Since I had fifth period free this morning, John [Winrow] came to spend the lunch hour with me. Mr. Hurn thought fit to enlist our aid in moving a big showcase from the Art Room into the Art Corridor.

   I played in our first match of the season this afternoon against Prince Lee. We lost 22–11, due mainly I think to a lack of experience in our much-changed team. We were up against a much heavier pack and Harris heeled the ball five times for every three times that I got it. I was penalised several times for foot-up in the scrum, “barging” in the line-out, or not letting the ball travel five yards. In fact, I couldn’t do a thing right and it seemed that every time I touched the ball, Mr. Sacret blew his whistle.


   I had to be at school for 9.0 today for a Chapel Choir practice.

   Mr. Whinnerah has given us the last of our three Practical Physics periods for Biology with Mr. Ballance. In the new periods today I found g by the spiral spring method.

   There was a second Chapel Choir practice at 1.45pm. In Evensong we sang Psalm 169, vv. [space left] and Nunc Dimittis to a setting by [not filled in].

   In J.T.C. I acted as C.S.M. for the first time. I now have a full complement of N.C.O.’s — Cpl. Haywood and L/Cpls. Perry, Hammond and Marshall. The N.C.O.’s did Rifle 1–5 with their sections then I drilled the platoon in marching on parade which they still do very badly.

   Tonight I have listened to “The Goon Show” and “Any Questions?”

   Granma was 60 today. She and Grandad have been married nearly 42 years. Mam is the eldest of their 10 children, followed by Arthur (who died young), Leslie, Harold, Arthur, Reginald, Dorothy May (also died), David, Grace and Joyce.


   I cycled to school today.

   During my free period I posted several notices designed to get people to the N.H.S. [Natural History Society] next Wednesday.

   I am putting on a nature edition of the B.B.C. “What Do You Know?” in which I shall be putting questions and brain-teasers to Webb, Budd and Stevens.

   One poster says:—




are holding a TEA-PARTY in the Large

Lecture Room on Wed. October 7 at 4.0


            Biology Lab.

      R.S.V.P.      K.E.S.



   Today I have been doing Chemistry and Physics most of the time.

   We watched “Down You Go” as usual. My “absolutely correct” solution was absolutely wrong. The correct solution was “television licence”.

   This week’s hangover is “This may be responsible for man’s sinking to the lowest depths” in one word of ten letters. I guessed “bathysphere” in less than five seconds.


   There is nothing in particular to record today except that I saw a Pheasant flying over some trees in Edgbaston Park.

   In Chemistry we had a test on Potassium Chemistry, then Smith, Torvell and I prepared Aldehyde Ammonia.

   This evening we listened to Part three of “Journey Into Space” and at 9.30 I watched Jack Buchanan in excerpts from As Long As They’re Happy, a farce by Vernon Sylvaine, which is running at the Garrick Theatre. Mr. Bentley is a highly respectable accountant who finds his family a great burden. His wife still hankers after the stage, his daughter Patricia (Sally Cooper) has married an Existentialist playwright and dresses the part, while Gwendoline (Susan Lyall-Grant) loves a crooner (David Hutcheson) whose speciality is making people cry!

   Dad has joined the Civil Defence and went there tonight. He was in the A.R.P. during the War and used to help put out fires caused by incendiary bombs. cig card of bombs


   Nothing much happened at school this morning. I came home through town and called in to see Mr. Gardener at the College. I wasn’t able to see him but did have a chat with one of his colleagues. It doesn’t look as though I shall be able to do any part-time courses when I go to the Medical School, but I don’t think that should prove too great a handicap.

   [After leaving Suffolk Street I walked down New Street, passing the Theatre Royal on the way. The International Ballet is on this week and next, the repertoire including Swan Lake, Coppelia, The Sleeping Princess, Les Sylphides, For Love or Money (which I have never heard of), Gaieté Parisienne and Capriccio Espagnol. The choreographer is Algeranoff and one of the dancers is Claudie Algeranova (perhaps she is his wife). I wish I could go.

   As usual, I caught the 31A ’bus home outside Smith’s in town. I was home shortly after three o’clock and I spent several hours on prep, then listened to Jack Buchanan, Lizbeth Webb and Diana Dors in “The Forces Show”.


   I cycled to school this morning. In N.C.O.’s parade we did drill with Sgt. Major Moore and learnt THE about turn.

   I spent the afternoon in the library writing an essay for Mr. Ballance.

   Tonight’s N.H.S. meeting proved to be quite a success on the whole and I think the quiz went down well. Quite a few people have asked me to put on another one, and have even offered to take part.

   Some of the questions I put were straight forward, others more tricky. I ran the game on the same lines as the B.B.C.’s “What Do You Know?”. Budd won with 31 points, Webb got 12 and Stevens 16.

   The film which Mr. Dodds got us from Shell were beautifully coloured — the best films we’ve shown for quality. They were “The Red Spider” & “The Raspberry Beetle”.

   Mam and Dad have gone to another campaign meeting at St. Andrew’s Street. [It is being conducted by a National Young Life Campaign evangelist Marshall Shallis, as part of the Greater Birmingham Evangelistic Crusade, with other evangelists working in different parts of the city. They include Ray Castro, Frank Farley, Don Summers and others.]


   Nothing happened today. I didn’t go to a Rugby practice because it wasn’t starting until 3.0pm.


   Such a hullabaloo! A letter I wrote to the [Birmingham] Post deploring the limitation of the Cartland Room to intellectuals, was published. A summons to the Head’s Study in second period started it, and by mid-morning there was only one topic of conversation, my suspension from school until I withdraw my statements in the Post.

   I knew there was a lot of support for my action but I was astonished by the reception I got. Only one person has disagreed with me so far. The rest have been unanimous in their approval. At break there was a great crowd in the library, all trying to read my letter.

   Sir, — I was interested to read in your columns of the new Cartland Room at King Edward’s School. It is a room of which the boys may be justly proud and a fitting mark of remembrance of one of Birmingham’s greatest families.

   It is disturbing to learn (according to information I have been given) that only a small number of boys will be able to enjoy the use of the Cartland Room since it has been thought necessary to limit it to a few boys who are considered “intellectually suitable.” This must rank as snobbery and it is a sorry reflection on the person, or persons, responsible for this action. I wonder whether the Cartland family are aware of this anomaly? It is to my mind disgusting that there should be any idea of class-distinction in any school and it is therefore all the more surprising to hear that this is the case at King Edward’s. We were always led to believe that this school stood for all the best things in life. Things have come to a sorry state when one of Britain’s finest schools stoops to practising snobbery.

      B. David Morton-Williams.

   153, Circular Road, Birmingham 27.]

   The Head thought Dad had written the letter and seemed surprised when I said it was I. I told him I was very sorry about it and he said I am not to go back to school until I have made a public apology.

   The boys from U.M.D. recognised the “Morton” bit — they were rather amused when I tried it out once on a notice. It is Granma Smith’s maiden name: her father was Charles Henry Moreton (1853–1902) who, like his father Thomas, was a shoemaker and founder of the Morton (without the “e”) shoe shops in the city — there is one on Stratford Road near the Mermaid.

   When we lived in Belchers Lane the lady next door was Mrs. Walker, and her son was Dr. Williams-Walker. My mother has always wanted me to be a doctor and thinks that Dr. Morton-Williams will sound distinguished.]


   Today was Founders Day and Prize-giving for the lower school, meaning a holiday for us.

   I wrote a second letter to the Post and after posting it, I read in today’s paper a reply to my first letter by the Bailiff [Mr. T.W. Hutton, author of King Edward’s School 1552–1952]. He says all my facts are inaccurate and declares that the Cartland Room is only for use by “really responsible boys”. It rather implies that we at school are a gang of hooligans. [The letter reads:—

   Sir, — The letter from B.D. Morton-Williams which you published yesterday is so inaccurate in its facts and so extravagant in its conclusions that I must ask your leave to state the true position — the more so because, unanswered, the letter might have the effect of shrouding a most generous gift in a cloud of prejudice.

   The capacity of the Cartland Room is some fifty boys; the room and its equipment are so beautiful that it is only responsible boys who could be allowed to use it. The method of selection is, of course, a matter solely for the Chief Master; but your readers may be sure that it is being made in accordance with the desires of the Cartland family, and to secure the best possible use of the room by the most worthy members of the school.

   “Intellectual suitability” is not the sole criterion. Nor, if it were, would there be involved any question of “class distinction” or of “snobbery”.

      T.W. Hutton.

      Bailiff of the Governors.

   King Edward’s School,

   Birmingham, 15.

   I bought a copy of the paper from Wells’ Newsagents.]

   I went to see Blues play Lincoln City this afternoon. It was a scrappy game, the only goal coming from Stewart after ten minutes. Much of the play was spoiled by Lincoln’s use of offside tactics — you can’t play good football against that. [The team was:— Schofield; Hall, Green; Boyd, Newman, Warhurst; Stewart, Kinsey, Purdon, Murphy, Govan. The attendance was 23,000.

   Johnny Schofield was in goal as Merrick was playing for England at Cardiff. Merrick was brilliant and saved England in the first half. Wales lost 1–4.

   Jim gave me a free ticket for the Ideal Home Exhibition and we went together [to Bingley Hall tonight].


   I made a special point of going to Church this morning as Mr. Hopkins [with whom I went on holiday to Bude in 1950] was the visiting preacher. Mam and Julia came with me too. Mr. Hopkins’ subject was “The Kingdom of God”.

   I spent the whole afternoon doing prep.

   After tea Granma came [from 236 Millhouse Road], and then Dorothy and Tom [from 136 Mapleton Road. Uncle Bill and Aunt Doll live at 36 Woodward Road, Kidderminster.]

   I was just sitting down to watch “Down You Go” when someone from the Post called with a note asking me to ’phone them. [It was quite a shock. They have received my letter and will publish it, but want to know why I have backed down.]


   I cycled to school today and didn’t arrive until after Prayers had begun.

   I hadn’t much work to do this evening so I went to the R.H. to see She’s Back on Broadway (U), a musical comedy with Virginia Mayo, Steve Cochran and Patrice Wymore. It was very good. The supporting film was Hard Boiled Mahoney (A) with Leo Gorcey and the Bowery Boys, which was quite funny though I don’t like them very much.


   The [Birmingham] Post published my second letter this morning[:—

   Sir, — Further to my letter published in your columns on Friday, my object was not to cast aspersions on King Edward’s School. I must apologise if that was the impression given, and I wish to withdraw any statement seeming to reflect upon the integrity of those concerned.
   No one could be more proud to have worn his school-tie than I am, and I shall always count as one of the greatest privileges of my life the opportunity of spending my school days at K.E.S.
      B. David Morton-Williams.
   153, Circular Road, Birmingham 27.

   The boys seem somewhat disappointed after reading the letter in the school library. I actually quite like Mr. Lunt and feel very sorry to have caused all this trouble — I will never do anything to deliberately hurt anyone. But I still believe that the “Cartland Club” is divisive, and that membership of it will not inculcate the gentility the Chief Master is looking for.]

   I came home through town and called at the G.P.O. [Victoria Square] to see about my usual Christmas employment. The routine has been changed somewhat and I have to write for a form to fill in this year.

   I did prep. in the afternoon and went to the Fellowship this evening. Tonight was the last of the campaign. Tomorrow Mr. Shallis returns to London before going on to Lynton, scene of last year’s terrible flood disaster.

   [I have given my life to Christ tonight. I have no words to explain what has happened to me, but my life is going to be changed from this day forward. I will never forget this day].


   I woke up at about 4.0 this morning nearly screaming with pain as I had severe cramp in my left calf. The muscle had seized up and I haven’t been able to walk properly all day. I missed the ’bus and was late for the second time in three days though Mr. Craig was able to accept my excuse.

   John came to see me at 12.30 and stayed until nearly two. I spent the afternoon in the library and at 4.0pm went to a meeting of the Christian Union in Four Citizens’ Room. We read James 1, R.N. Moore made comments on the reading and we had a short discussion.


   In Biology we have now completed animal and plant nutrition and have started the histology of tissues.

   In Physics we are doing Heat, having completed Viscosity, Moments of Inertia, S.H.M., Gravitation and Elasticity.

   The House XV beat Heath by 14 pts (a goal, two tries and a penalty) to 3 this afternoon. Play was confined mainly to the forwards and we had 80% of the scrum.

   Our team was:— Andrews; Williams M.I., Riley, Tipton, Davenall; Kington, Squire; Trundle, Williams B.D., Rufus; Lawrence, Trew; Pendry, Price, Moore. Pendry scored a goal and kicked the penalty, Bill Davenall and Squire got the others.

   I have spent the whole of this evening doing Physics.

   I was at school for 9.0 today for the usual Chapel Choir practice. We have been affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music. The Choir is rather inexperienced as yet and even after three days work on it the Psalm we were to have sung was still not satisfactory so Dr. Willis Grant decided to omit it from tonight’s Evensong and we sang Samuel Arnold’s Nunc Dimittis as well as the Magnificat. We were too late to go into Prayers so we rehearsed until 9.30am, and again at 11.30 and 1.40pm.

   Our three periods of Physics were devoted to a test on Mechanics.

   In J.T.C. I was C.S.M. as usual. I drilled my platoon till 3.5pm then did Rifle 1–5. [I love doing drill and getting the platoon into shape. I bark out the commands with a powerful voice which can be heard all over the parade ground. They were marching away from me when I gave the command, “Eleven platoon, on the march, about TURN!” The N.C.O.s, pretending not to hear, carried on marching — off the parade ground and across the path and flung themselves into the hedge, the whole platoon piling on top of them. The N.C.O.s responsible for the debacle were Cpl. Haywood and L/Cpls. Perry, Hammond and Marshall.

   Having composed myself] I got home shortly after 5.0.

   Tonight I have fetched Thorpe’s Biochemistry, which the Library had reserved for me.


   I cycled to school this morning and just as I was coming out of the park, I saw a Long-tailed Field Mouse. I recall seeing one of these little animals at Juniper Hall, and I am wondering whether Edmund Sanders is quite correct in saying they are strictly nocturnal except when ill.

   I spent the first three periods working.

   Last period, our [Sixth Form] lecture was by Bryan Green and he gave an excellent talk on “On Being a Travelling Evangelist”, which I greatly enjoyed. [I am still “walking on air” after Tuesday night when I gave my life to Christ.

   So many things come back to me — the Christ our Saviour book by E.G. White, which Mam and Dad gave me years ago for Christmas; how I have always loved to read the Bible and pray and go to the Mission, and been stirred by the earnestness of the preaching. I love the hymns in Alexander’s Hymn Book No. 3, and singing anthems and oratorios in the School Choir.

   Also, since going to the C.S.S.M. on holiday at Bude in 1950, and joining the Scripture Union, I have been reading the Daily Notes which John O.C. Alleyne sends me. And I remember being so impressed by something I read in Isaiah that I told Stephen Chadwin — when we were in UVC together, 2 or 3 years ago — that I was writing my first sermon, but I abandoned it.

   Now Canon Bryan Green has talked to us about his work as an evangelist. He was with the C.S.S.M. in his late 20s; he has had crusades in the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and now this year in Africa.

   I am simply amazed. My head is in a whirl. My mother wants me to be a doctor, but I gave up the place I was offered at the Medical School and decided to leave school in December, even before failing my “A” Level exams, so that I can earn some money. But what if God has other plans for me?

   I paid 7/- into the bank today.]


   As usual I had to devote most of my time to homework today. However, this evening Mam, Dad and I went to Church. Mr. Dibben was the preacher. I enjoyed the service even more than usual. There were twice as many people as usually attend in the morning, and the singing was twice as good, or at least only half as bad, as a result.

   After the evening service I went to the Young People’s Fellowship at which a Mr. Jackson of the Birmingham Burns Unit spoke about his work in that field. We also sang a few hymns.

   After the meeting I was borne down upon by certain young ladies who requested my presence at their Youth Club social next Saturday. [I really feel it is my duty to go.]


   At school today we had the usual Chemistry test.

   I started on my homework as soon as I got home and continued it in the evening except for when I was listening to Episode 5 of Charles Chilton’s “Journey Into Space” and Shirley Abicair at 8.15pm.

   Later in the evening I watched the Sadlers Wells Theatre Ballet in Beauty and the Beast by Ravel and Façade by William Walton.


   This morning Mr. Donaldson left us, after being with us for thirteen months. The time really has flown.

   Nothing happened at school and I came home through town. [I called in at the Theatre Royal to see if I could book to see Ronald Shiner in Seagulls over Sorrento which is on this week, but it was sold out. The play, by Hugh Hastings, is still running at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, after 1,264 performances.

   However,] I booked a seat for 13 for Dinner, a new comedy adapted by Eric Maschwitz from the French of [         ]. The play had a successful run in Paris earlier this year and it comes to the [Theatre] Royal on a pre-London run. An interesting point is that Hélène Cordet was to have taken part in it, but she bowed out because she thought it would sound odd for her to be the only one in the play with a French accent. With a Paris setting it had to be all French accents or none at all. Anyway, Georgina Dickson has taken over the part.


   Nothing much happened today. I came home for the afternoon and did prep. I also watched part of the England v F.I.F.A. (Rest of the World) match at Wembley which was televised in its entirety. The match was drawn 4–4 and England only avoided defeat for the first time at the hands of a foreign team, by converting a last-minute penalty.


   This afternoon we had a Rugby practice at Eastern Road. We practised tackling, passing, line-out [etc. This is my fourth year as hooker for Vardy 1st XV. We lost only 2 matches out of 10 last year.]

   I came home through town with the idea in mind of getting Ronald Shiner’s autograph, and did in fact get it as he was going into the [stage door of the Theatre] Royal [for the 5.0pm performance. We exchanged a few words — he was very kind and friendly — and] he signed my album “Your old china, Ronald Shiner”.


   In Practical Physics this morning I did a Compound Pendulum experiment.

   It rained in J.T.C. so we were not able to do any outdoor drill. I devoted the time to teaching my platoon how to put on their uniforms etc.

   As the rain was so heavy I came straight home and so had to miss Evening Prayers.

   Today Mam had the old fire-grate taken out of the front room and a tiled one put in. I had always wondered when our house was built and I got the answer today because when the grate was taken out, there was behind it part of the front page of the Evening Despatch for October 1928.

   [On checking the electoral rolls at the Reference Library I find that in 1928–29 there is no mention of Circular Road or Wetherby Road, but in 1929–30 Nos. 1–117 (on the outer side of the circle) and 108–2 (on the inside) have been built and occupied, including at 98, Sidney Clifford & Edith Florence Marquiss; at 94, Wilfred & Mary Rogers; and at 92, Frederick James Gray & Ada Beatrice Gray. They are all still there, except that the Grays have moved across the road to 147 and Mr. Gray has died.

   Our section of the road, Nos. 119–159, was completed and occupied by 1930–31. The first occupants include at 145, Alfred L. & Gladys M. Turner; 151, Arthur Alec & Annie Prentice; 155, John & Catherine Webb, who are all still our neighbours, except that Mr. Webb has died, Mrs. Webb has moved away, and the Bowens have come to live there. The people at 153 were Archibald John & Elizabeth Needum Brown, & Bert Wilkinson; but the Jacksons lived here before we moved in in 1941.]

   Tonight I have watched Jewel and Warriss, Diana Dors and the Beverley Sisters in the 16th Birthday Show from Coventry Hippodrome.


   Cycling to school this morning my chain broke as I was going down the hill from Moseley village. I had to walk the rest of the way and got in at 9.30am. I returned the Range key and got permission to leave my bike in the Range till Monday.

   I spent the first three periods working in the library.

   The Sixth Form Lecture in last period was by Mr. Parker, an O.E. who is employed in the Colonial Service.

   [I went to the social at church tonight. The young ladies were all there and others besides. As I was new they were most kind to me.]


   We got up rather late this morning. I spent the whole day doing prep. and still hadn’t finished when I went to church at 6.15pm. The preacher was Mr. D.H. Chapman [who is a Local Preacher.

   After the service I went to the Young People’s Fellowship again. Pat Welch, who runs it, told me he used to go at K.E.S. — he left in 1945, the year before I started at Camp Hill. In later life he is going to become Vice-President of the Methodist Conference and High-Sheriff of Warwickshire.]


   In Break today I repaired my cycle-chain and was able to cycle home this evening.

   In Choir practice we sang carols as usual.

   I did well in the Chemistry test on Aluminium. Afterwards, Torvell and I prepared Oxalic Acid by oxidising cane-sugar with Nitric Acid. Having written up the experiment and with nothing else to do, I wrote some of the script for a “Pictures in Music” programme of “classical” music.

   From 8.5 to 8.35 tonight we watched Jill Day in “Band Parade”.

   Our third match of the season today was against Cary Gilson whom we beat by 14 pts to 5. I did not have a good game. One or two nasty kicks on my right ankle put me out of action after twenty minutes, and whereas we had walked through the opposition up till then and had scored 14 pts, we didn’t score again for the rest of the game.

   My injury upset the rest of the forwards because I wasn’t hooking the ball at all well, and when I did get it, it didn’t seem to get out to the three-quarters. Trundle played particularly well, especially in the lines out.

   I went to see 13 for Dinner at the Royal tonight. I found it amusing to a certain degree but there was no real substance in it and I don’t think it will survive very long in the West End. The cast comprises Clive Morton, Margaretta Scott, Georgina Cookson, Diana Decker, Joss Ambler, Jeremy Hawk and Clement McCallin.

   After last night’s show I met Diana Decker and spent a short time talking with her about her films. [She is blonde, American, and a very nice person. She became famous through a toothpaste advertisement and made her first film, Fiddlers Three, in 1944 when she was only 17 or 18. She was also in Meet Me at Dawn (1948), Murder at the Windmill (1949), and her latest film is Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary? She lives over here now. I saw her on TV with Arthur Askey earlier in the year.]

   The Queen visited the B.B.C. today. At 9.0 there was a special variety show starring Terry-Thomas, Norman Wisdom, Al Read, Pat Kirkwood, Hélène Cordet, Sally Barnes and the Television Toppers.

   [There is a pencilled note in the margin, not yet deciphered. It appears to read: “Me, 8.0 Disagreeable, 8.30 Man.”]


   We broke up today for half term. Nothing much happened at all.

   I had a letter this morning from the Mission. Enclosed was a tract, “Now you are a Christian”, together with a letter from Marshall Shallis and a signed photo. We have an invitation to tea on Sunday at 4.45pm.

   This afternoon I brought down [from my bedroom] all my copies of Picturegoer and made a complete survey of all the films reviewed since I first bought the paper regularly in April 1952. I am not distinguishing between first and second features because often a second feature is made the main item, and vice versa. I may actually write to Picturegoer and enclose the figures I have obtained.


   Rain was absolutely pouring down when I awoke this morning. It cleared in the late morning and the weather was fine and sunny for the rest of the day.

   After breakfast I wrote my letter to Picturegoer. My figures make interesting reading and I think they do show (1) that the standard of films has improved over 18 months (2) that British films are better than American. The actual figures:—

May–Oct 1952 2.201.892.252.172.11
Nov–April 19552.131.992.442.271.80
May–Oct 19532.342.133.402.252.50


   I went to John Winrow’s shortly after 10.0am today. We spent the morning playing some records and talking music and films. It was raining as I cycled home for dinner.

   During the afternoon I wrote some of my “Pictures in Music” script and helped Dad lay some lino in the kitchen. As the lino was an almost perfect fit it took some doing,

   At 5.45 I went to the Futurist [Cinema in John Bright Street] to see Adorable Creatures (X) with Daniel Gelin, Martine Carol, Danielle Darrieux. It was excellent. The supporting film was Laurel & Hardy in Saps at Sea, which was very funny.

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webwork by Jim Nagel at Abbey Press, Glastonbury — this edition published 2007-06-30