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Tributes paid to ex-Christopher Rawlins teacher “Mr Marlow”

Published: 15/06/2018 1:15 PM Updated: 18/06/2018 9:55

Former Christopher Rawlins senior teacher and deputy head Ken Marlow has died. Mr Marlow was 95 and passed away on June 12th after a short illness.

Mr Marlow taught at Christopher Rawlins from the school’s opening in 1962 having previously taught at Adderbury Boys School (now Rawlins House) on Adderbury Village Green from the early 1950s. He retired from teaching in July 1982.

Born in Banbury, Kenneth Marlow spent much of his early years in Oxford and served in the army during the second world war. On leaving the army Mr Marlow was offered career training and having seen how much the country needed successful young people he decided to train as a teacher to be part of their lives. One of his first positions was teaching at Tackley School alongside his wife Elsie. After taking a teaching position at Adderbury Boy’s School, Mr and Mrs Marlow moved to the village in the late 1950s and settled in a bungalow in the newly built Margaret’s Road. The development of the new Christopher Rawlins School saw Mr Marlow promoted to the position of Deputy Head.

Mr Marlow will be remembered by many with affection and respect.

Former Adderbury resident Andy Cox who now lives in Goring-on-Thames remembers craft sessions in Mr Marlow’s class, “We used glue that had to be heated up because it set rock solid. It stank - a bit like tar”. Many will remember Mr Marlow cycling to school but Mr Cox also remembers his car. “He drove a white VW Polo, probably one of the first and he managed to keep it going for years”.

Edd Frost of the Oxford Road recalls just missing out on being taught by Mr Marlow. Mr Frost said, “Many will remember Mr Marlow as an inspirational teacher spanning many generations. I have personally always been totally amazed at the age span of local people he actually taught. Many with long lasting memories of his teaching styles and manners which have never left them. Mr Marlow retired the year before he would have taught me in 1984 and I remember at the time being quite relieved as to me he was terrifying”.

Anne Neale of Walton Avenue recalled when her family lived in Green Farm and Mr Marlow had been overseeing pupils from the Boy School playing Cricket on the Green. Miss Neale told Adderbury News, “One of the boys hit the ball and it landed on the tractor shed, breaking a tile. Mr Marlow immediately came across, apologised to my mother and offered to pay for the damage. However my mother said not to worry as it was impressive that the youngster had managed to hit the ball that far!”.

Mr Marlow continued to organise cricket for his pupils at Christopher Rawlins and Adderbury News’ Editor Andy Green recalls wide stumps to give poorer bowlers a chance. “Mr Marlow would place the stumps further apart than normal meaning the bales wouldn’t sit on top. So a piece of board was placed in front giving the bowler a good chance of getting a shot on target!”.

Mr Green also recalled the respect pupils had for Mr Marlow. “He was a teacher you feared upsetting, but that was good because I am a better person for having been lucky enough to have spent a year in his care. When we were working on projects if the noise in the classroom got above a very low level he had a bell he would ring and then silence resumed. He also liked a cup of tea mid-morning and again in the afternoon. One lucky pupil each year was elected to make his tea and this was seen as a real honour.”

It is estimated more than 1,000 young people benefited from Mr Marlow’s strict but fair guidance from learning the “Marion Richardson” style of hand writing with fountain pens to gaining respect for authority with the knowledge Mr Marlow was in charge.

Edd Frost will be overseeing Mr Marlow’s funeral and added, “Talking to his neighbours, whom he became close to in recent times, it was clear that he cared deeply for the many children he taught. He even turned down the opportunity of becoming head as he felt he would not have had the teaching opportunities with that position”.

Outside of school Mr Marlow had been a keen golf player and a member of Tadmarton Gold Club for over 50 years. He also enjoyed playing bridge. Upon retiring he re-established an earlier love for ice skating and travelled to Oxford three times a week to participate in ice dancing.

Mr Marlow was a very proud and private man who in recent years missed his late wife Elsie very much. When asked as to why he never had children he stated that he "had hundreds" quoting from the book 'Goodbye Mr Chips'. He had a great memory of all of the generations of children he had taught and kept hundreds of the many letters and writings from these children.

In 2012 Mr Marlow returned to Christopher Rawlins as part of the school’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Andy and Jeanette Barnes had been Mr Marlow’s neighbours and had become very good friends with him. Mrs Barnes recalled just sitting and chatting with Mr Marlow who was able to recall all his former pupils. Mrs Barnes told Adderbury News that they had been planning to organise a book of Mr Marlow’s letters from pupils. “When recently he decided the time was right to move out of Margaret’s Road there just wasn’t the room to take all of the letters he had kept from former pupils. We were working with Chris Holmes to get them all made into a book for him to keep, but sadly it wasn’t completed in time before he passed away.   We still plan to complete the book in his memory”.

Mr Marlow had recently moved into Godswell Park Residential Care Home in Bloxham. Here he loved the fact he was cared for by some of his former pupils. His funeral service will take place at Banbury Crematorium on Friday 29th June at 12.00 noon. Donations in his memory will be for The Alzheimer's Society in tribute to his late wife whom he cared for up to her passing some years ago. There will be an opportunity of donating at the funeral service, or donations can also be made on line through, or by post to 20 Horton View, Banbury OX16 9HR.

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