How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, but that's still CH related.

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
Chrissie Boy
LE (Little Erasmus)
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2005 11:19 am
Location: Rotherham

How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Post by Chrissie Boy » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:28 am

Speaking as someone who, at the time of getting into CH, was living with his mother and sister in a very damp basement flat in a not-very-nice area of London where trees were a great rarity, my life at CH couldn't have been more of a departure unless we'd been fed caviare and champagne in the Dining Hall.

At age 11 I had never lived anywhere with central heating, had never had access to a garden, had never been able to bring friends home, had only seen the countryside from train windows, had never been to a swimming pool, hadn't been to church since my own Christening, etc., etc., etc. So fetching up at CH was a bit of an eye-opener for me.

When I went home for the holidays, I really did feel that my style was being cramped and having no local friends was a problem. Also some of the kids I'd been at primary school with decided that I was now some sort of toffee-nosed w@nker just because I went to a boarding school, which was very uncomfortable, so I was extremely glad when we moved away after about a year.

What sort of a contrast was it for you, home/CH-wise?

User avatar
NEILL THE NOTORIOUS
Button Grecian
Posts: 2612
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 10:01 pm
Real Name: NEILL PURDIE EVANS

Re: How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Post by NEILL THE NOTORIOUS » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:24 am

Loved it --- as an adventure !
Good home and Parents -- Daddy a Copper, own house.
BUT -- brought up to age 12 in Stockwell, Coster Country, tough and un-compromising.

I was a bit mystified, for the first few weeks, as I joined " late" in December (See reasons elsewhere !) and I had to establish my place in the "Pecking Order" --- which meant a fight every morning , in the Tube -- my bed being overturned !

My Cockney accent came in for some ridicule, for the first Term, but after that --- never in my hearing ! :evil:

I confess to having been a little thug (Been ??) but I didn't get any bullying from anyone up to Monitor Status, and as a result I enjoyed life at CH, with Holidays at my Grandmother's in Salisbury, which involved poaching Trout (Not cooking 'em) and Pheasants, Rabbits and the like, swimming (forbidden !) in the Gravel Pit. 8)

I did moderately well academically at CH --- Matric Exemption and CH fitted me well for my chosen Career in the Army, not, dare I say, with the Academic bit --- but Rugby, Boxing, Running, Comradeship, and a voice that can, still, be heard at half a Mile ! :lol:

Of course I have "Rose-tinted" memories of my time at CH, as many of us do, and I am genuinely sorry for those who do not . For six years, I was fed, clothed, educated and entertained, so you will see my attitude ! :D

User avatar
postwarblue
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 331
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 12:12 pm
Real Name: Robert Griffiths
Location: Havant

Re: How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Post by postwarblue » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:35 am

A minor curiosity but one thing I now remark about CH is that I knew virtually nothing about the home life of my peers, with one or two exceptions. I should think quite a few had fetched up at CH because of the War one way or another, but I have no recollection of EVER swapping war stories with any other boys, although many - I should think most of the London ones - must have had a pretty rough ride.
'Oh blest retirement, friend to life's decline'

sejintenej
Button Grecian
Posts: 3108
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:19 pm
Real Name: David Brown
Location: Essex

Re: How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Post by sejintenej » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:27 pm

postwarblue wrote:A minor curiosity but one thing I now remark about CH is that I knew virtually nothing about the home life of my peers, with one or two exceptions. I should think quite a few had fetched up at CH because of the War one way or another, but I have no recollection of EVER swapping war stories with any other boys, although many - I should think most of the London ones - must have had a pretty rough ride.
Same here. Those two I did know about were as a resulty of scout expeditions - we stayed overnight close to the parents of one of the boys and on another occasion we picked up another boy from his home - didn't even go in!
One boy (a subscriber here but not poster) stayed with us for a week in the summer holidays but, apart from his having an extrememly glamourous sister, I learned almost nothing about even his home life.
There was another boy I found out about because of a newspaper story - a very courageous father but not a nice background though he seemed to overcome it.
“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 167AD

User avatar
Jo
Button Grecian
Posts: 2230
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 5:36 pm
Real Name: Jo Sidebottom
Location: Milton Keynes
Contact:

Re: How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Post by Jo » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:28 pm

In some ways it wasn't very different. I came from a middle class family (dad vicar, mum teacher) and had a fairly strict upbringing. Disobedience and cheek weren't tolerated at home. I found CH fairly middle class, and obviously strict, so in many ways it was a similar environment.

What made the difference was that I was from a very happy loving home, and I didn't find CH loving in the least, so I was quite unhappy for the first few years. Not so much that I wanted to leave, but I missed my parents and brothers terribly, and at the end of every holiday the new term seemed to stretch away endlessly into the distance. I suppose I soon settled in each term though.
Jo
5.7, 1967-75

michael scuffil
Button Grecian
Posts: 1377
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:53 pm
Real Name: michael scuffil
Location: germany

Re: How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Post by michael scuffil » Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:45 pm

Two things:

1. First contact with the middle classes: the staff generally, and boys who'd been to prep school and whose parents had cars

2. Country living: brought up on a council estate (admittedly a relatively leafy one) in the endless suburbs of west London, I found the countryside a foreign country
Th.B. 27 1955-63

User avatar
jhopgood
Button Grecian
Posts: 1713
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 6:26 pm
Real Name: John Hopgood
Location: Valencia

Re: How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Post by jhopgood » Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:06 pm

I came from a SE London Council estate where I had the top bunk in the box room, so the dormitory reminded me a bit of a hospital ward, where I had been at the age of 4 when I had my tonsils out. It all seemed a little like indoor scouting/cubbing with everyone washing together etc, so I wasn't too phased.
I was also helped to some extent that I had few friends on the estate as my mother had managed to get me into a primary school off the estate, which tended more to a middle class pupil. I was one of 3 who went from Wyborne that year, so had someone to talk to if I needed. There were so many changes that it wasn't worth getting upset as there was nothing that could be done.
During the holidays I visited a couple of friends from Barnes B, Geoff Neuss, who lived in a semi detached near Norbury station in Streatham, and Philip Gathercole, who lived in an enormous house, or so it seemed, on Shooter's Hill Road. To be honest, I never thought about their living circumstances, as they were just friends from school.
My father's family came from and still lived in the less well off areas of Woolwich/Plumstead, whilst my mother's family lived in places such as Datchet, Reading, Wokingham and Twyford, so we saw a lot of different houses. But at that age, I had more interest in having fun and games than in looking at different standards of living.
People are always more interesting than places and most people have something in common they can chat about, even if it is only the health of Charlton Athletic.
Barnes B 25 (59 - 66)

User avatar
englishangel
Forum Moderator
Posts: 6955
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:22 pm
Real Name: Mary Faulkner (Vincett)
Location: Amersham, Buckinghamshire

Re: How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Post by englishangel » Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:40 pm

Jo's reply could be mine, except my background was Free church. I was/am the oldest so was very independent, and found the regimentation at Hertford quite difficult. My other problem was that I have always needed very little sleep and I found 'lights out' at 8pm with no time for a read, very difficult. At home I was rarely asleep before midnight though I was in bed much earlier.
"If a man speaks, and there isn't a woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

midget
Button Grecian
Posts: 3186
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:49 pm
Real Name: Margaret O`Riordan
Location: Barnstaple Devon

Re: How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Post by midget » Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:52 pm

My parents were very (working)class conscious. I have been a bit of a chameleon since I was evacuated at the age of 6, taking on the accent of wherever I happened to be. When my parents left London in 1943, I joined them with my Welsh accent. By the time I went to CH the following year I had lost that and had a bit od Bedfordshire in my speech. I never gave a lot of thought to class differences, we all had the same spartan life and little privacy. I was aware that some girls lived a different sort of life eg possession of a family horse, but it didn't bother them and it didn't bother me. One girl was determined not to lose her East end accent, but most of us ended up sounding much like each othere.
The important thing was that aspirations were generally high, with no thought that university was not for "the likes of us".
Thou shalt not sit with statisticians nor commit a social science.

User avatar
Mid A 15
Button Grecian
Posts: 2929
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 1:38 pm
Real Name: Claude Rains
Location: The Patio Of England (Kent)

Re: How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Post by Mid A 15 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:32 pm

Similar to John H in some ways right down to the interest in the fortunes (or lack thereof) of Charlton Athletic! The contrast between the "posh"accents at CH and the "Sarf London" I had been used to made a big impression initially. I remember my Auntie Connie telling me in the Christmas holidays that I'd started talking a bit posh although I was totally unaware of it. However I did find myself, like Maggie, becoming something of a chameleon accentwise after she said that.

The other thing was the contrast between (at that time) one sister whom had no interest in playing football, cricket or any game I was interested in to any number of boys willing to play plus endless green space so to do.

Ironic, given all the pitches etc, that much of our free time was spent playing asphalt football and cricket.
Ma A, Mid A 65 -72

anniexf
Button Grecian
Posts: 1898
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:29 pm
Real Name: Ann Wilkinson 8s
Location: England

Re: How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Post by anniexf » Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:45 pm

We lived in a Council prefab in Lewisham, south London. I shared one of the two bedrooms with my younger brother. It was freezing in the winter but my mother never lit the coal fire until about 4pm, just a couple of hours before my father got home from work; she used to wear her coat indoors when it was cold. We never had heating in the bedrooms unless we were ill, but we did have stone hot-water bottles. (I wish I'd hung on to them, they're worth a bit now!) There was little real privacy, but we had a bit of garden back and front, and a coalshed, plus a lot of brick rubble from the bombed house that the prefab replaced.
I didn't go to the local primary school, because we'd lived in Brockley until I was 5 and I was already at a school there which I could still get to on foot. We had two attic rooms and a kitchenette there, my home from birth. The Council rehoused us because of continuous harassment after my brother was born, from the landlord and his family who lived downstairs.
My father was a clerk in a small factory, a hang'em and flog'em Tory from a dysfunctional family. He would never have called himself working class, & was contemptuous of all our neighbours. A true snob. I had no real friends down our street, though I was allowed to play outside with them when it suited him. My mother was a socialist, also from an unhappy family background. Her philosophy was " education is liberation for the working classes, especially women ( her mother had been "in service") because it gives you choices".
So, my success in primary school suited both their aspirations - for my father, my going to CH represented confirmation of his superiority to his peers; to my mother, it fulfilled all her hopes and dreams. The pressure on me to succeed was intense.
The harshness of the CH regime took a bit of getting used to - the trillions of petty rules, not the living arrangements. I'd been used to going on the bus by myself e.g. to Horniman's Museum, and to find that we couldn't go beyond the gates except in crocodile was a big shock. And it was worse on Long Sats when, not having a car, my family and I had to wander around Hertford because we weren't allowed on buses! There was a prescribed list of teashops we were permitted to visit, too - the most expensive ones.
I missed the local library a lot. Three books a term, which I'd already read at home, were no substitute, and the Ward & School libraries were dreadfully poorly stocked for a school that prided itself on academic excellence.
There's probably more, but these sprang to mind first.

dinahcat
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 270
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:14 pm

Re: How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Post by dinahcat » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:27 pm

What an interesting thread.I had been at a comprehensive school for a year before I went to CH. My parents were in despair-they had both left school when they were fourteen and saw education as a way out of poverty.There were no grammars in our town. They saw an advert in The Telegraph( they abandoned the Daily Mirror) which said that if you were poor and bright CH was the school for you-well that 's how they read it.They honestly thought it was a grammar school for poor people where you boarded.
When I arrived it didn't take long for me to realise that I was in the minority.Two of us joined at the same time, a year late and we were out of step already. The others were mainly middle class with professional parents and had already been trained in the school's ways.The other girl who joined when I did was even more wordly than I was, having lived in London ,and I know she found it barely tolerable and left when she was sixteen. I am really grateful for the education I received as it did change my life but socially I found it almost intolerable . It did toughen me up for which I am also grateful but I wouldn't say that it was ideal.
It's funny because my own children's circimstances are less than ideal also but they are often 'accused' of talking 'posh' and staff have made some barbed comments about how well off they must be . Nothing could be further from the truth.It remains true that pupils at CH are even now largely in ignorance of each other's circumstances . I don't think most staff know much either and I can see the sense in this as it means a level playing field but I do wonder sometimes if I had known more about other pupils' lives and they about mine there would have been a little more understanding and tolerance.
One girl in my house and my year told me a story about her home . She said ' Mummy wrote on a board in the kitchen ''Osso Buca(sp?) for dinner'' and I said 'Who's he?'. I was expected to laugh. She didn't know that in my home we ate the same things on the same day every week so that we could calculate how much it would cost as there was no money to spare.I hadn't even heard of veal,let alone eaten it.Thirty five years later I still remember that conversation as if it was yesterday.

User avatar
englishangel
Forum Moderator
Posts: 6955
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:22 pm
Real Name: Mary Faulkner (Vincett)
Location: Amersham, Buckinghamshire

Re: How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Post by englishangel » Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:24 am

We didn't talk much in 2's about our home circumstances but as far as I am aware we were all from fairly impoverished circumstances, single parent families,the aspiring working/lower middle class. Small shopkeepers and such, I seem to remember that one girl's parents had a launderette. There were certainly none of us who would have known what Osso Bucco was. (Have still never eaten veal)
"If a man speaks, and there isn't a woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

User avatar
Spoonbill
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 178
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 10:45 am
Real Name: Bill/Will/Willie/William
Location: Buckingham

Re: How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Post by Spoonbill » Thu Dec 24, 2009 10:05 am

Interestingly, I never really found CH Horsham particularly middle-class myself. Essentially it was classless but with such a strong working-class London aspect that I'll always think of the CH accent as being a London accent. Sounding even remotely posh was a complete no-no and people would be ridiculed for even the slightest hint of it. I remember two brothers who were nicknamed Cecil & Basil because of their alleged poshness but really it was nonsense, they were as accentless as I was.

As for my fellow pupils' backgrounds, the thing I remember most was how many of them were from single-parent families or dysfunctional families featuring a step-parent. If I have a think about parental occupations, I recall that one lad's dad was a taxi-driver, one's was a milkman, one's was a skip-truck driver, one's ran a cornershop, one lad's mother was a charlady, etc. But also there were parents who were teachers, clergy and so forth, while another friend of mine had parents who were alcoholics who appeared to do nothing except drink all day.

I was from a pretty skint family myself. A lot of our clothes came from jumble sales, we only ever had knackered old black-and-white TVs and owning a car was quite unheard of. Wet clothes were put through a mangle and hung on clothes-horses in the kitchen, we didn't own a fridge and I never lived in a house with central heating till I was 17. But I never felt hard done by. Mind you, a rich kid at primary school who owned just about every Action Man accessory certainly put my nose out of joint, as did a kid at CH whose family owned a powerboat on Southampton Water. I felt he had no right to be at CH, which was probably wrong of me.

I'm sure glad I was at CH before it got posher and kids started worrying themselves about clothes and mobile phones. There'd certainly have been no money in the pot for such things and I'd have looked like some kind of poverty-stricken leper outcast.

anniexf
Button Grecian
Posts: 1898
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:29 pm
Real Name: Ann Wilkinson 8s
Location: England

Re: How Different Was Your Home Life From Your CH Life?

Post by anniexf » Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:24 pm

There was a definite Hertford accent, which I very quickly picked up, and loads of jargon. I was used to patched and second-hand clothes, so to have a complete school uniform given to me almost as soon as I arrived was astounding. Later when we were allowed to use fountain pens and wear wristwatches ( I had neither) I pestered my parents until they bought me them, because "everyone else would have them".
The concession that we might wear our own clothes for a short period on Saturday evenings put me in a similar flap. I hated the thought of "looking poor", especially as I had been bullied from day 1 by a classmate who'd summed up my parents' social status (or lack of it!) at a single glance and never let me forget that her parents had their own business (a shop). I was always an outsider from childhood - I can't remember having any friends my parents didn't disapprove of, or who didn't turn against me when I got into CH. That continued at CH, except for one girl Marie who was really lovely to me. The rot set in though when I was invited to visit her in East Finchley one holiday. She seemed to have everything, especially a happy home life. Her father drove me home and I asked if he would like to come in for a cup of tea. He said no, and I was immediately convinced it was because I ony lived in a prefab. I''d lied to the girl who bullied me that we lived in a bungalow! So my friend knew I had told a lie & though she would never have dreamed of holding that over me, I was mortified, and I dropped her. In fact I was quite vile to her for a long time afterwards.
End of confession! Oh dear, how these awful memories come flooding back...

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest