The Leas School,  Hoylake

Charles  Bertram  MEYER

b 12 Aug 1908,  Winter Road, Malabar Hill, Bombay (Mumbai), India

d 12 Jan 1973,  Surrey Lodge, Bertram Drive, Great Meols, Wirral, Cheshire, England

Charles Meyer's parents were Charles Hardwick Louw Meyer, Lieutenant Colonel, Indian Medical Service, and his wife Mary Scott 'Monnie' Cotgrave, daughter of Thomas Manson Cotgrave, Deputy Collector of the Salt Department, Bombay.

Charles taught at The Leas in the 1950s and 1960s. He taught history from the extremely British-imperialist textbooks by John Miller Dow Meiklejohn; as a much-coveted prize, Charles would give a packet of blackcurrant fruit-gums to anyone who could recite in order, with dates, the Kings and Queens of England from 1066 to 1952 - there was often a queue of candidates waiting on the narrow stairs up to the library.

Jamie Gibson reminds us that fruit-gums were also offered as rewards for history quizzes in class. Charles would set four little towers of fruit-gums on the windowsill: 7 for 1st prize, 5 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd, 1 for 4th. The quizzes also involved complicated procedures for moving up and down the desks according as one answered correctly or not. Charles taught other subjects too, particularly relishing the pains of those struggling with the "pons asinorum", Euclid's isosceles triangle theorem.

Richard Jones remembers that Charles also kept a stock of strong liquorice pellets (in those days called Nigroids, now Vigroids); he assumed that no-one would like them, so offered them as booby prizes.

Charles was a great story-teller, both reading from books (GA Henty, Ryder Haggard), and recalling times in India. If he supervised a Sunday-afternoon walk, one always tried to get close enough to follow the story. Sometimes he would sing songs as we walked, rumtitum, perhaps a bit coarse at times, though probably we didn't understand much of his colonial slang. A less attractive feature of his walks was that, unpredictably, he might smartly thwack the back of the legs of a boy who irked him.

In Karachi in 1939 Charles had married Diana Laurence Frost, daughter of (John) Meadows Frost DSO and his wife Olivia Shelmerdine. Charles and Diana had two sons, both born in Karachi, both attended The Leas in the 1950s; and both, like Charles, were keen golfers.

His nickname was Harry, from his habit of saying "harry" where Raymond Briggs's Father Christmas would later say "blooming".

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