John Hayward was a 20th Century stained glass artist. Born in Tooting in 1929, he went to Bec Grammar School (now Ernest Bevin School) in Beechcroft Road. Inspired by his art teacher, Jack Levin, he went to St Martins School of Art. There are over 200 churches in Britain which have stained glass designed by John Hayward.
In the 1950s, John Hayward designed three windows for Bec Grammar. They are now mounted above the entrance to Ernest Bevin College and are shown below.
John Hayward died in 2007. For a full Church Times obituary, see here.
For a gallery of his work around the country, see here.
“Beachcomber” was a long-running 20th Century newspaper columnist born in Tooting. Local resident Jesse Honey has written for us about his life and achievements.
Cameron Andrieu Bingham Michael Morton, better known as J B Morton, and even
better known by his pen-name of Beachcomber, was born at Park Lodge, Mitcham
Road, Tooting on 7th June 1893. The house where he was born, now
demolished, was on the site of what is now the Morley’s store on the corner of
son of a journalist and drama critic, it must be admitted that Morton didn’t
stay long in Tooting. Though his father appears at Park Lodge in the 1891
Census, two years before J B’s birth, the family are no longer Tooting residents
by 1901 and seem never to have returned. The young John attended prep school in
Bromley and then went on to Harrow, which he hated and later satirised as
‘Narkover’. He fought in World War I, gradually drifting into journalism
afterwards. Ironically, he neither invented the name Beachcomber, nor was he the
first to use it. Rather, he took over the eponymous column in the Daily Express
from a colleague in 1924; the reason it is now Morton who is remembered as
Beachcomber is because he wrote under the name for another 51 years, only being
dropped in 1975.
was Beachcomber so important and why does he deserve to be remembered? It’s
because his column was pioneering in terms of comedy and satire. He was among
the first to employ genuinely surreal humour, long before the Goons and Monty
Python. Spike Milligan named Morton as one of his heroes. He also influenced
Raymond Briggs, author of Fungus the Bogeyman and The Snowman, who chose Morton’s
complete works as his Desert Island Discs book. Evelyn Waugh, no mean humourist
himself, described Morton as having ‘the greatest comic fertility of any
satire was ground-breaking and daring. He was the first columnist to poke fun
at the very paper he was writing in (though this would be easy today, the Express
was at the time a far more serious paper). Morton’s taste for parodying press
pomposity was a major inspiration for Richard Ingrams when he helped set up
Private Eye, showing you can trace a direct link between Beachcomber and humour
of the present day.
the recurring characters he invented in his column were Mister Justice
Cocklecarrot, Captain Foulenough and Doctor Jan van Strabismus of Utrecht. Famed
in Fleet Street as a practical joker, Morton used to speak loudly into pillar
boxes, pretending a friend was trapped inside- once a concerned crowd had
gathered, he quietly slipped away. He was also known for laughing uproariously and
dancing after finishing each paragraph he wrote, explaining this behaviour to startled
colleagues by asking ‘if I don’t find it funny, who will’?
marrying Mary O’Leary, an Irish doctor, in 1927, he moved out of London and,
after the Second World War, settled in Worthing, from where he continued to
post his column into London. He died in a nursing home there in 1979 and is
buried at Windlesham in Surrey.
The latest edition of The Wandsworth Historian has an excellent article by Neil Robson about the Boer War memorial which you can find in St. Nicholas Church, Tooting. The memorial records the names of thirteen soldiers from Tooting who died in the Second Boer War of 1899-1902. Neil has traced the origins of the memorial, the events surrounding it’s unveiling on 23rd August 1903 and details of the 13 men commemorated on the memorial.
The article is not available online but you can find details of how to join The Wandsworth Historical Society and get a copy of the Wandsworth Historian here. Neil Robson spoke at our November 2017 meeting about Ted Foster ,VC. You can see his talk on You Tube here.
Graham Gower spoke at our AGM earlier this week about The Manor House Of Tooting. He has previously published an article in The London Archaeologist about “Early Tooting Bec And Its Reputed Priory”. You can read the article from 2012 online by clicking here , together with some photos.