About this Blog

This blog contains all postings about my life as a boy at the Junior Masonic School from September 1961 in Bushey (currently completed) and at the Senior Masonic School which I left in July 1969.

I also run another blog (where these postings about Masonic School life were originally available) about life in Turkey today which can be found here http://englishmanabroad.net/

 

31 Responses to About this Blog

  1. Joules Garrod says:

    Am I the first? 🙂

  2. Robert Wood says:

    Having found your web site – I am gob smacked! After all these years – talk about memories flooding back!
    I commenced at RMS (Junior) in F house in 1963 and left in 1969.
    So many memories come from just the photos let alone the pros.
    It would be great to share some memories. – Loved the comments re Clotworthy – Oh music lessons… Eastman in Woodwork… Ferguson…Say no more…

  3. John Mee says:

    Hello to whoever I’ m addressing
    Was at Junior School from 1951 to 1955… Not very happy times as I recall;
    E House / House master a Mr Blackwood I think – Blackie we called him.. Used yo belt us with a broken hockey stick named ‘ stockwell’ named after some twit who won it as a prize and snapped it first game – anyway it bloody well hurt when rapped on ones butt. Lots of memories and hardly any that bring back endearing thoughts… Left for Australia in 1956 and have lived here since..
    Would like to swap tales with anyone around that area… As Time Goes By!!
    Regards John Mee

  4. Mike Runge says:

    Interesting reading …
    I was in F House from 1958 until my escape in 1968 from Ston / Connaught.
    Bertie Breckons (squeak / plonk), “Ticker” Clotworthy, “Pig” Ritchies, all conjure up memories. I was intrigued to read recently that Ston is now a luxury delelopment, costing 100,000 to buy a flat … we’d have gladly paid twice that to escape!

  5. ken baxter says:

    think i know fellow listed as ” me “in photo shoot if i am right he made a one valve radio and he also used to read to the dorm after lights out but maybe my memory is playing tricks

  6. Guy K. Price says:

    I, unlike most of the other ‘brats’, went to the junior school from 1948-51, where I had a ‘hell’ of a time–meaning one of many fond memories as did my brother Stuart who proceeded me by six years.
    Both of us had been going to boarding schools since we were very young , so that living away from home was not a stranger for either of us. Stu missed our Mother and I missed my nanny Nancy who was hired to bring me up as a small boy. Did I miss my Mother –no! as coming from a fairly afluent family my ‘mother’ was always hired help or as you would call them ‘in-service personel’

  7. Robin McFarquhar says:

    Extraordinary! Came across this purely by accident, but what a delight! I was in “H” house and then “Lathom” between 1961 – 68 so our paths must have crossed at some point. It still astonishes me to this day how much the memories of those days are so “haunting” I am not sure I hated the place as much as others, and definitely got a good education out of it that led to numerous degrees and a Professorship at a major American University, but there is still something about those years that I cannot explain to anyone who wasn’t there. Luckily, my younger brother also went to the school a few years behind me so we do still reminisce occasionally. I eagerly await your reflections upon your days at the Senior School. Cheers

    • Richard says:

      I was there between 67 & 71 & I remember your younger brother. My name is Richard Green and I was in Connaught. He may remember but may not. I now also live in the USA – Philadelphia

  8. Richard Pitman says:

    Yo Robin I remember you, I was also in H and Lathom 61 thru 67. Scary times eh? but as you say it was a good education even if I did not make the best of it during my time. However in 1968 you could walk into almost any job. Eventually led me to New Zealand now 30+ years ago. How time flies. Who is the author of this blog? Mr Admin!
    Cheers to all

  9. Philippe Wines says:

    Like others, I accidentally stumbled across this site.
    I was sent to J-Ston in 1957 – Housemaster Bill Wilson – unlike others my mother had died but my father was alive, but severely disabled. My only really inspirational teacher was my maths master, Bob Stewart. He is still alive and I, and a few other OM’s had lunch with him in Oxford last year. We hope to have another lunch this year. Bob Stewart read Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome at the end of one term. That reading gave me my lifelong love of sailing and the sea.
    It hadn’t been ‘invented ‘ then, but I now realise that I was suffering from PTSD at both junior and senior schools because, following my father’s severe disabling stroke, my eldest sister was killed in a plane crash in Nigeria and my mother died a few weeks later.
    I was in Derby at Ston. Ben Renoir was my tutor – thank God! Pretty miserable times for me and institutional bullying by prefects including beatings which would now mean imprisonment!
    There’s a lot more I could say! Perhaps it was all a dream! or nightmare.
    The good thing is that 90% of our year who were in Derby meet up every couple of years. We have a whole day stuffed with nostalgia, beers and good food and we usually piss ourselves laughing.

    • Keith Kerslake says:

      Hi,

      I was interested to see that Bob Stewart is still around. I would like to contact him if anyone could tell me how.

      Keith Kerslake

      • Andy Cade says:

        Hi Keith, brilliant to re-discover you on these virtual pages. I have fond memories of your audacious sense of humour and mischief which helped subvert the system within which we all had to live our adolescent and teenage lives. ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ played by you on the Chapel organ during the recessional, and the extended outro to Jerusalem played on the piano at Derby House prayers are two of the highlights that got you into a spot of bother but earned respect from your fellow inmates. Thanks for the musical memories. Andy (Jack) Cade. PS Your sister Rosemary was in the same house ‘Ruspini’ at Ricky as my younger sister Sally, who sends her best wishes.

        • Hi Andy,

          I have added a reply that appears down the page.

          All the best,

          Keith

          • Hi Andy once more,

            Rosie says hi to Sally, and also remembers sitting next to you in a combined music event, she thinks it was Noyes Fludde or Messiah. She got her grade VIII piano at school, and her daughter will graduate from the Royal College of Music next summer.

            Cheers,

            Keith

  10. David Craggs says:

    Dear Chris,
    Your eloquent descriptions of JSton days have brought memories flooding back and have evoked some very mixed feelings.
    I was incarcerated over the same years (’61 to ’69) and survived by living outside the system. I managed to mostly avoid the bullies and quasi pedophiles that haunted the cloisters of both establishments by a combination of keeping my head down and physically repelling any marauders with a level of violence that would act as a deterrent to others.
    If my memory serves me well I was imprisoned in ‘C’ house during my junior incarceration and post puberty, I was whisked off to ‘Warwick’ house where I served out the remainder of my time.
    I had few friends save Nick Oliver, Alistair McCallum, Kim Lowes and Steve Crapper.
    I left with limited attributes other than a love of rock music, alcohol and tobacco. Certainly my academic qualifications were too few to mention and my only truly beautiful memory of the place relates to a fabulous Irish maid called Mary and the hours we stole together at ‘The Rifleman’ and round the back of the running track.
    All of that said, life since release has been fabulous. I have a great wife, two lovely sons and a grand daughter. I have traveled the world and have lived outside of the UK for sixteen years (Paris, NYC & Copenhagen) whilst enjoying a successful career with a French multi-national and am now retired in Surrey living the good life.
    Given the trauma of loosing a parent at the age of eight and enduring those Masonic rituals I sometimes scratch my head and wonder how I got so lucky after such a difficult start. It was doubtless down to the love of a good mother, a good wife and a lot of self education.
    Ironically, I visited the place a couple of years ago during its transformation into luxury apartments. On the very day of my visit, they were actually starting Warwick house and for some bizarre reason, I was nearly overcome by a desire to buy it — go figure!
    Anyway Chris, keep those stories coming. You write beautifully.
    Regards,
    David

    • Jonathan smith says:

      You don’t write so badly yourself. I left and generally removed all thoughts from my head of the place, but always felt guilty that I walked away from good friendships. Jonathan(Josh) Smith.

  11. Budgy says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog, I was in “G” and then Latham, somewhere around 57 to 64. I remember Kitty, she was sweet. I’m living in Scotland these days.

  12. Steve Boorman says:

    Found this blog in it’s former guise “An Englishman Abroad”…great reading. For information The Old Masonians’ Association is still alive and kicking despite the school’s closure. There is also an active Facebook group..check it out and chat with other OMs.

  13. Malcolm Kyle says:

    Thank you, this is wonderfully written. I envy your recall.

    I was in Kipling and later Derby from 66 through to 73 and I suspect like many, happy to escape without too many psychological scars. There’s a very lively Facebook group for Old Masonians at https://www.facebook.com/groups/302486042513/ to which you and any other Old Boy would welcomed.

  14. Nige Jones says:

    A super BLOG. You must visit the Facebook page

  15. Jeremy Shannon says:

    Thank you, Chris, for taking the time time to write of your experiences.
    I was at the school under the Grange Park moniker and left in 1986.
    Of course, we knew of the boarding history of the school and the long 3rd floor class rooms with pitched rooms were once dorms, with large bathrooms left some clues.
    We had some interesting characters.
    Mr Murphy, an imposing ruddy faced irish Maths teacher with the gait of Ian Paisley and a temper to match, School blazers stayed on in his class, even in summer heatwave.

    Mr Bispham, an inspiring History teacher, who barely passed comment each time a centrefold was placed in his afternoon register, he would calmly crumple the large breasted beauty into a ball and nonchalently flick it into his bin whilst asking the class “what was the most important thing about Bessemers steel process?”

    School dinners, by my recollection were greatly improved compared to your experience, huge trays of cottage pie and jam sponge with decent custard served under the great cathedral ceiling of the dining hall.

    The school assembly was always a riot, especially when one of the boys would let off a succession of farts on the plastic chairs that would be greatly amplified like rifle shots in the hall, uncontrollable laughter would ensue.

    In the final,year we came across an unlocked room on the 3rd floor central building that looked out over the verandah and the entrance to the library, perhaps a house masters bedroom, it was too small to be useful as a classroom, we swapped the lock and with black blotting paper smuggled from the art room, covered the window.
    For the last 2 terms, we had a smoking club furnished with numerous ashtrays, that were rarely emptied, an array of chairs and a collection of magazines – it was left locked so the school caretaker would have had a surprise after breaking in to find our old stale cigar buts, a tired looking common room comfy chair and a desk covered in dog eared copies of Street Machine and Penthouse !

    The architecture and the history of the place made a huge impact on me and I look back fondly of summer days lazing on the grass playing cards and heavy winter snow fall when the Woodwork teacher let us try out a sledge I had just finished making.

    I made some great friends, many of us went on to university and careers in the Military or as business owners, I think we got had a good education as the sun set on the O Level system and indeed the School as Grange Park. The tired buildings went on to successive name changes and a downward spiral of academic success.
    i last visited the school in 2004 and it was under Bushey Meads, the caretakers lodge that was once proudly maintaned with a flourish of rose bushes and a neatly trimmed lawn was derelict. the entire school and playground surrounded by 7 foot high chain fence garnished with barbed wire. It was a depressing sight.

    I hear 29M has been invested and it has been given a new start as Bushey Academy, I doubt I will getbto see as I now live in Western Australia, but I am glad to hear that the developers saved some of the architecture. I would have liked to had one of the set square and compass stones that were set over each doorway – ah well.
    Thanks for sharing – Jeremy

  16. David Zita says:

    Wow!!! The comments have filled in some of the unanswered questions from my youth I went to this school from 1973 -78 when it was Grange Park. Was not a good experience but just seeing the long hall brings the good ones flooding back. We all saw the school as Colditz castle in England. Just wish i could find some more images of the 70’s. We had the most aggressive deputy headmaster Mr. Sporrs (not sure the spelling is right). Did not hold back from the cane or the slipper.
    Thank you for opening a little history to my past

  17. Karen Vincett says:

    I have been clearing out my fathers house and have found a huge box of letters from a boy called Trevor Howard
    There is a letter from the school dated 1962 from Colonel Jones
    Does anyone remember Trevor? I would like to contact him. Thanks

  18. Hi Andy,

    I remember you well. We had a lot of juvenile laughs. For some reason I remember us discovering the word ‘bozo’, which was not a particularly well known word in 60’s England, and always dissolving into uncontrollable laughter every time we described any person as such. I have to admit it has been one of my favourite words now for almost fifty years, and still makes me laugh.

    I still live a mildly subversive life working as a piano entertainer on cruise liners. This gives me ample rein to indulge in my ridiculously immature sense of humour. It’s a great way to spend my retirement, which seems to have been going on for rather a long time.

    I have passed on your sister’s message to Rosie. She lives in Muswell Hill and works in advertising.

    Keep in touch,

    Keith

    • David Craggs says:

      Keith,
      I didn’t know you at school but I will remember forever you turning Bach into Procol Harum’s tune in the school chapel – absolutely brilliant and the best form of protest.
      Regards,
      David

    • Andy Cade says:

      Hi Keith…see my reply further down the page. Sorry, still getting the hang of this blogsite. Andy.

  19. Andy Cade says:

    Hello Keith. Glad to hear you are still at it at the keyboard. Brilliant to hear the word ‘bozo’ again. I don’t know where it came from but I recall we used it in a ‘Yoda-ish’ linguistic structure e.g when Adam Adamant’s side kick pulled off some astute bit of detective work out you came the phrase ‘Simms. He no Bozo am’. Do you remember playing football with a tennis ball on late summer evenings between and after ‘preps’ for what seemed like hours and weeks. You of course were Plymouth Argyle v Nige Morgan’s beloved Manchester United. Pip Newton also participated but I forget his team. Didn’t you and the Firefighting Squad also help put out a real fire on when the Wren’s shoe polish factory went up in smoke? Or did I dream that? I worked in advertising all my career and now semi-retired I teach it at Southampton Solent Uni. The seeds of musical appreciation were well sewn at Ston via my participation in the Choir and Choral Society. Graham Garton and Malcolm ‘Tinker’ Bell no bozos were. I now perform regularly in a rocking piano singalong duo ‘Baz & Dave’. I am Baz (percussion and vocals) Dave on piano. We inspire folk to ‘Get Vocal at the Local’ in various London pubs, parties and sometimes larger venues inc Ally Pally and this year’s Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. We can be found most Wednesdays at The Coach & Horses, 29 Greek St, SOHO should you or anyone else reading this be in the neighbourhood do pop in and make some noise with us. http://www.BaznDave.com for dates and details
    Does Rosie work in an agency? She’s welcome to sing along with me again, play the joanna, or shake my maracas, and I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts. Musical mayhem from 7.30 to closing. All the best. Andy.

    PS I live in Surbiton with wife Lizzie and son Francis (23yrs)

  20. Hi Andy,

    That brings back great memories, the long Sunday summer afternoons and early evenings playing football, hours and hours with the boundless energy of youth. And, by the way, you are absolutely right about the the firefighting. We used to do the training on Tuesdays, as part of our super fun cadet experience. Under the command of Leading Fireman Wibberly, (Yes, we called him Wobbly Wibberly ) we rushed to the aid of the Wren factory in Watford, risking our lives (actually risking our just cleaned blanco and brasses) for the princely reward of two tins of black shoe polish each.
    Tuesdays were a tough day, especially in summer, with Corps in the morning, games at 2.00 and classes from 4-6. Many are the times I nodded off in French.

    There is a brief glimpse of Nigel Morgan in one of the DVDs that you can get from Pegasus Video. It’s the film they shot in about 1966. There is great footage of Graham Garton conducting the school orchestra. Unfortunately they overdubbed it with a pro orchestra. The orchestra, according to the title on the parts, is playing Psalm 150 by Benjamin Britten. I can attest to this as I was present when the filming took place. (Probably not the catchiest piece with which to demonstrate one’s orchestral chops) Clearly the producers of the film thought so too, as the music on the soundtrack is totally different.
    There is another DVD called ‘The Bushey Years, which brings back many memories, and has interviews with Tony Renoir, Tom Clinton and HGMullens.

    Next time I am visiting Rosie I will try to make it to one of your gigs. It won’t be until next summer at the earliest, as I am off to the Caribbean for the winter.
    Rosie is works as a freelance artist in the advertising business. I think she must be pretty good as she is still in constant demand. She must have a picture of Dorian Gray’s sister in the loft, as she looks exactly the same as she did when she left school.
    I, on the other hand have lost most of my hair. Undeterred, I still belt out Rockin’ All Over The World’ with reckless abandon.
    I still see Ston in the movies, Hot Fuzz has a village police station…..it’s Mullens’s house at Ston. In one of the later episodes of Band of Brothers the heroes are hiding out in a French church….it’s our school chapel. I suppose all that will end now it’s upper crust apartments, although I recently saw a picture of the clock tower in the Times.

    Well, as always I seem to have been going on a bit so I’ll leave it there.

    Cheers Keith

  21. Hi Andy,

    Just been on your web site, I so totally recognised you despite the beard. I definitely will get up to see you next year.

    Keith

  22. Andy Cade says:

    Dear all,
    I do a pub singalong at the Coach & Horses 29 Greek St Soho most Wednesday nights. It happens I will be there on Sat 22 October and Keith Kerslake (Derby 1967) will be joining us at the joanna for the night. Keith plays on the cruise ships and is between shifts so we are having a day out in London, starting with the ‘Say you want a revolution’ show at the V&A at 11am. Feel free yo join us if you are in the neighbourhood. Should be an interesting and nostalgic day as I last saw Keith in 1968! We revived our friendship through this brilliant site. Thank you. http://www.bazndave.com facebook Baz & Dave

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