Posts Tagged ‘teenagers’

Errol Flynn and Beverly Aadland at the Lido Club in Swallow Street

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
Errol Flynn and Beverly Aadland, 5th May 1959

Errol Flynn and Beverly Aadland, 5th May 1959

Errol Flynn was purportedly to have once said: ‘I like my whisky old, and my women young’. The above photo, whilst not saying anything about his choice of whisky although there is an impressive array of glasses in front of him, certainly says something about his taste in women, or should I say girls.

The picture of Flynn, taken in May 1959, was taken a month or so before his fiftieth birthday. He’s accompanied in the photograph by his girlfriend, Beverly Aadland, who was a few months from her 17th birthday that September. According to Beverley’s mother, who wrote about Flynn and Aadland’s romance in a book called ‘The Big Love’, by the the time of this meal they had already been together for a year. They are at The Lido Club which was situated in Swallow Street - a little lane that runs between Piccadilly and Regent Street.

"For the last time, he's not my father...".

“For the last time, he’s not my father…”.

Flynn, who was born in Tasmania, went to school from the age of fourteen to fifteen in Barnes in South West London. It was a very minor public school, that has long since disappeared, called The South West London College. It was situated at numbers 99-101 Castelnau which is a road of regency villas that lead up to the Southern side of Hammersmith Bridge.

Errol Flynn at the South West London College circa 1923

Errol Flynn at the South West London College circa 1923

101 C today

99-101 Castelnau today

After a particularly unhappy time in London (imagine what it was like after living in Tasmania all his life) he left the school in 1925 and sailed back to Australia and a subsequent meteoric rise to fame and film stardom in the US. Incidentally Errol Flynn’s father, Theodore Flynn and noted zoologist, travelled the other way, from Tasmania to the UK, and became Professor of Marine Biology at Queen’s University in Belfast from 1930 until 1948.

I once read that Flynn wanted to call his autobiography ‘In Like Me’. Which would have been brilliant, unfortunately the publisher insisted on ‘My Wicked Wicked Ways’.

Errol Flynn is here on a Canadian programme called Front Page Challenge where the guests have to guess who he is. It was recorded in January 1959, a few months before his death. Incidentally one of the guests is the journalist Scott Young, Neil Young’s father.

I can’t find anything written about The Lido Club in Swallow Street. I wondered if anyone out there has heard of it, or has any information about the place?

Joe Turner – Sweet Sixteen


School’s Out in London and Steve ‘Ginger’ Finch

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
Marching to Trafalgar Square, 17th May 1972

Marching to Trafalgar Square, 17th May 1972

On the 4th May 1972 about 200 boys aged between 11 and 16, put down their pencils and rulers at Quinton Kynaston School on the Finchley Road near St John’s Wood in north London. It was the start of a protest about unpleasant school dinners, caning, and the conformity of school uniforms. The boys swarmed over the school wall and not knowing really what to do next decided to all go home.

The headmaster, Mr Everest-Phillips protested to the press:

They have a choice of meals and incidents of caning have been negligible. I have only used it three times since last September. School uniform in summer consists of only a blazer.

Steve 'Ginger' Finch

Steve ‘Ginger’ Finch

A few days later 18 year old Steve ‘Ginger’ Finch a pupil from Rutherford School in Marylebone organised a small group of pupils from his school and nearby Sarah Siddons Girls’ School. The rally of about 60 school children met initially at Paddington Green but then started out on an eight mile march to enlist support from other schools.

A school girl from Paddington and Maida Vale High School joining the demo.

A school girl from Paddington and Maida Vale High School joining the demo.

The pupil power demonstration was called by the rebel Schools’ Action Union, of which self-confessed Marxist Ginger Finch was a member, who were mainly against caning, detention, uniforms and ‘headmaster dictatorships’. Eventually 800 pupils had joined the demonstration and Finch was arrested, charged with using insulting behaviour and obstruction.

Prime Minister Edward Heath decided to take no risks, remember this was only four years after students in Paris had brought down the French Government, and ordered MI5 and Special Branch to monitor the schoolchildren revolutionaries. Mr Heath asked Margaret Thatcher, then the Education Secretary to compile a report which warned:

“Some boys and girls are already beginning to develop political attitudes in an immature way…”

A march of 10,000 pupils was organised by the Schools’ Action Union and the National Union of School Students for the 17th May. The Government wanted to take no chances but were struggling to find out the exact nature and route of the march. A Conservative MP called David Lane forwarded a report based on the accounts of a group of girl ‘spies’ who had infiltrated a meeting.

“The leaders spoke with Cockney accents and spoke illogically. It seemed there were a number of middle-class kids who were dressing badly to look working-class.”

The march on the 17th May became the high point of a few weeks of pupil radical power.

Boys having a crafty fag at Hyde Park, 17th May 1972

Boys having a crafty fag at Hyde Park, 17th May 1972

Girls having a crafty fag at Hyde Park

Girls having a crafty fag at Hyde Park

With the absence of Ginger Finch (after his arrest a few days previously) and no real leadership, the event started with confusion with half of the pupils marching to Hyde Park and half marching along the South Bank to County Hall chanting “attack the pigs,” and “we want a riot.”

Speakers' corner, 17th May 1972

Speakers’ corner, 17th May 1972

The final mini riot at Trafalgar Square

The final mini riot at Trafalgar Square

The protesters had planned to hand a letter of protest to County hall, home of the Inner London Education Authority commonly known as the ILEA, but after arriving at their destination they realised the letter had been lost. In fact no one really knew who had the letter in the first place. The protesters subsequently marched on to Trafalgar Square where the demonstration eventually fizzled out.

Sir Philip Allen, Permanent Secretary at the Home Office said that although the march turned out totally disorganised, it shouldn’t detract from its significance “as a symptom of subversive influence”. However, and rather disappointingly really, the era of pupil-power was over almost before it had begun. The looming oil crisis and proper grown-up militancy became more important than whether school dinners were edible and school uniforms caused everyone to look the same.

Of all the original aims of the militant school-children from 1972, only the banning of corporal punishment in British schools has universally been achieved. Not at home though of course.


School Girl from Holland Park, May 1972

Slade – Look Wot You Dun

Alice Cooper – School’s Out

The Faces – Stay With Me

Mott The Hoople – Original Mixed-Up Kid