For seven years, between 1953 and 1960 my schooling was at Carmel College, the Jewish Public School established by the late Rabbi Kopul Rosen in 1948. Needless to say, I have numerous memories of this period. In order that they should not be forgotten, in 2004, I wrote them down, and two years later I made a revised edition. It was a very detailed account occupying well over 100 pages. But I must stress that these were my own personal recollections. A history of Carmel College needs to be on a far wider base, and for this reason on 15 November 2004 I put the following message on the Carmel Message Board, (which at that time was on the internet), which included the following, “A history of Carmel College [needs to] be written. I would suggest it be divided into 4 parts corresponding to the 4 Headmasters (or Principals). Since it is easy to suggest that others (but not oneself!) do the work, I am prepared to volunteer to do the era of Rabbi Kopul Rosen.”
It would seem that the number of Old Carmelis who saw this Message Board was not large and I got virtually no response to my message. However, the opportunity came in a reunion in Jerusalem to mark Kopul’s 50th Yahrzeit. This was held on 1 March 2012 at Yakar in Jerusalem with a video link to a reunion held in London at precisely the same time. At this reunion, which in Jerusalem and London together was attended by about 100 Old Carmelis of the Kopul era, I put forward my suggestion. A few days later I sent an e-mail to the 200 Old Carmelis of the Kopul era, whose e-mails I knew, with details of how I proposed to write this history of Carmel College during the Kopul era.
It took me over two years of work, until the book was ready. It was divided into two sections. The first was a history of Carmel College during the Kopul era, and the second was biographies of the teachers who were at Carmel during the Kopul era. (see below)
I decided that the book would be meticulously documented, but in order to encourage people to read beyond the third page, I tried to utilise a lighter style than is normally found in scholarly works, and I also included some humour.
I decided that recollections would form an integral part of this book and therefore at the Reunion, I requested that Old Carmelis from the Kopul era send me their recollections of Carmel College during the Kopul era. I am pleased to say that I received such material, which was of varying length, from about 50 of them. There were a few who sent me such material on several occasions, in some cases new material and in others revised material.
The first section of the book consisted of nine chapters, and it dealt with different aspects of Carmel College during the Kopul era. I entitled it “Overdrafts and their Results,” since despite the fact that Carmel had a constant overdraft, Kopul managed to overcome this problem and worked wonders in running and developing the School.
To write any research work, one has to assemble material, usually from numerous sources and this book was no exception. I will begin with the financial and administrative side.
Carmel College was run by a Limited Company, known as Carmel College Ltd. Every such company has a file at the Companies Registration Office, which is open to inspection by the general public. I remember that in the 1960s, I myself went to inspect the file of this Company. It includes the incorporation document, the Memorandum and the Articles of Association, the Annual Accounts, Annual Returns, the appointment and resignation of the Directors, and various resolutions passed by the Company.
Anyone can order copies of any document from a Company’s file – at a cost. The Companies Registration Office indeed knows how to charge! They informed me that to order all the material from the file of the Kopul era would cost about £300. One of the Directors of the Carmel College Limited Company, which still continued to function well after the demise of Carmel College, was David Dangoor. I contacted him and asked whether he would be prepared to cover this cost. He immediately wrote back with a positive answer, indeed more than this. He realised that there would be many other out of pocket expenses and he accordingly arranged for the Exilarch’s Foundation (of which he is a Director) to send me a cheque for £1,000. Indeed there were numerous other out of pocket expenses. These included ordering documents from the National Archives (also not cheap!), photocopying of many thousands of pages, travelling expenses to visit archives and libraries, numerous telephone calls to all over the world (including within Israel, England, Ireland, USA, Gibraltar, Australia and South Africa), shipment of a very large box of documents from England to Israel, and after scanning and photocopying the material returning it to England.
An indispensable source of information for such a book, are past Carmel school magazines. At the reunion in Jerusalem, David Duke brought along to put on display, almost a complete set of the Carmel annual summer magazines during the Kopul era. He kindly loaned them to me and I scanned them and also made a photocopy of each of them. David Shaw had a number of Carmel magazines, which included “The Young Carmelonian,” “Badad,” and “The Phoenix,” each of which only brought out one issue. He also had one issue of a Prep School magazine “Alpha,” and three issues of the “Carmel Clarion.” Here also I scanned and photocopied them, (together with other miscellaneous material which he sent me). At that stage I was still missing the Prep School magazines for the remaining years and in a letter I sent to the Old Carmelis of the Kopul era I asked if anyone had copies of them. David Sheldon replied that he had two further “Alpha” magazines which he loaned me for scanning and photocopying. The remaining two Prep School magazines were included in the material which I received from London (see below). I also received a scan of a further “Carmel Clarion” from Spencer Batiste. I might add that, before I obtained these magazines from the Old Carmelis, I found from the catalogue of the British Library in London, that they had many of the Carmel magazines. I put in an order for photocopies of a number of these magazines and gave an authorisation for payment, which as far I can recollect would have come to about £100. However, they then informed me that they could not find the magazines! They accordingly cancelled my payment authorisation. I later found these magazines from other sources and obtained copies of them for a small cost!. The British Library’s “losing” these magazines thus saved me a lot of money!
I had heard that there were Carmel archives in existence, but the question was where they were. I learned that Jeff Serlin had collected together from various sources, archival material on Carmel. On contacting him, he said that he had passed them on to Jill Kenton, and she informed me that they were stored in a warehouse, but the person who had the key was out of town for several months. Eventually she received the key, and was on the point of moving the material to a different location, which was closer to London. The material in this archive was not limited to just the Kopul era and thus someone was needed to go through it and extract the relevant material. (I obvious could not do so since I live in Israel.) This was done by Neil Myeroff and Jill Kenton, and Neil then had the material (about 13 kilos in weight) crated and sent to me in Israel.
For some reason he sent them by courier and they were supposed to arrive within two days. The cost for this courier service was £200 (less 5 pence!) and I made a bank transfer of this sum to Neil, together with his and my bank charges (about £16). The material reached Israel in one day, but then the problems started. The courier firm said that I had to pay about £58 for customs clearance, which I did. They also informed me that they had no courier service to Kiryat Arba (maybe the driver refused to go to Kiryat Arba!) and they were transferring the parcel to the Israel postal service. It took a total of about 13 days for it to reach the post office in Kiryat Arba. (Had I not made telephone calls it may well have taken even longer!) Due to the weight of the parcel I had to borrow a trolley from the local supermarket and bring the parcel to my apartment. I informed Neil that the parcel did not arrive within two days, it was not delivered to my apartment and that I had to pay an additional £58. He immediately complained to the courier firm and they immediately agreed to return £180 of the £200 and in addition the £58 which I had paid. (Obviously they had had no right to demand this latter sum!) This repayment reached my bank account a few weeks later. So instead of paying £274, I paid only £36. It was worth all the trouble!
One of the main items in this material was the correspondence by Kopul to countless hopefully potential donors during the years 1947 and 1948. It also included the two Prep School magazines which I did not yet have, numerous photographs, some news clippings, the Government Inspectors’ Report on Carmel, a few (and I mean only a few) Governors’ and Development Fund Minutes, a Carmel Prospectus from the 1950s, material on social and sportive activities at Carmel, and much other miscellaneous material.
As with all the other materials, I scanned and photocopied it, and then returned it to Jill Knton. Since she were in no hurry for its returm, I sent it by the cheapest method, namely by ship, the cost being just over £20. When one sends such a package, one receives a registration number and one can check its progress via the internet. I did this with this parcel and saw to my horror that it had been delivered to an addressee in Nigeria! I therefore contacted Jill Kenton and I was relieved to learn that it had already arrived safely in London. Obviously due to some error, the same registration number had been used on two distinct parcels. (For some reason, the internet does not inform one when a registered item of post arrives in Britain.)
David Dangoor also had in his possession some archival material which he scanned and sent to me. This included the Contract for Sale and Purchase of the Mongewell Estate (which contained a detailed description of the Main Building), and also a number of news cuttings and some miscellaneous material up to 1955, which from the numbering on it could well have been part of “Carmelismus,” the Carmel archives put together by Malcolm Shifrin (“Shif”).
One of the books I used for the history of Mongewell was a book entitled “Crowmarsh” written by Berenice and David Pedgley. I wanted to reproduce several pages from this book and so I wrote to David Pedgley to ask permission which he readily gave. As a result of our correspondence I learned that he had a copy of the Deed of Conveyance of the Mongewell estate to Carmel College, and he sent me a scan of the entire document. He informed me that he had received this document from Carmel College’s solicitors in 1981 when he was preparing his book.
There was also some audio material. This included speeches by Kopul which had been transferred to a DVD, and in Raymond Dwek’s possession there was a recording of the entire 1960 Carmel Speech Day (with the exception of the actual distribution of the prizes) and he sent me a copy. A gramophone record of the Carmel choir under Dudley Cohen had been produced in the late 1950s, and Michael Bharier who still had the gramophone record in his possession sent me the recording by e-mail. Needless to say this record had often been played and as a result was badly scratched. However, one could still clearly hear the singing.The families of both Spencer Batiste and Jacques Koppel had filmed on their cine cameras short extracts of Sports Days at Carmel (which included “little” David Rosen aged about 4 competing in the running against “big” Senior School boys!). They transferred them to a DVD and sent me a copy.
I was informed that there was Carmel archival material still in the basement of the Main Building at Mongewell. After having obtained permission from the present owners of the former Carmel estate, David Shaw travelled all the way to Mongewell, (taking with him a torch, since there was no electricity in the basement!) and searched the basement, but the only material he could see was from the 1980s which was not relevant to this book.
An important source of material for those doing Anglo-Jewish historical research is the past issues of the “Jewish Chronicle.” From their website, I found where Carmel College was mentioned, and, during the Kopul era, it appeared about 600 times. Copies of almost all the Jewish Chronicles are to be found bound in the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem. I spent several days there, going through these 600 references, (a large number were just advertisements for Carmel). I took with me a number of strips of paper so as to mark the relevant ones. At the end of each day I put the relevant volumes in a room next to the Reading Room. Several years earlier they were prepared to make photocopies of newspapers, but later the method was to photograph them. However their photographer had recently retired and I had to bring my own camera which I did. Although one could photograph small items in their entirety, larger items had to be photographed in sections which was not convenient. I therefore finished my work at the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem where they had microfilms of the “Jewish Chronicle.” There they would scan them and either make a print out, transfer them to one’s flash drive or sometimes send them to one’s e-mail.
I wanted to include in this book a brief history of Greenham, Crookham and Mongewell, from Norman times and for this I obtained material from the internet. I also found on the internet “Auction Catalogues” from the end of the 1930s of Greenham Lodge and Crookham House, (the first two locations where Carmel was situated), which gave a detailed description of the rooms in the buildings and of the surrounding grounds.
The Old Carmeli Association brought out its first Constitution in 1954. From a search on the internet the only copy I could find of it was in the Hebrew Union College Library in Cincinnati. I contacted them and they sent me a scan of this three page document.
As stated above, about 50 Old Carmelis sent me their recollections and I integrated them into the book. In addition, there were Old Carmelis who sent me scans of photographs which they possessed or had taken themselves, and there were those who identified pupils and teachers who appeared in photographs. Furthermore, on a number of occasions when I needed certain bits of information, I wrote to various Old Carmelis of the Kopul era to see if they could provide the answers, and in some cases they were able to help,
I received a very important piece of material from Anthony Rau. He had kept the letters he had written home when he was in Carmel from 1950 to 1955, and he extracted all the passages which could be relevant for my book, and gave me permission to reproduce them. These are of particular importance, since this was material, written almost like a diary, on a day to day basis, and it is therefore more reliable than recollections of events which occurred in the distant past.
Some other Carmel publications which I used were the book “Memories of Kopul Rosen” edited by Cyril Domb and published in 1970, and a book brought out in 1988 entitled “Reflections 1948-1988” which contains recollections, (many of which are from the Kopul era), of staff members, workers and Old Carmelis.
The second section of the book is a “This is Your Life” of the teachers who were at Carmel during the Kopul era. The reason I included this information in the book was because when I came to write this book, I found that Old Carmelis of the Kopul era knew nothing, or almost nothing about their teachers at Carmel, in many cases not even what their first names were!
To obtain such biographical details of teachers, with many of whom contact was lost half a century ago, was not an easy thing to accomplish. However, as the result of my sending out many hundreds of e-mails, making numerous telephone calls to all over the world, searching on the internet, looking for newspaper obituaries, and utilising many other methods, I found it possible to build up, at least partial biographical details of a large majority of the teachers. In many cases the biographical sketches covered their whole lives, in other cases there were gaps, and in a relatively smallish number, especially teachers in pre-Mongewell days who only taught at Carmel for a short period, I did not find any details.
From the various Carmel magazines and from recollections of Old Carmelis of the Kopul era, I was able to obtain many details of the activities of the various members of staff whilst they were at Carmel. School reports are also a valuable tool in this matter, since they give who taught what and when, and also give the initials of a teacher, which in some cases were not known. However, I only manafged to gather together a miniscule proportion of the boys’ school reports, and they therefore cannot be regarded as a representative sample.
A few of the teachers from the Kopul era were still alive and I managed to make contact with them In some other cases, I traced down a close relative who was able to supply me with information, but being second hand information it was obviously less reliable than from the teachers themselves. I also tried to corroborate the recollections both of teachers and their relatives from various archival material.
An example of tracing a relative was in the case of Dr. Purlry. At first, all that some Old Carmelis knew about him was that in the 1960s they had visited him in Frishman Street in Tel- Aviv, but even these Old Carmelis did not know his first name! The breakthrough came when one Old Carmeli remembered that his only son was killed in the Yom Kippur War. Following up on that lead, I traced his grandson and from him, Dr. Purley’s daughter. I telephoned her and she gave me a biographical sketch, which in turn led to my obtaining further details, including finding his German doctorate thesis in the Jewish National Library in Jerusalem. I was also able to obtain recollections of him from a former pupil who remembered him as a teacher at Aryeh House School in Brighton, and in addition from a person who remembered him as a Madrich in the Sunshine Hostel for Children. Before I had located his family, I came across on the internet a photograph of a Martin Purley in a British army uniform. I sent it to several Old Carmelis who had been taught by him, and asked whether it was our Dr. Purley. They were reasonably certain that it was.
Rev. Bernard Ward was a Latin teacher from 1957. In order to try and get biographical details about him, I sent a message via the website of the village of Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, where he was a pastor whilst at Carmel, and a representative of the village replied that my request would be put in their newsletter. A few weeks later, I received an e-mail from Rev Ward’s daughter. She gave me biographical details and recollections of her father and also sent me a news clipping from the local paper where he had been a Minister, headed “Minister is Part-time Postman.”
Harold Nagley, was a teacher from the Greenham days. Here I started off with an advantage. My paternal grandmother was a Nagli (that was the original spelling!), although I have never managed to trace my family link up with Harold. Because we are relatives (albeit the link untraced) I had been in contact with his son Phillip (who lives in Australia) several years earlier. He now supplied me with a mass of information on Harold. He also put me in touch with Mendel Bloch’s daughter-in-law who also lives in Australia, and also with Hermann Ehrmann’s sister-in- law, and he also sent me some printed material on Esra Shereshevsky.
From an Old Carmeli who lives in Gibraltar, I was able to obtain the telephone number in Gibraltar of Joshua Gabay’s widow. Following a telephone conversation with her, she sent me a curriculum vitae for Joshua. In the 1980s he had returned to Gibraltar and was involved in a number of public activities, including being elected to the Gibraltar Parliament. As a result there was material on him in publications from Gibraltar, which were on the internet, and I found these very useful.
Much of the biographical material on the teachers was obtained from university and school records and the magazines of various schools. Of the universities, the records of Oxford and Cambridge were the most comprehensive. Their records often contained date and place of birth, schooling, university studies with details of degrees awarded and in the cases where the records had been updated for their alumni, their places of subsequent employment. Most Colleges (but not all) were prepared to share this information with me without question, (and a few of them asked me to let them have the information that I found to complete their own records, which I happily obliged).
However, with London University it was a different question. They wanted evidence that the teacher had died, (although the individual Colleges of the University were prepared to give information without such death evidence). I provided them with such evidence for several teachers. However, for one teacher, the maths teacher Harry George, I did not have evidence of death. However, since he was born in 1895, he would have been 118 years old. I pointed this fact out them, but the answer was “no” until I provided evidence of death! I argued that if he were still alive it would be a world record and that his name would be in all the newspapers, adding that even the British census which is a strictly confidential document puts all its information in the public domain after 100 years. I thus suggested that they consult with their legal adviser in this matter. They obviously did do, since after about a week they replied with the information I had requested with “apologies for the confusion.”
I also contacted the various schools that teachers had studied at, or had taught at. Some of them kept excellent archival records and they supplied me with much needed information. This, on occasion, even included the pupil’s record card, and I could see what his marks were and his form position! One school sent me the teacher’s completed application form for the position of a teacher at that school together with his testimonials. Others had more skimpy records which just gave the years they joined and left the school, whilst others had no extant records or did not answer my enquiry, even after a reminder.
In a few cases, biographies of teachers had been published. One of them was an Anthology giving a selection of the writings of Meir Gertner, and the book began with a fairly detailed biography of him. Another case was that of Dr. Friedmann, where after his death a booklet, “In Memory of F. M. Friedmann” was published, in which a whole collection of individuals (including several Old Carmelis) wrote on different phases of his life. In fact, I learned about this booklet before I began writing this book on the history of Carmel. I was reading Martin Gilbert’s book “The Boys,” when I came across a “Dr. ‘Ginger’ Friedmann” (he was not yet known as Yoshke!). Immediately, the Carmel Dr. Friedmann came to my mind and a few pages on, I saw that it was indeed the same person. These two books (on Gertner and Friedmann) gave me plenty of the information that I required. Likewise, much of the biographical information on Kopul I found in the book “Memories of Kopul Rosen” and also in Jeremy Rosen’s biography of his father.
There was a teacher who wrote his own autobiography which I found very useful. It was Abraham Carmel and his book was entitled “So Strange my Path.” Not only did Abraham Carmel write about his own life, he also described encounters with some of the staff at Carmel College who were there when he arrived in 1951. In the first edition of the book, he wrote the actual names of the Carmel staff, but in a later edition the names were distorted. Hoffman became Toffman, Dr. Purley became Dr. Rurely, and Dr. Alexander Tobias became Dr. Antonius London; however Roberts and Warner did not have changes made in their names!
One can usually get a lot of biographical information from obituaries and indeed several of the Jewish staff had obituaries in the “Jewish Chronicle.” Raphael Loewe and Hyam Maccoby even had obituaries in the British National press, which I found very helpful. If a person is prominent enough, he will even merit a mention in “Who’s Who,” and indeed one of Carmel’s former teachers reached this book. He was Robert Gavron who became Lord Gavron, and he had a detailed biography in the “Who’s Who.” Within the “Jewish Year Book’, which is published annually, some Carmel teachers appeared and I managed to glean a few facts here and there on the biographical details of these teachers.
Many of the staff were in the armed forces during the First World War, or especially the Second World War, with the younger ones doing their national service at an even later date, and a few members of staff served in the armies of other countries. A promotion in rank in the British armed forces is often publicised in the “London Gazette.” All the past editions of this paper are to be found on the Internet and it is very easy to search these issues by just typing in, for example, the name of a person. I did this and obtained information, such as their promotion in the armed forces, for these members of staff. According to items of information I had received, two members of the Carmel staff had worked at the Decoding Centre at Bletchley Park during this war. Bletchley Park also has a website which contains the names of the countless thousands of people who worked there, called the “Roll of Honour.” I found just one of these two staff members on this list. However this list states that it is incomplete.
When teachers (or their relatives) had unusual names such as John Swindale Nanson Sewell, or Arveschoug, or Romney Coles, I sometimes found the search engine “Google” to be a useful tool in obtaining further information about such teachers, but with common names such as Evans or Rose, as to expected, it was useless!
During the first years of Carmel College, there was a Headmaster called James Ewart. The only biographical information I had of him came from Carmel printed material from that period, namely that his name was followed by “M.A. (Cantab)” – nothing else! Thus knowing which University he had studied at, I contacted Cambridge. His College, Jesus College, had a number of biographical items about him, and from them I could see that he was a world traveler - he had been in education in Barbados and the Far East. I also searched the Carmel advertisements in the “Jewish Chronicle” which came out with regularity. These advertisements would include his name as the Headmaster: first as Headmaster of Carmel College, then later as Headmaster of the Prep School, and towards the beginning of 1951 his name completely disappeared from these advertisements, thus indicating that at that stage he left Carmel. The Jesus College records also stated that he then became Headmaster of Coombe House School (and that he died in 1987). Searches on the internet showed that this school closed in 1964, possibly because it had got burnt down. There were also some recollections of him on “Friends Reunited” by some former staff at that school. But what did he do after Coombe House School closed until his death? I decided to ask a question on this on the Wikipedia Reference Desk. I indeed received an answer. He became headmaster of the Princess Mary’s Village Homes located in Surrey. This institution had also since closed and so I contacted the Surrey County Council and they were able to give me a few smatterings of information about him there. I also found on “Facebook,” the recollections of the institution itself by someone who had learned there during part of Ewart’s tenure, (but she did not mention Ewart). I succeeded in contacting this person and I received some of her recollections of Ewart.
Simcha Neuschloss was on the staff of Carmel, it would seem, just for the first term (or just half of the first term) of the school’s existence. He was a refugee from Germany who came at first to Manchester. From the internet, I found under “Jewish Telegraph Roots Directory” someone who was looking for old friends and amongst the names she mentioned was Simcha Neuschloss. I contacted her and she sent me very positive recollections of him, he being her Cheder teacher in Manchester. Helmut Schmidt was also a refugee from Germany, but he first went to Eretz Yisrael. There he studied at the Hebrew University. On searching their records for that period, they found a Helbut Schmidt, saying that “Helbut” rather than “Helmut” was likely a writing error, and they then supplied me with details of the subject of his degree and the year it was awarded.
H. P. Roberts was on the Carmel staff at Greenham. However, his pupils could give me no biographical information about him. They did not even know what the H. P. stood for. Two small bits of information which I managed to glean from various sources was that he came from Wales, and that when he taught at Carmel he had a house in Greenham. From this, I was able to find out what the letters H. P. stood for, (Howel Pugh), and following this, I was able to find on the internet a brief biography of his wife who was an artist, and this biography also contained some information on Howel. This led me to discover that for over thirty years he had been a teacher at Stationers’ Company School in London. Their alumni gave me guest access to the School’s past magazines which were on the internet (viewing was normally limited to alumni) and which were published three times each year. Going through nearly 100 magazines, I gleaned material on the numerous extra-curricular activities in which Roberts participated at that school. They later asked me to write a biography of him for their magazine “The Old Stationer,” which I did, and it was published in their 2014 edition.
There was a Biology teacher at Carmel called Rose, who joined the staff when the school moved to Mongewell, but at first I did not know even the initials of his first name. I then discovered an invoice which the school received on his ordering of some equipment. It was to G. A. Rose, and on it; one could see that originally it was a “J” which had been altered to a “G.” At the same period, I saw in the Government Inspectors’ Report for Carmel, that the biology teacher was a student from Oxford who was at the same time studying for his doctorate. On enquiring at Oxford University, I was given information on Geoffrey Arthur Rose. One can understand why the “J” had been changed to a “G’ – the clerk writing the receipt first thought that it was spelled Jeffrey! My continued research showed that he later became a very well known Professor and when he died, several obituaries were written about him, one of them appearing in the British Medical Journal.
A teacher who was at Carmel just for one term was Dr. Dirk Bijl. On the internet, I found the memoirs of his wife describing life in Holland during the German occupation. She wrote how in the building where her family lived, a young Jewish child was hidden, and when the Nazis made a surprise search of that building, Dirk smuggled him out in his rucksack and took him to a safe house. It is possible that this was the reason that Dr. Bijl came to spend in a term in a Jewish school.
Due to a change in surname when a woman gets married, unless one knows her maiden name, a problem will arise when trying to obtain her biographical details. One case in point was Mrs. M. F. Whitfield. Not only was her maiden name not known, even what her initials M. F. stood for were also not known. I asked Julyan Bunney, but even he didn’t know. He explained that in those days, the teachers would address each other as Mr. or Mrs. – (unthinkable today!). A breakthrough came when Mary Evans told me that Mrs. Whitfield’s husband had been the Director of Education of Berkshire. An enquiry to the Berkshire Record Office gave me his name, which fortunately was a very unusual one – Trevor Drought Warburton Whitfield. With this information I looked up on the internet on “Free BMD” records his marriage and from this I got Mrs. Whitfield’s first name and her maiden name. From a Carmel prospectus, I learned that she had graduated at Trinity College Dublin. I contacted this College and got documentary evidence of her two degrees which were awarded to her there. (I could not do this earlier, since I then did not know her maiden name.) Quite independently of this, I managed to get the e-mail of her daughter and she sent me quite a lot of information about her mother.
Another woman teacher at Carmel was Mrs. Evans. Since she was still alive, I telephoned her to get her biographical details. However, due to her state of health, I could only receive limited information from her. One of the details she gave me was her date and place of birth (and from this I was able from “Free BMD” to find her maiden name), and that she had received her diploma from the Chelsea College of Physical Education, an establishment which was no longer in existence. However, I discovered from the internet that Dr. Ida Webb had received her doctorate on researching the history of this College. I made contact with her – it had to be by telephone and regular letters, since she did not have a computer or e-mail! She was extremely helpful and carefully went through all the past magazines of the alumni of this College extracting all the numerous bits of information on Kathleen Mary Bown (the future Mrs. Evans).
There was also a problem which arose with teachers who did not have a University degree – there was no University to write to for biographical information! This was generally the case with teachers for non-academic subjects. One of them was Michael Cox, the Art teacher. One Carmel publication stated that he had received an Art diploma in London – that was it! The problem is that there are numerous schools of Art in London. I therefore had to send an e-mail to a large number of them, and finally I had success. He had received his diploma from the Slade School of Fine Art and they were able to supply me with some information about him. My next question about him was where did he go after he left Carmel? A couple of Old Carmelis told me that in the 1960s they had visited him at the Quintin Kynaston School in St John’s Wood London, where he was head of Art. On “Friends Reunited,” I found some very complimentary comments about him at that school from his former pupils, and I tried to make contact with them and other potential former pupils of his to obtain further information but was not successful. I telephoned the school, but they informed me that they did not keep records for more than seven years. At a later date, one Old Carmeli suddenly recollected that Cox had been involved with the “Little Missenden Festival.” Using the internet I was able to locate the Chairman of this Festival and on contacting him, he was able to supply me with various items of printed material on Michael Cox, and also put me in contact with a relative of his and also a lifelong friend. The latter (then aged 88) was able to supply me with much biographical information which filled in the various gaps in my information about him.
Although Mrs. Glover had been a teacher at the Prep School for many years, no-one I asked could give me any biographical details of her. The only thing I could find was her address in the “Old Carmeli Association Occupational Directory 1991.” I wrote a letter to this address which was in Reading, addressing it to “The Occupants.” I soon received a reply from “The Occupant,” who, amazingly, was an Old Carmeli (who was at the school at its inception)! He had had no idea that Mrs. Glover had once lived there and he described it as “creepy.” At my request, he asked his neighbours about the Glovers, but no-one could help. I then wrote a “Letter to the Editor” of the various Reading local newspapers asking to hear from a Glover family member or a friend who had known her. I received one reply and this was from Sidney Gold, a local resident who is interested in family history. He did some research for me and obtained her maiden name (Elizabeth Joyce Rawlings), and the years and place of her birth, marriage and death. I contacted the Archives of the Local Council where she was born and they found in their archives that an Elizabeth Rawlings had been admitted to one of their schools. However, before I could get further details, a fungus infestation was discovered in the room where their archives are kept, and the room was immediately closed off and it remains so.
When building these biographies, I was able to refute some common misconceptions about certain teachers. Mrs. Whitfield was not a French Canadian and neither was she a motor racing enthusiast, and that Healey had never been a county cricket player. A mystery I never solved is why people called Healey “Tim” when his name was Arthur Joseph! During the course of my research, I found some interesting snippets of information regarding the top echelon of staff. Kopul, at one period of his life had the nickname “Bunney” (even his son Jeremy did not know this), the “post box escapade” of the undergraduate David Stamler, and Romney Coles’ “heating trays”!
Whilst I was doing all this research, I made periodic e-mail contact with about 200 of the Old Carmelis who had been at the school during some period when Rabbi Kopul rosen was alive – we called them “Kopulonians.” Although there were about 800 Kopulonians, I only had the e- mails of about 200 of them and I constructed a chart with their contact details. This chart gave their names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mails. I must admit that some of the information was decades old and was likely to be out of date.
I would make such contact with the Kopulonians twice a year, before Rosh Hashanah and Pesach, by sending out an e-mail to them giving an update on the preparation of this book. I would include in these letters the names of the school magazines that I was still lacking – fortunately the list was decreasing in size, and also requests for biographical information on a number of teachers. In addition I would request from those who had not sent me recollections to do so. “Although about 50 of you have sent me material for which I am very grateful, I am still waiting for material from the vast majority of you! I am still able to incorporate such material in the book. I fully appreciate that some of you have not yet retired, and those who have may well be busy with other interests. However, within the course of just one hour (or even less!), one can write a number of reminiscences / memories of interesting events, etc. What I am sure is that you would all like to see a comprehensive book on the history of Carmel. So please do your best to send me these reminiscences and recollections.”
Finally in June 2014 the book was ready and I sent an electronic copy of it to all the Kopulonians on my list as an attachment to my e-mail. I also wrote in this e-mail, “Whilst researching this book, I assembled a large amount (nearly 2,400 pages) of archival material on Carmel College during the Kopul era. This material includes almost all the various school magazines; numerous letters from 1947-48 from Kopul asking for money; documents appertaining to the purchase of the Mongewell estate; the enormous file of Carmel College Limited; programmes and material appertaining to fund-raising, dramatic, sporting and other events; the Old Carmeli Association; numerous photographs; news cuttings; sound recordings, namely the record of Carmel choir, the 1960 Speech Day, and Kopul’s speeches appertaining to Carmel; a number of short film- clippings; etc. etc. A detailed index of this material can be found in the book. Since this material occupies over 1.5 GB (over one and a half billion bytes), it is much too large to send by e-mail. I have therefore put it on a DVD together with the recollections of numerous Old Carmelis, etc. Is there any Old Carmeli who would be interested in mass producing this DVD and distributing it to the Old Carmelis who want a copy? It is quite acceptable to make a non-commercial charge to cover the cost of the DVD plus postage and packing. Anyone who is prepared to take upon himself this task should please contact me.”
Henry Law who now lives in Sweden offered at his own expense to prepare 25 copies of it and suggested that I ask David Waldman, who lives in England if he would distribute it to Kopulonians who requested a copy. David agreed and I understand that over 20 copies were sent out. I myself also prepared a number of copies which I sent to various libraries and archives in Israel, England and USA. I also put these Carmel archives on my website.
I should mention here that the originals of many of the documents in these archives were pale, with some being almost illegible. This was as a result of age, the use of worn carbon paper, or inadequate ink being used in the duplicating or printing process. Also, some of the newspapers had yellowed over the period of time. In order to try and make the words on these documents darker. I went through all of them page by page using a computer program; inevitably this sometimes resulted in the background taking on a yellow-brown tinge. In many cases the writing on the documents only occupied a portion of the page and so I would “crop” off the unnecessary margins.
There were numerous individuals and organisations who had supplied me with information when preparing the book and I therefore sent them an e-mail, thanking them once again (I had originally thanked them when I had received the information) and enclosed an electronic copy of the book. Many of them thanked me for sending it.