Early 50s at Queen Elizabeth's

Our gang

David Taylor’s name keeps popping up on various memories of Queen Elizabeth’s, mainly regarding his spell there as a teacher, but I’ve already previously mentioned the fact that he was a pal of mine in the 50s and I’ve just discovered a somewhat battered photograph of our “gang” taken on the playing fields. Top row left to right are Bill Hoop, Gordon Froggatt, Gordon Allen and your’s truly (Jim Marshall) and on the bottom row, left to right, are Ralph Simpson, Robert Bradley, Terry Brownlow and, yes, David Taylor. The unseen photographer was Brian Gaunt.
Until their deaths, I kept in close touch with Bill Hoop and Gordon Allen and still exchange Christmas cards with one of Bill’s three sons and family.

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  • Addendum to above … sadly my wife Mary died 28 December 2020 … aged 82.
    Also made contact with Jim Marshall in Aug 2021
    Robert Bradley

    By Robert Bradley (18/10/2021)
  • Good to hear from you Robert and pleased to know that you’re, like me, still in the land of the living!

    Your impressive work activities make fascinating reading – wish I could say the same for mine. However, despite having a fairly humdrum job as a payroll manager in Brighton, where I’ve lived since 1959, and never really been the cleverest of pupils at school, I’ve had a great time away from work.

    During our days at QEGS my old pal Bill Hoop and I spent most our spare time buying pop records, usually from Syd Booths in Mansfield. Eventually Bill became a fanatic jazz collector whilst my preference changed to folk and country music. Both these genres have given me lots of pleasure over the years.

    I ran a very popular folk club in Brighton for well over 30 years, was involved in producing and presenting a folk programme, “Minstrels’ Gallery”, for BBC local radio for over 25 years and was involved in a country music show for the same station for many years.

    Aside from all that I was chairman of the British Country Music Association and as such became responsible, with a colleague, for arranging a total of an incredible 39 annual trips to the USA for our members from 1969 to 2008. This included visits to Nashville, as you might expect, but we also took in places like Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Mississippi, Florida, Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Alabama, Georgia, Toronto, Ohio, St. Louis, Oklahoma and many others far off the beaten track.

    Happy days! And over the years I’ve also found time to research and produce a comprehensive discography of my favourite popular singer, the late Jo Stafford. This now forms part of a collection hosted by the University of Arizona and can be accessed at:

    By Jim Marshall (14/12/2020)
  • Only told about this site this week when a friend said he had seen me on this photograph.
    Our gang at the time, 1952.
    Well I am still here, Robert Bradley, quite fit now, had my bad spell 2002. I am now a Doctor of Letters honoris causa from University of Nottingham. How about that then? It was for 60 odd years writing coal mining history in the Midlands region, it is on the internet under healeyhero. There are copies of 9 volumes of my books in the British Library in London. So proud but yet so humbled. Sadly my wife of 62 years is now in a care home.
    I began as a trainee architect on leaving school, but after 6 months needed to pay 3 guineas a week articles to be trained, no way could my family afford it so I set on with NCB as an apprentice Surveyor at Teversal, then senior assistant. I eventually became Surveyor for the mine at Ollerton for 15 years, then a Senior Surveyor for Nottinghamshire Area British Coal, and then a Mining Consultant after redundancy. Continued writing and still at it.
    Gordon Froggatt is still with us, will be 85 on Christmas Day. I keep in touch now and again. He went onto the mining side of NCB becoming Undermanager at Pye Hill, Assistant Manager Thoresby, Deputy Manager Bevercotes and Colliery Manager Creswell. Mining Consultant after redundancy.
    Ralph Simpson, my best friend, sadly passed away Aug 2019. He worked for NCB as a clerk, went in RAF as did Jimmy. Became a Cost clerk, moved onto computers at Berry Hill, became Manager of a department, went to University of Nottingham as a computer manager, left to firm in Scotland, sent to America. Left and joined the Midland Bank at Birmingham. Left them to run an Estate agency, sold out and bought a boarding house, (reminds me of Fawlty Towers). Ended his career at 65 as a Lecturer at West Notts Tech. Went to live in Oxfordshire at Little Coxwell.
    You remember Rex Norman? Well he lived at Great Coxwell nearby. Became headmaster at a school down there, died fairly young though. His mate Denis Jewsbury died aged 80. He started off as an apprentice Surveyor, but left and joined the army as a Surveyor in the Royal Engineers abroad. Came back and worked on motorways. Re-joined NCB for a few years. Left again and started his own business. I lived opposite him in Mansfield Woodhouse so we became great friends.
    Didn’t know about the passing of Willie Hoop and Gordon Allen. Gordon became a teacher I was told. Know nothing about Willie.
    David Taylor ended up back at the school as a teacher.
    ‘Billy’ Terry Walter Brownlow worked for the Forestry Commission I was told many years ago. Awarded the MBE?
    It would be lovely to know what others did in their careers.

    By Robert Bradley (07/11/2020)

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