His chosen subject was chemistry and he lived next to St Albans Abbey station. He gained the nickname “Herman” due to his supposed resemblance to Herman Munster. It has to be said that when he hit his stride he was a gifted educator and could really impart knowledge and make the learning process enjoyable.

I would look forward to his lessons in my early years but at the same time kept my head down due to his somewhat manic and volatile temperament. He could, if something or more likely someone upset him, turn quite nasty – it was all the more scary because he appeared to be on the verge of losing all control. I later came to suspect these tantrums were deliberately put on to be intimidatory and he enjoyed being scary. It certainly worked, nobody took liberties a second time in Herman’s class.

He always seemed incredibly wound up and incapable of being at ease and relaxed. I think like so many of our teachers he was in the wrong job probably having just taken the path of least resistance into teaching. Today, he would probably be something like a bond trader where his drive and enthusiasm would be richly rewarded. Acting would also have been a good outlet for his intensity, his lessons were very much a performance I felt and none the worse for that, he just needed some applause at the end.