David Hamilton's Memories ....
First Memories September 1961
Having arrived and got off the bus, being shown Peel Hall and told that the half of it called Norwich was to be my house whilst I was at Wymondham, to my horror we were then taken off to the farthest Nissen hut possible!! There we and Durham 1st years, and the 2nd years from both houses slept and lived. Lessons were in the huts, the gym was still the old one (a hut), in fact the only things we did not do in a hut were prep and eat!
Moving into a dormitory in my second year was like heaven
Looking at the photos of WC now I am glad at least one hut has been saved. I wouldn't say they were the best times of my life, but they are a part of history now gone forever!!
Being in the School Choir certainly had its advantages approaching the end of term before Christmas. Unless my memory fails me we used to go and sing around local villages and churches, getting rewarded with mince pies and mulled wine (and sherry sometimes!). It certainly was a "merry" time of year for some!!
What I can remember of my forms and form teachers:
1961-62 Form 1C Mr David Freeman, Miss or Mrs A Baxter
1962-63 Form 2C Mr Brand
1963-64 Form 3C Mr Brand
1964-65 Form 4C Mr Brand
1965-66 Form 5B1 Mr (Doc) Staveley
1966-67 General VI Mrs Hilda Hawkyard
not a bad memory after 43 years
Mr Frank (Ping) Laughton. He could be a bit disconcerting at first because he did the standby weather forecast for Anglia TV, so when I went home for the holidays, on would go the TV and there would be my House Master staring right out at me!! Felt like he was keeping an eye on me in my own house!!
I see that there is no mention of Norwich House Matron, Miss Ivy Restiaux. She was my House Matron fo rmy last three years at WC and gave me the nickname "Scruffy".
Because radios were banned at Wymondham College, I used to go on exeat to Wymondham, and on the market they sold small crystal radios with earphones for 50 pence. Easy to assemble and sell for a £1! Good profit, not good reception except for Radio Luxembourg and Radio Caroline, which luckily happened to be the two favourite stations at that time! Easy to use under the bedclothes at night!
1. I was involved in setting the white rats free in the Science Lab.
2. I was involved with putting a car in the school pond.
3. We used to go to a clubhouse in Norwich with the Rowing Club, and yes, it was a swift row to the pub, smoke some cigs, then row back to the clubhouse!
4. Russell Stone giving a farewell performance in Butler Hall 1964. I recently reminded him of this, seems he had totally forgotten!
5. Monday mornings lining up to see Mr Metcalfe for the inevitable whacking! As you moved up the school you could push the juniors to the front of the queue!
6. Winter of 62/63. Olly Seeley letting us make homemade ice skates in Metalwork so we could skate on the frozen school pond.
7. Using a stiff hairbrush to get "german measles" and a rest in the Sickbay! Soap was good for retaining the high temperature!
8. I was also involved with placing cows in Mr Metcalfe's office and putting a cricket sight screen across the end of the Nissen hut to keep them in!
Choir & Chapel
I was in the School Choir for my first 2 years 61-63, then my voice broke...unfortunately for the worst!! The Chaplain at the time was the Vicar of Morley St Botolph who knew I was an Altar boy and suggested I did the morning service at the Church. This allowed me to have a few cigs walking to and from the church, plus a few drinks of wine!! (before the Vicar arrived). As I recall years 1-3 went to chapel on Sunday mornings and years 4-6 on Sunday evenings.
I cannot recall his name but there was a boy in Norwich House whose father was an airline pilot. He used to bring a good supply of miniature spirits to school. I sold them for him and we split the profits, and of course sampled the wares as well!!
Captain Stavely was in charge when I was in the CCF. I was a Lance Corporal in the stores, Adrian Dubock was a Sergeant. We used to go to Brittania Barracks in Norwich and fire the old .303 rifles to classify in shooting. There were some good times at Wymondham.
This one is vague, 1964..65 ish, a school trip to Northern Ireland, taking in Belfast and staying at the University in Londonderry. I wonder if there is anyone at all who remembers this trip??
Norwich House 1961-67
Stevo Recalls ....
Listening to John Peel’s show on my illicit radio whilst trudging around the countryside.
There was this guy in the CGS who would shoplift books to order and sell them for half price. Later on he developed a market in condoms, tobacco and, I believe, hashish.
A teacher was sacked for developing an obsession with one of the girls.
Stealing brass pins from the physics labs to make darts with.
Pouring potassium permanganate on the ground and counting the worms that came up.
Someone broke into the biology labs and set all of the experimental animals free.
The rowing club. Was cool. We rowed to the pub, had a pint and rowed back.
The Canterbury House water rocket competition.
Oz magazine and the International Times [Me too! Here are some graphics - Ed.]
Stephen Farthing (Canterbury 1962-70)
Scrumpy at Millfield
The highlight of my time at WC was a rugby trip to Millfield school in Somerset (the only time any school teams went there in my time and possibly at all). Two teams went; the 1st XV and the Under 16 XV. Being so far away, the journey down had to be made the night before.
Both XVs were entertained by their opposite numbers and we heard that drinking was part of the 1st XV's evening. The Under 16's were taken to the cinema but many of us acquired bottles of Scrumpy from off-licences on the way. There were more of us with hangovers than without when the game started the following day. Whilst the first XV were being beaten by about 30 points, the Under 16's were thrashing Millfield's Under 16's (or would have been had we not had umpteen tries disallowed by a biased home ref.).
Our game came to an unfortunate early end (still at 0-0) when one of our three-quarters - Herbie Thirtle - suffered a dislocation and it took 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. Still, it allowed us all an early bath and to sleep off the previous night's excesses!
Charlie Smith (then known by 1st name - Julian)
1961 in Butler Hall; boys on the left and girls on the right of the aisle
Due to the lack of space in Butler Hall for the whole school, the first years and the CGS would have morning assembly in the College Chapel next door (D Jesus Anderson's empire). The chapel had chairs, unlike Butler, and during a hymn, while we were all standing, we would as quietly as possible move one of the chairs from the row in front of us back into our row and then evenly space the others along the row in front. Of course, when we came to sit down at the end of the hymn, the row in front would find themselves playing 'musical chairs' trying to fit onto one less chair than pupils. This could get pretty funny at times, as the staff would look over and try and work out what the kerfuffle was all about. Often some poor sod would have to crouch down in agony as though he was sitting on a chair when he wasn't in fact!
I suppose the thing most people remember about assembly, of course, was Ken Bowman whacking people, even girls, across the back of the head with his hymn book.
I recall the occasion when it was announced by a proud Muz that Russell Stone had won a place with the highly prestigious 'Black and White Minstrels.' He gave us all a recital in assembly. Francis [Wright] was embarrassed when Muz went on and on about how well he had done getting the best A Levels in Norfolk and winning the Richard England prize. I know how he felt, 'cos Muz did the same to me for my prize for the best O Levels in my year.
I also recall that a standard stunt was to put drawing pins on the piano hammers and between the strings on the night before final assembly, so that the piano sounded like a honky-tonk.
I am sure other people have more stories of memorable assemblies.
Ian Gomeche (Gloucester 1963-70)
Hymn Singing Practice
Every Saturday morning at the end of assembly, we had to have hymn singing practice (as if we didn't get to sing enough hymns during the week!). As with normal school assembly, the 1st years were stood at the front, and the VI forms at the back. This meant that from the 5th year back we could undermine the singing practice with little fear of being spotted from the front.
There were several ways of "improving" a hymn. One was to sing the 2nd line of the verse whilst everyone else was singing the first, and so on through the hymn. Then we got more adventurous, singing the words from different verses, different hymns and then singing different tunes! Eventually we started singing lyrics to well known pop songs or making up obscene lyrics.
Occasionally, Muz would say "well done, that was very good" just after we had totally murdered a particularly solemn hymn, which caused us to fall around with suppressed laughter. We had to jack it in one Saturday however, when Ken Bowman became suspicious at our good humour. He walked around to the back of the hall and started clouting anyone who deviated from the original!
I guess I was in the 5th Form or possibly Lower Sixth and standing near the back of the hall. A year above me and standing just behind me was Cornelius Van Dan Heuval. This guy was a real character and had taught us all a lot. He lived out in the Fens and he was Dutch. I think his parents were involved in fruit and vegetables. He was not afraid to say what was on his mind. This should set the scene.
We had just returned from a long break and after the usual prayers and singing, Muz stood up. "It has come to my notice ... ," his customary start to most sentences, "... that some of the girls have dyed their hair." This was against school rules. Muz continued "I know who these girls are and I know how we can prove it."
In a whisper just loud enough for those in the immediate area to hear, Cornelius said, mimicking Muz, "there will now be a fanny inspection" (but the Anglo Saxon version). The laughter started in my row and spread like ripples on a pond. Some of the girls on the opposite side of the hall went red. Muz went even redder. Some of the teachers on the platform had difficulty controlling themselves. Assembly that day ended in uproar.
Letter to the PM
In about 1965/6 there was much talk in the country about the National Debt. Everyone was obsessed with it.
One day I got this crazy idea to write to Harold Wilson, the Prime Minister, and ask him about the National Debt and, while he was at it, would he like to tell me a bit about Labour policies? I roped the whole of my dorm in and all eight of us signed the letter that I wrote. For good measure, we enclosed a one shilling postal order personally payable to Woy Jenkins who was the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time. Not that I was taking the piss or anything. Me? Nahh!
A few days later a letter arrived marked 'Prime Minister - Officially Paid.' This sat waiting for me on the table where (unfortunately) Seeley saw it. Then he delivered the famous words: "Just a word in your ear, Gomeche. Come into my study for a moment."
Knowing me, he was convinced that I had written to the P.M. to complain about the school. When I showed him the letter, he finally began to believe that I was not, in fact, complaining about the school at all. He actaully saw the joke and proceeded to tell all the other staff about it. He was clearly very relieved that I had not been demanding that the school be closed down or something.
The letter read:
The Prime Minister has asked me to thank you and your friends for your contribution which has been passed to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
signed - some minion'
A few days later another letter arrived marked 'Chancellor of the Exchequer - Officially Paid' :
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has asked me to thank you and your friends for your contribution towards the National Debt and to explain some of our policies........
..... and droned on for pages about incredibly boring Labour policies ......
signed - another minion'.
I reckon I got my shilling's worth, don't you?
We also had a craze for all writing to the Chinese Embassy and getting our Mao Little Red Books. You were nobody if you didn't have your own Little Red Book.
Recollections & Questions
First funny incident concerned our English teacher, Mr Geoffrey Quest. All the girls in my class will remember him coming into class, in the end room of one of the nissen huts; he walked in bold as brass stood at the front of class to address us all with his flies wide open. After a few minutes, one of the boys pointed it out to him and gosh, did he sprint out of the class, re-dressed himself, then came back into class bright red but never mentioned a word.
Second incident concerned Dave Goman telling me how to lay out a drawing. He told me I had got it the wrong way round and told me I would fail if I didn't correct it - I got an "A" in tech drawing.
Not so funny .... David Seward and I got caught by the history master for going out of school without our caps on, just across the road to post a letter in the mailbox, so told me I should report to Major Bowman. I forgot, so on Saturday night just at bedtime we both got six of the best from Major's trusty slipper.
In 1963 did the boys float Dave Goman's mini out on a raft and leave in anchored in the middle of the duckpond?
Reading Trev Dodd's article about setting up the projectors, I remember well the Geography Society, a chance to do what all young lads think is the norm, and lights out at Geog.Soc. was just the opportunity. Shirley Lewin was a close friend of mine at the time.
Trev Dodd lived just down the road from us, my dad was the local bobby and he "moved Trev on" a couple of times in the village, he was very strict, but it came as a great surprise when Trev came round our house for a party, and we were all drinking alcohol underage in front of my dad, which you could do in your own home.
In my last term at Wycol I made a beautiful guitar, but dad didn't like that one bit so I had to sell it, and I sold it to Keith Jermyn, wonder if he's still got it?
Does anybody remember a young lady, Julia Pitcher, being caught sun bathing in the nude on top of one of the girls houses by the house master at the time?
John Boughton (South/Gloucester 1958-63)
Remember the meningitis attack/scare at the College? I believe it was 1967/8 [January 1968 according to the College mag - Ed.]. One pupil went down with it & I believe he was in Salisbury House, but he recovered fortunately (Hawes?). I remember the whole school having to take 'horse pills' 2 or 3 times a day, administered at meal times.
Don't know if was the same incident, but sometime in '68 or '69 I can remember the time we all had to take medication twice a day; once after breakfast and also after tea. We all had to line up at the bathroom on each floor and in turn wash our hands and dry them on paper towels - not our normal hand towels. Then we would have to collect a dollop of some pink stuff out of a paper cup on our now clean fingers. It looked very much like the pink stuff on the top of the coconut covered pudding that we used to get. We would then have to firmly and thoroughly stuff this up our noses! Not very pleasant, though I presume it was effective as no one in our House got sick, as far as I know.
I seem to remember it coincided with a half-term or full-term break? I know that I had a prolonged break because it was deemed that I was a carrier (though not infected myself) and I had to stay at home until it cleared up.
I believe one of the pupils who got Meningitis was Hawes (forgotten his first name) but he wasn't the only one. We all got an extended Easter holiday but it was bad luck for those who were booked on the cruise on the SS Uganda, as their trip was cancelled.
The meningitis scare was some time in the mid sixties. I think 3 boys got it, one was the brother of Carol Carling (?) who was in my form. We got about 10 days at home thanks to this, an extended half-term break. We all had pills to take and dire warnings about reporting headaches. Fortunately all boys made good recoveries.
The chap in Salisbury who went down with Meningitis was Adrian Hawes (1967-?). He was a popular guy amongst that year’s intake in Salisbury House. I remember the swabs and pills too, and the extended half term.
Our first year dorm was populated by puritans of upper Years. We only had four first year starters, so we also had Pusey, Owen, Johnson and one other 2nd year in our 8-dorm. I think Owen started the swear box off. It got ridiculous quickly. After lights-out, debates on topics such as "This house believes that 'Flip!' is a swear word," ... and the 'ayes' had it! Cost me a bl**dy fortune!
The Woodbine Van
In the early 60's we had a greengrocer visit once a week to sell us fruit, presumably to keep us healthy. This chap came either from Attleborough or maybe Spooner Row, but he brought with him his wife. She was a rather rotund woman who filled the passenger seat and on the floor between her legs, covered by her large skirt, was a big biscuit tin. This was about a cubic foot in size and Oh, what treasures it held.
The same question each week: "what's in the tin today mum?"
She would respond, depending on who was in earshot: "all I can offer today are woodbines and park drive my luv." Many a good cough was had in the woods and behind the bike shed thanks to this woman (unfortunately it has taken 30+ years to stop).
The Mock Election (1964)
1964 was General Election year and saw the establishment of a Labour government under the leadership of Harold Wilson. Prior to the Election proper, a mock election was held at the College and was preceded by intense canvassing. Candidates were:
Michael Rice - Conservative
John Metcalfe - Labour
Frank Schofield - Communist (stood down prior to the Vote)
Linda Jarvis - Liberal
Martin Seaman - National Teenage Party
Says Michael: "Barbara Clare and Carol Finter did some posters for me, one of them with the election-winning slogan ‘Don’t be mice! Vote for Rice!’ Eddie Fincham fixed up an outside broadcast system for me to make PPGs from the Radio Society during the mid-morning break. I pre-recorded one of them for broadcasting when I had to go to London for the day, to be interviewed for an English-Speaking Union scholarship (which of course I didn’t get). Chris Smith took the election photographs. I lost mine a long time ago."
Votes were cast as follows: Conservative 108, NTP 56, Labour 37, Liberal 15.
The drinking expeditions to Norwich after (and, in some cases, during) meetings of the Engineering & Geography Societies and some of the away rugby matches.
The Sunday afternoon card schools in one of the nissen huts.
The plans to introduce potassium permanganate into the water tower (planning to advanced stage - chemical sourced - but never executed).
Early hours forays leading to liberation of the biology lab animals.
Fire alarms in the girls' Houses.
Relocating the machine gun (principal prop in the production of Sgt Musgrave's Dance) to the Sports Hall roof.
Midnight dips in the pool.
The occasional escorting of Norwich House colleagues to the arms of their beloveds.
Peter Ludkin (Norwich House 1962-67)
I taught languages at CGS 1963-66 and am still in touch with Ann Peterkin (Classics), David Hilton (Geography) and Marilyn Cox (was widow of Dick Cox who taught Chemistry and who sadly died a long time ago. She is now remarried and is Marilyn Tindall and living in Australia). Ann Peterkin regularly is in touch with other teachers of the same vintage (Janice Norman - history, Susan Warne - maths, and Jackie Parkinson - Art. David Hilton 'lived in' and therefore was involved with College things. There are others that I believe Ann knows the whereabouts of.
Wymondham College Remembered