The Zimapanners

 

 

 

 

                                                

 

Cathedral Chorister from Tuckingmill

 Biography

Francis Peter Sincock (1929-)


Early years
 

Francis Peter Sincock was born in Gas Works House, Tuckingmill, one-and-a-half miles east of Camborne, Cornwall on 14 May 19291. Olive Sincock was present at Peter's birth. Soon afterwards, Peter and his mother, Ethel May SincockFT (1907-1971), moved to Truro where he grew up in a single-parent family, never knowing his father C. E. Martin. Peter spent the first ten years of his life with his mother and maternal grandmother Olive Emily Sincock (née Saunders), who ran a hardware store (corner shop) at 45 Pydar Street, Truro until rationing began in 19402, and where his mother worked as an assistant until 1939.

   

Mother worked at Vickers Armstrong 

When Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939, Peter's mother, a qualified dispensary, joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD), briefly working in a military hospital, but then moved to Swindon to work in the medical centre of Vickers Armstrong, the aircraft factory which built Masters and Spitfires during the war. During his mother's long absence (1939-1950), Peter lived together with his grandfather's second wife, Olive Sincock, in her sister's house following the death of the sister's husband. 

 

Grandfather emigrated to Montana as miner 

Peter's maternal grandfather, Francis Holman M. Sincock (1868-1927) travelled to America from Liverpool on the ss Furnessia, aged 22, arriving in New York on 26 June 1890. On his return to Cornwall he worked in a Co-operative store and then became a miner, but emigrated from Cornwall to America in 1907 to seek his fortune as a miner in the copper-mining hills of Montana. For details of his fate, see Moonshine in Montana.

 

Truro Cathedral Choir (1940-1947) 

Peter was educated at Cathedral School in Truro between 1939 and 1947, where he was a Cathedral chorister. During that time, Peter "had the good fortune to mix with St Paul's Cathedral choristers" who had been evacuated from London to Truro at the outbreak of the war. The two choir schools ended up singing services together in Truro Cathedral.

 

Teacher training and first post (1947-1955) 

After completing two years of National Service in 1949, Peter followed a two-year teacher training course at St Peter's C of E Teachers' Training College (aka Saltley College) and after a written examination was awarded qualified-teacher status in 1951. Peter went on to study a supplementary course in Divinity at the University of Birmingham and then took up his first teaching appointment in Tipton, Staffordshire. Peter deliberately chose Tipton in the Black Country. "It was a very tough area even in the 1950s. I thought if I could be successful there, I could be successful anywhere".

 

In Q3 1952 Peter married Swindonian Anne Heaton Mason (b. 1928) in Swindon, the daughter of a secondary school headmaster (father) and a primary school teacher (mother). 

 

Return to Cornwall (1955) 

In 1955, Peter came across an advertisement in the Times Educational Supplement for a teaching post at the boy's secondary school in Truro. Wishing to return to live in Cornwall, Peter applied for and got the job of teacher in Religious Education and Technical Drawing. At the same time, Peter's wife Anne also found herself a job as Lady Almoner (a hospital social worker3) at Barncoose Hospital, after having worked as an almoner at the Dudley Road Hospital in Birmingham between 1951 and 1955. Peter stayed at the school for five years. 

 

Zimapan (1955-1956) 

During the first 15 months in their new appointments in Cornwall, Peter and Anne Sincock rented rooms in the back part of Zimapan, while they were having their new home built in Bodmin Road, Truro. During that time they became friends with their landlord and landlady, Joseph and Daisy May de L'Arbre de Malander, aka the Dees. "The Dees were very kind to us, Mrs Dee being very helpful during my wife's illness. They treated us like their own children". The Sincock's 15-month stay at Zimapan is described in: 

Sheffield and Brighton (1962-1981) 

In 1962, encouraged by a visiting HM Inspector of Schools who suggested that Peter would benefit from a more intellectually demanding job in teacher training, Peter moved to Sheffield to be a lecturer in Religious Studies at Sheffield College of Education, teaching prospective teachers. Two years later, Peter upped roots again, this time moving to Brighton College of Education4 where he was offered the post of senior lecturer in Religious Studies, a position he held for 17 years. Peter and Anne divorced in 1971. 

 

Retirement (1981) 

Peter decided to retire from full-time teaching in 1981 under an attractive early-retirement scheme. Five years later, he moved to Norfolk and married English teacher Irene Stewart in February 1986 in Watton, but took up teaching work again as a supply or part-time teacher in various Norfolk schools. 

 

Civic duties (1981-2010) 

Peter has led an active retirement since 1981. In 1982, Peter moved to Norfolk and took on various civic duties. From 1987, he became involved in the work of the Parish Council and was its Chairman for 14 years (1996-2010). Following a mild stroke in 1996 from which he fully recovered, Peter gave up the chairmanship of the Conservative Association which he had held briefly. The stroke gave Peter the perfect excuse to give up his supply and part-time teaching work. 

 

In 2010, Peter eventually decided he had "done his bit for the community" and so at the age of 81 gave up his Parish Council work. Which is when his "true retirement" began. Peter enjoys gardening and reading, particularly the "flood religious v. science literature", and says he now leads the life of a "country gentleman". 

 

Family 

Peter has three children by his first marriage: Caroline and Mark (twins) and Joanna [respectively, clinical psychologist, property investor and solicitor]. Anne Sincock never remarried and went on to work for the Ministry of Health as a social-work consultant. 

 


Footnotes

1. Peter Francis Sincock's BC, 27 May 1929.

2. Peter Francis Sincock, 2010.

3. Now called a 'medical social worker'.

4. Later became part of Brighton Polytechnic, now Brighton University.