The final part of our blog series taking a retrospective look back at the history of our community – late 1980
Back in 2014-5, KLS Member Howard Webber wrote a series of articles for our community magazine casting a light on days gone by. He had been looking through copies of our publications from the inception of our community in 1967 and throughout the Seventies. We are now re-publishing these articles for a wider audience – we hope you will enjoy Howard’s inimitable style as he accompanies us into yesteryear, with some poetic license …….(please note, that where individuals are no longer with us, we refer to them by their initials)
The avid reader of my voyages into the climate-controlled vaults at Kingston News Towers (you know who you are; and you know whether you exist) will be aware that the whole focus of KLS life in the 1970s was the rivalry between the Young Marrieds and the Women’s Society. I now have to break the sad news that this contest hardly survived the decade – by late 1980 it was a thing of the past. (2021 Ed: we have it on good authority that, in reality, there was no real rivalry between these 2 groups – and therefore the spin which Howard puts on these tales should be understood as poetic license……)
It is my sad duty to record the end of the Young Marrieds.
You may place the blame on their trip to a recording of the sitcom Robin’s Nest. I couldn’t possibly comment. That was in February 1980. And clearly the participants had not recovered, for the Young Marrieds’ AGM in April was not quorate and no committee could be elected. (Fortunately, in 2015 there’s never a problem about achieving a quorate AGM….) The meeting was rearranged for May, when ‘we must determine whether there is enough interest to continue KYM in its present form, any other form, or whether to wind it up’ – this 1980 soul-searching an echo of that in 1979. But at the rearranged meeting, all seemed well. A new committee took office.
The same month, however, some ex-Young Marrieds (no longer young, but still married) set up a group ‘with the purpose of ensuring regular social events for all members of the Congregation’. Was this a dig at the ageism of the Young Marrieds, the sexism of the Women’s Society? We may never know. Some of those responsible are still very much with us, and they’re not telling. But they were certainly in competition – the new group offering a family picnic and games afternoon in Manor Park, New Malden, on July 20, and the YMs’ Marble Hill picnic and rounders match taking place just two weeks later. Something had to give….
The Young Marrieds survived the blow at first, with ‘A record turnout for table tennis’, at which ‘the singles title was taken by Paul (The Sport) L’. (Surely a nickname which we should revive?) But though no-one predicted it at the time, this was the Young Marrieds’ last gasp. The October 1980 KN reported that ‘because most of our members were “over the age of consent”, or rather of being eligible for YM membership, the YOUNG MARRIEDS will not, at present, be able to carry on’.
It was the end of an era.
There was, however, also good news in 1980. I reported a while ago on the athletic triumphs of our very own Philip Hyman and Karen Levene. But track sports were not the only area in which KLS vanquished the opposition; not at all. We were also pre-eminent in a more niche activity. Step forward Jayson Scheib – winner of first prize in the junior individual work category at the May 1980 Inter-Religion School Project Competition for his Lego model of KLS! Jayson: Does the model still exist? If not, could you recreate it?