Reunited: Class of 1957 at Parmiter's Grammar School
PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:18 20 June 2019
John Painter and his classmates can't seem to keep away from their old school in Bethnal Green — even though they left in 1963 to make their way in the world.
The class of '57 return regularly for a picture outside the former Parmiter's Grammar School near Victoria Park — and usually end up with a pint across the road at the Approach Tavern.
"All the boys who joined in '57 meet up again twice a year," the 73-year-old retired aircraft engineer told the East London Advertiser. "But we're worried about the old building as a lot of our school history is there.
"We've heard that Raine's School which occupies the building today is facing closure and wanted to find out what was going on."
They posed for their latest photo when they met former Chelsea and Charlton midfielder Mickey Ambrose by chance at the gate outside who worked at Raine's for a year and is heading the campaign to save it.
The old scholars also attend Parmiter's annual dinner in a West End hotel every March—which has been held for the past 125 years.
Parmiters Boys' Grammar was the oldest school in the East End before it began its five-year move out to Watford in 1978.
It was gradually run down over the next five years while a new intake of pupils was being built up at the new site in Watford, where it became co-educational and admitted girls for the first time in its 300 year history.
The school has its origins in 1681 when silk merchant Thomas Parmiter left property in his will to endow six almshouses in Bethnal Green with "one free school house or room".
The school grew over the centuries from these small beginnings into a thriving boys' grammar.
But Parmiter's Foundation trustees decided in 1977 to move to out Watford and establish an all-ability co-educational school.
Yet it still keeps its East End heritage ties, with the Almshouses and pensioners charities.
It also has an active Old Parmiterians Society chaired by John Painter, who regularly organises the reunions with his old classmates who settle down for a chinwag about old times over a pint at the Approach Tavern.