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Reminiscences of a humorous schoolteacher

After reading the tribute to the late Chris Mann (1965O), Martin fletcher (1965F) wrote in with his memories of Chris and their shared English Teacher, John Gardener (1947G)

Those Bishops English lessons
Those Bishops English lessons

Martin fletcher (1965F) writes: I am stimulated to write this by the article about the late Chris Mann (1965O) and Mr J.B. Gardener (1947G).

English lessons beat all others for enjoyment. Mr Gardener was indeed tall and gangly seemed to crack a joke every couple of minutes. Most were funny, but as he said, 'They can't all be good.'

I remember Chris Mann in the class, although it was as a sportsman playing for Ogilvie in cricket house matches I recall him best. One of nature's nice blokes.

Mr Gardener was a rare teacher. He liked the original and condemned the cliche and the platitude. He let us choose our own subjects for essays and if he liked one, he read it out.

I remember a saying of Aristotle or possibly from the bible (I think) coming up in class:

'Twere better for man had he never been born.' He asked those who agreed to put their hands up. I and one other put our hands in the air.

'The two anti-men again,' he said.

I met Chris Mann many years later, when he had a room opposite my brother at Rhodes University. He was the same, friendly and approachable bloke and we discussed our former English teacher in favourable terms.

I live far away now, but those English lessons were the highlight of my time at Bishops (apart from when Founders won the Rugby Cup in 1965).


Warm regards

Martin Fletcher (1965F)

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