Formerly — The Old Dyssean
is no longer in existence but this website
is allied to the Diss
Grammar School Facebook group.
DGS Facebook Group
on the list are the memories of John and Jill Blagden then
further down the page are comments and images of various school
trips, most of them would have been arranged by Jill and John.
Equivalent to £589.00 in Jan 2012 using the RPI.
of John Blagden.
maths and physics, his wife Jill taught
domestic science but above all they both organised
many school trips during the 1960s and 1970s.
WebMaster additions / changes)
Diss Grammar School Trips.
"From 1960, when Jill and I joined the Grammar
school we organised various trips, mostly skiing
but we also did a visit to Scotland, staying in Edinburgh,
youth hostelling hiking trips in the peak district
and visits to Earl’s Court to the Schoolboys (later
School boy and girl’s) exhibition. They produced
a number of situations!
The tour operator with whom we booked for Scotland
was about to go bankrupt, it did so half way through
the week that we were away but, fortunately, it was
ABTA bonded. However when we arrived (Edinburgh wm) we
found that they owed the hotel in which we were staying
for the two previous trips and that they had not
made proper arrangements for the various excursions.
Fortunately I had taken quite a big contingency fund
from school and managed to set up things as they
were supposed to happen. On a trip to Glasgow,
whilst we were ‘doing’ the city the coach driver
spent the day supporting the local brewing industry,
was arrested at the coach station and carted off.
We had to wait for another driver to come from Edinburgh.
It was on this trip that the worst accident to any
member of one of my groups happened – worse that
anything that happened whilst skiing. One of the
girls was running down a tree lined street in Edinburgh,
turned round to see where the others were and ran
into a tree hitting it with her knee. She broke her
knee cap and, to this day, still walks with a limp. (Suzanne
Kemp from my memory wm)
Going to Earl’s Court from Liverpool Street was
always interesting, for most of them it was the first
time on an underground. Somehow they managed to get
on a tube train and leave one of the staff behind
when the doors closed.
The walking trips produced nothing more interesting
than an accident with the hired minibus on the way – fortunately
only a scrape.
We took a group skiing every year from 1966, some
years because the interest was so great and I would
not take too large a group we took one at Christmas
and one at Easter. The first few years travel was
by train, to Liverpool Street, across to Victoria,
then to Folkestone and hence to Boulogne, couchettes
to Basel, then a change to the local Swiss network (changing
from standard to narrow guage railway at Chur wm).
This was at the time when it was impossible to buy
foreign currency, except with a special form from
the bank. I had to get everyone’s spending money, there
was a limit of £25 per person per year some of this
would already have been spent by the travel operator
for hire of equipment and instructors.
The cost of the first trip to Disentis was £39*1,
when, a few years later the price went up to £50
Jill and I felt that the would be the end of school
skiing - the last trip that I took from the High
School was £530.
Two of the resorts that we visited, Einsiedeln and Engelberg were
approached by a rack and pinion railway which provided
a new mode of travel for most.
Later it became cheaper to fly but when we went
Borboule to ski on the Puy
de Sancy there was still a group of parents that
would not consent to their children flying, part
of the group went out by boat and coach, accompanied
by Jill and Don Swanton, one of the school governors.
I flew with the rest. Going home from this trip we
found two aircraft waiting for us at Clermont
Ferrand airport – that agency also went bankrupt
For school skiing I was always looking for the cheapest,
but safe and serviceable, option, hence we moved
round resorts, Bled to
ski in Bohinj in
what was then Jugoslavia and even to Vitosha in
Bulgaria. In Bulgaria we had to have a communist
party guide with us all the time who fed us the party
line about every conceivable subject. This was another
interesting trip. The hotel had double booked some
rooms so we had to have camp beds put up in some
in order to accommodate the party. There had been
blizzards for several days before we arrived, these
had brought the power lines down. It was an all electric
hotel with no electricity – no heating, candles for
lighting, no hot food. At breakfast everyone was
supplied with a large tot of rum to warm them up
before they went out, Fred Stratfold and I, after
a quick conference, decided that only the staff should
avail themselves. The hotel was a very modern building,
of which the intourist guide was very proud, it
had one wall completely (single glazed) glass, the
ground level doors fitted so badly that every morning,
if it had snowed overnight, there was a snowdrift
across the dining room. Most resorts we visited at
least twice, the second time you know your way around,
but not this one! However, the ski equipment supplied
was very good indeed, but not withstanding that,
the next year it was Austria.
Some of the Italian resorts featured among the
more reasonably priced, one year when visiting Claviere,
on the Milky
Way ski area, we flew to Turin and then went
on by coach, on arriving in Claviere the driver stopped
in the main square and said we had to get out, she
was not going to attempt to turn into the hotel;
apparently shortly after leaving the airport she
had lost normal brakes, she didn’t worry on the main
roads but she was not going to try and manoeuvre
around a town with no brakes!
I have no doubt that the pupils on the trips could
tell many more stories, some of which I would rather
not know about!! In spite of what appears to be a
chapter of errors I think that I can say that they
were almost universally enjoyed." (I
certainly enjoyed Disentis, cold and crisp. Scotland
was not as good, cold and bleak. It was John who
'let me loose from Norfolk', I escaped three times
in all wm).
Worth for the
Thanks John and JIll, an organiser's nightmare.
There are a few photos of school trips in the Photo
Gallery. Somewhere there is an 8mm home movie of
the Disentis trip!
If you have any memories
of school trips or got any photos, films or recordings
then the Old Dyssean Soociety would be pleased to hear
from you on the Facebook group.
List of trips:
more to come when I re-read all the old magazines
adn extract the detail.
Click on an image to enlarge then use your browser's BACK facility
to return to this page.
A dreich and wet holiday indeed, Edinburgh,
the Trossachs and a boat trip to somewhere
on quite rough water. Then walking over the
newly constructed Forth suspension bridge.
?, Harry Peacock, Paul Kybird, ?, Martin Kuriger
(Yogi), Ray Feltham, ?, ?, Suzanne Kemp.
° Learning to ski on the piste and drink rum-punch
in the railway station café. All while
trying to speak French in a Romanche (Rhaeto-Romance)
° Train from Diss to Dover then ferry followed
by overnight train through France to Chur then
narrow gauge railway from Chur to Disentis.
° I have an 8mm video that needs converting,
when I can find it ??? (Seth Reeder).
It contains evidence of Paul Leeder smoking.
Coach from Diss to Southampton then ferry to
Post or pre skiiing (?)
France, La Bourboule
Click to enlarge.
The Lake District
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Italy, Sappada, Italian
Click to enlarge.
Holland, Bergen, North