1963 – 2022
Janette Scantlebury was the first woman to join the Royal High School Club in London and went on to serve as President of the Club from 2001 to 2003. Our thanks to her husband Alan Rolfe who kindly contributed to her Obituary which can be read here.
Alastair ‘Al’ Senter
1953 – 2022
Club stalwart Alastair ‘Al’ Senter sadly passed away on 26 April 2022. Please read this short appreciation of Al in our Obituary pages.
Brian Godman Wallace
1954 – 2020
In Penn Buckinghamshire on 28 November 2020. Born 01 March 1954 Brian was educated at the Royal High School of Edinburgh, first at the junior school at Jock’s Lodge where his daily walk to the school from the family home in Durham Terrace required him to hop across the Figgate Burn as there was then no road let alone a bus service. He then progressed to the senior school on the Calton Hill until the school moved to Barnton where he spent his final 4 school years.
He then went on to study at St. Andrews University where he gained a BSc Economics (Hons) and then to London qualifying as a C.A. with Price Waterhouse in London in 1976.
There then began a career in business and finance which was to take him to the pinnacle of his profession. Between 1982 and 1995 there were a number of finance roles at Schlumberger, Apv PLC and Geest PLC (now Bakkavor) before his appointment as the Finance Director of Ladbroke Group PLC in which role he served from 1986-1999. He then went on to fulfil significant roles with major UK and international companies;
Hilton Group PLC 1999 2000 (Finance Director)
Hilton Group PLC 2000 -2006 (Depute CEO/Finance Director)
Ladbroke Group PLC 2006 – 2007 (Depute CEO/Finance Director)
Ladbroke Group PLC 2007 – 2011 (Finance Director)
Chairman Travelodge Hotels Ltd 2013 – 2020
Chairman Softcat PLC 2015-2018.
Brian had a lifelong interest in sport as both participant and spectator. While still at school Brian played regularly for the Royal High former pupil cricket First XI as a wicket-taking bowler. He later showed his versatility by representing the Scottish Universities in the British University Table Tennis Championships. In recent years Brian was a devoted supporter of the Northampton Saints rugby team.
Travel food and wine all played an important part in Brian’s latter life but he was just as happy in a family run café on Portobello Promenade as in the grandest of restaurant always taking a great interest in the people around him.
He is survived by his wife Debbie and his children Callum and Fiona from his first marriage and elder brother Graeme.
Garry was born in 1933 and spent his early years in Bedford Terrace in Portobello close to the sea front. Garry’s mother Eileen Buchan was a descendant of A.W.Buchan the well-known Portobello pottery manufacturer and Garry was always very proud of his family history and his Portobello roots.
Garry started school at John Watsons in Edinburgh but, shortly after, he was evacuated to Marchmont House, a stately home in Berwickshire, for the duration of the Second World War. A few years after the war Garry moved to the Royal High School where he boarded in the school’s house in Royal Terrace. At the school Garry’s main interest was sport – he enjoyed playing rugby and he was a good runner. Garry left the Royal High in 1950 and transferred to Leith Nautical College to pursue his ambition to travel the world.
After College Garry joined the Merchant Navy in the era when there was still a large British Merchant Marine Fleet. He won a medal in his nautical exams and achieved his Master’s Ticket at a young age. His favourite destinations were Argentina, Australia and New Zealand and he had many entertaining stories about his travels.
Garry first met his future wife Pat when they were teenagers. After a long interlude they met up again and began courting. They married in Birmingham in 1964. Garry then took a number of shore-based jobs and he and Pat finally settled in the village of Marcham in Oxfordshire with their children Tim and Liz. Marcham was to be the family home for the next 43 years.
In the 1980s Garry returned to sea and worked on ships of every size from oil tankers, to colliers, to fishing protection vessels. Garry retired in 1998 and he and Pat then had many happy years enjoying holidays together, socialising with their friends in Marcham, and watching their five grandsons growing up. Garry was a valued member of the Royal High School Club in London and he was a regular attendee at our Club events. We enjoyed Garry’s company and he will be sadly missed.
George “Jock” Dewar
d 13th January 2020
Please read Tom Bacciarelli’s eulogy for a full appreciation.
The obituary of former classics master George “Jock” Dewar, aka “Badger”, some of which is contained in the eulogy linked to above, can be found in the Scotsman.
Condolences including an appreciation from the RHS Club President can be found in the Scotsman Notices
d 22nd February 2019
An announcement of the death of “Suave” Dave Sommerville can be found on the Royal High School web site.
David (Dave) Sommerville was a popular and inspiring history teacher and Air Training Corps leader at the Royal High between 1960 and 1970.
Dave graced the High School History Department between 1960 and 1970, when he left to become Principal History teacher at Broughton. Dave was also well known as Flight Lt. Somerville, leader of the RHS Air Training Corps ATC). He was also part of the School Career Services team. He was considered by many to be an inspirational teacher, and was also famous for his outstanding dress sense. He was sometimes described as Suave Dave. The photograph shows an ATC visits to RAF Dishforth in 1962. Martin Bryden, who was a History teacher in the same era as Dave, and also a great friend asks anyone who recognises themselves in the photos to get in touch with us. More photos of Dave with the ATC can be found in the Where Are They Now pages on this website.
The Scotsman Obituary notice of Monday 11th March reads as follows.
SOMERVILLE David (New Town) Peacefully, at St Margaret’s Care Home on February 22, 2019, aged 89, will be sadly missed by all family and friends. Former history teacher at Broughton High School and Royal High and a member of the Royal Burgess Golf Club. A graveside service will be held at Piershill Cemetery on Friday, March 15, at 11 am, to which all are welcome. Flowers, if desired, to McKenzie & Millar, 83-89 Great Junction Street, EH6 5HZ.
1931 – 2018
Alan was born in Inverness in 1931 and moved to Edinburgh as a young boy, where he attended the Royal High School and Edinburgh University. Alan met his wife-to-be, Edith, at Edinburgh’s Abercorn Tennis Club in the early 1950s. They had four sons: Ian, Ken, Stuart and Gordon. Ian and Ken attended the Royal High junior school at Jock’s Lodge before Alan’s job took the family down to Cheshire in 1967.
Alan had a very successful career as a civil engineer and, after a brief spell with British Rail, he joined consulting engineers, Mott, Hay, and Anderson (latterly Mott MacDonald) and spent the rest of his career with them. He made significant contributions to the construction of the Forth Road Bridge, the second Mersey Tunnel and the M3 motorway in Hampshire.
In his leisure time Alan was an excellent tennis player who won titles at every club he joined. One of the highlights of Alan’s tennis career came in the mid-70s when he played doubles against Virginia Wade. Alan also played golf at Hockley Golf Club, in Hampshire, for many years and was Club captain in 1997. When Alan wasn’t playing sport he enjoyed spectating and Ken recalls trips to support their local football teams: Hibs, Tranmere Rovers, and Crystal Palace.
Alan helped young people throughout his life and in the late 70s he signed up to coach on the grass roots Green Shield tennis scheme which enabled youngsters from all backgrounds to receive coaching in their local park for 50p. He was also a regular contributor to the Naomi House & Jacksplace children’s hospice in Winchester.
Alan and Edith’s life-long journey saw them move from Edinburgh to Merseyside, to Surrey, and finally to Winchester where they spent 35 happy years. They lived in Winchester until the summer of 2017 when they moved into residential care back in Surrey.
Alan served as President of the Royal High School Club in London in 1984 and was a regular attendee at the dinners in London and Edinburgh until a few years ago. Alan’s sons Ian and Ken were also members of the RHS Club in London.
Paul Charles Martin MA
1958 – 2017
In Alcester, Warwickshire, 12 March 2017, aged 58. Born on 10 May 1958 in Edinburgh , Martin was educated at the Royal High School , Edinburgh , where he was Dux of English. In 1980, after studies at the University, Martin was elected to the City of Edinburgh District Council , and was soon thereafter made chairman of the recreation committee. He was re-elected in 1984, and, amid numerous attempts to secure a parliamentary seat, continued to serve in local government until 1992. Martin then took a job with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), working for NATO and the European Policy Secretariat. After leaving the MoD, he worked as parliamentary affairs manager for Ofwat for eighteen months, before moving to Thames Water. Martin went on to work as director general for the Timber Trade Federation for six years, and then took up a position in PR and marketing in Bromsgrove.
University of Edinburgh Journal 48: 1 (June 2017) 75
Link to Scotsman Obituary, which also has a photograph of Paul.
Captain Eric M brown
You will have seen the reports that Royal High former pupil Captain Eric Brown has passed away at the grand age of 97 after a short illness. Eric attended our RHS London Club dinners in 2011 and 2012, as guest speaker, together with his partner Jean and he made a big impression on those audiences with his inspirational speeches. One of our members, Gordon Burt, has provided links to some of Eric’s obituaries taken from publications at home and abroad
I would also highly recommend the podcast of his Desert Island Discs appearance of 14th November 2014
Link to download podcast
1929 – 2015
Bruce Banister was born on April 7th 1929 and grew up in Edinburgh where he attended the Royal High School, leaving in 1947. At school Bruce captained the rugby and cricket teams, sang in the choir and also performed in school plays. One of Bruce’s uncles was the manager of the Mecca Ballroom in Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge area which, at that time, was the largest dance hall in the city. Bruce liked to visit the Mecca Ballroom where his uncle showed him the rudiments of the business and this may be one reason why Bruce later chose to build his career in the hospitality industry.
After leaving school Bruce did his National Service then studied hotel management in Eastbourne, East Sussex, where he met his future wife Betty who was studying on the same course. Bruce and Betty married in April 1953. Much of Bruce’s successful business career was spent in the Trusthouse Forte group where he managed several of the group’s flagship London hotels such as the Hotel Russell in Russell Square and the historic Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair. Bruce had an eye for detail and colleagues who worked with him valued his team management skills. Outside of work Bruce enjoyed spending time with Betty and their children Jeremy and Sara. Jeremy recalls that Manchester United stayed at the Hotel Russell in 1968 in the run-up to their European Cup Final match against the Portuguese champions Benfica at Wembley stadium. Jeremy and his father travelled to the match in the Manchester United team bus and then watched a memorable 4-1 victory for United.
Bruce was also a stalwart of the Royal High School Club in London, serving as President in 1980, and organising many of the club’s events in his London hotels. Bruce continued to take an interest in the arrangements for the club’s annual dinners until bad health overtook him in recent years. Bruce’s funeral service was held in the Cemetery Chapel at Tunbridge Wells Crematorium on 20th August 2015 with family and friends in attendance. After the service the party adjourned to the elegant Royal Wells Hotel where, at Bruce’s request, we toasted his eventful life with champagne.
I think it’s fair to say that Bruce as a long-serving member of the Committee was second only to Jim Rowan (Hon Sec 1977-91) in helping to maintain the Club’s activities in the latter 1900s with the Annual Dinners being held at the Russell with Bruce as the coordinator probably from well before 1980 up until 1996 when the Forte Group was taken over by Granada.
Bruce had served in several positions at the Russell before moving to
Brown’s and so revered was he that one had only to mention his name at the
Russell years afterwards for the staff to bend over backwards to assist the
1933 – 2014
David attended the Royal High School at Regent Road from 1944-1951 from his home in Stenhouse, from where he cycled each day unless poor weather enabled him to take the tram! At the school David was a member of the choir.
On leaving the school, aged 18 years old, David moved to London where his initial introduction to Knightsbridge was by virtue of living in a Civil Service Hostel. Having started in the Customs and Excise, he later transferred to the Land Registry.
David met his wife Barbara in 1957 at a St Valentines day dance and they were married in 1960. Two children, Gavin and Ann were born in 1962 and 1965 respectively.
Having taken early retirement David was a member of the Wey and Arun Canal Society and The Probus Club and enjoyed walking in various locations from the family home in Horsham, West Sussex.
David died on January 20 2014 at home, aged 80, after a long illness which somewhat cruelly robbed him of his mobility. He is survived by his wife, his two children, his three grand-children and his sister Margaret who still resides in the Stenhouse family home.
David was a regular attendee at the RHS London Club’s autumn drinks parties and he took a keen interest in events at the current Royal High School in Barnton. David will be sadly missed.
James Rowan 1921 to 2012
Jim was born in Edinburgh in 1921 where his father was a customs officer in Leith docks. He had two elder sisters Betty and Nan and a younger brother Jock. Jim attended the Royal High School from the age of five until the age of 15/16. Jim started school at the Royal High primary at Regent Road, transferring in 1931 to the newly-built primary school at Jock’s lodge, before returning to Regent Road for his secondary schooling.
Jim joined the Merchant Navy in 1939 after the start of the Second World War as a radio officer, a third of his classmates didn’t survive the war. After marrying his wife May in November 1945 Jim decided the Merchant Navy was not a job for a married man, and after a short time in the Post Office, he decided to join the police force. However, as he was below the required height for the Edinburgh Police he decided to move down to London where the height requirement for the Metropolitan Police was 5′ 8″, his exact height. He retired from the Met Police with the rank of Inspector in 1973 and then joined the GLC until his retirement in 1986. Jim also served as an elder of the Trinity United Reformed Church in Bromley. In retirement Jim resumed his travelling and enjoyed several cruises and other trips both on his own and with his family.
Jim retained his link with the Royal High School Club all his life, attending the annual dinner in London every March, something he had done since 1947, for a Club record 63 dinners. He also served as Secretary of the London Club and was President in 1972. During his time as Secretary the annual Cheese and Wine evening was started as a way of involving wives and partners in the London Club events. Jim and May organised the Cheese and Wine evenings, and other social events, with assistance from their daughters Anne, Frankie and Claire. Jim was a stalwart of the Royal High School Club in London and his familiar figure will be sadly missed.