Thanks to a George Gascoigne Facebook Group posting by one of their former pupils*, we are now able to provide some information about Bill Pinches; the Sports Master at Markhouse around 1959/61
We understand that Bill was born in Finsbury in 1931 and spent the first two years of his teaching career at Gascoigne; then moving to Markhouse and becoming part of the new and enthusiastic team under Les Smith.
Those who were at the school at this time will recall him as an enthusiastic and supportive teacher who not only introduced a wider range of sports activities to the curriculum but also, in particular, used his gymnastic skills and experience to get the best out of a good number of pupils who often found many other aspects of school life sometimes’ difficult’ – so very much in keeping with most, if not all, of the other staff who wanted to give time, support and attention to all pupils!
After leaving Markhouse Bill joined the staff team at the much larger Tottenham School in White Hart Lane; although he did keep in touch with a number of former Markhouse pupils – and was even brave enough, in 1962, to tell them when and where he was going to marry his fiancé May. This snippet of information led to a very warm and rousing round of cheers and applause as the couple left the Church – duly delivered by those who thought so much of him as their teacher! Bill subsequently taught at the Passmores School in Harlow and, even after semi retiring, regularly returned for short spells to ‘keep his hand in’. After ‘fully’ retiring, Bill and May moved to Cambridgeshire and continued to live there until his death in 2003
Bill will be remembered both as a teacher and as an International Gymnast; also, and perhaps most amusingly, as being the member of staff who conspired to recruit Dickie Dunne as the new and replacement school pianist. According to Dick’s oft told story, ‘Mr Pinches thought that my tinkling of the ivories sounded significantly better (and more tolerable) than that of the earlier incumbent’. You can read the full account of this story, in Dickie’s own words, in the item on him in the Memories Page!
*With thanks to Allan McPherson. Gascoigne School.