The Latymer Link - page 8

W
e were sorry to hear of the death of Leslie Sprosen this summer. Leslie taught PE, French
and history at Latymer between 1950 and 1988 and I am sure that every pupil whom he taught
throughout his 38 years’ service at the school will have their own memories of his very colourful and
commanding personality.
Leslie was born in Muswell Hill in 1924 and attended Tollington Boys’ School where he showed
immediate aptitude in all kinds of sport but especially football. He went on to attend Loughborough
College until he was called up into the RAF in 1943. He served on the Burmese frontier and in India,
Singapore and Ceylon as a radar instructor for four years and after demobilisation in 1947, returned
to the UK to complete his teacher training at the Institute of Education.
In 1950 he was appointed to the staff at Latymer as Assistant PE Master to Mr George Briscoe,
whom he replaced as Head of Department in 1955. During nearly four decades at Latymer, Leslie
served under four headmasters: Mr V.S.E. Davis, Dr Trefor Jones, Mr Edward Kelly and Mr Geoffrey
Mills in many capacities including teacher, administrator, Head of the Middle School and long-time
Housemaster of Wyatt house, all carried out with characteristic thoroughness and attention to
detail.
On Sports Day, he always appeared in his peaked cap and brilliant red blazer to act as starter
and will be remembered by older Latymerians for the many hours he spent coaching swimming at
Barrowell Green Open Air Pool and, in the run up to Christmas, teaching ballroom dancing in the
school gym (the building that is now used as the Sixth form common room) with PE mistress May
Munns.
In 1970 he switched from PE to full-time history teaching and it is in this capacity that I
remember him, as my formidably strict but nevertheless very humorous history master in my
second year here. This would have coincided with his penultimate year teaching at Latymer.
All who know him recognised him as having the highest standards of work, dress and behaviour;
he had no patience for any pupil who evaded hard work and discipline. On the other hand, he
could be very concerned about pupils in difficulties and would take infinite care in sorting out their
problems. Leslie knew the true value of education – to bring out and encourage the ability to learn
and the acceptance of discipline to that end; to Leslie that was the true reward for the teacher.
Leslie served as an Honorary Vice President of the Latymer Old Students Association – an award
bestowed only for exceptional service. He always impressed on school leavers the benefits of
maintaining their connection with Latymer for its prestige and for the personal friendships built with
fellow pupils, and for the friendship and mutual respect of the staff. He was a great supporter of the
Old Students’ Annual Dinner and was frequently asked to speak at this event.
Leslie died peacefully after a short illness on 7th August 2013, his bond and deep affection for
the school he served for almost four decades remaining as strong as ever.
Leslie Sprosen
Teacher 1950-1988
Emma Halstead (1985 joiner) - LOSA Administrator
with Heather Watson (1955 joiner)
1,2,3,4,5,6,7 9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,...20
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