Chris King 1946-51

Having just read your latest article on JHM (UD06/09), I started to think about my time at Kings during the late 40s to early 50s. He was not a bad man you know, I remember several times that I expected to get the cane for some misdemeanour or the other and he did not use it, instead he would keep me outside his study for 1/2 hour and then call me in and maybe give me a talking to or a "rocket".

One particular night in high summer I wanted to earth a *crystal set, so I threw the earth wire out of the big dorm window and crept down into the Great Hall. And as I was putting the wire under the steps by the side of the back garden I heard a voice "King, what do you think you are doing out of bed?" and at that my blood froze and I thought I am for it! But when I told him what I was doing and why, he relented and we talked for a while about radios and broadcasting and he let me go.

Also as at about that time when my Mother & Father's marriage was breaking up he seemed to be almost like a father figure to me and let's face it, certainly in those years, he was not a dictator as I believe he became in the 1960s. One of the best things he taught us was to be "gentleman" and to stand on our own two feet. This, I think you must agree is one of the prime things in life. The term 'gentleman' is now not politically correct anymore...! Old fashioned values had something! When my wife comes with me to any of our old boys "dos" she always feels that she is in the company of gentleman, so you see we must all be out of the same mould.

*[For those of you who started school in the late 60s you may not be aware of the term 'crystal set' to which Chris refers. It was a primitive radio receiver that used a crystal to detect the radio signal and a few other components to tune it. They had no amplification, so needed headphones and a strong signal to work - a good length of antenna and they also needed a grounding wire. They were not beyond the capacity of the majority of schoolboys to construct. For those of you who may be interested there is a very good article here. Ed.]

After reading Al's piece Chris King makes some interesting additions:
I must admit I was truly shocked at JHM'S treatment to those two boys. He certainly would not get away with it now! He must of started to get like that after I left, as I note that Al remained at the school for another 3 - years after I left in 1951.

The only incident that I can remember is the one, when after repeated warnings, he had a chap by the name of John Trimby stand up on one of the dinning tables during lunch time and JHM washed his mouth out with soap and water. He would have not hit John as he was as big as JHM.

As for the lack of Science training facilities, I think,that really was down to the fact that new equipment was not available as war only ended in 1945. Not only that, there was no gas on site so no Bunsen burners!

Perhaps Al has forgotten, there was a Wood Working shop in the stables, where I remember making a model of a clipper ship and I used to sail it in the Windrush.

I must admit there was a lack of education in many subjects but JHM was excellent with Shakespeare and Mrs Mosey was an excellent teacher of Mathematics. French was lacking, Geography was good and so was History (something they do not teach much now.)

All in all I enjoyed my time at King's, the comradeship was good and it prepared you for life outside of school. One thing I shall never forget is when I got called up for National Service, after serving my time as an apprentice engineer - the amount of blubbing that went on at night from a lot of people shook me. I on the other hand was quite used to it being away at school since 1943.

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