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Senior Circle

1958

The Society, as usual, did not hold meetings during the Summer Term, although one event of great significance did occur at the end of the term. Messrs. Purkis and Colgate left Monoux at the end of the year and the Society would like to thank them sincerely for their interest in and enthusiasm for the Society. With Mr. Couch, they tackled the difficult task of forming it from the cold ashes of the Senior Debating and Discussion Society. Also, grateful appreciation is due for their help and inspiration in the Allpass Debating Competition. Their adjudication and advice have done much to improve the debating standard of members. Their work helped to build the Society into one of the most active and influential in the School, and their place will be hard to fill. We say: "Thank you both. We wish you the best of luck in your new appointments."
The first meeting of the Autumn Term was for business; the committee for the year was elected and the annual programme discussed. The meeting was notable in that there were more new ideas and suggestions for the programme than ever before. They ranged from a talk by John Foster Dulles to representatives for the two Chinas who would fight it out over the Society's table; from a barbecue to theatre visits; from a Parents' Debate to a talk by a member of the Lord's Day Observance Society.
It looks as if the Circle is going forward into another successful year.


 

 

1959

Society membership has reached unprecedented heights. The initial boost, no doubt, was given by a meeting in October, 1958, when Mlle. Chabord told us, in company with girls from Walthamstow and Woodford High Schools, about life in a French lycee. A flood of membership applications poured in, and emergency supplies were rushed off the duplicator to try to satisfy an insatiable demand. This meeting was the highlight of the term.
Later in the year two jazz Club members, Gowar and Nyman, each gave a talk on jazz, both "traditional" and "modern." This proved most informative and enlightened the surprisingly large numbers of "squares" present. In a debate, the School defeated the motion proposed by the Romford Royal Liberty School that there was no solution to the Cyprus problem. A colour film about the Lambeth Conference was shown at another meeting and the Rev. K. H. Druitt, vicar of St. Mary's, Walthamstow, answered questions that arose from the film.
That old perennial, a Staff discussion, was held with Messrs. Chapman, Jones, Marshall and Wells on the panel. Answers brought varied reactions, especially those to the question, "What would constitute the ideal Staff room?" Replies included mention of a heavy barricade between Staff and Boys, no boys, comfortable armchairs, magazines, plush carpets, wallpaper, hot running water and an Ascot heater that worked in cloakrooms, endless mugs of tea (Mr. Jones's influence), a kitchen, a bar with licensing hours from 8.30 a.m. to 4.5 and 4.10 p.m., the five minutes allowing the barmaid to relax, a clock that worked, a large coal fire that warmed the whole room and not just the hearth, curtains, plenty of clean ashtrays (Mr. Marshall's influence), real dancing girls or enough time to dream about them. A truly comprehensive list !
At another meeting the topical question of British unilateral nuclear disarmament was debated and its advocates lost gloriously. A short time later, Marks organised a Cultural Session in which Hubbard presented some stimulating music with a commentary and Marks himself valiantly read some poetry to us.


 

 

1960

'I'HE SENIOR CIRCLE
Secretary and Treasurer: D. B. Tillyer.
Flushed with the success of the meetings of the Autumn Term 1958, the Society entered this year with great enthusiasm. Unfortunately only two independent Society meetings could be held during the term. The first of these was a visit to the Whitehall Theatre to see the farce Simple Spymen. The Society thoroughly enjoyed this evening out despite one certain member's raucous laughter, which could be heard all evening high above the others. The other meeting was a debate proposing unilateral nuclear disarmament. This aroused much interest and a large audience was present to hear the arguments for both sides. After a vigorous and lively debate the motion was defeated.
The other meetings of the term were taken up with the Allpass Debating Competition and the School showed practically no interest in it (as was reported in the last edition of The Monovian). At one debate there were only seven members present and the highest number at any of them was sixteen. Surely this is an indictment of the competition. It is obvious that the School is not interested in this form of debating competition with its necessarily childish motions. The School will only support debates with motions of sufficient moment to draw them, such as the unilateral nuclear disarmament debate mentioned above. The School no longer wants this dreary, protracted competition. The Society is nevertheless saddled with running the whole affair and has to give up meetings, which the members want, to accommodate a dead competition, which the School does not support.
However, after a rest in the Summer Term, the Society began afresh in the autumn with an extremely spirited business meeting at which a very strong movement developed for the abolition of the Committee since the Secretary did all the work and the Committee no work at all. The suggestion was that the Secretary should not be appointed from the Committee by the Committee and he responsible to the Society only through the Committee, but that he should be elected by the assembly and should be directly responsible to it. This idea gained much support in the meeting and a motion proposing the change was defeated by only one vote. The Committee was then elected and at its subsequent meeting, Tillyer was once again elected to the post of Honorary Secretary and Treasurer.
The term started well with a Staff Brains Trust at which there were nearly fifty members present. As usual, the questions varied, to quote a phrase, from the sublime to the ridiculous; that is from a comment on Samuel Johnson's remark that "Celibacy has no pleasures" via the School election to the much publicised Liberal revival. Perhaps three comments in particular from the meeting, deserve to go down to posterity in the sacred annals of The Monovian as well as in the Society records:
Mr. Marshall: "Celibacy? I don't remember it."
Mr. Hyde: "The best description I can give of the attitude of boys to girls in co-educational schools is 'delicate respect'. That's how I treat Mrs. Wright!"
Mr. Smith: "I am afraid I have never seen Miss Bardot, how do you say it, in the flesh, or on the screen."
Needless to say, the Brains Trust, which also included Dr. Warschauer and Mr. Piercy, was a riotous success.
Thus the Society is well set for another highly successful and varied year's activities and it is pleasing to see so many in the Senior School taking such a keen interest.
Editor's Footaote :
P.S.C. and D.C. who assist Tillyer to run the Senior Circle wish to make the following points:
(a) Most of the people who take part in the House Debating Competition are members of the Senior Circle, but the Committee, of the Society has never been "saddled with the organisation of the competition."
(b) In such obviously overlapping activities it is undesirable that there should be a clash of meetings. Generally the Senior Circle has only wanted to meet once per fortnight and the four competition heats have been held in alternate weeks.
(c) The small attendance at preliminary rounds is deplored and the Committee of the Senior Circle has been invited to offer suggestions for increasing the popularity of the competition. This year the whole School has been invited to submit subjects for debate. Criticism should be directed at the Houses for failing to support their teams.
(d) Speaking in public is an art, which all boys should attempt to master and the debating competition provides an excellent opportunity to do this. It is partly responsible for the improvement in standards noted in recent years.

Honorary Secretary and Treasurer: D. B. Tillyer.
Following the success of the initial meeting of the autumn term, a Staff brains trust, reported in the last Monovian, the society enjoyed a full and varied term's activities. The next meeting after the brains trust was a lively discussion that, "The best things in life are unobtainable". This was followed by a balloon debate. In the balloon were Michael Faraday, Tony Hancock, Mrs. Khrus'hchev, Spike Milligan, T. C. Mits and Sabrina. Surprisingly, Spike Milligan won the debate. Mlle. Lajous, the French assistante, gave a talk entitled "Youth in France". The meeting was not as well attended as we had hoped, but this was mainly because the girls' high schools were unable to send anyone at the last minute. The final meeting of the term was a talk by Mr. Yu Chih-Chung, a representative of the charge d'affaires of the People's Republic of China on "China To-day". This evening meeting was an immense success with Members of Chingford and Woodford County High Schools present.
The spring term was mainly taken up with theatre visits. The society went to see Rosmersholm, The Aspern Papers, The Hostage, and a revue, Pieces of Eight. However, towards the end of the term, two very important evening meetings were held. To follow up the meeting with Mr. Yu, the previous term, we invited Dr. Y. S. C'hcn the director of the Free China Information Agency, to give a talk to the society. His talk on Free China generally and Taiwan (Formosa) in particular and the Communist threat in Asia was very interesting and enlightening. The other meeting was a talk by Mr. Intze, a Hungarian Refugee, who gave a brilliant account of the Hungarian uprising of 1956, and the conditions of the oppressed countries of Eastern Europe. Bath these meetings were among the best the society has ever held. The latter was held in conjunction with the European Club, and the girls of Chingford, Walthamstow and Woodford County High Schools attended both.
At the end of the spring term the society suffered a serious set-back when Mr. Chapman left Monoux for "pastures new". The society will miss his keen interest and participation in its activities. His eager and ready wit, and his chairman's remarks, will be sorely missed when the society starts a new season next autumn. Thank you, Mr. Chapman, for helping the Senior Circle to grow into one of the most active and influential societies in the Monoux family. Some measure of the success with which he and Mr. Couch have helped the society lies in the society's membership, which now nears seventy and the average attendance at meetings, which is about forty.


 

 

1961

The opening meeting of the Circle in the Spring Term, 1961, the form of a talk given by the French assistante, Mlle. Deville. It was entitled "The differences between the youth of Great Britain, France, and the United States," and Mlle. Deville's considerable eloquence and charm made it a delightful and informative experience for all those present.
Towards the end of February, two dozen of the Circle's members visitedThe Cambridge Theatre to see an evening performance of Billy Liar which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The next meeting was a staff debate - the motion, proposed by Messers. Marshall and Couch and opposed by Messrs. Rudkins and Belcher, was that "the New Scientist is preferable to the Statesman." Although this was obviously a cloak for an 'arts versus science' debate, the unusual reversal of the personnel involved turned it into a highly entertaining affair and the motion itself was carried.
_The concluding meeting of the term was an informal social evening held on the last Monday of the term and attended by thirty-five of our members. The programme included a series of informal speeches, refreshments and a raffle and this provided a fitting ending to this year's Senior Circle activities.
(The remainder of the meetings were house debates, described elsewhere in this isssue).
Our thanks are due to Messrs. Couch, Rudkins, Marshall, and Shaw for officiating and adjudicating our various meetings, and to Mr Tomlin and his assistants for facilitating the use of rooms.
R.P.H.


 

 

1962

President : The Headmaster.
Vice-Presidents: Mr. P.S.Couch, Mr. R.D.T.Marshall and Mr. I. Shaw.
Chairman: J. E. Hubbard.
Secretary: G.J.Offord.
Treasurer: L.Collier.
Recorder: G. Young.
In the Autumn Term, nothing was mentioned of the Senior Cirrcle until Mr. Couch called a meeting on November 17th and informed the small number of people present about a new constitution. A committee was subsequently set up and, having made certain amendments, agreed to accept the constitution which among other things restricts membership to 35. This constitution has been attacked in the school newspapers and has been the centre of a great deal of controversy, but even so, the Circle has held some very interesting meetings. J. Beighton and M. Kerr were elected committee members for the Lower and Upper Sixth.
The first meeting, when all discussions on the "new" Circle and elections were over, was on December 7th when Mr. Carr, Mr Moffatt, J.Boulter and C.Levicki were the speakers on a Brains Trust, and on the last Tuesday of term an evening social was held and all enjoyed themselves.
The Spring Term got under way with a debate on the motion that this House is of the opinion that the control of Commonwealth Immigration into Great Britain at the present moment is undesirable, proposed by A.Leff and L.Collier and opposed by G.Young and D.Carvell. All spoke ably and the motion was eventually defeated by thirteen votes to twelve.
The Balloon Debate, a fortnight later, was a very successful meeting, with Earl Russell, Hattie Jacques, the Earl of Snowdon, Boo, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, (the eventual winner), each making very amusing and enthralling speeches.
Mr. Shaw led an interesting discussion on the Welfare State, and members played, and justified liking, their favourite records at the next two meetings.
Then in March, Mrs. Cohen gave a very interesting talk on her recent visits to the Soviet Union and showed some photographs that she took in Moscow. Members of Woodford County High School were present at what proved to be an extremely interesting evening, none of the seventy people present left before the two and a half-hours' talk ended at seven o'clock. Coffee and biscuits were served in the Dining Hall before the talk.
At the final meeting of the term it is hoped that Old Monovians at universities will come and give their impressions on "Life at University", and a visit to see Anouilh's Becket is being arranged for the Easter vacation.
Our thanks are due to our Vice-Presidents who have done much to help the Society regain its equilibrium on its seventy feet, and the school-keeper who has managed to prepare the rooms at short notice.
G. J. OFFORD


 

 

1964

Chairman :I. Wright.
Secretary :P. D. Stewart.
Following the decision taken at the beginning of the Autumn Term to hold meetings on as wide a range of topics as possible, the Committee set about satisfying the desires of the members.
The decision was also taken, that in order to vary the opinions at meetings, and give a more social atmosphere, the members of other schools should be invited to meetings. As a result of this decision, the most notable fact about the meetings of the last six months has been the large number of visitors present at the meetings.
The first meeting of the Term was a balloon debate in which the members of Woodford County High School Debating Society were invited to participate. The Debate took on a humorous form with Winnie the Pooh being declared the winner over his rivals: Miss Caroline Maudling, Mrs. Bessie Braddock, Lassie, Spike Milligan and a member of C.N.D.
The first formal debate of the year turned out to be not so formal in practice, with the motion "This house believes the Beatles are out of date" being carried. This somewhat surprising result was undoubtedly due to the metaphysical nature of the motion. The first outside speaker to the "Circle" was Mr.N.Lyon, a graduate of Selwyn College, Cambridge, and a research student at the London School of Economics, who gave a talk on the effect of the Grammar School on modern society. The talk stimulated a vigorous discussion with varied views being put forward.
In accordance with the decision taken at the beginning of Term, a theatre outing was organised to see "The Bed Sitting Room" at the Comedy Theatre. All those who went thoroughly enjoyed themselves and it was proposed to organise a similar outing next year.
At this point of the year's programme, the "Circle" was to lose its chairman, Jennings, who left school. The "Circle" extends its thanks to Jennings for all the hard work he put into the running of the "Circle". Wright took over as Chairman with Stewart being elected to fill the vacant position of Secretary. The new term began with an invitation from Woodford County High School Debating Society to take part in a Debate. The controversial motion that "Freedom of Speech should not be restricted", was carried by a narrow majority. The next meeting of the Term was the perennial Staff Brains Trust with Messrs. Groom, Pollard, Starkings and Sutton facing questions fired with rapidity from the floor. The questions were a mixture of the humorous and the serious, with the final question of "Does the team agree?" revealing some interesting facts about relations in the staff-room.
The highlight of the year was undoubtedly the talk on "Apartheid" by Mr. R.F.J. Gruber. Mr. Gruber is himself a South African and was expected to put forward the arguments for his government's policy amid the hostility of the audience. Such was the situation, and Mr. Gruber must be congratulated on putting forward a logical and unemotional argument on the situation in South Africa. However, emotion cannot be completely lacking about such a situation and while his logical arguments may have sounded convincing, they were unable to move the hearts of the majority.
On the whole the year's programme has been enjoyable, though while membership of the "Circle" has been at the maximum of thirty-five, the attendance at meetings has not been all that could be desired. In conclusion, 1 would like to thank all those members of the Staff who have helped in the year's programme, especially Mr. Couch, together with Mr. Tomlin and Mrs. Lee for making available the library and the dining hall.
P. D. Stewart.


 

 

1965

Chairman: H. G. Slater.
Secretary: A. A. Turner.
At the beginning of the Autumn Term a new committee was duly elected under the chairmanship of Mr. Slater. Our first main meeting was an election forum with the three main parties being represented in addition to a communist candidate, a sadist party candidate (with a policy of general "death, pain and deformity"!) and a CBC candidate whose main policy seemed to be the setting up of a complete state of terror. The meeting was well attended and proved to be very enjoyable.
The general informal discussion held at the end of October in an attempt to get some of the newer, younger members of the society to express their views proved to be very successful indeed and could have continued long after the chairman had closed the meeting which, in some cases, it did.
The first debate of the new year and in fact the only debate the present senior circle has held was on the chairman's pet subject, apathy, and the motion was worded, "This house believes apathy to be the malady of contemporary British society". Indeed if one were to read the minutes of the particular meeting which were written by the chairman one is able to see exactly where his sympathies lie. With such support it was not difficult to imagine which house would win.
At the beginning of December the Circle was fortunate in obtaining the lecturing services of Mr. Nejat Sonmez, press counsellor to the Turkish Embassy in London. He unravelled many of the intricacies of the Cyprus Problem and after explaining the origin of the Greco-Turkish conflict, he presented the case of the Turkish Cypriots on the island and suggested ways in which the problem might be solved. At the conclusion of his talk Mr. Sonmez was visibly shocked on hearing that his audience included a Greek Cypriot whose views differed considerably from his own. Question Time, inevitably, took the form of a verbal battle between Mr. Sonmez and Mr. Apostolides, the circle's aforementioned Greek Cypriot member.
Perhaps the most enjoyable meeting of the year was the "University Forum" which although the most poorly attended was probably the most interesting. With help, from Woodford County High we were able to obtain representatives from Loughborough College of Advanced Technology, Cambridge, Manchester, Sussex and Oxford. After outlining their impressions of the institutions at which they were studying, the panel answered questions from the floor, the answers to which proved to be a mine of practical information including such things as how to get back into college after hours by climbing over certain parts of certain walls and how to get an overdraft from the bank when funds were getting low.
At the beginning of the Spring Term the Circle organised a "Face to Face" interview with members of staff. Many of the staff invited to this meeting either refused immediately they were asked or after accepting backed out owing to "too much work"! In the end we were able to scrape together the services of Mr. Abbess, Mr. Jones and Mr. Pollard who revealed to us much about their lives past and present that we did not know already.
The theatre outing which has now become a permanent date on the Senior Circle calendar was to see "Inadmissible Evidence" by John Osborne. As Mr. Slater is also secretary of the Dramatic Society and Mr. Turner is President of the Dramatic Society it was decided that the outing should be a joint effort and so the girls from Woodford County High and Walthamstow County High were invited. The outing was so successful with the party numbering eighty that it is not unlikely that another outing will be arranged after the examinations.
The meetings of the Senior Circle this year have been most enjoyable but I feel that much more time must be spent on debating in the new year. Indeed, the Circle were unable to organise a debate with Woodford County High because it was felt that we did not have the talent. The reason for this was obviously that the Circle did not hold enough internal debates. However, there seems to be much potential in the Lower Sixth for public speaking and next year, if enough opportunity is given to them, inter-School debates should prove to be easy to arrange and to win.
Finally I would like to thank Mr. Couch for his guidance and Mr. Tomlin for making the Library available to us.
A. A. Turner. 6T. Lit.


 

 

1966

President: Mr. V. J. Stirrup Chairman: M.S. Wiseman Secretary: P.C. Lawrence
Recorder: R. I. McAllister Vice-Vice-President: M. A. G. Holtham Upper Sixth Representative: D. Lucas Lower Sixth Representative: D. Gilmore
So far this term (at the time of writing), the Circle has had six meetings. After an initial meeting of the current members, applicants for admission were "put through" the traditional "One Minute, Please", where they had to talk for one minute on subjects such as, "Is marriage here to stay", and "the relationship between the second law of thermal dynamics and school dinners"; this meeting had of course many humorous, and uninspiring moments.
At the next meeting the current members voted the applicants in (or out), finally leaving places for five more members (applications have now been made for these places).
The purpose of the two following meetings was to elect new officers for the 1966-7 session. There was some difficulty in finding a quorum for these meetings, but even with some members absent, elections were carried out, the committee being elected as above.
The committee met to decide on policy for future meetings, which would include a debate, a "Tall Stories Evening", a Balloon Debate, a lecture and a "Face to Face". There was some disagreement at this meeting, and at the next business meeting, over the use of funds, but there seemed to be general approval for the suggestion of inviting girls from the Walthamstow High School to the Circle's future meetings (whether or not the High School had a similar society).
Following this business meeting on November 10th there was the Circle's first active meeting; this was in the form of a "Face to Face", the masters involved being; Mr. Moffatt, Mr. Groom, Mr. Partridge, Mademoiselle Fohr, and Mr. Kirkland. This meeting was very well attended, and personally, I think that the entertainment justified the attendance; interesting views were heard on subjects ranging from the School Song, to Englishmen's facade; from alcohol for beginners to television watching as a hobby. The meeting unfortunately had to be brought to an end in the middle of an interview as indulgence in the other interviews had brought us to our time limit. On behalf of the Circle, I would like to thank those members of staff concerned, as well as their interviewers
We hope that future meetings will be as successful as the last one.
M. S. Wiseman, 6iiS