William Vivian Todd, B.A. (London), L.R.A.M., A.R.C.O.  (1904-1986),  was the first Senior Master of Carlton-le-Willows Grammar,  and head of Music.  He retired in spring 1968,  aged 64. 


Music was a special strength in the early Carlton le WIllows – all kinds of music.  Though ‘Toddy’ himself seemed to have no taste for and no understanding of anything other than ‘Classical’,  and argued forcefully that other kinds of music were unworthy of attention,   the School on his watch fostered bands playing Rock,  Dance,  Jazz,  and even Skiffle.   We had the chance to develop the fundamental skills and use them in whichever style we chose – provided we took those fundamentals seriously.  That wasn’t always popular – in the 1950s all a would-be pop star needed were a guitar and four chords,  it seemed.  But we got much more whether we liked it or not.  And we drew huge benefit.


So did the Nottinghamshire music community generally.  He helped set up the County’s Saturday Music School initiative (which gave extra tuition to gifted pupils) and the astonishingly successful Nottinghamshire County Youth Orchestra.  His arrangement for Choir and Orchestra of the hymn ‘For All the Saints’ was composed for an event at Southwell Minster which preceded the County Youth Orchestra,  and is still available from Novello’s catalogue.








Marcia Malia,  his daughter,  attended the school too and was one of the leading pupil musicians of her generation – as a singer, and violist both in school and in the community,  including the Notts. County Youth Orchestra which her father helped establish.  She writes here about his life from both the perspective of a daughter and of a pupil.







He would have been 100 on 4 April 2004. 

Who and what was my father?  Does anyone know?  I certainly don't, and when I was asked to write about him I phoned my brother to ask him.  He does not know either.









Driven, neurotic, conscientious, emotional (though he tried to hide it);

Loyal, puritanical, volatile, unreasonable;

Fastidious, untidy, fussy, old fashioned;

Intensely honourable, practical, intolerant, and forgiving:

He and my mother could have a huge row, and ten minutes later Dad would come back in the kitchen, having forgotten all about it.  He’d ask about lunch or something, while Mum was still fuming.







Grannie and Grandad Todd: ca 1902

He was shaped, like the rest of us, by his background.  He was born in a village called Kings Cliffe, on the road from Corby to Stamford.  My grandfather came from there, and my brother says Dad told him that when mains water first came to the village his grandmother refused to have anything to do with it because she thought there were "hedgehogs in it". 



Dad and brother Neville:  ca 1918


The family quickly arrived in Nottingham, my grandmother's home town.  Living in Netherfield and working in the railway yards,  my grandfather took all the local prizes as a tenor.  They eventually moved somewhat up-market, settling at 9 Redland Avenue and my grandfather formed a small building business.  Grannie Todd had a hysterectomy, for cancer, round about 1915/1920 and survived, against all expectation.  This turned her into something of a religious fanatic, though she calmed down a bit towards the end of her life.









In the mid-thirties, Grandad, driven to distraction by my Grandmother's behaviour, ran off with a lady who I later knew as "Aunty Flo".  

Dad wrote extremely scandalised and pompous letters to his father about this at the time, though they were eventually reconciled.

Grandad and Aunty Flo ran a pub,  first in Marlow and later in Bleasby (the Wagon & Horses).  They kept chickens in what is now, I believe, the car park.  Dad's brother Neville took over the building business, which he ran from a house and attached yard in Burton Road.  He built the pair of semis in Westdale Lane where we lived for many years - I remember the manhole covers in our driveway,  embossed  "G W Todd & Sons".  He emigrated to Australia with his family in the early fifties.







There were various relatives around Carlton, most of whom I hardly met.   I remember some people called Doris & Bernard who lived up at the top end of Wood Lane for some years before moving to Wollaton Vale.  I think the surname was Glover (my grandmother's maiden name).  I can only remember meeting them twice.  There were some other people around Carlton whose names I can't remember;  presumably some are there still, but I don't know any names.   Maybe you do?   (Maybe you are one?) 

Dad very rarely spoke of his background. We felt he was ashamed of his humble beginnings,  which is sad,  really.









Wishing to 'better' himself, Dad won a scholarship to Mundella.  We have old school exercise books containing essays on subjects as diverse as a post-WW1 fictional (and sanctimonious) letter to a former German penfriend; the future of powered flight; the cinema (to be used for educational purposes only, you understand: no frivolity or immorality of any kind.  Beware the cinema danger!); and a letter to the local coal merchant ordering "best Gedling coal"  (sadly now a thing of the past:  the Gedling mine is now closed).







Like my brother I’ve heard the odd yarn from Dad  - such as when, back visiting in Kings Cliffe,  Dad held the ladder so his father could paint a local Tory candidate's entire house overnight in liberal colours –  orange, I think (or was it green ...?)    during an election.









After leaving school Dad attended University College in Nottingham, which was at that time an off-shoot of London University, obtaining a BA (Hons) degree in French.  I don't actually know anything at all about how he got his musical training,  although he held diplomas (LRAM & ARCO) in Voice Culture and Class Singing and Organ respectively,  and he later became a Life Member of the Royal College of Organists.  Did you know that Dad's professor at University was the man whose wife, in 1912, ran off with and later married D. H. Lawrence?  He was Professor Ernest Weekley, and she Frieda von Richthofen:  a great scandal at the time.







So, round about 1925/6, armed with his degree and a teaching qualification, Dad set off to his first teaching post in Doncaster,  moving on from there to Market Drayton where he was to meet my mother ........... 









When Nottingham Forest was in the European Cup,  football songs were all the rage,  so my father wrote one.  It was a real Moody & Sankey/Stainer's Crucifixion/Souza march sort of piece, if you know what I mean,  with marching band accompaniment,  along the lines of "come on lads, play up and play the game".  He sent this off  (with full score) to Brian Clough,  who must have roared with laughter when he read the words and who sent him a pair of tickets to watch West Ham being hammered 6-0  (eat your hearts out today, guys!).  It was the first and last football match that my mother ever went to.  Needless to say, Forest did not record the song.  I think Dad was rather disappointed.







We can see from the above story that his Edwardian attitudes hadn't changed that much in the sixty-odd years since writing to his fictitious former German pen friend in 1918. 









Not that he hadn't had fun when young – he was a good hockey player for a long time, and later a Saturday afternoon umpire for many years (I remember him, when I was a small child, dressed up in Plus 4's, ready to go out umpiring).  My mother played hockey too, and was herself a keen musician.  She was teaching infants in the school at Market Drayton when they met. Her introduction to Dad was when he invited her into his music room to listen to Wagner on a 78 record; she told me of fun and hilarity at local dances doing "the Lancers" and such like before they were married.  If this was anything like the square dancing we used to do in 5A with Dai Roberts every week I can well believe that it was a riot.







They were married in Littleover, near my mother's family's home in Derby on 3 January 1933.  An address in North London was given for Dad on the marriage certificate.  He had obtained a post at Willesden County school teaching French and Music.  Although it was a mixed school Mum couldn't work there as wives were not permitted to work in the same school as their husbands, and in any case,  wives stayed at home in 1933.  So Mum took up the viola and soon began teaching beginners herself, once she had got far enough ahead of them to manage it.  My brother arrived in 1937.








Mum, Dad and baby Martin: 1937








When war broke out the Willesden school was evacuated to Northampton, along with the Kilburn & Brondesbury Girls' school.  They shared a local school building; the local kids were taught for half the day and the evacuees for the other half.  Kids were billeted all over the place,  some with the teachers:  we had two girls with us.  The teachers were far more involved with the lives of the kids than in our day.  They ran activities for them and they had to be Mum, Dad, counsellor and everything else for them.









Among Dad's things I found a several little teaching handbooks issued by the Central Council for Health Education, on the workings of the human body, on sex education, and even on venereal disease.







When he wasn't teaching, growing vegetables to feed the family, conducting sex education and all the other myriad tasks necessary,  Dad was a Fire warden (if you want any aircraft recognition books from WWII I'm yer man!)  Mind you, they were lucky in Northampton really:   a couple of stray bombs from Coventry and two doodlebugs were all they had to cope with,  I think.









After the war we came to Nottingham and he taught at the Boys' High School.  I don't think he particularly liked teaching boys only, or school on Saturday mornings, though he did enjoy the musical traditions,  with the annual "Founders Day" service at St Mary's Church.  There was an organ in the school hall for him to play – a thing he was to hanker after later when he got to CleW.  As well as his hockey umpiring he played the organ on Sundays at the Wesley Chapel in Broad Street,  and occasionally at the Albert Hall;  he kept an allotment and he developed the large garden at Westdale Lane, with lots of soft fruit for my mum to make up wonderful jams and bottles every year (they never really got over the war – she was still bottling fruit in the seventies).







Most of Dad's various activities were reached by bicycle.   In all weathers,  he wore a huge belted mackintosh and leather helmet or sou'wester,  with an attaché case strapped over the parcel shelf.  Later on he had a bike with a motor on the back wheel to help with the hills (a "Cyclemaster").  There wasn't a huge amount of money about in those days.  My maternal uncle had helped them with the deposit on the house in Westdale Lane – bought  for the princely sum of £900 in 1947. 

We didn't get a car until around 1958.








By 1953 he had had enough of boys only, I think. So when a new Grammar School was mooted in Carlton, only a couple of miles from home, he jumped at the opportunity offered, and the rest is history, as they say.


So what does it all add up to, then?








Golden Wedding,  1983


A conscientious man - we have a covert mathematical genius who was able to draw up the school timetable every summer holiday (just imagine – all those subjects and sets and everything to fit in).  So much for long school holidays – it used to take him weeks.




An obstinate man who would not flinch from what he thought was right – I have never forgotten the stand-up-row he had with Mr Draycott in Assembly one day.



Yesterday's man? He struggled unsuccessfully to get in touch with 'modern' culture and yet he somehow managed to bring classical culture nearer to kids who would never otherwise have contemplated having anything to do with it.




Organising man – witness the courses for the County Youth Orchestra, where he was librarian and general fixer/welfare officer/you name it, and yet his office was a tip and so was the study at home.  How he ever found things I will never know.



Determined man - when the Wesley Chapel closed he worked tirelessly to get the (very good) organ donated to Nottingham University.






Why did he arrive ten minutes late for nearly every lesson and then spend most of the rest of it explaining why? (Particularly resourceful pupils were able, you may remember, by judicious use of questions, to get him to use up the entire lesson in this way.)









Why did he take so long to mark exams?  I know the answer to that one – he went over every paper with a fine toothcomb trying to find more marks for people.







Why did he always let me borrow the car, from the moment I passed my driving test, no questions asked, to take heaps of friends to parties all over the place, and he never noticed when I got back a little the worse for wear.









Once, when I was nineteen and home from college in London, I persuaded some youth to drive me home from the infamous 'Carousel Club' in his mini.  Standing on the front doorstep when we arrived around 1 a.m. was Dad (talk about burning rubber – said youth disappeared at an unbelievable rate of knots).  I was then subjected to a large dose of "not while you're under my roof" and other such rants, irrespective of the fact that I was at that time sharing a flat in Shepherds Bush, and getting up to heaven knows what at all hours of the day and night, as students do.  I have never really understood why he did that.







Why did girls take him their troubles?








Finally, I give you a gem to contemplate:

Driving to school through Gedling one morning, c1961:

Marcia:  " Is that Chris (Walls) walking along over there, Dad?  I can't tell from behind."

Dad:       "Yes, I'm sure it is – I recognise her hips".


It's all part of life's rich pattern, as they say.








Marcia Malia (née Todd)

January 2004