Richard and Mary Lucas were involved with Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School from and indeed before the comprehensive school opened in September 1974. Their four children were educated on our Wragby Road site as pupils at either the Lincoln School or the newly opened LCHS as were two grand-children. In due course we will write a much fuller appreciation of their involvement in the development of education in Lincoln. The content below is only the starting point of this account.
Richard Murfin Lucas was born on 29th November 1930. He was admitted to Lincoln School in September 1939, and left in 1948. He was a member of Lindum House, and took his School Certificate in 1946 and his Higher School Certificate in 1948.
Richard was awarded a place at Manchester University in 1948, and graduated in 1952 with a BSc (Honours) degree in Technical Building. Before joining the family building business in Lincoln, he served with the Royal Engineers in Austria. A strong and loyal supporter of his alma mater, he was elected President of the Old Lincolnians’ Society in 1986.
Mary Diana West was born on 22nd December 1932. She won a Kesteven Scholarship to Lincoln Christ’s Hospital Girls’ High School (LHS) in August 1943, following five years at All Saints C of E Primary School in North Hykeham. In 1951 she was awarded a place at Sheffield University to read English with French, and graduated with her BA degree in 1954.
Following graduation, Mary taught in a variety of schools including her alma mater LHS, and at Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School (LCHS) following the comprehensive movement in Lincoln in 1974.
Later in life Mary gained an MA and PhD from Nottingham University, which led to a secondary career as an adult history lecturer. She was a cathedral guide and co-author of Lincoln Cathedral: a Journey from Past to Present. She was also a member of the Survey of Lincoln and made several contributions to its publications.
Richard and Mary married in 1955, and had four children, all of whom attended either Lincoln School or LCHS, as did two of their grandchildren as mentioned previousy.
Both Richard and Mary were enthusiastic supporters of Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School for more than four decades in many different roles. Mary taught French for a number of years and both were consistently supportive and interested in the Modern Languages department. Richard continued to work in the family-run construction business and was heavily involved in the Governors, especially the Property Committee.
Given his background, Richard was professionally interested in all aspects of the buildings, their development, maintenance, and enhancement. Colleagues remember the termly Property Committee meetings, especially the May inspection walk around the site with the Architect, stopping for lively conversations on drains, flashings and so on. According to one long-serving staff member a particular interest was “the steps he had made for the Main Hall stage. He would regularly comment on how they were, and was the first to point out if anything had happened to them, in particular, edging pieces falling off etc. It was quite comical in one respect, in that it became common to remark "better get that fixed before Mr. Lucas sees it!!". His attention to detail became legendary, another example being the crafting of the replacement for a missing leaf for the meeting table in the headteacher’s office.
The result of another memorable enhancement is evident in the Library. The Lincoln School display cabinet had been moved there from the Main Hall around the turn of the century and continues to house the trophies from the boys’ school at the window end. However, as Mary and others pointed out there was no parity or gender equality while the trophies from the Girls’ High School languished in a cardboard box. Mary’s point was made, the Lucases and the School found some money, and Richard sprang into action. Contacts in the ‘trade’ led to the construction of an almost identical cabinet and the girls’ trophies are now beautifully housed at the opposite end of the Library to the Lincoln School ones. This was typical of micro actions supporting macro beliefs. Richard and Mary were a completer-finisher team as well as shaker-movers.
More Richard and Mary teamwork was shown off to best effect after the opening of the Garton Archive in December 2004 in the final days of David Cox’s headship. The new facility had originally been dedicated to the archives of Lincoln School collected by Charles Garton, but other items naturally gravitated to the space including a massive stone plaque from the Girls’ High School. This needed a special mounting, which Richard sourced and fitted himself with a little staff help. Both Richard and Mary served on the Foundation Governors’ Archives Sub-Committee first convened by Chairman Alan Nugent, and contributed to the ground-breaking decision that records from all four pre-1974 schools could be housed in the Garton Archive. At the same time they were firm in their big picture view that the post-1974 records of Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School should have their own repository, which is now being developed near the Old Hall.
Richard and Mary brought other skills and expertise to Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School, notably through their writing and commitment to the cathedral and the history of the city more generally through The Survey of Lincoln. One example is that Richard wrote about “The Lincoln Stradivarius” in 2003. More recently, in addition to writing up extensive research for a wide range of external audiences, Mary contributed several ‘Occasional Papers’ on the Girls’ High School. Both regularly supported Peter Harrod, our pre-1974 archivist, on key details, often shared with animated banter on the accuracy and interpretation of sources
Richard and Mary always brought energy, wisdom and wit as well as their considerable skills and experience garnered through business, City Council, local trusts and committees to the table. Purpose and benefit allied to value for money were at the heart of things. Any conversation could become a lively meeting of minds with a great dash of humour underpinning a huge determination to justify any decision and do the right thing. This was typical of their unswerving commitment to Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School. They will be sorely missed.
Mr C Williams, Post 1974 Archivist and Mr P Harrod, Garton Archivist