When Roundwood Park School opened in 1956, Rod was one of the very first pupils to enter the school along with his three school mates Chris Woof, Roy Abbott and Kenneth Brett. Soon after entering the school premises all the school coaches from Redbourn and Wheathampstead turned up and all the other pupils from the villages where there were no secondary schools also entered their new school for the first time. The Harpenden Free Press where there to take photos of the new school day.
Rod entered the 2nd year at Roundwood, having spent his 1st year at Manland School [ now Sir John Lawes] He remembers the Head Teacher , Mr Foxwell, who he recall as being very strict. Apparently an entire class was caned when none would own up to some misdemeanor involving smoking. Fingers were inspected for nicotine stains! Mr Foxwell was also rather keen on football and after losing a number of matches to Manland he proudly announced in assembly one day that he was pleased to be able to say that at last Roundwood had beaten Manland at football. Rod scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory. Rod remembers Sports Days being held at the National Childrens’ Home and involved Markyate and Manland schools. In 1959 Rod was the Discus champion, Robert Winch ( Javelin) and Peter Hall (shot). As a keen sportsman, Rod was also part of a successful 4x110yd relay along with Roy Hebb, Robin Hunt [ moved to Toronto in 1969],Rod Dallimore, and Terry Winch.
During Rod’s time the school had about 200 students and Mr Foxwell had just one secretary’ Mrs Leaf. Rod also recalls that a girl was expelled for pushing a PE teacher down some stairs
Whilst at school, like many schoolboys, he had a job as a paper boy and also worked for the local butcher,Tom & Mark Garderten and delivered turkeys etc at Christmas but he had to pluck them too! He was able to use his butcher boy bike to enable him to do his paper round.
Since leaving school, Rod had many jobs all in the area.He recalls that whilst working in the stores at RH Coles Plastics in Southdown they had a hour for lunch when he often played football and they were paid ‘time and a half’ on Saturdays. Next he was in furniture removals for Spacey-Nugent . From there he worked for Anscombes [ Closed in 1982 on the site where Waitrose is now] in the furniture dept. Nesxt he spent 11 years helping out at at Holly Lodge ‘a retirement home on Clarence Road. He then moved to work at Croft Farm [still going today ] which kept a thriving cattery & kennels as well as a 800 chickens , mostly Rhode Island Reds, where he was involved in collecting , grading the eggs as well as tesing the chickens for salmonella. Harvest time on the fields was “a killer”. From 1984-94 Rod combined working at the farm with working from 4-6 pm at Roundwood Park on the premises staff, often in the staff room. In this position he was able to recall many instances of the teaching characters he encountered including Mr Woodhouse, Miss Gott and Miss Lucas who was the daughter in law of John Lucas [deputy head], also Miss Clubley, Mr Surtees and many more.
We all remember him for his avid interest in football and MUFC in particular.
These are the recollections taken during a sunny lunchtime meeting at the Carpenters Arm in July 2014.