Dave Wright c.1949 - 52

Here is a list of masters initials from 1951:
PP (Pfaff)
JHM (Mosey)
WB (Mathmatics)
DMJ or G (History)
PJB (French)
FJM (Geography)
ARM (Art)
JAC (Chadwick - science)
CB (Scripture)
DM (Handwork?)
RF (Music)
DM (PE).

These were my teachers and some of their years:
My form-master was Blissett-Martin in 1949 ( form IVB),
Phaff in Autumn 49 (IVB) until autumn 1950 then,
Chadwick (form III) until Autunm 1951 then it was
H.C. Burnell-Jones in form IV (down one!!) and he until I left at Christmas 52.

My form positions were:
12th 5th 12th 11th 17th 2nd - (which I put into the space - I don't think my father was fooled!) 20th (more like it) 17th N/K 9th and 14th all out of a form strength of between 16 and 23.
During all that time I got an 'A' for essays, one for writing, one for dictation and spelling and one for algebra (although God knows where that came from).

Other memories:
I remember butter-cloths and queens pudding - a slice of pastry, layered with a spread of jam and topped with a custard that would stand up sideways.

Is this a record?
I just remembered! I held the school record for eating the most items on one piece of bread. TWENTY-THREE. It included sardines, cake, butter, marg, salt, pepper, mustard and a whole bag of goodies from other guy's tuck boxes. There was marmalade and jam and a bit of apple, some chutney - adding up to 23. We ran out of things to put on rather than any other limitation. I don't remember what it tasted like - fishy, I think.

"1949. At school in Gloucestershire. In a dorm with, I think, 10 other lads. First thing in the morning a master walked the corridors - there were two, the upper and lower - swinging a hand bell. It was always the history master, a tall gangling bloke. He would start at one end of the passage and by the time he'd got to the other end I'd be up and in the washroom. Two rows of basins, back-to-back and in one corner a foot bath with benches on two sides. We were warned not to spill water on the floor. Being wooden, albeit covered with 'Iino' it wouldn't be long before the ceilings below would become stained. This upper floor had the small dorms, the nurses and some of the master's rooms and the lower floor the larger dormitories, headmaster's study, dining room and serving kitchen. Also on this floor was small a medical centre, sick room and the baths.

The school was built as the manor house for the Lords Sherborne, minor members of the country's nobility and had become, with its seventy odd rooms too much for the present Lord and Lady to keep up. So they moved into a bungalow on the outskirts of their village of the same name and rented the house out to James Mosey who brought his school from Weston-super-mare to the rolling hills of the Cotswolds. He and Kate, his wife, took a wing for themselves and the masters, pupils and medical staff had to make do with the rest. The masters always wore cloaks, some a mortar board and the matron and nurses wore their traditional dress of blues and starched whites. Kate didn't wear a mortar board and never a smile. James, full of his own importance wore an inner cloak of green under his black one and went bare-headed, pipe always in the corner of his mouth.

So, having washed and fled back to the dormitory I was usually dressed before most of the others were out of bed. I can't remember what I did then - pratted about until the breakfast gong, gonged by either George or Stan the two table stewards who tended the dining room. Then into the dining room, collect my margarine which each boy had a weekly supply of. Half butter and half margarine in little chunks and both in a small ceramic dish. I used to swop my butter for the marg, it had more taste, after all we're talking about only three years after the end of the war and just about everything was still rationed. The dish was kept on the huge sideboard which took up all one wall of the panelled dining room. A little muslin cloth, which mum had to sow a name label to covered the dish to keep the flies off and this became, in summer time, quite soaked and soggy with buttery sweat. Air conditioning was science fiction in those days.

We sat where we could, usually six friends at a table and always as far away as one could get from the table at which sat the head, Kate and the rest of the teaching staff. James with his fingers in reach of a little bell which he tinkled when the noise of the boys got too much for him. The stewards served the top table, we boys queued, by table, at the hatch where we were served by the kitchen staff, recruited from local women in the village. The tables were set with cutlery, glasses and a water jug and carelessness by one or the other of us at the table would result in something liquid being spilled on the wooden table top. That brought the knees into effect, the quickest side lifting and tipping the table towards the other side and someone getting a lapful of whatever it was, soup or water.

The school catered in a big way for sons of foreigners who were sent to learn our language - well the English language anyway. We had Spaniards, French, Cypriots, a Malaysian. Argentineans, Persians including Hakak (funny how almost sixty years later I remember his name and half the time I can't remember my own). The Argentineans sat at their own table and were allowed to have gallon cans of olive oil, sent from home to pour over just about everything they ate. No marge for them! Hakak used the footbath each evening washing one foot with the other. His religion forbade him to touch his feet with his hands. I remember a lad called Barnes, (was it) {David Barnes 3 perhaps has been suggested - Ed} who spent a lot of his time designing double headed eagle passport stamps with a swastika swinging on its feet. During the time when snow covered the fields Barnes stamped out the words Deutschland ist der Saar' in letters large enough to be read from any passing plane! Something to do with the coalfields of northern Poland seized by the Russkies after the war. Barnes, if it was he was most upset! I suppose the school had its share of nuts, like any other institution.

Detention was held Saturday afternoons in the library. Not so bad in the winter but hell in summer when laughter came from outside, the sound of ball against willow and the afternoon sunlight streaming in through the windows. I spent a deal of time in detention. We used to have to copy copper-plate writing which was done between parallel lines printed below the example. Line after line of the same words and I don't think anyone ever checked them. It didn't improve my handwriting. Bedtime was around nine with different times for the teenies and maybe an extra hour for prefects, (I never reached that exalted height). The largest dormitory was next to the Old Man's study and held around 30 beds. It occupied a corner of the building with windows along two sides and these were tall, multi-paned frames with bevelled glass and sashes that slid up. The room was decorated with ornate plasterwork of a pale eggshell colour with gold outlining; and a chandelier. It must have been an entertaining room in the days of glory when the house was used for what it was built - maybe a ballroom. As with others on this side of the passage, the doorway had a massive five foot opening.

The kitchen had a stone floor and an arched ceiling and was out of bounds. We had drying facilities, changing rooms, a long, wide playroom' where all the individual tuck boxes lined the walls; a boot room which had a full length mirror just outside it - which I managed to smash one day. I remember my father playing hell for the 'breakages' bit on the end of term bill that time. The classrooms were all on the ground floor and the masters moved between them. I think the only one where the pupils moved was the room adjoining the Great Hall, the one Kate used for her English class. Elocution was taken there too by James and was the absolute 'pits' for Barnes, who came from Southend. He got stuck each time on 'How now brown cow'. It coming out as a dreadful whining sound which set the old man off something terrible. We daren't laugh! Ever likely be pro-Nazi. I'd bet he wished he could whip out a bit of piano wire and do the necessary.

There was a music class, mainly piano, my mother wanted one of us to be a professional musician - she was Welsh. I was given a violin which broke when I fielded an orange in the dorm one night. And one Saturday evening a month we had a film show over which James M presided. The first (and last) time I watched 'Treasures of the Sierra Madre. It was on the TV recently, it was old enough. The head boy then was one of the Crookes brothers and at some stage; I think there was a Sunday evening every so often when we had classical music from a radiogram and records. The school had its own church which served the village as well. Naturally service was every Sunday morning with the whole school trooping in to fill almost all of it. We didn't have to go out to get into church - there was covered porch that led from a side door straight into the church.

Morning assembly was held in the Great Hall and consisted of hymns - a bit of singing with Kate at the piano and then James would read out the house-points once a week. Each boy belonged to either one or the other of (originally four) but latterly two - 'houses'. My house was Eddington-Ross and the passing years have ensured that I cannot remember the name of the other house. There used to be four houses but they amalgamated into two when the school moved from Weston. Boys were awarded good and bad house points for deeds good or not so good and these were read out each week after morning assembly on a Friday. I got good ones and bad like most others. Some naturally got nothing but good points and went on to become prefects. A friend - 'Midge' Matthews got good ones - and became a prefect - long after I had left. I never in this world thought Midge would get that job, but there he was in a school photo taken years later and shown at a reunion! If you were caught swearing, punishment was also meted out at assembly where the miscreant was called out in front to face of the whole school while his mouth washed out with soap and water from a bucket by one of the nurses (?).

It was a good life and I greatly enjoyed boarding school, far more than previous schools. In summer at weekends we earned a bob or two picking strawberries for a local fruit grower. Hot work in the summer sun and I learned then that I had an allergy to strawberries and came out in lumps if I ate any. And those lumps really itched! The school enjoyed access to fields and woods and across the road a lake, the weir of which held the water back to sufficient depth for trout to inhabit the lake. The river, a small Cotswold stream at that point is the River Windrush. Past the lake and up the hill was a deserted barn in which dwelt barn owls, white ghostly figures in the mist at dusk flying silently over the reeds and rushes round the waters edge. In the woods above the school all manor of trees both natural and ornamental and to one side of the swimming pool a massive cedar of Lebanon with its great flat spreading branches and huge green cones.

'Tich' Griffiths, farmer's son from Wiltshire carried a cosh around with him. A lead end shaped round a short wooden handle which he used with astonishing success against moles. We'd be walking along when suddenly this thing was drawn from his belt and was thrown with great accuracy at a mole hill. Whizz, thunk and there it was - dead! And the caves - out of bounds, of course, but that made no difference, dozens of bats in the back. We used to scramble all through them, (the caves - not the bats) no thought that the roof could suddenly come down. Then there was the ice house, a round stone building, in the woods with its floor three feet below the entrance and hooks all round the top edge of the walls. Dry as dust in that place and cool too. I learned to skin rabbits at school although all our efforts at tanning their hides turned them into smelly bits of rag - we only had the ingredients from the dining tables as tanning chemicals, so it was hardly surprising. I never did any good with lessons being turfed out of Mosey's school just like all the others I went to - I left without any qualifications but by God it was the best of the lot. Whether it was the other lads who were there or all the great playground which surrounded the school - it was a grand place to get an education - of one sort or another. And now aged 70 I feel there's not much of my memory that's lacking but I would ask others who were there, at around the same time - if they will correct me. Remember the Lord of the Manor shooting one day at driven game using his one arm to swing overhead. The butt of his twelve bore had a hook arrangement which kept the gun in his shoulder. He would only be able to fire directly straight up - must have been a pretty good shot. I've got two arms and I can't hit them!

The Holiday Property Bond has some call on what was the Great Dorm, which I understand is owned by an American and which the Bond can rent to its members. So those old boys who are members of the H.P.B. could take a week each and invite one or two of us to tea, whilst we are still around - that would bring the memories flooding back."

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