When I put in 'Oriel School, it came up with houses and I thought my old school had been pulled down, but I found your website. Glad to know that you are still in business.

Miss E. Bateman was head teacher and I kept in touch with her, until her death. One special memory I have, is that Miss Bateman visited me in West Middlesex Hospital in January 1948.

I was just coming round from the anaesthetic, after having my appendix removed. She was the first face that I saw. She brought several gifts from other pupils, but her own gift I still have and treasure, 'Tales of our Ancestors'.

My class teacher was Miss Peggy Monica York, of whom I have very fond memories.

Mrs Clarke introduced me to Classical music, mainly through Wagner. A rather surprising choice considering we were still at war with Germany!

I attended the 50th? Anniversary at Oriel and it was very pleasant to be in familiar surroundings again.

I was one of a few pupils who passed the 11 plus in 1948. I was at a school camp in Petersfield, Hants., with Mrs Evans, when she told me that I had passed. Taking the exam so soon after leaving hospital, was quite a challenge. Obviously, the excellent tuition which I had received, was not wasted.

I was allocated to Ashford Grammar School, but my father, a pastry cook and confectioner, had just accepted a job in Surbiton, Surrey.

We moved to live in Stoneleigh and I attended Epsom County Grammar School for two years. Why only two years? My father decided to change jobs again and we moved to Brighton, where I attended Brighton Hove and Sussex Grammar School, now a sixth form college. I was very happy there and continued to study Biology and Latin as I was hoping to enter Veterinary College. I was also in the C.C.F. and a member of the school rifle shooting team.

When my father announced yet another change of employer, this time to Basingstoke, I refused to change schools and used to live with the family of a fellow pupil, travelling on occasional weekends and holidays to Basingstoke by bicycle or train. After a period of illness, I reluctantly agreed to change schools again. My father had changed employers again in the mean time and we moved to Portsmouth.

I was allocated to Portsmouth Northern Grammar School, which was divided into two halves for Girls and Boys. My future wife Pat was already attending the other half.

My biggest problem in changing schools was the non standardising of curriculum. Sometimes I was ahead in some subjects and in others, I had to catch up with material that had already been taught. I did manage to obtain passes in 9 subjects at G.C.E. O-level.

My father was not able to support me to obtain A levels and I had to decide on what to do next. Veterinary College seemed to be out of reach, but on reflection, if I had received some guidance, it might have been possible, by my working for a veterinary practice.

I had a very keen interest in aviation and a friend and fellow pupil had recently accepted an apprenticeship with Folland Aircraft, in Hamble. Hants.

He suggested that I should make an application, which I did in 1955 and was accepted. I served my apprenticeship, working on the Gnat and several other aircraft. I gained an an O.N.C. and then an H.N.C. with distinction and transferred to the ejector seat design team.

In 1957, I married my wife Pat and we had our first child, a son Kim in 1959. Our daughter Debra was born in 1961.

In 1963, we decided to emigrate to America, where I had accepted a position as Design Engineer with Piaseecki Aircraft Corporation, of Philadelphia, working on the design of a compound helicopter. In 1965, the opportunity came to work in the Space Industry, which was too much to resist and I took employment with General Electric Space Division. I worked on the design of Mars probes and Voyager, which is out in deep space now. there is also some of my work on the moon! I also worked on the design of a very successful undersea habitat, Textite. It was sunk in the Virgin Islands and teams of scientists lived in it, to simulate conditions of isolation in space.

I also passed exams to be a paramedic and became a voluntary member of a Fire and Ambulance Company, during which time, I delivered several babies and was instrumental in saving lives.

Our daughter Elizabeth was born in 1965 and our son Jonathan in 1967.

In 1970, we decided to return to England, as we felt that our children should get to know their Grandparents. I accepted a position as a Design and Development Engineer with Vickers Medical in, of all places BASINGSTOKE! I helped to design and develop blood analysis machines and incubators for babies. In 1965, I entered King Alfred's College, Winchester and gained a B Ed degree to teach Science. I decided however that teaching was not for me and about this time, my mother-in-law became terminally ill. I was helping to nurse her in hospital and I was asked if I had ever considered Nursing as a career. It was 1978 and my wife and I discussed it and I decided to give it a try. So I became an S.R.N. Student Male Nurse at 41 years of age!!!

I was finally in my element and enjoyed going to work and had to be told to go home!

Working in the various types of wards was very fulfilling, but the bravery in the children's wards was a very emotional experience.

I worked in the Operating Theatres and on one occasion, I held the almost totally severed hand of a young man for five hours, whilst it was re-connected. He had been demonstrating with a friend, how to block an attack with a Samurai sword!!!! I have recently been told that he is now employed as a scaffolder and has total use of his hand!

I was shortly to take my final examinations to qualify as an S.R.N., when I was asked to help in the lifting of a 22 stone patient on another ward.

There were six other helpers and I had the 'Tail End', so was bent over. The other six helpers suddenly let go of the patient, in a very badly co-ordinated lift. I took the full load through my bent spine and felt a terrible pain in my lower back. Examination disclosed a ruptured disc and I not

only had to undergo spinal surgery, but I was also told that I could no longer be employed in the N.H.S.

My wife Pat and I will be celebrating our 75th birthday on the 15th January 2012. She was born in Southsea at 7.30 am and I was born in Westcliffe-on-sea at 12.15 pm. Pat's maiden name was Watson, the same as my mother's and one of her first names is also OLIVE!!! WE WERE MEANT FOR EACH OTHER!

In our 54 years of marriage, celebrated on 7th December 2011, we had four children, two of whom gave us six grandchildren. Three of these, all our eldest son's, gave us eight Great Grandchildren!!!! Sadly, our daughter Elizabeth who was born in America, died from meningitis in 1987, just after taking her S.R.N. final exams, which we were told she passed. Our eldest son Kim works in computing; our daughter Debra is in administration at Queen Mary's College in Basingstoke and our youngest son Jonathan has a 'Tonmeister degree with Sound Recording from Guildford University and works in films. He is credited in a number of films, including Star Wars and Harry Potter and has recorded the New Years Concerts from Vienna.

I hope that you have found this synopsis of a very fulfilling life, interesting. I hope also, that your predecessors would have been proud of the results of the seed of knowledge that they planted in me. I would like to think also, that it gives you pride in the work you are doing and what it can lead to.

My very best wishes to you all for a Healthy and Fulfilling 2012.

Mike Olive


Dear Oriel,

I have just been alerted to your "Old Oriel" website. I was a pupil at Oriel Junior School from 1951 to 1955. Not only that, but my father was the Mr Silk mentioned by Albert Richards, and my maternal grandmother was Mrs Everard (though I have to correct him there: she never taught at Oriel because she was an Infants teacher and must have taught him some years earlier at Hanworth Infants School).

My father left to become a primary head about the time I went to Oriel; Mr Philips, a dear friend, also became a head teacher, but sadly died in his 50's from something picked up in the Far East during WWII.

I remember the school very well, mostly good things, though I did hate having the "big boys" upstairs (whoever thought that was a good idea?). We were well-grounded in the basics, and all 42 of my class, the "A" stream, passed the 11 plus; I enjoyed rounders, but I don't remember any other sports, nor much art or music. My first teacher was young and pretty: Mrs Anderson, I think. She was not cross when, during 2 minutes' silence for the death of George VI, we 7-8 year-olds got a fit of the giggles. I can't remember who came next, but in the following 2 years we were in the hands of Jimmy James, who seemed to me very genial. I don't think many of the class were a problem to him; he would often leave us to attend to school affairs (I think he must have been deputy head) and we just got on with work. And we did work, rather repetitively, I'm afraid - but we passed!

My memories are probably different from those of others: I expect I was teacher's pet - after all, everyone knew my father and I was a goody-goody! What was it like for those in the "C" stream, I wonder?

Christina Jones

Retford, Notts

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