Twickers Grot and Mod Rock from “L” for learners to the grave.

The first two of these photographs featuring students at Twickenham art school in this ‘cradle to grave’ sequence are by Colin Fulcher, AKA Barney Bubbles. A mod fashion statement from a seminal year. It is around the time of that 1961 Twickenham tale about a girl who left school in the movie “An Education” (2009). (For American readers, the L on the auto is, in Britain, a sign that learner drivers sport to show their driving license status.)

The old Morris auto belonged to fellow Twickensian, Roy Burge. Later that same year, when the transmission went kaput, the car was filmed by Fulcher as we set it on fire and it submerged beneath the lake in a disused gravel pit on Hounslow Heath with a whump as the sump exploded and smoky bubbles burst upon the frothing ripples.

The third photograph, shot in the quadrangle by me (David Wills), is of the students, mourning their demise. This graduating class at Twickenham art school was, I think, taken in 1962 (?) or 1963 (will someone please tell me when?).

These photographs have never been published before, the class will now have a jolly souvenir to frame on the mantlepiece.

I should explain that ‘Twickers Grot’ refered to in the headline above, was a hand-drawn typeface used in handwritten notes, on rough layouts or fly-posters, and based loosely on the then overused letterpress typeface ‘Grot 9’ that was the only ‘grotty’ face available in the comp room and used by many students at the time. (I like the term ‘Twickers Grot’, but I have no contemporary example to show here.)

Since no-one has told me the date on these pix yet, or offered help with names (come on guys), I’m still uncertain if that is Pennie Smith, the photographer of note, in the line up, third from left (not counting the dummy) in the first picture with the auto. But it sure looks like her endearing presence. Fifty years on, the memories linger… but not that clearly.

 

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