St Clement Danes School remained in Ducane Road in Hammersmith until 1975 when Hertfordshire County Council’s invitation to the school to re-establish itself out of London accepted. In 1975 the school moved for a brief period to Croxley Green where it operated as Voluntary Aided Mixed Comprehensive.
This period has become affectionately known as the ‘hippy’ era which heralded long hair, flower power and flared trousers. During this period the school had a well-known choir which featured in a 1975 EMI recording of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, conducted by Andre Previn with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Clive Buckingham (Lincoln 1968-75), Robin Fullard (Clement 1968-75), Stephen Willis (Clement 1965-72) and John Traies (Dane 1964-70) recall their time at St Clement Danes School.
Mr Traies recalls: "It was the swining sixties in London!! Everything seemed possible - politics, art, music, QPR!" while Mr Buckingham adds: “Haircuts were a serious matter almost throughout my time at school. Teachers fought a continuous battle against LONG HAIR!”
On the sporting front, the school offered the usual sports such as football and tennis, with the additional offering of rowing, sailing, archery and badminton. Both Mr Fullard and Mr Willis recall playing football in 'the cage' before school and during breaks and lunchtimes.
Appearing on stage at Covent Garden Opera House and in films
When it came to music, Mr Buckingham and Mr Fullard were among a small group of students in his Year to appear on stage at the Covent Garden Opera House in several occasions.
Mr Buckingham remembers: “We were boys in crowd scenes or urchins, but we always had a proper singing part. We also recorded a disc at St Clement Danes Church in the Strand. It’s a decent recording, but if you listen carefully you can hear the buses rumbling past!”
“Music-making at school certainly shaped me. As a keen amateur choral singer I have always found joining choirs - at university, and abroad - a good way of making friends and integrating. I have been singing with the BBC Symphony Chorus for over twenty year now,” says Mr Buckingham.
Mr Fullard adds: "We also sang in a couple of films including Goodbye Mr Chips with Peter O'Toole and Petula Clarke, for which we were paid. The music programme gave an opportunity to many of us to experience art at a high level."
The oil crisis meant we had to take the bus or walk to school
The issues of the day included the 1973 oil crisis which affected both staff drivers and Sixth Form students who rode motorbikes to school. Mr Fullard remembers: "It was hard to find petrol so I neded up walking to school most days to save the bus fare!" Students also remember the Aberfan disaster in 1966 when a colliery spoil tip collapsed, killing 116 children and 28 adults.
Limited technology was available although Sixth Form students were allowed to use an early computer terminal which was connected to Imperial College. A reflector telescope was also installed on the roof of the science block!
When it came to discipline, unruly students would receive a detention, the slipper, a swipe around the ear or the cane from the headmaster or his deputy. Mr Fullard and Mr Traies remember the older teachers being very strict, while the younger teachers were more relaxed.
On the whole, students were able to leave school with a good education behind them and plenty of job opportunities.
Mr Fullard says: "Being a member of the 'Rusty Anchor' was quite prestigious in those days!"
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