This webpage was inspired by Mrs Ruby Meaning, who worked at Hillsbrow School 1939 - 1941. She asked what had happened to the school and as I knew nothing about Hillsbrow I set about finding out. Here are the result so far, and although my research has provided much more information that I ever dreamed it would, I hope that there is much more to come.
|The school badge |
(Courtesy Richard Symonds)
|OLD BOYS' REUNION|
|Two years ago we bought Knapp House in the village of East Anstey on Exmoor. This house had been a boys prep school called Kestrels. Lots of old boys have contacted us in the last couple of years and some have called at the house. We have discovered that the house was requisitioned during the war to house Hillsbrow School which was being evacuated from Redhill. After the war it continued as a school. Some Hillsbrow boys have been in touch with us too.|
We are holding an "old boys" reunion event on the 7/8th Sept.
We can be contacted direct on 01398 341170 or on email@example.com
|Hillsbrow School was opened in 1924 by Mr G.D.Seale, its first headmaster, in a house called Hillsbrow that had been built by John Linnell, the artist, for his son William. Before starting the school Mr Seale had been an actor in Hollywood, and his mother lived in Chale in the Isle of Wight. Mr Seale might have owned the building but much of its land was on a 7-year lease from Fullers Earth. It was advertised as being for the preparation of boys for public schools and the Royal Navy. Boarders and day boarders were taken from 6 to 14 years of age, entire charge being taken of boys whose parents were in India and the Colonies. The grounds comprised nineteen acres and included orchards, woods and kitchen garden. Probably the house and grounds remained much as they had been when William Linnell was in residence. |
In the 1924 advert for the school (see below) there is a special mention that the staff members included the Rev. W.J.Perry, presumably the same Rev. Perry who had been the head of St Annes School which had closed in 1919.
A scout troop was attached to the school and football, cricket and golf featured were special activities. Boxing, shooting, carpentry and Swedish drill were also featured.
Mr Harman was bursar from 1927 to1939. His wife and two daughters would spend five weeks of their summer holidays at the school each year. His eldest daughter (Mrs Atterbury) later became a part-time secretary there.
In 1930 a swimming pool was built.
.......The 1913 map shows Hillsbrow as it was when a private house)..................................................................................Headmaster Mr Seale c1933 .....................(photo courtesy Holmesdale Natural History Club) ...................................................................................................(Photo courtesy Mrs Atterbury)
One of the the earliest advertisements for the school, from the 1924 Holmesdale Pictorial Guide to Reigate and Redhill and District
|The pool being filled c1933|
(Photo courtesy Mrs Atterbury)
|The school cook in the 1930s|
(Photo courtesy Mrs Atterbury)
|Headmaster Mr Seale 1935|
(Photo courtesy Mrs Atterbury)
|Mr Seale with his mother (seated) and the female members of Harman family in 1938. Here Mrs Atterbury, aged 11, is the girl on the left.|
(Photo courtesy Mrs Atterbury)
|Headmaster Mr Seale speaking at at the tea following the 1932 cricket match at the school. (Photo courtesy Mrs Atterbury)|
A 1938 rugger programme (courtesy John Haynes)
|RECALLING GEOFFREY DOUGLAS SEALE by John Haynes
I met GDS first when the school was still in Devon. My parents had gone down there with me to have a look at the school. I recall a very large cricket pitch, and GDS getting up from a (think) deck chair. The other thing I remember is some boys coming and expressing thanks for something by saying Sawfs (Thanks awfully, sir) while flick their hands so that the limp index finger smacked loudly against the second). This was an example of GDSs way of cultivating little ceremonies and routines to create a sense of community.
My recollections are few, partly because GDS died while I was still in form 5. There he used to take us for maths and I dreaded it because I always scored naught in the tests and he'd pause over his mark book and give me a very discomfiting glare, holding my eyes, his cheeks limp with what seemed like great anger. Because of this I was relieved when one morning it was said he couldnt come to class because he wasnt well. But this turned out to be the beginning of the illness from which he died some time later and I remember my relief now with some unease.
Dark perhaps sallow complexion, glasses, balding at the front and sides. He had a habit of smoking without knocking the ash off the cigarette so that it grew and grew. He once returned from America to show us a new invention, the ball point pen.
I recall him sick in his study in a bed which seemed to fold down off the wall. There was a framed oil painting of his dog, Stumpy who was very old and died about the time he did. I was ushered in once when I'd done my first good of bowling, five wickets in a house match against Hillyard's team, Brow House. I remember the actual deliveries now: bowled Hillyard (played-on) then Perkins (yorker), and some others holding the ball loosely in about four fingers. GDS had some flat dark green tins of army supplies, white writing on them, with a mixture of things in them, chocolate and Horlicks tablets I recall, and so on. I believed they were given out to soldiers (or others) as basic survival food. These he gave out as prizes. I recall scratching my analysis in columns on the back of it. I was never old enough to play for the school while he was alive. Though I believe he could be quite angry over bad performances. A vague memory of other, older boys mumbling that he has annoyed, and seeing his very clouded face moving towards the nets. But this is very vague indeed. Apparently he had once been a very good cricketer.
The other boys showed great affection, which for some reason I was held back from, perhaps by my fear of him, and perhaps by the general unhappiness I felt, a homesickness that made me withhold real loyalty to the school, and at the same time made me feel guilty and not quite up to the mark communally. This also may have been a class origin, since I never felt I quite belonged - though I have scarcely belonged so fully to any other community than that one. It was certainly, also, a function of something at home which gave rise to that susceptibility to homesickness in the first place. I didn't know then that he had been an actor before the First World War, and only come into teaching later, at a school in St Johns Wood, I believe. Although he must have known my parents were in music hall he never mentioned his own past in the theatre to them, or to any of us. Photos of him certainly have a debonair Noel Coward charm, and John London thought he used it to good effect on the Mums. He was also a lay preacher and a member of the local rotaries.
He seemed to be away and in hospital for a long time. Once I spoke to him on the phone, taking my turn in the line going from the upstairs hall into the staff room. I repeated what other people had been saying, and asked him about his leg. I've still no idea what was wrong, and what he finally died from. Eventually there was an announcement by Edward Shegog, then the senior master, that he had died and some boys rushed up to the dormitory to weep on their beds. I felt little and felt guilty about that.
The whole school walked up the hill of Nutfield Road to visit the cemetery where he was buried. I recall seeing a wreath from the staff and boys of Bickley Hall School, whom we played matches against. Penfold was the name of their fast bowler, I recall.
GDS had an interest, background perhaps, in the navy and demonstrated the salute once. This comes out in early ads for the school in the almanacs in the Local Studies library in Guildford Preparation for the navy is offered.
After prayers the older boys would spend some moments chatting in his room before going to our dormitories. On the eve of cricket or rugby matches the team were invited in to his study and we stood in a line, he in front of his with his back to the fire, and we each had a sip from a tankard of beer. The symbolism of this escaped me then, and still does. Men together, in some way? Kicking over the traces? Bonding?
His birthdays were massively celebrated. We composed 'Many Happies', which were pictures to stick on the walls, with Many Happy Returns to Mr Seale, or GDS etc. And for the first one I made a model plane with another boy, but there was a muddle. I asked him to 'keep it', meaning look after it until the birthday. But he thought I meant it should be his, not a present. He was Blakeney. The next year Mum and Dad sent a rather boring tie.
I see him at the table in form five, opening all the presents for various people, often models they'd made themselves - of ships, planes - 'A whole fleet of ships from Fay (?Faye)' I can hear him saying. We also made a kind of confetti out of tiny pieces of paper, each of which had Many Happy Returns written tiny on it. These were rained down on him from the top of the stair well, a great helix of banisters going up and up.
The making of the many happies was done in the sixth form, and there was a notice with OUT OF BOUNDS TO GDS on the door. Once there was a mock crisis when he made to go in there. He was a very effective leader in all this, developing his own image as a loved head, and for many he was. There was no sense, doing the preparations for his birthday, that this was ordered from on high, or that it was an irksome task.
At breakfast times the prefect on duty would call for silence and GDS would call out the names of people who had letters and then skim them across the dinning hall across plats, cuts, marmalade jars, to where the person was. Then there would be Latin grace: Benedictus, benedicatur, per Jesum Christum dominum nostrum (I think! at least for the grace after the meal). GDS sense of tradition is marked by the dark oak boards he had on the dining room walls with lists of old boys and which public schools they had gone too.
Once we came back from holidays, perhaps a half-term, and heard there had been a fire in GDS' study. I have a vague notion this was around the time of his illness. The painting of Stumpy was now scorched around the edges, and quite a few items of furniture were dumped and half buried in the woods, along the main track from the cellars to the cricket field (parallel to the drive) which we called The Derby Course. They could be seen as we ran past a dip where the holly tree was, just before getting to the so-called 'Sandpit', which was out of bounds. Was this, like the hole in the field behind the cricket field, possibly in fact a bomb crater, like the one in the field behind the cricket pitch, also out of bounds?
There had been no painting of GDS so, as a memorial, they blew up a snapshot of him, and framed it on the back wall of the dining room, just behind the chair at which he sat with the prefects, and above the gas fire. It showed him sheltering a flame very tenderly as he bent to light a cigarette, and there were some blurred figures in the background. I think these were ladies' hats, and that it was taken at tea during a cricket match, on the lawn across from the main door of the school and the circle where cars turned. But this scene painting may be purely my own invention. The effect of the picture strikes me, with hindsight, as showing a moment of vulnerable solitude in the midst of parents' and visitors' chatter.
He had no wife, his mother was now dead, and his brother Ernest, a businessman I think, occasionally visited, much slimmer than GDS, and eventually took over the school for a while after GDS's death. My main recollection of him is of my own timidity. He was a Jew by race but a Christian by adoption, and David Williams thinks he may have been a repressed homosexual. I recall once other boys, in the New Dorm, saying how they loved him, and one boasting that they had kissed him. But thats just hearsay from my point of view. David Williams joked that he liked the passage in Rupert Brooke about the rough male embrace of the blanket. My fear of him was as much to do with me as him, and I saw that he had a genuine affection for the boys. This came out at Cheers, when after some notable school event wed get out of our beds shortly after lights-out and come out onto the second floor landing and each dorm in turn would call out Three cheers for Mr Seale, and once wed gathered hed reflect on the event and often get boys whod been involved to say some words. The most emotional times were at the end of the term when boys were leaving and made speeches and often cried, sometimes with his arm briefly around them.
David's recollections of him through his father, Old Bill, who had been a master at the school, are, also, of a very difficult man to work for, one who wouldn't accept criticisms, who dictated prize giving speeches on his behalf from his sickbed, even indicating the pauses for applause or laughter. When Old Bill had got fed up and wanted to go elsewhere he got the most luke warm of testimonials, it seems, out of resentment.
Seale had worked at other prep schools and came from London, St John's Wood. His first pupils had come from his previous prep school. And he had a knack of attracting sports people. Jack Hobbs had visited the school in 1924 to coach and be bowled out by the wonder bowler Cyril Fyers. A full length photo of Hobbs holding a cricket ball used to stand in the school hall, that dim room with a carpet in it, a sideboards full of nick-nacks (I recall a big brass fly you could lift the wings of to reveal a place to keep things or maybe put ash). Gordon Richards' sons came to Hillsbrow, as did Rickerby. Freddy Mills came in my time, complete with radio crew (no mention of the school in the broadcast, apparently). Mills also came once to judge the boxing championship (awarded on boxing ringcraft. With Mills on his first visit was the then British heavyweight champion, Johnny Williams whom I later played cricket with when staying for a half-term with Pat Burnham at the (then) Barley Mow (later The Arcal, Im not sure what now). Also GDS got Sarah Churchill down before the war.
He had a television, and in fact had been given a present of one of the first ever made, he apparently having been in contact with a colleague of Baird's. We were allowed in to watch early variety shows (I think, 'Roof Top Rendezvous) and news, and the test matches, the 'varsity' rugby match, and so on - all cross legged on the floor in the dark. I remember Worrel, Walcott, and Weekes, and announcers having to hold smiles too long before the camera cut.
Looking at his gravestone as I did returning five or so years ago, you saw that Hillsbrow was his life. He was the headmaster of Hillsbrow, and nobody's beloved this or that.
A form completed by GD Seale in 1915 agreeing to enlistment in the armed services for the duration of WW1
|The obituary of Geoffrey Douglas Seale from the Surrey Mirror Friday April 8th 1949 (Alan Moore)|
The stone on Geoffrey Douglas Seale's grave at Nutfield Cemetery is inscribed: -
The plot plus an adjacent one were bought and paid for by Alfred E Seale of 9 Warrington Crescent, Maida Vale, London, and Francis W Harman of Bank Chambers, Oxted. Alfred E Seale died in 1953 aged 66 and is interred in the adjacent plot. Geoffrey Seale was aged 59 at death, Alfred Seale was aged 66 at death. (grave photo and details Alan Moore)
|In 1940 or 1941 Mary Churchill, daughter of the then Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, visited Hillsbrow to present the prizes. She is shown below with some of the boys. There was a Surrey Mirror article accompanying the picture which, due to its length, is reproduced at the end of this page |
(Picture and SM article courtesy John Haynes)
|A Mr and Mrs Meaning were at the school from 1939 - 41 and later during the war, possibly in 1941 or 42, the school moved to near Tiverton in Devon, its Redhill premises being taken taken over by the RAF. In 1945-6 the school returned to Redhill.|
Mrs Atterbury, nee Harman, worked there as part-time secretary from 1946 - 1959.
|More Information from John Haynes|
John Haynes at Hillsbrow 1950
........Hillsbrow school exists now only as a site near the top of Redstone Hill in Redhill, Surrey. You can still find the odd mug handle and rusted dormitory bedstead, formless lumps of stone which formed part of the cellar, the odd coloured tile from the conservatory floor. And there is a small archway, almost buried now, and crammed with old Dulux tins and a bedspread, which was once the entrance which led from the ground floor landing of the house into the cellar where William Linnell, the son of the nineteenth century painter, and wine connoisseur (he went to the docks to select his vintages) placed his cellar. Of the house, which was called 'Hillsbrow' from the beginning, almost nothing else remains except for some of the stone steps that led down from the back of the house towards the open fields falling away towards Nutfield, and what were then the rugger pitches. The oaktree, which grew against and into the wall sustaining the two sides flights of these steps still stands, as do many other of the trees which, to a boy who noticed such things, marked out the landscape of the woods which had, in his own time so comforted the aging painting, Linnel, and formed the basis for many of his paintings with a woodland background.
Hillsbrow with the dining room in the foreground
.........If the house, or the genius of the place, could speak, I think it might be to whisper the name of John Linnell who loved this woods so well, as I, a homesick prep school boy who missed his mum, did with at least as much intensity, if not with the same ability to make art of. Linnell's biographer, Alfred Story, writes, that 'Linnell became after his settlement at Redhill a simple child of Nature, and all his pictures painted after that time, especially those of his best period, strike one as being as intimately in accord with...Nature.' Linnell first visited the house in May 1849, entirely by chance, it appears, as a result of a delay in his journey to Edenbridge. This his how his biographer, Alfred Story, describes it. 'At Redhill Junction there was a delay, and they took the opportunity to walk up the hill to Redstone Wood. Linnell had previously noticed a wooded knoll on the left of the line from London to Brighton, and had remarked that it seemed just the place for an artist's cottage. A nearer view of the spot enhanced his satisfaction with it, and to his surprise he found that it was for sale. Well wooded, overlooking a magnificent stretch of country, and in the midst of a thoroughly agricultural district, it seemed the very place for the home of a landscape-painter, and so convinced was Linnell of the fact, that, after making the necessary inquiries and investigations, he resolved to buy it. The property belong to a stock exchange broker called Allsop who was, paradoxically, a follower of Robert Owen, of whom Linnell had a 'but a poor opinion of his 'intellects''. Linnel had original originally planned to build a small artist's cottage but in the end his conception widened and he 'employed an architect to draw up designs for a substantial house such as would meet all the requirements of his family which now numbered four sons and five daughters. The building was completed and the family moved in in July 1851.
His story makes very little mention of Hillsbrow as such. We can imagine that it probably resembled Linnell's own house, and there is a sketch by John Linnell junior called 'Redstone Wood', which shows a house very like Hillsbrow (Hills Brow, as it was usually called then). This house may possibly be Hillsbrow, since the style, especially the distinctively tall chimneys, is the same, and the way the land falls away from the corner of the house to the left (in the drawing) is very similar to the Hillsbrow that I myself recall, there even being a path at that time, just where the path
|....................................................................1947 or 48 School Group courtesy John Haynes|
Back Row - Morris ? Buckingham Fleming Devereax I ? ? ? ? Lamb Ghinn II Leighton II ? Oliver II ? ? Walker ? Sharp
Fifth Row - Bedford Drayson Hobday Hein Mackay ? ?Howells Bacon Herbert Syrett Ghinn I Gill Lolly Cooper Devereaux II ? ?
Fourth Row - Haynes ? ? Lake Pulford Nash Read I ? Hyams Hemsley ? ? Hyatt ? ? ? Politzer ? Giles Leighton I
Third Row - Seldon Oliver ? Petrie Elliot Davison I Hillyard Finn Wallman ?Mons Webb Judd ? Horswell Goodrich ?
Staff Row - Perkins Simmons ? ? Miss Mason Mrs Caston Mr Shegog Mr Seale Mr Weeks Mr Beinemann Mr?Huxley Miss Browne Miss Wilson Mrs London Hansley
Front Row - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10Salmon 11 12 13 14 ?Nichols 15 16
|....................................................1949 School Group (or possibly 1948 when Seale was in hospital) courtesy John Haynes|
Top Row 1 2 3 Salmon 4 5 Poser 6 7 8 Sharp 9 Buckingham 10 Morris 11 12 ?Cook 13 ?Rollason
Fifth Row 1 Hansley 2 3 4 5 Oliver 6 Walker 7 Leighton II 7 Ghinn II 8 9 10 ?Nygamwalla 11 12 13 14 DeverauxI 15 16 Hein
Fourth Row 1 3 Giles 3 evereauxII 4 Lamb 5 GhinnI 6 Lolly 7 Gill 8 Herbert 9 Bacon 10 Syrett 11 Politzer 12 Cooper 13 Leighton 1 14 Mackay 15 Ellis 15 Drayson 17 Haynes 18 Leighton I
Third Row 1 Pulford 2 Lake 3 Read I 4 Hyams 5 6 Elliot 7 Webb 8 Wallman 9 Finn 10 Judd 11 Seldon 12 Horswell 12 Hyatt 13 ?Hemsley 14 15
Staff Row Unknown Miss Harman Miss Mason Mrs Caston Col Holdsworth Mr Shegog Mr Weeks Mr Beinemann Miss Brown Miss Wilson Mrs Aldridge
Front Row 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Nichols 9 10 11 12 13 Thompson 14 15 16
(Note: - Picture is 1948 - see photos from David Huxley further down this page)
|All rows numbered from the left..........................................................1950 school group|
|John Haynes wrote an award winning poem that whilst primarily about the death of his mother contains many references to Hillsbrow people and events. It appears at the bottom of the page.|
|John Haynes' Personal Notes on Ted Crowe (ERC)|
Ted Crowe (and his brother) had been pupils at the same time as Jimmy Hay, and Ted taught at Hillsbrow briefly after he'd done his national service, and before he went on for his main career at Blundels where he eventually became a housemaster, and after retirement ran the Old Boys Club. He was a maths teacher but he never actually taught me. But he was a most dedicated teacher of cricket and also took time to come and read us bedtime stories. I think has family had connections with Holland and/or the East Indies and had been tea traders. He seemed always to have a schoolboy's haircut, but was huge at the same time. Jacket with leathers on the elbows. Big hands. A tall line-out forward.
CRICKET - Put half a crown on his stumps in the nets, as opposed to Lloyd Weeks' shilling. Ellis, who wasn't really a bowler at all, got him out with a mis-hit fulltoss, and I bowled him with quite a good one. He always claimed he never saw a ball swing because he watched it so closely. A distincive stroke at that time was hitting a half-volley with both feet together and a dramatic bend of the back, which gave an strong idea of power. On the small Hillsbrow pitch was once hit on the glove, and while he was wringing the his hand the ball had run for a four at long-on. Coaching batsman by throwing the ball from a short distance for them to practice this or that stroke. A lot of time with Richard Herbert, with whom he had a particularly good joking relationship. I scored 25 against Brighton College, bowled finally by a boy called Mann. 'Nice knock', he said when I met him after the match. We were standing by those creosoted logs put by the wire overlooking the pitch, where the rest of the school sat to watch, including Miss Wilson who was said never to miss a ball. Though I saw her miss one once.
.......ERC Took a leg stump guard, and as he got in, moved wider of the leg stump so that he could push a single to the off from straight balls. Seemed a good strategy at the time. I recalled this much later when I managed to turn a match round by scoring 20 fast in a match in Kaduna, Nigeria. I thought of ERC but in fact took the opposite strategy. Guard of middle and off, and turn and drag anything that come to the on, or over mid-on's head. Also I moved a good foot out of the crease to turn balls into half-vollies. This was one of my better innings, and helped I think by having fortified myself with a bottle of lager before going in! Not usual practice but it tells a tale to me as to why all my batting life my correct style has not produced anything at all (over 25). Inhibition?
.......Saw ERC bat for South Nutfield, I think. I filled in, on another occasion, when South Nutfield were short. Then ERC's brother was playing. He was in as no 10 when I came in as no 11. I was scared of the club bowler who seemed very fast, and was the more worrying because he had one very bloodshot eye. I stopped some three balls, flinching a little, alas, and then ERC's brother (I forget his name) got out, and I was very relieved. When we fielded I got a bowl and even took a wicket. Not quite sure how, but thought at the time it was hit-wicket. Drove back with Lloyd Weeks in the car (Late Mr Seale's Ford V8) and he was indignant to have been told I was a good bowler by someone. 'Of course I know he's a good bowler!' And I had no problem as to length with the full-sized ball. ERC used to tell me that when he played for Hillsbrow they used to wonder what had happened if Jimmy Hay didn't hit the stumps in the first over.
RUGGER - As a rugby forward ERC was interested in line-out techniques and the then comparatively novel idea of using one hand to steer the ball back.
DINNER TABLE - ERC sat at the end of the table just behind the prefects' small square table. Col Holdsworth (Indian Army retired, who had actually been to Poona!) sat in the middle and was 'in charge'. Before ERC came the place had been occuped by the red-face Mr Webb, who had a massive very loud motorbike, and 'taught' sometimes in the upper sixth - held in the same dining room around the prefects' table. Webb seemed not to know anything and devised quizzes about the names of cars to keep us occupied. At table I talked to ERC about why a ball swings, and the New Zealand bowler Cowie. He had read that it was 'all to do with your feet', I think in an article by Bill Bowes). That seems to have been right. At the time the textbooks (which I read on cricket but not on rugger) focused only on the grip. ERC tried to demonstrate this in the nets. He didn't take his bowling seriously, but I still remember thinking his action as a bowler was hopeless. My ears stuck out and ERC teased me about this, saying it helped me swim. 'Haynes uses his ears'. In ripost I pointed out that one of his ears stuck out more than the other one - 'like a touch judge'.
BEDTIME STORIES - Warmest recollection of ERC. He needn't have done this but came into the Den of Thieves and read us stories before lightsout. One was a long novel about motor racing, and a driver called Jerry. It was all Maseratis etc, in their national colours, and the speeds marked on the dash board in different coloured 'sectors'. At one point it had a kissing scene, which he went through without hesitating, and (as I recall) without getting any under the blankets giggles either. 'She relaxed in his arms' (something like that). Other stories were cricket stories. One about an club player who could bowl a 'popper', and got selected for England on the strength of it. Bedser's 'fast outswingers' described (inaccurately, I thought at the time). I'm not sure if it was in the same story that he is running for a catch, falls, and then it was all a dream and he is found dead full length on his sitting room floor.
The following is a letter from John Haynes following the death of Ted Crowe. It is closely relatable to the above personal notes.
|John Haynes' Recollections of John London at Hillsbrow|
John London lived at The Lodge. I think GDS was at first helping him out. He'd been a pupil, and then I think did various helpful things for GDS. He was a committed Christian, though a Jew by background, and he used to preach sermons at the school chapel. They were always much more human and interesting than those of Shegog, who rather lacked charisma. London also helped with the rugby sometimes, and played in some of the Old Boys cricket matches against the school. A very nice man, I recall. I've found a letter from him. He says - "1945. I was given the Lodge when I married in return for some coaching etc and school duties by G D Seale. I stayed until Anthea was born and I found a house (thro the woods) in Chanstonbury Chase." He doesn't give any other dates.
RUGGER - JL referreed our home rugger matches. He also took part of the after-match discussions, in which a 'panel' led by teacher Lloyd Weeks
would talk through the match to the assembled school. Once he began by going through the team one by one starting from the back. I came first as I was - for the first time - full back. 'Kicked a good penalty - exceptionally good'. This surprised me. Yes, it went over, but I'd thought only just high enough to clear the bar. JL also reffed house matches, and others. Once (can't remember what sort of match) the Polish boy, Poser, kicked the ball away just as I was scoring. Whistle blew. Twenty-five. I disagreed with this decision, and thought it done to make a point. I had in fact got the ball down (I still claim). I didnt express this opinion at the time, however.
JL played for Dorking, I think, against a school staff team. At lunch heard him say that their fly-half (?Jeep) would be 'too fast for Lloyd'. JL was, I think full back, and had to go off with an injured shoulder. Not sure if it was the same match in which Lloyd Weeks with the ball was in a one-to-one situation with JL alone to tackle him. Lloyd swerved this way and that and eventually sent JL the wrong way. But on the touchline I wondered if in fact he hadn't done it for Lloyd's heroic image with us.
Moment in afternoon training. Lloyd Weeks explaining tackle techniques. JL offering to be the tackled one in a demonstration, 'Put me down hard, Lloyd!'. Lloyd didn't.
CRICKET - JL a medium paced swing bowler. On the cricket pitch one evening, telling someone about 'a new grip for the inswinger', which consisted in placing first two fingers together, not in a V, along the seam. I recall an action with a sort of half turn of the arm before delivery, and sometimes a kangaroo hop. JL was taken off after two overs playing for South Nutfield, when we went with Lloyd Weeks to watch one weekend. In the car coming back I mentioned this and Weeks said he was bowling 'tripe'. Tthought this very frank at the time and a little disloyal!
CHAPEL - Sermons every other week. We preferred them immeasurably to 'Spikes' (E W Shegog), who always looked nervous and always talked in the act of adjusting his watch strap. EWS did try to counteract this, and one week began his sermon by bellowing out 'I don't feel like it!' which certainly made us sit up, and people mimicked it later to giggles. JL talked about a statue of a lion (I think) made of butter, and this may be connected to Michaeleangelo. Can't remember the point of the example, though!
JL also sometimes used to talk about religious and related topics to us on a Sunday morning after we had completed our letters home session. An approachable person, in some ways an outsider, but also part of 'the establishment' and in authority. JL Dug me in the tummy as I stood in the choir and said 'sing up' as we were getting ready. I thought that this was evidence they'd all been talking about me. Aggrieved because I was singing up (I thought).
MR SEALE'S ILLNESS - We had formed a long queue in dressing gowns to talk to GDS on the phone in the staff room. He was in hospital. My turn came and I didn't know what to say. Someone else had expressed sympathy about his leg, so I thought there must be something wrong with that, and expressed the same feeling. Noticed that the telephone pips marking three minutes had gone so I said something like 'There go the pips.' JL was amused, thinking that I'd thought I should stop because the pips signalled 'time up'.
SNIGGERY RECOLLECTION - For some reason, to do with the Singsong, I think, some of use were in the lodge, and Bruce the dog planted his nose right on the flies of a visitor's trousers. JL shouted 'Bruce!'. It think the dog was a scotty. JL was one of a number of shadow figures about whom nobody ever explained. Others were Mr Harman (?accountant), who sometimes came round the dorms at goodnight times, and always seemed to have a large number of sixpences in is pockets and continually jingled them (some boys made vulgar remarks about 'pocket billiards').
OTHER RECOLLECTIONS - Harman had a beautiful daughter (?secretary) whom we were all in love with. She once gave me a square of chocolate when I was asked into that little staff room to edited my story for the Mog with Peter Chalk (I remember he put in the word 'adequately'). An animal story about a cub and mother, but don't recall what type of animal! The gesture of given me the chocolate was done in a way which suggested a lack of formality between staff and pupil, which was very unusual in the school. That's what I remember it for.
Mrs Caston was alleged to 'own' the school. Possibly catererer? She used to eat her bread an jam by putting a little bit of jam at the edge of the bread, eat it, and then put another little bit on, and so on. I don't think many of us liked her. Much later, my mother said, she was very disappointed because Mrs Caston was about to tell her a 'piece of scandal' about E W Shegog, and then got interrupted. I can't think how this meeting took place. After I'd left, somehow? Mrs Caston had been in some other catering job before she met GDS who persuaded her to come to the school.
|John Haynes notes of James Dalrymple Hay|
Jimmy Hay (James Dalrymple Hay) and his brothers, Johnny and Ronnie were 'charges' (I think that's the right word) of GDS after their parents had died, so they lived at the school. I was a contemporary with Ronnie for a while. Jimmy discovered in the late forties that he was in fact a baronet and was suddenly 'Sir James'. He was later captain of Dorking rugby club, and was an estate agent by profession. There was a connection to Africa, I think, as I remember finding boxes of old books in a dark corner of the cellar (not used) and him letting me having a copy of Jock of the Bushveldt he no longer wanted. I have a note that once Jimmy went to the Oaks with GDS and sat in Gordon Richards' box. I have some rough notes that Hay's father had been an Indian Army Office in Delhi and then in Assam, and that he died during the war. Hay's grandfather had apparently been killed in an earthquake. Jimmy Hay became the Principal of the school briefly towards the end of its time.
|Memories of Hillsbrow by Alan Gill|
|.......Hillsbrow School was founded in 1924 and had its silver jubilee celebration in June 1949. That occasion is engrained in my memory because, at the age of 12, I received a special dispensation not to attend the date happening to coincide with my elder sisters wedding.|
.......In my childs mind the school itself, and anything or anyone connected with it, was like holy writ. We were brought up to worship (a word carefully chosen) the founding headmaster, Mr Geoffrey Douglas Seale, whose features and every gesture I still remember. On his birthday each child was encouraged to paint or draw a suitable card, and to make a donation from pocket money to buy appropriate gifts. Mr Seale would make his appearance among a festoon of brightly coloured cards and posters, feigning surprise at the demonstration of faith and loyalty. When he made a plus point in his speech of thanks, or even walked among us, we would flick our fingers in a curious gesture, at the same time calling out Saufs, Saufs in a loud voice. This was an abbreviation for Thanks-awf-lay Sir. I still recall the greeting today and have occasionally used it on greeting another Old Hillsbrow Boy.
.......Then there was the school song, with its mushy lines about: Hillsbrow, thats where everybody has a heart so true. Hillsbrow, where could anybody find a school like you. It was almost Dickensian. There were severe punishments (including a knees up ritual inflicted on younger boys by older boys), and organised bashings up I recall a decent and physically powerful boy protecting me by shielding me with his body. We accepted all this as normal. It never occurred to me to mention such matters to my parents. Had I done so I suspect they would have shrugged their shoulders and let it pass.
.......The teaching staff were mostly unqualified, but pleasant. The school had a proud boast that (until 1950) every candidate went on to pass the Common Entrance examination for an English Public School. The boast involved a bit of a fib. There was actually an arrangement with Blundells to which the school had been evacuated in World War II.
|Ex-pupil Alan Gill on site 1967/8 |
(picture Alan Gill; supplied by Ed Gibson via David Osborn)
|Alan Gill's entry on Friend's Reunited|
Journalist and writer, educated Hillsbrow School, Redhill, and Charterhouse, Godalming. Emigrated to Australia in 1971.
"Hilsbrow, that's where everybody has a heart so true. Hillsbrow, where could anybody find a school like you?"
Remember that school song? Yes, indeed. And the motto: Adsequere (spelling?) Not many schools were like you. Quirky customs - flicking fingers and calling out "Saufs". School burnt down to the ground in mysterious circumstances. I have photos of the wreckage. The stuff of Dickens.
Remember the masters? Seale, Shegog, Weekes, Bieneman, Crowe, Hawke. Then there was Mrs Brown, Miss Caston, the lovely Miss Mason and Mary Harman (I had crushes on both of them). Franki Swayle (the chef) and Mr Mew (the gardener).
Funny how I remember these names from over 50 years ago, but cannot remember names of people I met yesterday.
Would like to hear from anyone who was at Hillsbrow at any time.
Went on to Charterhouse (Weekites). Mad keen swimmer, otherwise not very distinguished. One day Housemaster remarked at an OB function "If you don't work hard you'll end up like xxxxx". He was refering to another not very bright lad who, after leaving, became a journalist.
So I did likewise, went to Australia and joined the reporting staff of the "Sydney Morning Herald". Interesting career - done this, done that - now semi-retired and the author of two books, one of which "Orphans of the Empire" (about British child migration) has won wide attention.
........................My Places: 1950 Hilsbrow - 1954 Charterhouse - 1955 to 1955 RAF Hednesford - 1955 to 1957 RAF Manston
|From ex-pupil George Cardew|
|.......My vague memories of Hillsbrow (54 years in the past): - Entered School: ca 1948-49? (aged about 10). Left School: ca 1953-54 (aged about 14)|
Names of Main Friends: ? Carter, Daniel Norman - Other names: Devereux, Thompson
Notable events: Visits by the boxer Freddie Mills (very popular)
.......Head teacher: Mr Shegog (renowned for his vile temper). English Teacher: Miss Wilson (quite a severe woman). Maths & Sports teacher ?: Mr Weeks (a popular figure) .......I cant remember any other names............
.......In the winter we played rugby unless the weather was bad in which case we reverted to soccer. Cricket in the summer months. I won a senior arts prize in July 1952 (a book signed by E. W. Shegog) which I still possess.
.......I lived in a large house in Linkfield lane, Redhill (now demolished to make way for a "new" housing estate). I left in about 1954 and was enlisted in the RAF boy entrants service. Since 1967 I worked as a programmer in academia (Univ. of Sheffield) until my retirement in 1998. I will be interested to hear of other people's accounts within the time frame that I was present at the school.
|Pictures from David Huxley|
|The cricket pitch (courtesy David Huxley)||The Chapel (courtesy David Huxley)|
|The swimming pool (courtesy David Huxley)||Mr Chalk (courtesy David Huxley)|
|The 'Sing-Song' from 1952 (courtesy David Huxley)|
|School 1948 (repeat of picture further up page) (courtesy David Huxley)|
|The School 1949 (courtesy David Huxley)|
|The School 1951 (courtesy David Huxley)|
Rugger Team Easter 1951 (courtesy David Huxley)
Rugger Team Autumn 1951
Cricket team 1952
|Hillsbrow school photo 1956. Centre is Headmaster Mr Chalk. Richard Symonds is 3rd from left back row. Peter Symonds is in 3rd row 7th from right. David Symonds is in the 4th row back on far left. Mrs Caston, the cook, is on the left of the staff row. (Picture courtesy Richard Symonds)|
There is a suggested date correction to 1958 on this photo based on the fact that Mr Chalk wasn't head until 1957, possibly autumn term
Further ID by M.Noble - Back row 5th from left is M.Noble; 7th from left is Mackay.
|Hillsbrow school photo 1957. Centre is Headmaster Mr Chalk. Richard Symonds is in the back row extreme left. David Symonds is in the row in front of Richard and is 4th from left wearing spectacles. Peter Symonds had by this time left Hillsbrow. Colin Chambers was head boy and is directly behind the headmaster; on his left is Tim Moss. Mrs Caston, the cook is on the far right of the staff row. (Picture courtesy Richard Symonds) (Additional indentification Robert Morley, Hillsbrow 1952-56)|
There is a suggested date correction to 1959 based on the fact that this was when Colin Chambers (stood behind the head) was head boy
Further ID by M.Noble; 4th from right is Patrick Bailey.
2nd row from back 1st left is Wood; 2nd from left is M.Noble; 5th from left is Hugh Keays-Byrne; 6th from left id Niroumand; 9th from left is Chown.
On the staff row the 3rd from left (after the two ladies) is Mr Moran, the Irish teacher.
|Further memories Hillsbrow School by Richard Symonds.|
|A Suggestion from Richard Symonds|
|Richard Symonds kindly supp;ied this 1950s photo of himself to show the summer unirorm (left) and the winter uniform|
|Photo courtesy M.Noble|
|Pictures taken 1967/8 after the fire and after the building was demolished.|
The old sign on the gate of Hillsbrow lodge 1967/8. The lodge, which still stands at the end of the drive nearest the A25 road, was once a classroom.
(picture Alan Gill; supplied by Ed Gibson via David Osborn)
|.||A view of what was once the front of the school with the old wellingtonia tree still standing 1967/8 (picture Alan Gill; supplied by Ed Gibson via David Osborn)A|
|Reminiscences of Mr George Howick of Cheyne Walk, Horley.|
|Remembering Hillsbrow by Chris Turner|
Me in 1955. In the 1955 group above I am
in the 2nd row from the back, 6th from the right.
|This is from 1952. It is not of very good quality, I got it from a newspaper. The boys are: |
l-r; back row; AG Baker, MAJ Ledingham, CP Giles, MJ Politzer, DJ (David) Corbin, MED Hare.
Middle row; J Poser, JR (John) Bedford, PS (Pat) Burnham, TJ (Tim) Sharp), PW Rollason.
Front; JW (John) Bance, PH Huxley.
John Bedford was I believe the first boy to score a century in an inter-school match (but see John Haynes comment on this). Pat Burnhams parents kept the Barley Mow on the main A25 at Betchworth, later re-named Arkle Manor. The world light-heavyweight champion, Freddie Mills, used the pub as his training headquarters and he was a regular visitor to the school attending the boxing championships on several occasions. John Bance later captained the school at cricket and rugby and his younger brother, Ian became the second player to make a century the year after I left in 1958. (Picture courtesy Chris Turner)
|This 1957 team photo is my own copy. I was the team scorer (and also touch judge for the rugby team). Not being good enough to get into the team itself I aways wanted to be involved!|
Back row: Keith Watkins, Richard Jennings, Alan Watson, Peter Symonds, Roland Abbey, George Tobitt, Alan Mckay.
Middle row; Brian Rawlings, Richard Rendell, John Cooke, Colin Chambers, David Sharp
Front: Chris Turner, Jamie Cooke.
I believe that Peter Symonds may have been the brother of Richard whom you mention but I am not certain of that. David Sharp was the younger brother of Tim in the 1952 photo.
(Picture courtesy Chris Turner)
|It is with great sadness that information has been received from the family of Chris Turner that he passed away very suddenly on 30th October 2011 aged 67.|
|John Cooke Remembers Hillsbrow|
|......I remember Hillsbrow with some happy memories and some sad ones too.|
I went there, aged 8, in 1952 when my parents decided that it would be better to educate me there rather than in Singapore. I only saw them once a year until 1957 and I remember a lot of extreme loneliness (missing my mum!). Later I remember two brothers who went about holding each others hand and crying for their mother.
....Later, I was much happier. I am in the school photo that you have as 1955. Actually it was 1957 and I am the boy standing right behind old Mr Williams.
John Cooke 1957
I am also in the 1957 cricket team picture in the centre (see above). My brother is in the photo as well as Chris Turner (scorer) The cricket coach, Mr Cathie? got me very keen on cricket which has been a lifelong passion.
|.................................................................. "Two lovely black eyes|
...................................... Cooke got a surprise
....................................... Bumping on Tobitt's too solid wood head
........................................ Two lovely black eyes"
..............................................Sung to the tune of the original song of course.
|...Mr Shegog was headmaster when I arrived in 1952 and I don't remember much about him except he beat me once for talking after lights out. I think he left under a bit of a cloud.|
....Then it was Mr Williams. Looking back now, he seemed incredibly old but I liked him. He tried to make me write right-handed because my left-handed writing was such a mess. It did not work! He beat me and Chris Jones once when we caught taking a short cut on a cross country run. He was head boy and I was the number 2! Philip Manikum (now an actor) used to entertain us at night with endless stories and we used to listen to Radio Luxemberg and "Journey into Space" under the blankets.
....My parents took my brother Jamie out of the school because they didn't think the teaching was up to scratch. I thought the teaching was OK, though maybe not so good for academically gifted boys. My last class there was called the Wang Chang! I can't think why.
....I also remember rationing in 1952- Each boy had a third of a pint of milk every day and a few
sweets each week. I remember how bad the food was and at the end of term I think I usually weighed less than the beginning. Did we really eat horse meat! Mr Weekes used to play conkers with us and he had one that had probably been baked in an oven that was a winner. There was a Mr Lees who was a very good swimmer and I saw him in one of the school photos. I was afraid of Mrs Caston. She may have had a heart of gold but managed to conceal that from me! I also remember how cold it was in the winter - there wasn't any heating at the school that I remember. Also, endless games of french cricket with Tobitt. Tobogganing down the hill at the back of the school.
....I went off to Kings Canterbury in 1957 and then became a Chartered Accountant.
Memories of Hillsbrow by Don Scott
|Reminiscences of Mark Noble|
|Like several other contributors, I was amazed to find such a detailed website about Hillsbrow. I was at the school from about 1957 to 1960, firstly as a dayboy then a border. My parents lived in Warlingham and I caught the bus to school. Mr. Chalk was the headmaster and slept in a room next to the Sanatorium at the top of the school. Some of the other teachers lived in the lodge.|
Many memories come back to me:
Roaming the large grounds in break times and building a maze each year out of a patch of ferns (or was it nettles?)
I remember too the firework incident when they caught fire accidentally and went off all at once, spraying the parents cars on the drive with sparks. We all thought it was hilarious. No health and safety then. The soft spoken Irish teacher refered to by Richard Chown (whom I also remember didnt he live at Oxted?) was Mr. Moran. I am not sure why I remember his name and not many of the other teachers. We had to write the name of the duty teacher in chalk up on a board in one of the classrooms each week. There was quite a frequent turn over of teachers. I think they often did a years teaching as a gap year before going on to university. One South African was very charismatic. There was also a young motor bike fanatic from the Isle of Man who always talked about the TT races and had an old Post Office telegram messengers bike that he was trying to do up. The formidable Mrs Caston I will remember forever. One end of term, someone wedged the hammer on the electric bell used to wake up us boarders. Whoever was the duty master was puzzled when he could not get the bell to ring but when Mrs Caston arrived on the scene she knew immediately what the problem was: whoever has fixed that bell, unfix it immediately was bellowed up the stairs!
In my last year, I did extra tuition in maths in Redhill with a retired master (was it Mr. Williams?) with (I think) Hugh Keays-Byrne and Patrick Baily. We sat around his dining room table struggling with quadratic equations and when he left the room for one of his frequent cigarette breaks, we would move the clock on the mantelpiece forward to finish the torture more quickly.
In my first term as a boarder, I shared a dorm with a boy only aged about 8 or so (the name Dribell possibly). I think his father had been Lord Mayor of London or something but he was very young to board and cried himself to sleep every night for weeks.
I am still best friends with Patrick Baily and remember Alex Mackay and his asthma and didnt he break his arm or leg once? We thought this was very exciting!
I squeaked through my CE and went on to St Edmunds School in Canterbury and then on to St. Andrews University. I then qualified as a chartered accountant and at the time of writing am still working.
The story I heard about Mr. Wicks, the headmaster who took over after Mr Chalk and after I had left, was that he raised funds from parents to pay for improvements at the school but ran off with the money.
There are two other things I remember. Firstly, at one time a great aunt sent me (quite innocently) her late husbands first world war service revolver. She obviously had no need of it and thought it an ideal present for a young male relative. I used to go to school with it my satchel and used it (no ammo of course) when we played cowboys and indians in the woods. I would end up in prison these days.
|School group in 1960. This picture is from Nicholas Wall. His fellow ex-pupil, David Osborn, remembers some of the names as follows: -|
|Front row boys seated, numbered 1-15 from l-r: 1 Cheetham, 7 Roger Ohlson, 8 David Osborn, 10 Whitmore (minor), 11 Mark Caudle, 12 Hudson.|
Second row (staff) numbered 1-9 from l-r: 1 Matron, 2 Mr Britten, 3 Mr PJ Smith, 4 Mr Chalk, 5 Mr Wickes, 6 Mr Shields, 7 Mr Devereux, 8 Mrs Howe.
Third Row (behind staff) starting with two small boys, numbered l-r 1-15: 2 Andrew Maitland, 4 Niroumand, 6, Hugh Keays-Byrne, 10 Mackay.
Fourth row from boy with different jacket, numbered l-r 1-15: 2 Keith Pfister, 3 Charles Ottowell, 5 Howard Whitmore (major), 9 Nicholas Litchfield,
10 Alan Murrell, 11 Tom Roseveare, 12 David Braithwaite II, 14 Courtney.
Fifth row, 1st boy behind boy with different jacket, rest of row slightly higher, numbered l-r 1-15: 1 Robert Broughall, 5 Slade, Peter? Braithwaite I,
7 Courtness, 15 Jerry Samuel.
Back row, numbered l-r 1-2: 2 Rhodes, 3 Nicholas Wall, 4 Simon McDonald, 6 Marshall, 7 Ashford, 9 Sen Keys-Byrne II, David Hedges, 12 Edwin Gibson.
|(More names from Alex Mackay)|
|I came upon your website and was amazed to see myself in a few photos which brought back great memories. I left in 1961 to go on to Fettes in Edinburgh. I cherish my Rugger team photo of Christmas Term 1960. We were all grinning happily above the less than exultant summary "Played 6 : Lost 6". I can add some names to the 1960 school photo: 3rd Row: 2. Keith Bulmer, 3. Hardy, 4. Patrick Bailey, 5. Richard Chown, 6. Hugh Keays-Byrne, 7. John Borkowski, 8. Alex Mackay (me), 9. C Dickenson, 10. Jeremy Farmer, 12 AP Courtness (I think). 4th Row: 8 is Michael Beeching, So many familiar faces but names have gone! Hillsbrow was a great experience. I ran into Patrick Bailey a few years ago and he had an estate agency business in Wadhurst, but I think he moved to Rye. He told me he was in regular contact with Marcus Noble. My best memories are the concerts we gave with brilliant scripts written by Peter Chalk. I can remember his version of Macbeth ..."Is this a haggis that I see before me? Is it to this the fates will draw me? Blood will have blood, carrion flesh, a swinging corpse..................and not too fresh!!!" And the concerts - they were great! Anyway, best of luck to all your old boy readers. Alex Mackay|
|Boys in the chapel at Hillsbrow School in the early 1960s. This picture is from David Osborn who is the boy on the right of the second row back in the main group (behind the only boy there with two stripes on his socks). The man far right is headmaster Mr Wickes and the man next to him is Mr Philpott*.|
|*A separate contributor says that the name was Phelps, not Philpott|
|Memories of Hillsbrow by Andrew Courtness |
I was amazed to find your webpage on Hillsbrow School. I was there around 1959 to 1963. The pictures brought back long forgotten memories Alex Mackay has put me in the right position in the 1960s photo Andrew Courtness (AP). I recall Mrs Caston as being a tyrant liking only her cats (tiddels and spotty) and Jack Hawkins (pictures of the actor all around her). When Mr Wicks bought the school (his wife I recall was a war hero) heating was installed and many other improvements made. Mrs Caston left rather suddenly and I recall we boys took over cooking breakfast for a time.
...... What became of Mr Wicks? David Hedges and I were taken around Europe in the Summer of 1963 by Mr Wicks, meeting up with Davids mum in Paris. After that I lost touch as things seem to go wrong with the school, ending up in it being burn down.
...... As a result of finding your web page I have spent the evening in the attic turning up many forgotten memories. Amongst the dust and dirt I have found summer 1959 and Christmas/Easter 59/60 copies of the school magazine the Mog and three pictures of the Hillsbrow Rugger Teams in 1960/61 with names. Alex Mackay (one of the contributors to your web site) is with me in all three. I seem to recall he played full back and had his collar bone broken. (We were so bad that the other side always broke through leaving the full back as the only defence).
...... The Boxing Instructor commented in the Mog that Courtness too was guilty of a little too much running around in circles and not enough hitting out It probably explains my moderate success as a civil servant. (I recently retired from being the Commercial Director and Registrar of Shipping for Jersey Harbours).
...... Ive also found copies of my old school reports. Mr Wicks signed himself as R.S. Wicks on the reports, but he had other first names as I recall he had a problem in Italy having different first names on his passport and the bank details. I had understood that he bought the school from Dalrymple-Hay. Certainly he and his wife seemed had a financial interest. His wife disappeared off the scene not long after starting at the school. Looking back, I cannot be sure of Mr Wicks proper name/s. He was an enigma. One name he used was Wilfred and others which I cannot recall, but none which began with R.S. He told us stories of his time in the RN during the war. They bore a great deal of resemblance to events involving others which I read in later life, so they may have been purely for young boys entertainment. He also wore a ring with the insignia of Sir Francis Drake to whom he claimed to be related and usually wore a silk handkerchief half protruding from the sleeve of his jacket it all went down well with the ladies.
...... In those days we all referred to each other by surnames.
...... Most of the staff lived in the large house and down in the lodge. On the top floor there was matrons flat, the headmasters bedroom (where Mrs Wicks also stayed at the beginning but I dont recall she taught) a masters bedroom, the junior dormitory c12 boys (no heating and only one blanket in the early days. We used to get up after lights out and get dressed in our day clothes on cold nights) and one bathroom. Boys toilets and another bathroom on the landing below. On the second floor was the senior dorm. Headmasters Study, Deputys study. Bathroom (we had a bath roster). Staff toilet. Attached between the 1st and 2nd floor was an annex which had on its 1st floor a games room and through that the intermediate (new dorm) dormitory. It was there that I spent the last week of the summer term (to see how I would like it). Keyes-Byrne (who is mentioned on your web site) was in the bed next to me and I was put in his care. He collected animal skulls and left them to dry out on his locker between our beds fascinating!
...... The ground floor was made up of three classrooms (there were others in the Lodge and wooden huts) kitchen, dinning room (where I first got drunk on cider at the annual rugger dinner) and the evil Mrs Castons quarters. Below were old cellars with a large changing room and communal bath, boiler room and boiler faithfully fed by Mr Mew (the ancient groundsman) until Wicks had it replaced with oil fired heating. Mr Mew told us spine chilling stories of his time in the 1st world war. There were also side cellars with unused brick cavities for wine and cider casks. I and other boys were terrified to go down there at night time believing it haunted.
...... One time we had the luxury of an assistant matron, I must have been about 12/13. She was 17 years old and I felt very attracted to her but didnt really know why. I was always asking for a good night kiss at lights out and did get one just once. That and the number of stripes from the cane was our street cred in those days.
...... My last night at Hillsbrow (1962) was interrupted by Mr Wicks and another master, seeking revenge for some minor end of term prank. They switched on the lights and proceeded to cover the entire dorm. with tomato soup power which had been stored in sacks. Having turned everyone and everything before them blood red, they then followed up with soda siphons. I and my clothing smelt of tomato soup long after despite all of us desperately bathing through the night before being met by parents the next day. It went down the cracks in the bare floor boards and could not be removed perhaps a good reason to burn the place down. - Andrew
Extracts from Andrew's copies of the school magazines from 1959 and 1960 courtesy appear below
|Christmas and Easter 1959/1960|
Editors: J. N. TOLPUTT, K. R. G. WATKINS
As we write with the brilliant rummer sun gleaming on our paper, it is not so easy to retrace our steps back through the past winter. The Bonfire, Sing-Song and even Rugger seem so far away. But we do remember that we enjoyed ourselves, even on the Rugger field, despite the fact that in the Easter term we found ourselves up against some strongand undefeatedsides. We do congratulate the team on the admirable spirit displayed, particularly at Holmewood House where we put up probably our best performance. Some of the younger members of the team made their presence felt and this brightens next seasons prospects when we old timers will be fighting on other battle fields!Adsequere.
We extend our best wishes to Young, Terry, Goss, May and Tucker, who by now will be firmly entrenched in their new schools. Through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Young we shall be opening a tennis court this term and we would like the donors to accept our grateful thanks.
Salvete (May, 1959) Braithwaite II, De Vos, KeaysByrne II, Vernon-Jones
(September, 1959) Almond, Baker, Brown, Courtness,
Fowler, Litchfield, Maitland, Marsh, Radcliffe, Slocombe,
(January, 1960) Cowan, Hall, Hedges
Valete (December, 1959) Young (Kings, Canterbury)
Goss (St. Edmunds, Canterbury)
Terry (St. Edmunds, Canterbury)
May (St. Johns, Horsham) (April, 1960) Tucker (Ravensbourne College)
.....The Rugby Team Easter 1959
........Played 6 won 43 lost 2
Photo courtesy M Noble
|M.J.Goss .....R.I.Chown .....N.Niroumand .....G.Tucker .....H.Keays-Byrne .....M.Noble .....R.Turnbukll .....A.Mackay|
.....P.D.Terry ..... .....P.H.May ..... .....W.R.Young ..... .....K.Watkins ..... ..... J.Tollput
..... ..... ..... .....D.Sykes ..... .....I.Bance ..... .....J.Reid. ..... .....J.Cowling
......The Rugby Team Christmas 1960
......J Bance Captain
.........Played 6 lost 6
Photo courtesy M Noble
|NJ Lichfield RA Broughall JG Farmer C Dickenson PO Bailey JH Borrowski KW Bulmer|
......MJ Noble ........HM Keay-Byrne ........J Bance ........AJ Mackay .......RL Chown
..................MJ Hardy ......SJ Maynard ............PO Courtness......AD Wallace
|................Christmas Term, 1959........................................RUGGER RESULTS...........Easter Term, 1960|
|BOXING CHAMPIONSHIPS, EASTER 1960 - A word from the Instructor |
We made rather a slow start and illness prevented some boys from ever really catching up, but half-way through the term we seemed to get going and by the time we met the Abbey School, I think that we were as well trained as we could be.
The boxing at the Abbey was a slight disappointment as we didnt quite take the decision this time, as we have done on two previous occasions, but no one need take this to heart as I considered our standard of boxing to be very high. My main, and in fact, only complaint regarding this competition is that, to a certain extent, out team lacked aggression. A particular instance of this was the bout that Reid won. He was far superior to his opponent but too often he stood and waited to be attacked instead of getting in and piling up the points to ensure a comfortable victory. Courtness, too was guilty of a little too much running around in circles and not enough actual hitting out. He may be interested to know, that as far as I was concerned, he won his bout by the narrowest of marginsexactly half a point. Two good blows from his opponent would have lost him the decision. It was as close as that.
Tolputt and Watkins just couldnt get going. They must have felt rather like a Don Quixote tilting at a windmill and getting caught up in the flailing arms. Tolputt particuiraly, found himself overwhelmed by an opponent who didnt stop pounding him for an instant.
With regard to our own Boxing Championships I am very pleased indeed with the standard, but agreed with the judge when he said that you must stand nearer to your opponent. A great deal of hitting out of distance was done. The two boxing cups were certainly well deserved by the recipients. For Tolputt it must have been the crowning glory of an outstanding term. Vernon-Jones was a complete surprise to me and no doubt to Hardy as well. His solid straight lefts were first class.
The exhibition bout between Niroumand and Cowling I is also deserving particular mention. Well done, boys! I shall be doing a lot of dinghy sailing this summer, so when boxing starts again during the Christmas term, I shall have to be careful to refer to left and right hands and not to port and starboard.
I do hope that I shall see many new boxers coming forward so that we can perhaps challenge Abbey or some other school again.
Good luck in the forthcoming cricket season.
SPARE TIME OCCUPATIONS
|The Second Form delighted us with a production of Snow White written by Tolputt and directed by Mrs. Howe, with Rosevear in the title role. The King and Queen were played by Keays-Byrne II and Braithwaite; the latter, fighting against flu was intent that the show must go on, Vernon-Jones and Hallas were the Prince and Huntsman and Borkowskis eerie voice animated the Mirror. The seven dwarfs, Maitland, Baker, Marsh, Brown. Towle, Almond and Portelli thoroughly enjoyed themselves and cleverly suggested the varied personalities.|
Young and Tolputt next turned the pages of Chuds Chronicles paying due attention to the Golden Handshake and Space Travel. Cowling I with jaunty poise appeared as the schoolgirl in stiletto heels. The Middle School romped through a burlesque on the staff called St. Crispins Day, with Litchfleld as Mrs. Caston and Harvey as her dog.
Probably the most memorable item was Jobs for the Boys. Goss, Cowling I, Hardy, Lacy, Keays-Byrne I, May and Mackay gave us their choice of career ranging from drummer to window- cleaner. The cast must be congratulated on excellent timing. Mr. Lacy wrote the script, produced the item and then, together with Mrs. Lacy rounded off the first half of the programme with a professional partnership.
After the interval, the traditional Cathies Chorus gave us a lively selection of Sea Shanties, with a diminuendo in the form of Mackay singing Silent Night. The Third Form in tartans and tam o shanters told us the sad tale of Lord Ullins Daughter (Dankwerts). Ottowell with great zest declaimed the narrators part and Dc Vos a convincing Scot appeared as the bereaved Lord Ullin. Others taking part were Maynard, Ashford, Pflster, Hallas. Ffoulkes, Broughall and Burtenshaw.
A revival of Witches Gruel by the Seniors brought the Sing-Song to a close. Any similarity between this piece of nonsense and Shakespeares Macbeth was intentional. Tolputt as the Lord of Glamis and Young in blonde wig and rugger boots as his enigmatic spouse, emulated the thespians of the Old Vic All the actors made the most of their linesWatkins as the Bard himself, Turnbull, Goss and Northover as the Witches, KeaysByrne I as MacDuncan, May as Chorus, Terry the messenger and Mackay as John Knocks. Supporting roles were ably provided by Niroumand, Wood, Cowling I, Hardy, Chown, Noble, Beeching and Barber.
We extend our grateful thanks to those who, year by year give of their time and talents to make the Sing-Song a success: to Mr. Chudley, our compere; Mr. London, our producer: Mrs. Turnbull, our wardrobe mistress; and to Mrs. Chudley, Mrs. Watkins, Mrs. Bacon, Mrs. Howe and Miss Cross for thei assistance with dressing and make-up. This year. of course, we must not forget our guest artists, Mr. and Mrs. Lacy.
Cast (not mentioned above)
La Vie Parisienne Mackay, Chown, Terry, Goss, Vernon-Jones, Hellyar, Reid, Sykes Watkins, Young, Turnbull.
St. Crispins Day Williams, Cowling II, Courtness, Dickenson, Tucker, Howe, Litchfleld, Braithwaite I, Gardner, Hardy, Samuel, Harvey, Reid.
Farmer, Radcliffe, Tolputt.
Cathies Chorus Mackay, Ashford, Bulmer, Bance, Braithwaite I, Courtness, Dickenson, Evans, Farmer, Fowler, Harvey, Hellyar, Litchfield, Maynard, Howe, Vernon-Jones, Pflster, Wallace, Reid, Williams, Ottowell, Baily, Murrell.
|Notes on Hillsbrow from an unknown contributor|
|I was actually at the school from 1958-63. The school uniform was Cambridge blue with Oxford dark blue trimmings - a nightmare for the outfitters who were left with lots of unsaleable old stock. The school house was burnt down some years after we left and the site, I think, was in the process of being redeveloped but the wellingtonia tree is still there. Everything was very much overgrown. I think I last visited the site in 1995.|
The masters I most remember were Mr Chalk (Latin), Wick's predecessor, Mr Philpott (History and Choir) (A separate contributor says that the name was Phelps, not Philpott), a young English master who played rugby for Dorking, who managed to break his ankle larking about on a tarzan type swing that we used near the large shed, and the lady who taught the juniors down in the lodge.
I was in School House. Do you remember the Keays-Byrnes who lived in Caterham. The elder, Hugh Keays-Byrne, a fine actor, went to Australia and had a big part as a baddy opposite Mel Gibson in 'Mad Max'. Hugh didn't act in his film part just played himself!! (Cast of Mad Max - Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley, Roger Ward, Vince Gill)
My contemporaries were Pfister, Braithwaite, Roseveare (all lived near Kenley aerodrome) and Maynard. My Dutch friend De Vos, I remain in touch with. My main claim to fame was winning the under 10 league cup for Rugby."
|Below is the poem by John Haynes. It won the Arvon/Daily Telegraph prize and is set in the grounds of Hillsbrow after the school had been deserted for some time, in the early 1990s. It's more about his mother's death than Hillsbrow as such, although there are multiple references to Hillsbrow School. The poem can also be found at http://www.jhaynestab.co.uk/ashes.htm.||Here is the Surrey Mirror report of the visit of Miss Mary Churchill to Hillsbrow. The Year is not known but is either 1940 or 1941. (Article courtesy John Haynes)|
UNIQUE OCCASION AT HILLSBROW SCHOOL
|breaking off, starting again. Amo,|
amas, amat, the endings and no name
for who is loved, and loves: endings to know
by heart. You never came. You always came.
White gloves across the dark inside my head
below the school fields, then, over the gate,
of dead leaves like cornflakes, the night-dress frill
|this castle to which you may not come back,|
but from whose boundaries youll never err,
here you must learn to mourn for lack with lack
- here, in this thin green air and tang of fir,
as then, a trespasser, a trespasser.
as soon as born, he said. Geometry,
The axioms are wired into the brain
like bright piano wires, the spider's woof
towards this spot where they will always meet
and the jay, the creatures this landscape
of wolf, who learned to turn his human throat
Miss Wilson cries across the desktops filed
is your note, is the grass, nettles, ruin,
and smacks of drips. He's never seen my face
to be the man it made of him, the man
with brown fingers who plucks the secret leaf
into this bank, these hieroglyphs in line
we dont have lullabies, no lullabies
of owls beyond the open windows where
And so there was a lullaby, then, Mum.
And now its your turn to be left. Dont care
what happens to them, dear. Throw them away,
it doesnt matter, throw them anywhere.
Its just the thought of being trapped all day
dear, will you? No. Therell be no gospel ride,
as you fall back from the carriage window,
|a hall, across these wet bedsprings whose rust|
gleams like red hair, across the bits of stone,
the blackberries, the particles of dust
that twirl in these shafts here as in a cone
of spotlight, and the sound of wind through trees
turns into interference now, the tone
the same, and Dads soft fingers on the keys.
light on a stage. The only words of yours,
the clichés of the year, however sad
your smile through the applause, lost in the part,
|the you it speaks to absent from the start.|
Not true. Not quite. You always talked of him,
of Daddy, how he used to wave his stick
and shout in hotel foyers, how his grin
you sang Abide with Me outside his sick-
among the pillows moving still, and cried
horse chestnut trees, removing you from where
that if you went home it would be to pass
cubicle with its desk and stubby pad
at coping as she put it. But you, youll
And then from Fratton Park a massive sigh
hair level with your collar, just the same
into the line-out, and Im crouching near
as boys, fathers, masters, all yell and urge
of the waves through a train window, lit
into the round of term and holiday,
that its almost as far as from this Boys Own
loved even, as a stranger, that white fool
sake, Mum, and for this green air and this fine
|at all, not even here in this PRIVATE|
KEEP OUT site where the specks just disappear
into the bracken, willowherb, no secret
little ritual except to hear
you said, red lips against my brow so dry
of gulls, your sea, your smell of bladder-wrack,
brows in the mirror framed with bulbs, your tray
|I mime them with you now watching the wet|
verges twist and flee soundlessly back through
the tunnel that my headlamps make, and get
the empty words as word perfect as you,
|This webpage was inspired by an email sent to me on behalf of Mrs Ruby Meaning who worked at Hillsbrow School 1939 - 1941. She was asking what had happened to the school and as I did not know I set about finding out. The above is the result, which has far exceeded my original expectations, and I hope that there is much more to come. If you can contribute please CONTACT AUTHOR|