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Current Comments:
Post number:
1047
20th of November 2014 05:16 PM by Webmaster
Thank you Les for letting us know about John Samuel. I had the pleasure of dealing with him at length during his Frontline Schoolboy contribution and we kept in touch afterwards - he answered a request for information about one of his contemporaries as recently as this month . He epitomised the strength of character that seems to be present in so many of HGSB old boys - he will indeed be very sadly missed in many ways.
Post number:
1046
20th of November 2014 12:17 PM by les hamilton
Sorry to hear of the death of Frontline Schoolboy John Samuel, an illustrious former student of Hove CGS (B). John was born in Southwick and I can remember him playing for Southwick Wednesday , alongside my father, in the now defunct Brighton Midweek League, over 60 years ago. He was a journalist over a 50 year period and was sports editor of The Guardian for 18 years. His Frontline Schoolboy articles on this website are a fitting tribute to his journalism. He will be greatly missed.
Post number:
1045
19th of November 2014 04:19 PM by Geoffrey Christopher
Is there anybody out there who would be interested in seeing a photo of Tabby wearing only a pair of shorts and plimsoles? If so, I have such a photo, and could send it in for the Gallery. I think it might be quite a rare, if not unique, contribution.
WEBMASTER INFO : THIS PHOTO HAS BEEN ADDED TO THE GALLERY
Post number:
1044
19th of November 2014 02:58 PM by Geoffrey Christopher
Is there anybody out there who would be interested in seeing a photo of Tabby wearing only a pair of shorts and plimsoles? If so, I have such a photo, and could send it in for the gallery. I think it would make quite a rare, if not unique, contribution.
Post number:
1043
17th of November 2014 11:26 AM by Peter Ballantine
I have now discovered that the bomb shelters were demolished around 1962. Huts were erected for 6th formers and I recall our class being the first in there.
Post number:
1042
14th of November 2014 06:59 PM by Ron Riches
The shelters were not used in anger during my time at the school, post August 1944, and during my many smoke breaks spent therein I saw no evidence of any toilet facilities in fact I'm pretty sure they were not provided. Of course, had a bomb dropped on the back field, the need may have arisen but not as a major priority.
Post number:
1041
14th of November 2014 05:42 PM by Bill Brock
According to the January 1940 school magazine the shelters were erected during the previous autumn term of 1939. However, they seem not have been functional until the summer term of 1940 when "toilet facilities" became available. I can't believe there were functioning toilets in these shelters. Perhaps just buckets and a curtain?
Post number:
1040
14th of November 2014 04:55 PM by Ron Riches
Rest assured David, I was in no way casting doubt upon your goodself but surely with the exposure of historic abuse currently so much in the spotlight here must be another potential case for scrutiny.
Post number:
1039
14th of November 2014 02:44 PM by David Langley
Ron, the STAND site is readily accessible online. Before sounding off about imagination [mine, or anyone else's], I recommend that you read it. Teachers there are said to include a certified mental patient and a convicted boy-molester, never mind an impressive line-up of run of the mill sadists and misfits.

Unless you are a conspiracy theorist, Holocaust denier, no moon-landing, "Sinatra had Kennedy shot" dreamer, your eyes will be opened.
The period of grotesque abuse runs well into the 1970s.
I found the STAND site when researching AK Williamson, who is, I gather, reputed to have imported STANDards of draconian discipline to Hove, after my time, thank goodness.

From 1948 to 1955 the recipients perceived the discipline under Greatwood and Tabrett to be proportionate, usually fair, and protected the weak from the strong, the academic from the knuckle-dragger. We had NOTHING like STAND. As to whether this was because of the boys, or the staff, or the sea air, I leave to others.

I apologise to other readers for banging on ..... remember, I did try to change the subject to Darkie !
Post number:
1038
14th of November 2014 02:15 PM by Ron Riches
Your quotes relating to Strand Grammar School in Greater Manchester David must surely be the figments of somebodies over active imagination. We are referring to a school founded in 1688 that could boast no lesser personage that Clive of India as an old boy and if these incidents occurred in the fifties they would surely have attracted the attention of the authorities and no doubt the media.

From comments made by my brother of 1937/42 vintage, the air raid shelters were built shortly before the outbreak of the war with some of the groundwork being carried out by a few of the boys.
Post number:
1037
14th of November 2014 09:17 AM by Geoff Stoner
To change the subject from bullying and caning, etc. and revert to the question of the air-raid shelters, do we know when they were built? Was this at the same time as the school - with considerable fore-sight - or at the commencement of the war?
PS Those darned 'security codes' are getting harder and harder to read!
Post number:
1036
13th of November 2014 10:25 PM by David Langley
Below are quotes from STAND, spanning 20 years.

Quotes slightly mangled by technology, but what a gentle soul was our dear kindly emollient Mr Tabrett!
Post number:
1035
13th of November 2014 10:22 PM by David Langley
Q WEBMASTER'S COMMENT : THE FOLLOWING REFERS TO STAND GRAMMAR SCHOOL IN MANCHESTER AND IS INCLUDED ONLY AS A COMPARISON WITH HOVE GRAMMAR SCHOOL.
I attended Stand ยด52-57. "Haggis" lorded it over the gym, forcing poor buggers who had forgotten their kit to do gym naked. Boys who were unfit (anything from a broken leg to a common cold or leprosy) were sent out to pick up waste paper in the yard, if they couldn't produce a current doctor's note.
Ivor Jones was woodwork master. If you dropped a tool in class, you had to stay behind for an hour after school and sharpen chisels. Classroom thrashings were an everyday occurrence. The French teacher, Duckworth, used a gym shoe which he called Monsieur le Frappe.
When someone hid all the blackboard dusters the headmaster, Williamson, responded by having one lavatory door removed every day "until the culprit owns up". No one stepped forward, and after a couple of weeks of open cubicles, the doors were replaced.
and another:
I've read through the letters page, and found myself nodding in assent at everything written there, the themes of brutalisation, degradation and humiliation span the decades along with the names of the usual suspects: Haggis, Britten, Heinz et. al. Although they and the rest of the 'old timers' looked like social workers in comparison to a certain PE teacher called Paddy McCafferty! He made his mark on the arses of all of us there from about '76 onwards, including lining up the entire year on the tennis courts during the Tuesday afternoon games period and lathering each of us sequentially with a gym-shoe six times, and the last stung as much as the first! Other pretexts he employed for dishing out gratuitous violence included
Post number:
1034
13th of November 2014 02:16 PM by Robin Phelps
I was able to transfer from HGBS to the newly opened co-ed Haywards Heath Grammar School in 1959 for my fourth and fifth years and found it quite a pleasant change to be able to mix freely with girls. Unfortunately, as we know from Philip Larkin, sex wasn't invented until 1963.
Post number:
1033
13th of November 2014 10:43 AM by David langley
Stand GS Manchester.

Hair curling tales.
Post number:
1032
13th of November 2014 10:41 AM by David Langley
I agree bullying was not an issue in my time. It certainly is today! One wonders, tongue in cheek, if their is a causative connection between selective single-sex schools with stern discipline and lack of bullying?

There was certainly one on one conflict of course, sometimes settled, under Basher's eye, in the gym.

The debate about co-ed v single-sex rather misses a point, in that nobody has postulated good versus bad, have they? Only those with experience of BOTH types can have any insight in depth, surely? All I know is that the co-ed yoof of today, especially the girls, are sexualised to a shocking degree when they enter their teens.
This may not have anything to do with co-ed, but then again it may. Of my many granddaughters, the majority are/were either fee-paying or grammar single-sex scholars, and they do seem very level-headed and not boy-mad compared with their contemporaries.
In truth, every child is an unrepeatable experiment, one does one's best at the time [or not] and awaits the outcome.
Few on this Forum [or whatever we call it] regret their time at a selective single-sex school, do we?
As an eye-opener, have a look at the website of the Manchester School that AK Williamson headed before Dracula arrived in Hove.
Post number:
1031
13th of November 2014 10:23 AM by Bill Green
Ron, my memory about lack of bullying matches yours. The report of the incident at the Knoll was something which did not seem to happen at HCGSB.
On mixed education, I am sure my grandchildren would respond as yours have - what on earth is the issue!
Post number:
1030
13th of November 2014 09:34 AM by Ron Riches
I'm becoming convinced that I must have spent five years walking around HCGS with my eyes shut. I can recall only one incident of bullying and it was inflicted upon me. I'd been at the school for just a few months when I was grabbed by a couple of third form boys who threw me from the top of the blast proof porch of an air raid shelter. I bounced once on the grass bank before landing heavily on the tarmac drive. A hole was torn in the sleeve of my almost new blazer and a corresponding hole appeared on my elbow. I was a biggish lad and well capable of looking after myself and waited my opportunity to separately confront my tormentors and was quite satisfied with the result.

I rather think that some masters had reason to find fault with me rather than I with them but on the whole, I enjoyed my time at the school my only regret being that I didn't put in enough effort to achieve a much better result.

One last word on the subject of co-ed schooling. Here in the Swindon area, I can think of nine secondary schools that are all fully integrated and have heard of no serious problem that could be attributed to that status. When I asked each of my three grandchildren if they had found the situation to be a distraction, the two boys, one twenty-three and the other eighteen and at college looked at me with a "what's the old fool on about now" look whilst my charming fourteen year old grand-daughter's was more of an "Ahhh,Bless him". The common answer was a predictable "Why should it"
Post number:
1029
12th of November 2014 10:02 PM by Bill Green
As DL has suggested, I hope the recent conversations will continue apace in spite of any "withdrawals", premature or otherwise!
Having exhausted, and indeed solved most of the issues surrounding the aero engine and the wingless fuselage, I believe we have hit on a rich vein of thoughts and experiences of what I remember as a wonderful school which gave most, if not all, of us an excellent grounding to cope with the highs and lows of our adult life, thanks not only to the staff, but also because of the eclectic mix of fellow students, degenerate or not!
Opinions being expressed are interesting , particularly on the controversial subject of corporal punishment and the differing views on whether it was dished out mainly in a fair and justly deserving manner, or whether the sufferance of stinging buttocks for several minutes falls into any politically correct interpretation of brutality or the current buzz word of bullying. I hope these views will continue to be developed on this enjoyable site in a positive way.
Quite rightly we are all aware of the censorship ability of the Webmaster if anyone oversteps the mark, but the muted criticism I have seen to date on this site has been non specific and avoids any hint of character assassination of staff or pupils - long may this continue!
Post number:
1028
12th of November 2014 09:40 PM by David Langley
Knoll School contemporary account:
I remember seeing boys beating each other up in the arched corridors that separated the classrooms from the playground, with maybe a teacher looking on, unable and unwilling to do anything. There was a huge bloke in 4E or some such class who was incredibly scary –Pritchard, wasn’t it –and he had a gang of similar-sized youths who did as much wrong as they could. I never fell into their clutches. I saw him and his “team” hoist a small boy to the ceiling of the lavatories and let him fall. In those first weeks, I dreaded break-time –more dreadful than arithmetic, which I began in the bottom row. I was even told that some teachers had been beaten up by pupils in the past. But he of the cruel mustachios, black cape, green ink and heavy tobacco fumes managed to keep himself on top of the situation, scorning those “pansy” teachers who found it impossible to maintain control. So you see, Jim, one could easily come to the conclusion that as the boys were very rough, so the staff also had to be rough. I’m not going to take that route, but I do think we need to qualify our judgements about that whole tremendous experience. As the stick ruled in the classroom (and while ever-present, it was less important in some classrooms than in others), what could the authorities expect but that when their backs were turned (and even when they were not!) it would rule among their brutalized flocks. Violence, which accompanied the institution’s authoritarianism, became a lingua franca –always against those perceived as weak –and it recognized no distinctions of status. Thus, for instance, the most harmless teachers were picked on by our own class leaders, who deliberately goaded them into violence –against us! What were we trying to prove?
Post number:
1027
12th of November 2014 05:59 PM by David Langley
I rather gathered from my 7 years at HCGS[B] that conversations close when only one party is left standing,
as opposed to when the first one leaves.
Post number:
1026
12th of November 2014 05:36 PM by Peter Ballantine
It's probably correct to draw this conversation to a close. All i would want to say that as one who is slightly younger (retirement looms in a few months) I do see things differently from some of our correspondents. Yes I was grateful to be at the school and had some excellent teaching (A level with Ned,Ken Garland and Ross was so stimulating) and some good other activities (trip to Soviet Union) and made some good life long friends but I am not uncritical.
Post number:
1025
12th of November 2014 03:40 PM by Bill Green
In my previous post today I failed to confirm my opinion that, as Geoff has just written, the advantages we at HCGSB had from the all boys Grammar School outweighed, by more than 'on balance', our ability to learn what life was about, and whilst I hope that very many of the so called 'failures' who attended mixed secondary education will have coped well with life's slings and arrows, I would not wish to swop - even with the hindsight of 76 years experience. The environment of being able to concentrate, to admit publicly to shortcomings of comprehension in the classroom without the pressure of appearing less than adequate in the eyes of the opposite sex or to 'show off', is in my view a far more valuable situation.
Post number:
1024
12th of November 2014 01:34 PM by Geoff Stoner
I have to say that I agree 100% with Bill Green's posting 1023 re caning. As regards the merits or otherwise of same-sex schools, obviously there are pros and cons. My view, for what it's worth, is that the advantages (ability to concentrate, etc.), outweigh the disadvantages.
Post number:
1023
12th of November 2014 12:28 PM by Bill Green
As a recipient of the caning referred to in earlier posts, I did not then, nor do I now , regard it as anything more than justified (to varying degrees) corrective punishment for a range of misdeeds of which some were more serious than others . The corporal punishment inflicted on me, I believe had no long term effect on me and I cannot now recall even who administered it. I can't really imagine how any recipient would be in a position physically to see the look on the face of the master wielding the cane and in particular the reputation of Tabby in my mind remains extremely high to this day . The great respect that I gained for the teaching staff during my time at HCGSB was exclusively the result of their efforts on the sports fields and in the classroom to enthuse me to learn their subject. It was an essential part of their role to maintain discipline to enhance learning and I consider what I see as a most worrying loss of that discipline in todays environment as being a major contributor to what seems a decline in the UK's position in the league table of academic results from our secondary schools operating in the state sector.
By accepting the argument that corporal punishment is barbaric, have we accelerated this decline both in standards and in the attitude of the need for all of us to comply with the good behaviour rules of present day society?
.
Post number:
1022
12th of November 2014 10:00 AM by Ron Riches
I must apologise to you chaps because having urged that we move on I find myself about to take a backward step. Unusually, I did not last night drift immediately into an untroubled sleep but instead allowed the essence of recent thoughts expressed through this site to rumble around in my head until after no less than sixty-nine years it dawned on me that it was both unnatural and unhealthy for red blooded boys to spend the most informative of their formative years in a boys only environment.

Frank Richards pushed back the racial barriers when he introduced Hurree Ramsit Jam Singh to Greyfriars school but I'll bet he never allowed a single carnal thought to enter the heads of Harry Wharton or Bob Cherry and perhaps there he let his readers down.

During the war years, the arrival of Molly McTurk caused a bit of a distraction and investigating the reproductive cycle of a frog was slightly intriguing but we were deprived of the natural association with the fair sex and whilst we train boys faired marginally better I'm sure the "failures" who attended mixed secondary modern schools were better able to learn what life was about and to some degree better equipped to face the world.

Now, having gat that off of my chest I will again urge that we move on with apologies to Bill Lawrence for the length of the sentences used in this effort.
Post number:
1021
11th of November 2014 09:08 PM by David Langley
We obviously have nothing better to do.

One inherent problem on this site is the inability to Search back except by steam.

I mention this because I cannot recall if old Darkie has been mentioned in despatches. If not, a great deal might be remembered by some. Darkie was a Great War gas victim who lived as a tramp in an old hut, possibly a wartime Nissen, near to where Clarke Avenue council estate was built on the edge of the Downs ...... west of "Snakey", as KGV Avenue was known.

More if more is wanted.
Post number:
1020
11th of November 2014 07:09 PM by Ron Riches
As requested, I have re-read the post to which you refer but find myself a little confused as you appear to be implying that your intake was over two years. However, whichever way I interpret it I think that my five percent "degenerate" figure seems to tally with your assessment and I'm unable to accept it.

By putting a serious strain on my highly fallible memory, I have been able to recall perhaps four lads in the whole school who, had I been asked to classify them, I might have had reservations in respect of their sexuality but these reservations would have been based purely upon their demeanour rather than any particular activity. Of course, in the unenlightened forties, had such tendencies come under scrutiny reputations could have been ruined.

Please don't apologise for disagreeing with me David G, that after all is what healthy debate is all about.

Now, for goodness sake lets move on to more savoury discussion!!
Post number:
1019
11th of November 2014 05:00 PM by David Gregory
Wow!. Sixteen postings over two days. Any suggestions as to what the collective noun would be for this. Answers on a post card please. I did wonder, after we had solved the problems of the missing engine and also the phantom organ console, what we could possibly discuss in the future. Now I know. Ron, I'm afraid I have to agree with David L on several points. I did accidently witness on one occasion the spectator sport mentioned in posting 1016 and wondered what interested a group of lads in one classroom at lunchtime. I walked away in disgust. I did also suffer at the hands of one particular teacher well known for his liking of corporal punishment who hit me unexpectedly so hard around the back of the head that I wet myself. Also there was one lad in our year who was a bully who gathered three "friends" to form a gang. They mostly paid attention to the younger boys in lower forms. They gave me no trouble and perhaps the fact that I was the school and also the Brighton Schoolboy light cruiserweight boxing finalist helped me. I am aware that Webmaster may well feel the need to edit this post but you cannot escape or deny the facts of life. I have never let any of the foregoing change my opinion of the school in that it was for me an idyllic period of my education. Boys will be boys. This sort of behaviour has always prevailed and will always continue with the exception in most cases of corporal punishment. I suppose in a sadistic way its all part of growing up. I await further postings with interest.
Post number:
1018
11th of November 2014 10:17 AM by David Langley
Ron, Try re-reading my post regarding five from each year, and then tell me you mis-read it, there's a good fellow. Total ten over two years!
Post number:
1017
11th of November 2014 09:38 AM by Ron Riches
"Having lost the qualities that are normal and desirable and proper to its kind; fallen from former excellence." That, according to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary describes "degenerate" , the title bestowed by David Langley on no less than five percent of his intake to HCGS, whilst asserting that ten percent were ostracized by the rest of their year. I simply do not believe it!

As to the activity to which David refers with such distain, I believe it to be generally accepted as a perfectly normal part of the development of the male of the species although I must add that I never thought of it as a spectator sport or for that matter a group activity.

Now, for goodness sake let's call a halt to character assassinations of members of the staff and anonymous pupils and instead give credit to a regime that helped to mould us into whatever we are today!




Post number:
1016
11th of November 2014 09:35 AM by David Langley
Happy to seal can of worms.

Matter closed as far as I am concerned ........ let us talk of happier times and better people.
Post number:
1015
11th of November 2014 09:18 AM by Peter Ballantine
My April 1st story is that of walking in via the Holmes Avenue entrance to see a set of black bra and panties flying from the school flag pole! We all had a fair idea of who did it but nobody snitched. Bouncer was not happy but no repercussions.
Post number:
1014
11th of November 2014 08:49 AM by Peter Ballantine
sorry to have inadvertently opened up a can of worms; the incident that David describes seems most unpleasant but unless I went about with my eyes closed, I do not recall any such gross incidents in my time.
Post number:
1013
11th of November 2014 08:06 AM by David Hitchin
There was an incident one April 1st, when words were inscribed in the dust on a pale blue knife-edged Mayflower in the masters' car park. The whole school was called into the hall, we were told that the car had suffered serious damage (?) and we were kept waiting until someone confessed. No one did. Eventually we were marched back to our classrooms. Some fell into step and stamped up the stairs. The whole column was halted and every one was caned.
I cannot believe that the damage was serious, and the response seemed nothing but an act of vengeance, punishing the innocent as the guilty could not be found
Post number:
1012
10th of November 2014 10:36 PM by David Langley
You want more detail.... here is one.

Public, very public, masturbation, involving younger boys as spectators. This was well known, I innocently walked in on a session and was invited to stay. I fled. Others confirmed it happened "often"
Behind the tennis courts.
Names withheld but seared on my memory.

More if you want it.

I am glad things were better later, but I withdraw not a word.

Post number:
1011
10th of November 2014 07:16 PM by Ron Riches
I'm finding it hard to believe that the HCGS that I attended is remotely related to that attended by David Langley. For there to have been in one intake five lads worthy of the title degenerate and for those to be part of ten with whom no other boys wished to associate beggars belief. I'm sure that my fellow 1944/49 inmate David Gregory will agree with me that no such state of affairs existed during our time.

There were of course a wide diversity of characters but I would never have expected there to be the best part of a hundred lads cast in the same mould. I certainly enjoyed the company of some more that others but that probably says more about me that it does any other lad.

By the way, I would like to refer those who noted a marked similarity between posts 996, 997 and 998 to the first line in the third of those offerings.
Post number:
1010
10th of November 2014 06:11 PM by Bob Kennett
DL - "nasty miscreants " strong words indeed - I am sure the webmaster would happily edit them out at your request , especially as they apply to more than one of our illustrious correspondents. The use of the cane was iniquitous and barbaric . The memory of the look on Tabby's face while he administered the punishment was the only thing that had any effect on me - poor man.
Post number:
1009
10th of November 2014 05:46 PM by David Langley
Thank you. In my intake [100 boys each year] there were certainly 5 who were morally degenerate in various ways. Equally certainly, the year senior had as many. The year junior we ignored, of course.

I could name all ten, but will not. Decent boys avoided their company so that they formed nasty little subsets, usually gravitating to the C stream, woodwork, and three O Levels and out .... that is if they lasted that long.
Post number:
1008
10th of November 2014 05:34 PM by Peter Ballantine
Not sure what you mean by the 5% - did not see it that way in my time. not sure that beating people (some of my friends) made any difference Some of the beatings struck me as unfair and wonder what it did to those who inflicted them.
Post number:
1007
10th of November 2014 05:27 PM by David Langley
Creditably brief, but unfortunately vague.

I cannot see that you differ on ALL of my offering, in that much [almost all] of it was factual.

Which particular has aroused your difference?
Post number:
1006
10th of November 2014 05:16 PM by Peter Ballantine
I will beg to differ!
Post number:
1005
10th of November 2014 04:56 PM by David Langley
Believe me, the judicious use of the cane protected the decent majority from the 5% of really nasty miscreants. For such, the threat of a detention was no deterrent to behaviour that I will not describe on this site. The decent majority had no problem whatsoever with the sanctions.

For myself, in the third year I sailed very close to the wind: 2 x B detentions and 2 x A.
I was sent for as a prospective recipient of Tabby's cane, but instead received a mighty rollocking from Bouncer. It did the trick in spades, from then on I was a model of good behaviour, if on the dim side.

I gather that under Williamson the use of corporal punishment became widespread and indiscriminate, punishing the almost good with the bad. All of my cohort would, I am sure, agree that this did not happen in our day.
Post number:
1004
10th of November 2014 04:46 PM by Peter Ballantine
I suppose I am of a different generation but I am appalled at the brutality. Such punishments did nothing for my respect for the staff involved.
Post number:
1003
10th of November 2014 02:28 PM by David Langley
The shelters were a very useful feature of the back field 1948-55 ....... all sorts of games and impromptu contests took place over and about.

Caning was automatic for those who broke in [the door and escape hatch were nominally sealed but boys being boys ......]

Smoking and worse occurred inside, and the cane was the only deterrent remotely powerful enough.

One lad of my year [name withheld but known] received 3 of the best for "shelter" on Monday, 4 more on Tuesday [shelter] and 3 more on Friday [routine 3 x B detentions clocked up]. Made his eyes water. Ate off the mantelpiece for a few days. He showed all who were curious his buttocks of course.
Post number:
1002
9th of November 2014 08:07 AM by Peter Ballantine
Thinking of the war, when did the air raid shelters go? They were there is my time (58-65) and woe betide if you went into them to retrieve a ball - I know of one boy who got the cane for it. Gross!
Post number:
1001
5th of November 2014 06:05 PM by David Langley
Thank you. So not a figment of the imagination!

Phew!
Post number:
1000
5th of November 2014 05:36 PM by David Hitchin
David Langley asked, "So, who remembers the organ console !?"

Well, I do, and I remember Old Harry telling us what a fine craftsman our caretaker was.
Post number:
999
5th of November 2014 02:59 PM by David Langley
I am content that the "Tiger Moth" was a one-tme Hawker Hart. My only minor wrinkle is that the latter was said to be engineless.

One supposes that the "less" occurred as the engine was transferred to the woodwork room.
The discussion has certainly shone light into some dim corners of pre-history.

So, who remembers the organ console !?