OM Memories – Remembering FM Heywood (Master 1939-52)

During my parents medical training at Guys Hospital they grew to admire the many OMs they met and that’s why I found myself in A House at the start of 1951. This was towards the end of F M Heywood (Master 1939-52) years as master. From the beginning it was clear that his influence was everywhere, but no more so than in an outstanding common room.

At that time there was perhaps too much emphasis on success at sports, but on the school staff there was a glittering list of achievers at the highest level. John Thompson and Denis Milford World Rackets Champions, numerous hockey internationals and county cricketers and the famous Welsh rugby player, Rees Jones who had appeared against the great pre-war All Blacks side.

But Common Room was the home of a dedicated group of outstanding masters who developed to the full the most able and persuaded the less gifted to achieve beyond their expectations. One result was that as late as 1958 when I went up to Cambridge it was said that some 200 Marlburians were in residence as undergraduates. This I believe reflected the skill with which Heywood had guided the school under his master ship.

Anyone doubting the esteem in which he was held should have been in the Memorial Hall when he announced that he would be retiring to take up a new challenge. When we had been told to gather to hear this news, few if any were expecting it. The reaction remains with me still – a shock of course, but also a feeling of great sadness. It is right that the contribution of FMH to the schools continued prominence is recognised with thanks.

John Cunningham (C3 1951-55)