In this age of Quick Buck Rules we would do well to remember those who have imparted their wisdom and learning as we career en route through the stations of life’s long (or short) journey.

Nicholas Ward studied at Lowestoft then went to St. Martin’s during the 1960s. After this he spent three years doing post-graduate studies at the Royal Academy Schools, where amongst other things, he was awarded the Eric Kennington Prize for Drawing.

An avid British motorcyclist, Mr. Ward’s work has always been based on his love of drawing as inculcated by the Greenham era at the RAS. Ward has produced many etchings and owes his early interest in the medium to the input of staff at the Schools, especially Jackie Biddulph. Below is an example of his work: ‘Bantam Maintenance’, etching and aquatint. To see a comprehensive online show of Mr. Ward’s work, visit: http://www.birchamgallery.co.uk/magazine/nicholas-ward-etchings/ But do come back sometime!

bantam maintenance by N.Ward

Bantam maintenance by N.Ward

Ward left London and settled in his native East Anglia, where he taught drawing to students at Great Yarmouth College of Art & Design. He is best remembered for his relentless pillorying of the late caretaker George Mather – and for always being willing to demonstrate what he was ‘going on about’.

Nick Ward currently lives in East Anglia with his wife Liz. He illustrates for Classic Bike Magazine and has become an RE (not Religious Education).

Barry Drake

Tim Martin has recently announced along with Hazel Terry – that Barry Drake, etching and print-making tutor of the former GYCAD has recently passed away. To all Barry’s family we send our heart felt condolences. In time we shall remember Barry’s charm and kindness and put further posts here to remind us of this. For now, anyone with a comment, memorabilia etc. who would like to add to this blog – please contact admin through the site via a contact form at the base of any blog on the main page.

b&w photo of Barry Drake and colleagues teachers at GYCAD
Barry Drake and colleagues (including Colin Giles) as students. Circa 1956


  1. John Waudby

    I have a sketch of Berney Arms Mill on the Norfolk broads signed N.Ward,Am I to presume this is the same person as described above.
    Regrads John

  2. Dear John,
    it is very likely that the sketch you have is by Nicholas Ward, as described here. If you could send me a scanned copy or a link to an uploaded image of it I could quickly confirm whether or not it is by Mr. Ward.

  3. I have just found out that the lovely Barry Drake has died and in trying to find a picture of the GT Yarmouth art college I have found your site.
    Best wishes

  4. Ann Whyntie (nee Watson)

    I have a signed etching print by Barry Drake. i believe he was a pupil of my late father, George Watson, who taught painting and drawing at Gt Yarmouth College of Art in the early ’50 s. My father’s untimely death in 1955 pre dated this picture, which I believe my mother purchased at a later date.

  5. Dear Ann,
    thanks for your message. I’ve been unwell, hence the delay in responding. It would be interesting to see the etching, if you are able and willing to send a scan of it?
    See etchings by Nick Ward at the Bircham Gallery online, very good.

  6. Glad to read that Nick is alive and kicking. I have fond memories of ‘Springstein of Yarmouth’ trying to teach us art students in the very early eighties. always had a small space for his memory in my heart , along with
    Drake, Hughes, Newlands, Giles, Simons, huff (?) Parry, old Uncle Tom Cobbly and all!

  7. Dear Mark,
    I will pass your comments on to Mr. Ward and thank you for them. It’s a shame GYCAD was dispensed with, for a while I ran a blog about it referring to it as ‘Yarmouth’s greatest export’. Anyway, hope you are doing well. Keep in touch, best wishes from Alan Dedman.

  8. Great photo of Nick Ward. He tried to teach me printmaking in 79/80 but with a smashed up wrist from a motorbike accident, it was difficult to say the least.
    I go to Gt. Yarmouth often but alas no more art school. No NORCAT either,as we knew it. I ended up being a tutor there with Tony and Anne working with Dons students as he was on secondment. Thanks for the great memories.

  9. Sophie Miller

    The Late Great Fabulous Barry Drake is my Dad. Sadly he died a few years ago now in 2013, but the Legend lives on in our hearts and our memories. It’s great reading all the comments above and all the names mentioned are very familiar from my childhood.


    Omg… So please to find you after so long Di xx

  11. I attended GYCAD 1974-76 and had such a great time. Taught by the wonderful Barry Drake (Bingo), Nick Ward and Derick Mace. (I believe he too has passed.) Also Maggie Leiden for textile design. I’d love to get in touch with her again if anyone knows a contact for her.

  12. John Harlow

    I too attended GYCAG in the mid 70,s and I can say hand on heart that it was the most intense awakening of my love of art and indeed opened my eyes. Much of this thanks goes to Nick Ward (and his lovely wife Liz), Derick Mace (has he left us?) Mike Garbut, Bary Drake (Great printmaker ), infact all the artist/teacher at Yarmo, they were all inspirational and I have really fond memories of that Foundation year. Infact it was so totally absorbing that I was left gasping for a similar experience when I then went on to Brighton Art College ,where there was a distinct lack of harmony and little or no guidance and a lot of us were left floundering for many months. So deep respect to what was once a gem of an art college .

  13. Dear John see the latest blog I’ve done on GYCAD. My experience going to St. Martins was similar, it didn’t match what went on at Yarmouth. Boring in fact, except for the environment.

  14. Tim Martin

    John Harlow – good to see your words – Sue White shared some pics recently of the two of us – on that final project in the summer of 1975 for Derek & Nick – documenting the disused Yarmouth to Lowestoft Railway line …

    Alan – I share the appreciation of GYCAD – which in combination of inspirations from Barry Drake, Gerry Hough and Mike Garbutt – coupled with the willingness of the Interior Design dept to help me get some 3D Drawings into my portfolio set me off in the direction of Brum (industrial design & student politics) and then RCA (design research & more politics) … I ended up as a Penguin text typographer, and then began teaching doing my first teaching practice at LCP – where three decades and a variety of institutions later I’m still doing a little part time – introducing international MA Design Managent students to the history of their subject.

    I spent ten years teaching design on the Foundation at City & Guilds of London Art School – which manages still to cling on almost anachronistically to some of that real art school ethos of anarchic personal artistic exploration you both allude to.

    There is a very nice little volume published by Winchester a few years ago called ‘The Art School and the Culture Shed’ about the demise of the provincial and municipal art schools, including GYCAD which inspired the authors Beck & Cornford.

    Please note there was a Reunion last year – and there may yet be another – organised through the FB page ‘Great Yarmouth College of Art & Design’ – where there has been a free sharing of a variety of pics and reminiscences.

    Best wishes to you all.

  15. Dear Tim, thanks for your comments. occasionally I meet people from GYCAD, but I loathe Facebook so wouldn’t be inclined to get involved that way. Provincial pride; the sentiments of post-war Britain and it’s people – all but washed away by the tides of neo-liberalism, multi-culturalism etc etc. Shame. What can you do? Yarmouth was better than St. Martins by a long chalk, but then I didn’t spend three years there. Speaking with Di Capstick recently, we both said how it was all about being as ridiculous as possible. Best wishes from Alan D.

  16. I meant CIVIC pride!

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