Martin remembers when All The King’s Men took to the stage

Hazelwick School production of All The King's Men, July 1970 SUS-150119-092819001
Hazelwick School production of All The King's Men, July 1970 SUS-150119-092819001
  • Play was performed at Hazelwick School in 1970
  • Primary school children joined in

These young actors took to the stage in 1970 for a school production of All The King’s Men.

It was the year Paul McCartney left the Beatles, Everton won the Division 1 title, 18-year-olds were given the vote and rock star Jimi Hendrix died the day before the first Glastonbury Festival was held.



Young Martin Verlander was a pupil at Northgate School at the time and was one of dozens of children to head for Hazelwick, in Three Bridges, to take part in the play.

The play told the tale of King Charles I’s attempts to conquer a Roundhead garrison in Oxford during the Civil War in 1643.

A Dr Chillingworth, who had been brought in as the King’s Council of War, created a siege engine similar to those used by the Romans.

His plan was to roll the engine down the hill so it bridged the River Severn and allowed the King’s men to swarm over and take the garrison.

Humpty Dumpty collapsed into the river and ‘all the King’s horses and all the King’s men’ know how it goes

The Romans had called the siege engine The Tortoise – troops on both sides in the Civil War called it Humpty Dumpty.

The best laid plans...

The citizens inside the garrison got wind of what was happening and widened the bank on their side of the river. Humpty Dumpty collapsed into the river and ‘all the King’s horses and all the King’s men’ know how it goes.

What the King didn’t realise as he and his troops trudged away, was the garrison only had three barrels of gunpowder left to defend the city.

Martin has kept the souvenir programme which included the names of every child and teacher responsible for making the show a success.

The team from Northgate were: chorus masters Mrs DG Curtis and Mr B Bagnell, costume designer Miss J Wetherall. The students were: Brian Barber, Christine Brown, Audrey Chapman, Wendy Creasy, Jacqueline Darby, Timothy Dauncey, Jacqueline Everard, Ruth Godfrey, Vivalda Griffin, William Gutteridge, Shayna Holloway, Carol Jordan, Colin Leppenwell, Stephen Manser, Shirley Ogilvie, Ronny Relleen, Lesley Rose, Teresa Setterfield, Sally Skinner, Janice Smith, Ann Townsend, Martin Verlander, Susan Wilson, Peter Wines and Linda Wood.

The Hazelwick orchestra was: Brian Wakelin and Sylvia Quaife on violins, Janet Simpson on cello, Vivienne McKay on bass, Rosemary Workman and Brian O’Callaghan on flutes, Valerie Tozer and Ian Bell on clarinets, John Robinson and Paul Bastin on trumpets, Maurice Frost and Michael Hodges on percussion and Rosamund Yeomans on piano.

The conductors were Pamela and Ronald Keates, the producer was Colin Edwards, lighting was handled by Alan Snelling and Jamie Finch, Ian Beattie designed the set, Sue Dyet the costumes, Ken Jones took care of the transport, and the assistants were Sue Hunt, Deborah Missenden and Patrick Barrs.

Children from Three Bridges School also joined the fun. Their chorus master was Miss L Hill while their costumes were designed by Gordon Murray. The children were: Lucy Bagley, Mark Bastin, Alison Brazier, Fiona Burgess, Jacquellne Castle, Paul Covey, Kevin Eliot, Stuart Finch, Vivian Finch, Anne George, Jacqueline Goodson, Murray Grant, Kathryn Hanson, Karen Harrison, Sharon Holmwood, Nigel Hunt, Gary Lees, Kevin Lenon, Monica Lindridge, John Naccarato, Anne Payne, Sharon Sturgess, Amanda Trussell, Marion Vick, Mark Williams, Howard Wright and Marion Wright.

Did you take part in All The King’s Men at Hazelwick School in 1970?