Maurice Martineau Welcher

Maurice Martineau Welcher

b: 13 NOV 1893
d: 14 MAY 1981
The Lorne,

England. Died aged 88, had cancer at the end. Maurice Welcher (called Tuttsie first by his grandaughter my daughter Sue, and then by the rest of the family - AR-J), was born within the sound of Bow Bells. He was much disciplined by Polly, his mother, but probably had a reasonably happy childhood. The family left Bow Common when he was quite small and he went to a Dame school in Cambridge, then to Higher Grade School in Paradise Street, and successfully auditioned to sing in Trinity College choir. He was therefore able to go to the Perse School for boys, a Public School - where he learned Greek, Latin, French and German - all by the direct method. He left school to go to George Newnes printing house, but decided he wanted to change direction so went to East London College - later Queen Mary's (part of London University) to read Chemistry. Then came the Great War. He joined a regiment and they went out in the Aquitania to Gallipoli where he was gassed and invalided out.

By the end of the war he was teaching at Sherborne School, to replace a chemistry master who was at the war, and when that was over had got as far as Sherborne station when he was approached on the platform by the headmaster of Foster's (Mr Hutchings) who said that he wanted to expand the science side of the grammar school and would he come and teach there? He had alread got engaged (?) and so he and Winifred came back to Sherborne at once, first to digs in the Abbey Close, then to a rented house in Hound St opposite Foster's School and finally to The Lorne, Newland - first rented, and eventually bought and renovated, probably in the late fifties.

From 'The Western Gazette, Friday, June 1, 1956 - page 4':

Speech-Day at Foster's ".. the Headmaster (Mr H Lush) stated that .... Mr M M Welcher had informed him that he wished to retire at the end of the term. Mr Welcher was appointed to the school in 1919, and so had been responsible for the organisation and teaching of science there for 37 years. We have worked together for a long period and it has been my fortune to have as head of an important department in the school one whom I could fully rely on and trust. ........ Mr Hesketh, senior science master at Rithin School, North Wales, would take his place"..

The Headmaster said a new system of stage lighting had been installed. The old switchboard was Mr Welcher's work when they entered the buildings in 1939 - another example of his interest in their dramatic work ………..

From 'The Fosterian', the School magazine for Foster's Grammar School, Sherborne, Dorset - Summer 1956:

"With the end of the summer term there came also the end of a lifetime of loyal service to the School when Mr. Maurice M. Welcher, B.Sc. left us to enjoy a well-earned retirement. Mr. Welcher joined the teaching staff of the school in 1919 after service [in the Army] in the first World War and for thirty-seven years was senior science master. Of his thoroughness and competence as a teacher there is little need to speak here for they are well-known to many present and all former pupils, many of whom have written to express their indebtedness to and gratitude for the help he gave them. It is fitting to recall, however, that he also took a keen interest in many of the extra-scholastic activities of the School. In earlier days he was often a member of the combined masters' and boys' cricket team, for a number of years he was in charge of the tuck shop and over a very long period was responsible for the organisation of the Athletic Sports. Every year as the Christmas play drew near he could be seen, and sometimes heard, working miracles of improvisation with the tiny stage in the old schoolroom in Hound Street. Later, in the difficult days of the second World War with its resulting staff shortage, he took over the production of the school play, two of his notable successes being "Ambrose Applejohn's Adventure" and "The Amazing Doctor Clitterhouse." In this connection may we say here that many Old Boys still remember with affectionate gratitude the kindness of Mrs. Welcher in providing hot drinks at the right moment during the heat of rehearsals."

He was still being remembered 40 years on in the issue for 1996 when P.J. Stainer (1951-1959) wrote "I was pleased to receive 'The Fosterian' the other day.... Completing the little form that was enclosed made me think about my career in chemistry, brought about partly by my love of the subject, but also because the Chemistry Master in my day - Mr. Welcher - was a brilliant teacher so that even those who didn't have much flair for the subject enjoyed the lessons. Such teachers are few and far between these days..."

From 'As it was', by Fred B. Alcock, published by The Amateur Players of Sherborne, 1978:

On the title page of the copy he gave Maurice Welcher, Fred B. wrote 'There might have been no story, but for you'.

Page 7: In the Beginning: An evening in early summer 1934.... (in Sherborne). In the Church Hall... an earnest band of amateur actors played 'Rope' to an audience of about 70 people. The stage was a temporary platform .... There was no proscenium, the stage being bounded by green baize curtains... Wing space was at most three feet....

Impossible, one would have thought, yet on this platform Maurice Welcher had produced 'The Ghost Train' with great success for the Old Fosterians' Dramatic Society, then Sherborne's only theatre group with a continuing existence, and it was largely due to his ingenuity that 'Rope' was now presented acceptably... It was a scratch cast in a scratch show, working in wretched conditions to a wretchedly small audience. And it deserved better. Much genuine enthusiasm, months of preparation and at least a little talent had been devoted to that play and the end product was a good piece of theatre - thrown away for lack of adequate presentation and publicity....

Page 21: Joy (Alcock's daughter) was nearly five and started school at St Antony's in September 1932. " Amongst many happy new friendships we made there, none was to mean more to me than my meeting with another parent, Maurice Welcher, a senior master at Foster's School. I had seen his school productions of 'Vice Versa' in the old school building and 'Outward Bound' by the Old Fosterians' Society which he had staged under impossible conditions at the Digby (Hotel) Assembly Rooms.

I took to Maurice at once, which was surprising: to some he was rather a quiet, withdrawn figure - and anyway he was my senior by several years. Yet from the start, in the warmth of our mutual enthusiasm for amateur theatre, we seemed to understand each other, and in the years to come we were to work closely together. I came to admire his ingenuity in improvisation of stage effects and his knack, when producing amateurs, of knowing how far to coach and when to leave matters to the actor. In the early years of the Players he greatly influenced their progress, whether as their first producer, or as actor, or indeed in plays with which he was not directly concerned, for even then I frequently sought his advice and many projects were re-shaped as a result."

Fred B. Alcock founded the Amateur Players of Sherborne after seeing 'Rope', with Maurice Welcher as one of his main collaborators. Two important principles of the Amateur Players were that Fred was in charge, with complete freedom to run the show (and not have to appoint actors according to Buggin's turn); and that one important aim would be to make substantial profits for worthy causes. The actors were expected to cover their own expenses. Of Maurice Welcher his book says:

"Tons of Money" 1934 in the Carlton Theatre: There was no doubt about my hopes as to a producer, so my next call was upon Maurice Welcher... His face seemed to grow longer the more I went on. But I knew ... Maurice was not given to displays of wild enthusiasm. Eventually he delivered himself of the view that in farce any producer is entirely in the hands of his comedians, but that he would "hold the book" if that was what I wanted, so long as he was not held responsible if no-one came to see us.
"No, No, Nanette" (a musical) 1935: Welcher let me know in no uncertain terms that this one was not for him.
"Eliza comes to stay" (for the Vicar, in the Church Hall) 1936: Maurie provided the lighting.
"Night Must Fall" 1937: Maurice Welcher, in addition to acting a part, played the harmonium (off), delivered the oil, imitated an owl and was Stage Director. He had held the book for me in rehearsals and now saw the curtain up.
"The Scarlet Pimpernel" 1938 in the Church Hall after a row with the Carlton: Maurie Welcher was the villanous Chauvelin, looking alternately sinister and unhappy - not difficult, bless him.
"It's Autumn Now" 1939 for the League to Amateur Societies national competition: I was not quite so full of my own importance however as to imagine that I could play such a part and produce the play as well. So - again no prize for guessing to whom I turned. Maurice Welcher liked the play and liked the idea of putting up our work for public assessment by and independent expert. [They got as far as the Western area final in Bristol and came third].
"Cinderella" pantomime 1939, produced by Private Batty: With 16 army officers as fairies, a colonel as Buttons and a Peer as the Wicked Baron Bren.
1940 Amateur Players had become... an amateur variety agency, supplying two or more shows a week wherever we were told to go.... Maurice Welcher was a Special Constable with a beat which took him past our home in Bristol Road (where he always managed to find a light showing) and up as far as the Mermaid, so we saw a lot of each other.
"Much Ado About Nothing" 1942 in the open air, with the W.R.N.S: To my initial dismay Maurice Welcher decided he wanted to play Claudio, the romantic young Lord of Florence! And not a day under 50!.... I had left the choice of music for the play to Maurice Welcher and had expected nothing but Elizabethan hey-nonny-no. For the pavane and galliard yes, and for some linking passages, but otherwise he was quite unorthodox. ..... to introduce the play came this light little tune, the introduction to 'At the Dance' from Eric Coates 'Summer Days' suite. Had I been consulted I should have condemned it as out of period and that would have been another of my big blunders.
"I killed the Count" 1944: Welcher has often delivered himself of the judgement that "75% of the producer's time in an amateur effort is spent teaching the actors how to act.
"Dear Brutus" 1945: Of the set - My secret fears that it might turn out to be a fairy pantomime set were not really banished until Bill Hall finished lighting it... and Maurie had provided a chemical 'night mist' to give life to shafts of moonlight... Maurice Welcher was Stage Director...

Of his music making M.W.'s daughter Eileen says: "He was a chorister in Trinity College choir and also studied piano and organ. In Sherborne he played the Abbey organ occasionally during the war when the organ was pumped by hand. On one occasion the pumping youths made a noise so he went to tell them to shut up but fell over a chair on the way there and on the way back, making much more noise than them! He became the organist at Castleton Church before he retired, and after retirement music filled his life. He acted as a locum organist for several churches."

Shortly after first meeting him I had to ask him if I could marry his daughter but he made it as easy for me as possible. He was a kind, avuncular man who had a near continuous supply of the most dreadfully corny jokes and shaggy dog stories, many suitable for telling to children. My wife, who was taught chemistry by him, says that he did indeed tell his jokes in class.

Typical: Poem - "Boy, pliers, electric wires. Blue flashes. Boy, ashes."

Or the following:
F U N E M?
O S V F M.
N F U N E X?
O S V F X.
O I C, V F M N X.

Living as I did so far away (in Gloucester or Derby or London) I saw all too little of him even when he retired, but remember him now as a kind, rather silent man who for much of the day prowled up and down between the Den (where was his grand piano), his desk, and the kitchen, smoking his pipe. Who might at any time, out of the blue say "Have you heard this one?" (Apparently his father was the same). He had a folder with jokes and articles in it which appealed to him. A collection of cringe-making gems. For example:

Two medical students, doubting the purity of two samples of Union beer sent them along to the pathology laboratory for analysis. For some time they received no report, then this message was received - "Neither horse is fit for work".

Fact: The operation for the removal of the prostate gland was invented by a man named P. Freer.
Fiction: What is the difference between a man and a woman? - There is a vas deferens.

A master who was to preach in the School Chapel asked his form to write out suggestions for a theme. The answers were ingenious and most helpful, the best of them being - "Preach us a sermon on Sin with lots of interesting examples".

Completey bald-headed preacher announces text of sermon "my sins are more in number than the hairs of my head".

This form when completed should be submitted in triplicate to the Local Health Officer. Should the applicant die before the permit is issued the Local Health Officer should be notified and a new application for a permit to be declared dead (Form R.I.P) should be submitted by a relative or creditor.

DECLARATION: I declare that all the above answers are as true as those on my Petrol Application. Signature..... Date ......

There's no accounting for tastes, as the woman said when somebody told her that her son was wanted by the police.

The music teacher came twice each week to bridge the awful gap between Dorothy and Chopin.

A Conference (or Committee) is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.

Feeling like a sparrow caught up in a Badminton match

Chemist - Forgotten what you came for?
Customer - That's it - camphor; what's it sulphur
Chemist - I've never cinnamon like you
Customer - Don't take any notice of me, ammonia novice.

Solomon and David led very merry lives,
With very many concubines and very many wives.
But old age came upon them and conscience gave them qualms,
So Solly wrote the Proverbs and David wrote the Psalms.

Vital statistics of a mermaid: 36 - 24 - 1s 8d a pound

Little boys should be obscene and not absurd

The improbable has less weight in the City of Oxford than in other habitable part of the Globe.

Mathematical problem:
Man in Woolworths saw girl carrying tray of articles.
Man: How much?
Girl: 2d each
Man: How much the hundred?
Girl: Sixpence
Man: Then I'll have 67
Girl: Right, that's 4d!
What was the girl selling? Ans: Number plates.

When we goes up to London town
We likes to drown our sorrers:
We likes to go to the waxwork show,
And sit in the Chamber of 'Orrers.
There's a lovely image of Mother there
And we do enjoy it rather:
We likes to see her 'ow she was
That night she strangled father.

An indolent Vicar, they say,
Let his lovely red roses decay.
His wife, more alert,
Bought a powerful new squirt,
And said to her spouse, "Let us spray".

She was suffering from fallen archness.

There's no accounting for tastes, as the woman said when somebody told her that her son was wanted by the police.

Anybody can win, unless there happens to be a second entry.

The music teacher came twice each week to bridge the awful gap between Dorothy and Chopin.

A Conference (or Committee) is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing but together can decide that nothing can be done.

I am not young enough to know everything.

I do most of my work sitting down; that's where I shine.

He was born silly and had a relapse.

Gallipoli: Tuttsie never talked about his experiences at Gallipoli, and we have no idea what they were, but it is certain that they were very far removed from the peace he found in Sherborne! The attempt in 1915 to capture the peninsula guarding the Dardanelles cost the lives of 21,255 Britons, 10,000 Frenchmen, 8,709 Australians and 2,701 New Zealanders, and was Winston Churchill's major failure. We read about the disaster in Australia in 2001, as one reason for Australian resentment against Britain and its incompetent Pommie leadership, and in the January 2-8 edition of Weekly Guardian there was a review of 'Gallipoli', a powerful account of the tragedy by L A Carlyon. The Allied invasion force was subjected to murderous fire from above. "They dug in. Soldiers who were little more than boys and had expected the war to be like a game of rugby soon learnt rules of attrition. They got used to their exposed position, "the landing of stores by hand from bumping lighters, the strings of kicking mules, the heavy dust, the cramped spaces, the jostling crowds on the narrow beach within range of the enemy's guns". They became inured fo filth, lice, "bully beef and fly stew". They grew accustomed to the stench of death. After one battle a Turkish officer said that the shore was strewn with corpses "like a shoal of fish" and a British airman noted that 50 yards from the land the sea was "absolutely red with blood". To give some idea of the attitudes of the time, General Godley's wife allegedly complained that wounded men from Gallipoli failed to lie at attention when she visited them in an Eqyptian hospital. Yet the men showed enormous courage and patriotism. The peninsula was evacuated at the end of 1915.

From John Fowles, a former pupil at Fosters, by email in August 2004:

HI Alan
I found your site (which appears as the very first result of a Google search for "fosterian") and thought you might like to see this picture of the Fosters school staff from 1957 (sorry this was after your father inlaw retired from Fosters) as displayed on the UK Friends reunited site. - however second from the right is Mr Blytheman (known as "Happy" for obvious reasons) who taught Physics and Religion and therefore partnered Mr Welcher who was our chemisty teacher. I was very interested to see you refer to him as "Tuttsie" as the nickname he had at Fosters while I was there 1952 to 1959 was "Wastie" (spelling??).But after all these years I have no clue how and why that name was arrived at. All I really remember was that good as he indoubtedly was as a teacher he definitely did not inspire me with a love of chemistry although his successor "stinky" Hesketh managed to get me to pass the GCE advanced level in both Chemistry and Physics which ensured that I was able to attend Imperial College. [NB: Elizabeth says that Tuttsie's nickname c. 1948 was "Toffie" - ARJ].
  • 13 NOV 1893 - Birth - ; West Ham, London, England. Baptized 24 December 1893 at St Peter's Church, Upton Cross, confirmed 1 April 1909 at Great
  • 24 DEC 1893 - Baptism - ; St Peter's Church, Upton Cross
  • 2 APR 1911 - Census - ; Forest Gate, County Essex
  • 1 APR 1909 - Confirmation - ; Great St Mary's Church, Cambridge
  • 14 MAY 1981 - Death - ; Sherborne, Dorset
  • FROM 1920 TO 1931 - Residence - ; Sherbone, Dorset
  • FROM 1914 TO 1917 - Military Service -
  • EST 1917 - Occupation - schoolmaster ; Sherborne, Dorset
  • FROM 1919 TO 1960 - Occupation - schoolmaster ; Sherbone, Dorset
  • FROM 1920 TO 1931 - Residence - ; Sherbone, Dorset
John Welcher , Jr
9 DEC 1814 - 27 JUL 1898
Richard Welcher
14 NOV 1863 - 27 FEB 1942
Charlotte Larkman
1832 - 8 JUL 1918
Maurice Martineau Welcher
13 NOV 1893 - 14 MAY 1981
Mary Ann Miller
ABT 1862 -
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Richard Welcher
Birth14 NOV 186327 Primrose Hill, Doddington, March, Cambridgeshire, England
Death27 FEB 1942 Cambrdge, England
Marriage8 APR 1890to Mary Ann Miller at Parish Church, Doddington, Cambridgeshire
FatherJohn Welcher , Jr
MotherCharlotte Larkman
PARENT (F) Mary Ann Miller
BirthABT 1862Doddington, Cambridgeshire, England. To get birth certificate see Dec 1861 index for N Witchford 3b, 519.
Death Old peoples' home near Sherborne, Dorset
Marriage8 APR 1890to Richard Welcher at Parish Church, Doddington, Cambridgeshire
FatherWilliam Miller
MMaurice Martineau Welcher
Birth13 NOV 1893West Ham, London, England. Baptized 24 December 1893 at St Peter's Church, Upton Cross, confirmed 1 April 1909 at Great
Death14 MAY 1981Sherborne, Dorset
Marriage19 AUG 1920to Winifred Emilie Wood at Great St Andrew's Church, Cambridge. Wedding cake sent from Abbey Close, Sherborne, Dorset
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Maurice Martineau Welcher
Birth13 NOV 1893West Ham, London, England. Baptized 24 December 1893 at St Peter's Church, Upton Cross, confirmed 1 April 1909 at Great
Death14 MAY 1981 Sherborne, Dorset
Marriage19 AUG 1920to Winifred Emilie Wood at Great St Andrew's Church, Cambridge. Wedding cake sent from Abbey Close, Sherborne, Dorset
FatherRichard Welcher
MotherMary Ann Miller
PARENT (F) Winifred Emilie Wood
Birth15 APR 1892Back 102, Winson Green Road, All Saints, Birmingham, England
Death30 MAR 1992 Sherborne, Dorset, England
Marriage19 AUG 1920to Maurice Martineau Welcher at Great St Andrew's Church, Cambridge. Wedding cake sent from Abbey Close, Sherborne, Dorset
FatherHarry Wood
MotherAnna Elizabeth Dant
FEileen Mary Welcher
Birth26 NOV 1922Sherborne, Dorset, England
Death10 APR 2015Hart Court care home, nr Yelverton, Devon, at 4.30 pm
FElizabeth Ethel (Bebet) Welcher
Birth29 MAR 1930Sherborne, Dorset, England.
Death1 MAY 2024Exeter, Devon
Marriage25 JUL 1953to Private at Castleton Church, Sherborne, Dorset, England.
[S10968] Birth Certificate obtained from the General Register Office through the Family Records Centre, London
[S4673] Elizabeth Ray-Jones, nee Welcher, and Eileen M Welcher
Descendancy Chart
Maurice Martineau Welcher b: 13 NOV 1893 d: 14 MAY 1981
Winifred Emilie Wood b: 15 APR 1892 d: 30 MAR 1992
Eileen Mary Welcher b: 26 NOV 1922 d: 10 APR 2015
Elizabeth Ethel (Bebet) Welcher b: 29 MAR 1930 d: 1 MAY 2024