Claude Francis Lewis

(former Headmaster)

(25.6.1913 - 31.4.2005)



Mr C F Lewis started work at Holloway Comprehensive School as Deputy Headmaster to Mr M W Brown.  He became headmaster in 1960 and retired in 1973.  When he was a boy, he had attended Bec School in Tooting. He excelled there becoming Head Boy, Vice Captain of the Rugby team and was a crack shot gaining the Bell Medal at the rifle club.  He went to London University and obtained an honours degree in French and Latin.

His first post was as assistant master at Mitcham Grammar School.  Staff were needed to take boys camping at Morgat in France, and thus he was introduced to the camping life and bought his first tent.

During the war, he became a P T Instructor in the RAF at Filey, taught gunnery and was subsequently commissioned and sent out to Penang.  In 1948 he married and had two daughters, Clare and Barbara: Barbara is now Head of Modern Languages at Winchester College.

From Mitcham he moved to Holloway which, at the time, was one of the first comprehensives in London with approximately 1300 pupils.  With Fred Lindgren, an Old Boy, and his wife, he took his daughters to camps that were organised for boys who could not afford to go on holiday. They all went on expeditions with the boys. HHe became a sailing enthusiast and many holidays were spent camping and sailing all over England with his daughters.  Walking was another hobby that he pursued again with his two daughters.

In 1973 he retired and moved to Emsworth at the head of Chichester Harbour where he had a boat.  He became Commodore and later Treasurer of Emsworth Cruising Association.  He taught part time near Chichester and became a School Governor in Havant.

 When the boat was sold he was accepted as a member of Chichester Arts Society excelling at not only producing very high class portraits but also landscapes.  Many of his pictures were sold privately at various exhibitions and his portraits were often bought by the people who sat for him. He held two posts of office for the Chichester Arts Society and often kindly helped other members by taking them to weekly evening demonstrations etc. 

He was modest, multitalented, even embarking on learning to play the classical guitar in his 80s.  He moved to Cornwall to be near his eldest daughter, Clare, enjoying visits to local projects like the Eden Project and the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth.

 Although battling with cancer for the last 13 years, he remained a gregarious man with a strong sense of fun.  With all his talents, energy and warmth, and wide circle of friends, he touched an enormous number of people.  His influence would always be a good one and far more than most people would be able to exert.

 He kept in touch with his former colleague, Mr M W Brown (known as Meredith) up until he passed away aged 98.  Mr C F Lewis died in April 2005 having reached the age of 91.

 Clare Austin Daughter