Sid (called “Sidney” by Miss Courtney) is the caretaker of the school at which Jeremy Brown teaches. He first appears in “All Through the Night” and is played by Tommy Godfrey.
Sid is hard of hearing, speaks with a Cockney accent and often uses rhyming slang, which he sometimes teaches to Mr. Brown’s students. He is also something of a rogue; he tricks students into buying him drinks or giving him money on occasion, admits to stealing soap and crockery from the school and selling it, and has been known to spend the night in one of the police station’s holding cells after a night of hard drinking.
Sid was raised in England, and was said to be the fastest crawler on his street when he was a year old. He was a skilled fighter in his youth, and tries to teach Mr. Brown some boxing moves before his fight with Mr. Jarvis.
About 30 years prior to the start of the series, Sid and his wife (whom he can’t stand) had a baby that they put up for adoption when he was unemployed. They left the baby on the steps of an orphanage on Jeremy Street on an Easter Monday; since Mr. Brown was left in the same place on the same day, this leads him to worry that he is their child until they tell him their baby was a girl.
Sid and his wife aren’t married in “How’s Your Father”, but he always refers to her as his wife, so they may have married later in the series.
When Sid sees Albert Collins at the school, he tells Mr. Brown that Albert was once in prison with his brother-in-law. He later mentions that he drives for his brother-in-law, who works in the coaching business, in his spare time. Whether these brothers-in-law are the same person or two different people is never established.
Sid doesn’t appear often in Season 1 but makes more appearances in Seasons 2 and 3. In Season 4, he is replaced by Henshawe.
Rhyming slang is a form of slang word construction that originated in the East End of London in the early 19th century and is most commonly used in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. It involves replacing a common word (e.g., “stairs”) with a phrase of two or more words, the last of which rhymes with the original word (e.g., “apples and pears”). The secondary rhyming word is almost always omitted from the end of the phrase.