ER Tucker Biographical Details

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John Saunders
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ER Tucker Biographical Details

Postby John Saunders » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:48 am

I recently found out a few more biographical details about our late headmaster Edmund Ronald Tucker (1902-64), thanks to various items which which my late mother had tucked away (including his obits from the BFP) and also the 1911 Census.

Some time ago I created a Wikipedia page for ERT, which is here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Tucker - and I have updated it with some of the details I have found. I have scanned my mother's collection of press clippings and included them as references in the Wiki article so you can read them for yourself.

Tucker was born on 23 March 1902 in Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire (not Swansea, as the BFP obituary erroneously claims, although he does seem to have been brought up there). The 1911 Census found him in Swansea with his family (to look him up, search for Ronald Tucker, not Edmund). His father was Edmund E(d)ward Lansdowne Tucker, born 1870 in Feltham in London, who was a builder and contractor. ERT's mother was Laura Louisa (née) Beynon, born 1871 in Swansea, and her widowed father, a retired mariner, Richard Beynon (born 1840 in Gower, died 1915 Swansea) was living with them in 1911 at 31 Glanbrydan Avenue, Swansea (if you look at it on Google Maps, you'll find it a rather unprepossessing property now, but it was probably quite nice then). Also on the premises was Laura's brother John P Beynon, who was (perhaps significantly) a teacher for the borough council. ERT had a younger sister and brother, Mary Noreen and Bernard Cecil, twins aged 4. There was a live-in domestic servant so the family must have been doing quite well. No sign of any Welsh spoken in the household - they were all listed as English speakers. ERT's mother Laura had been a schoolmistress in Rhosilli, Wales, in 1891, so teaching was in the blood.

Tucker's parents married in Swansea in 1898. Laura Louisa Beynon's mother was Mary. His father Edmund died in Amersham in 1943 while I think his mother Laura died in Swansea in 1933.

ERT probably knew his grandfather John Tucker (also a builder, born 1839 Swansea, resided Colwyn Bay 1901, died 1915 Denbighshire) and his grandmother Mary Jessie Denham (b 1849 Edmonton, Middx, died Conway 1931).
John Saunders
RGS 1963-70 (personal website http://www.saund.co.uk)

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John Saunders
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Re: ER Tucker Biographical Details

Postby John Saunders » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:58 pm

From contemporary Bucks Free Press...

[Bucks Free Press, Friday 31 July 1964]

R.G.S. HEAD DIES SUDDENLY

Only three weeks after the announcement that he would retire next year, Mr. Edmund Ronald Tucker, Headmaster of High Wycombe Royal Grammar School for 31 years died in Amersham General Hospital on Friday [24 July 1964], after a short illness, at the age of 62.

One of the youngest grammar school headmasters in the country when he was appointed to the Royal Grammar School in 1933, Mr. Tucker gained a distinguished place in British education, both for his work at High Wycombe and in a wider sphere.

Mr. Tucker, who had announced at the school speech day on July 10 his intention to retire in August next year, was taken ill at his home last week and went into Amersham Hospital for observation. His condition worsened suddenly on Friday and death was due to a perforated ulcer.

A deeply religious man, he was at once a disciplinarian and a kindly mentor and won by his understanding and good humour a warm place in the affections of many thousands of boys who went through the school during his three decades there.

Mr. Tucker, a native of Swansea [actually born in Colwyn Bay - JS], was educated at Swansea Grammar School and was the first boy from Swansea to go to Oxford with a classical scholarship.

HIGH STANDARDS

He was appointed headmaster of High Wycombe Royal Grammar School in September, 1933, and soon made his mark as an educationist of particularly high standards and ideals.

He was a great believer in boarding-in grammar schools and during his headship the school boarders increased from fewer than 20 to more than 100, while the school roll increased from about 300 to over 1,000.

When the Education Act of 1944 made provision for funds for boarding-in at grammar schools, Mr. Tucker expressed the view that they had a great future. He believed that if the grammar schools were to have the greatest possible influence in the future they would have to take responsibility not only for their pupils’ minds and bodies but for their spiritual well-being.

Education was his life. Often as guest speaker at Rotary Clubs, he stressed that “ever-increasing red tape was strangling education”.

During the war Mr. Tucker was appointed first commander, with the rank of major, of the newly-formed Combined Cadet Force.

After the war he was appointed, in 1951, R.A.F. Benevolent Fund honorary education adviser for Bucks, in connection with a scheme whereby nearly 70 such advisers throughout the country assist the fund in formulating education plans for children for whom the fund accepts responsibility.

Mr. Tucker had been a diocesan lay reader for many years and often preached at High Wycombe Parish Church. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in May, 1954.

TRIBUTES

When Mr. Tucker’s resignation was confirmed by the board of governors at the school speech day three weeks ago there were many tributes to his work.

Alderman R. P. Clarke, who presided, said: “He has rendered magnificent, distinguished and valuable service to this school and to education generally.”

And the principal speaker, Dr. W. Oakshott, vice-chancellor of Oxford University, an old friend of Mr. Tucker, said: “He has devoted his life to the school to splendid effect. There has been a marvellous transformation since he came.”

Alderman Clarke was a member of the committee who appointed Mr. Tucker to the headship of the school in 1933, and the only surviving member of that committee.

‘PROFOUND INFLUENCE’

Tribute to Mr. Tucker was also paid by Councillor Cyril Morris, the chairman and an Old Boy of the school, at a meeting of Wycombe Rural Council on Monday, when the council stood in silence.

“During his 31 years as headmaster he had a profound influence on the lives and training of many of the young people in Wycombe and district,” he said.

“As an Old Boy I was always very proud of the progress of the school, not only in the extraordinary increase in its numbers but of its achievements and prestige both on the scholastic side and in the field of sport.

“He was a fine man, always approachable, a great headmaster in the true sense of the word and one who will be sadly missed.”

Mr. Tucker’s wife died two years ago. He is survived by two daughters, a brother and sister and three grandchildren.

High Wycombe Parish Church was crowded for the funeral conducted yesterday by the Vicar of HIgh Wycombe. the Rev. Eric Hague and the Rev. John Skipp, chaplain of High Wycombe Royal Grammar School.

[Bucks Free Press, Friday 31 July 1964]

WARM TRIBUTES TO LATE GRAMMAR SCHOOL HEAD

A huge congregation, representative of many organisations and all walks of public life in Bucks, filled High Wycombe Parish Church on Thursday of last week for the funeral of Mr. Edmund Ronald Tucker, headmaster of High Wycombe Royal Grammar School for 31 years, who died on July 24 at the age of 62.

Striking tributes to Mr. Tucker's work for education and with religion in the county were paid by Mr. C. Howard Ensor, Principal of Newland Park Training College, during the serv.ice. It was conducted by the Vicar of High Wycombe, the Rev. Eric Hague, and the Rev. John Skipp, the Chaplain of the Grammar School.

The Lesson was read by Alder man R. P. Clarke, chairman of the governors of the grammar school, and also taking part were the Rev. A. L. Evan Hopkins, former Vicar of High Wycombe, who conducted the interment ceremony afterwards at High Wycombe cemetery, the Rev. Wilfred Float, another former Vicar, and the Rev. Canon Wilfred Watts, Rector of Hambleden, representing the Archdeacon and Bishop of Buckingham.

Representing the Queen was the Lord Lieutenant of Bucks, Brigadier Sir Henry Floyd.

In his tribute, Mr. Ensor said that very few men had done for their towns what Mr. Tucker was able to do for High Wycombe. He had converted a small local school into a nationally-famous grammar school.

“To his many friends he seemed richly endowed with the gifts that a good headmaster needs,” he went on. “The warmth and charm of his personality were a constant delight to us.

HIS CONCERN

“Everyone was aware of his concern for the well-being of others. It was impossible to be with him without feeling the concern for his school and his boys and the interest and pride in their achievements. But he never lacked sympathy and interest for the less gifted. Above all he always had time for the people who needed him.”

Mr. Ensor said Mr. Tucker was a good citizen and a good family man. “He loved entertaining and he enjoyed being entertained. We think of him as a magistrate, as a good committee man and as a chairman. We think of him as a lay-reader, we think especially at this time of Ronald Tucker and his wife and children and of all the happy times so many of us have spent with that hospitable group. A life of great usefulness and of great influence – and now we must say goodbye to him.”

Family mourners were: Mr. and Mrs. Geoffrey Folley, Mr. and Mrs. Allan Morgan, sons-in-law and daughters; Mr. Bernard Tucker, brother; Miss Noreen Tucker, sister.

Mrs. Folley has received a letter from the Queen in which she expresses her grief at Mr. Tucker’s death. She recalled her visit to the school in 1962 and points out ‘how pleasant’ he made the occasion for her.
John Saunders
RGS 1963-70 (personal website http://www.saund.co.uk)

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Re: ER Tucker Biographical Details

Postby GeoffG » Sun May 26, 2013 7:30 pm

My sister Carol was once a girlfriend of Geoffrey Folley, who later I understand, married Mr. Tucker's daughter. My sister once told me, many years after leaving RGS, that Mr. Tucker had stated to him that I was "Oxford or Cambridge University material." This was quite shocking to me as I was turned down by University College, London, Imperial College and Queens College. In the end I went to Slough College for years, whilst working at ICI, and finally to the University of Aston, Birmingham to get my Graduate of the Royal Institute of Chemistry, Part 2, thus wasting about 4 years. The things that shape our lives ..........!
Geoffrey Gunning


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