Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Share your memories and stories from your days at school, and find out the truth behind the rumours....Remember the teachers and pupils, tell us who you remember and why...

Moderator: Moderators

sejintenej
Button Grecian
Posts: 3107
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:19 pm
Real Name: David Brown
Location: Essex

Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by sejintenej » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:55 pm

michael scuffil wrote:In total I can remember the following occasions when I was entertained to a meal by a master:
1. Sunday afternoon outing and tea (for new boys) with housemaster J.H. Page
2. Sunday breakfast as a 1st P. grecian with JE Massen, my head of dept.
3. Various evening meals (two or three) as monitor / house captain with housemaster Pat Cullen (at which wine was served)
4. Dinner with four other house captains with Mrs Johnson
- details edited

I don't recall specific meals of those types; the only times that I recall have eaten with teachers were Kit Aitken's week cruise on the Norfolk Broads, at sailing races against some other school (I can't remember who was i/c) and the Arduous Training Course in Troutbeck 1959 - the photos show R Rae and J H Page and only two boys, Daniel and Johnstone are identified.

Donsimone
3rd Former
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:54 am

Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by Donsimone » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:18 am

A thousand curses on the CH Axis of Evil which, to an untamed 11 year-old heathen on an I.L.E.A. Scholarship, didn't stop at my Dad, Killer Fry and, of course, Dr Newsome.
It took me years to figure out that the best of the CH teachers were doing their best to keep me on the straight and narrow. Not a simple task.

My first meeting with The Headmaster wasn't alarmingly sinister, quite the opposite. In his first year at CH, which coincided with my own, not only can he be credited with memorising the names of all new boys - 'squits' if you prefer but having looked it up in the dictionary at the time and found 'insignificant person' I was never too partial to that – he also took it upon himself to systematically invite housegroups of Second Formers to Sunday tea at the headmasterly abode. An epic endeavour, the whole year was invited between 1970 and 1971. Up Close and Personal with the Newsomes...

Following a flailing game of footie in his back garden, - and minus one smashed pane of the French doors - I was expecting the worst but he didn't bat an eye.
It was so hard to guess what was going on in that colossal crown – part William of Ockham, part Judge Dread: was my card indelibly marked, my record irredeemably soiled by this wanton hooligan act? Was he storing up his venom for a more propitious moment? In hindsight I suspect the Fount of All Knowledge simply couldn't care less.
Another early Newsome attempt at dialogue was the great Uniform Referendum of 1971, the senior houses being entitled to vote on the future – or not – of the outmoded Housey garb. Slumming it down at the Junior end, it seemed to me that the outcome was a foregone conclusion and that it was some sort of token gesture to 'modernity', not obviously CH's strong point at the time! Or his for that matter.

Word had it that while a Don at Emmanuel Cambridge – where to my extreme annoyance I was later slated to go and do English – Newsome had earned the moniker 'Dustbin' on account of his penchant for lurking silently around the refuse area, zealously poised to nab any curfew-breakers making their sly way over the college wall. It's pretty hilarious to picture him among the overflowing trash – perhaps engaged in a highbrow chinwag with his chum Malcolm Muggeridge – simultaneously meting out hefty fines to the lowly errant student classes.
His aura of scholastic fundamentalism was never more intimidating than when in Chapel where, regally swathed in gown and mortar board, you could feel the psychic hackles being raised as his glowering gaze swept the sitting targets of the Mid B seating area as if seeking out wrongdoers before the fact.

This ire of the ever-disgruntled perfectionist was also invoked by one of his daughters, Claire, at one point. On receiving 7 grade 1s and a 2 at 'O' level ( grading system of the day ), the 2 was without further ado sent back to be re-marked. Talk about 'dumbing up'!
I gather this neo-Platonic take on reality was later to get him into trouble with the school governors. Adrian Fulcher, Senior Grecian in our year and latterly member of a very secretive Government department, and who knew him a lot better than I did, once told me that Private Eye had run a story on the shenanigans surrounding Newsome's contractually premature departure from CH in 1979 over his lack of sympathy for a co-educational future – Head of half the world was clearly enough of a job.

I can't say that I was pleased to see that he passed away a few years back. In a dark dusty recess of my mind I'd always secretly hoped for a reconciliation of sorts, man to man.

And that is not something I can say about my true CH nemesis, the Reverend Ian Atkinson.

But that's another story.

Happy New Year

sejintenej
Button Grecian
Posts: 3107
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:19 pm
Real Name: David Brown
Location: Essex

Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by sejintenej » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:39 pm

Donsimone wrote:
His aura of scholastic fundamentalism was never more intimidating than when in Chapel where, regally swathed in gown and mortar board, ...............
This ire of the ever-disgruntled perfectionist
A so-called "perfectionist" should know better. A gentleman should never wear a head covering indoors** and especially in consecratred premises unless that person is a bishop or higher in the RC faith. (I doubt if Newsome considered himself one of the higorant unwashed ............)

and I learned that at CH!

AndrewH
GE (Great Erasmus)
Posts: 162
Joined: Tue Nov 23, 2004 1:40 pm
Real Name: Andrew Harrison
Location: Cardiff
Contact:

Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by AndrewH » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:30 pm

Donsimone wrote:Private Eye had run a story on the shenanigans surrounding Newsome's contractually premature departure from CH in 1979 over his lack of sympathy for a co-educational future – Head of half the world was clearly enough of a job.
Was that why he went? I think that I heard a slightly different version just after the event, although it was still due to a falling out with the Almoners (re-allocation of funds within the school by DHN). Probably a bit of both caused his leaving!
Andrew Harrison
Maine A 1970-73
Lamb A 1973-77

JohnS
2nd Former
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 7:58 pm
Real Name: John Sedgwick
Location: Isle of Seil, Argyll, Scotland.

Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by JohnS » Tue Jan 11, 2011 6:29 pm

An entertaining collection of memories Simon. I too possess a Collective Works of Shakespeare awarded as a school prize – guess I didn’t find the brochure with the Otto Titzlinger titles.

You paint a picture of life at CH under the Newsome regime which is in tune with my own recollections. In hindsight I can’t help feeling that Newsome at CH in the 70s was an anachronism – not exactly the wrong person at the wrong time but more that he was a man hopelessly out of step with the decade. With his admiration of Benson and Newman and all things Victorian and his belief that the twin pillars of CH education were Chapel and Rugby I always had the impression that he would have liked to have had the school preserved in Victorian aspic. Instead he found himself headmaster in an era where, more so than in previous years, the world beyond the Main Gates was infiltrating school life and where attitudes to authority were becoming less deferential with dissenting voices and actions amongst us, the pupils, becoming more strident. You could palpably hear his finger nails scraping on the Avenue tarmac as the school was dragged into the last quarter of the 20th century. It is no surprise that he resigned over the enlightened and forward-looking decision to implement co-education at CH.

My own memories of Newsome? Being completely tongue-tied when in his company as exemplified when called to his study to be told of my elevation to school monitor - my only utterance was a muffled “thankyou sir”. Also, his pronunciation of “Karim Yasimee” and “Soren Kierkegaard”. Karim did a great impersonation of Newsome particularly DHN’s “Karim Yasimee”.

Anyway, enough of DHN what about your recollections of Ubi? I was across in Dunkeld last year and found myself asking in one of the shops there if the Reverend Ian was still around and he is indeed alive and kicking. It’s not too late for a reconciliation……

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

Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by michael scuffil » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:26 pm

Donsimone wrote: Word had it that while a Don at Emmanuel Cambridge – where to my extreme annoyance I was later slated to go and do English – Newsome had earned the moniker 'Dustbin' on account of his penchant for lurking silently around the refuse area, zealously poised to nab any curfew-breakers making their sly way over the college wall. It's pretty hilarious to picture him among the overflowing trash – perhaps engaged in a highbrow chinwag with his chum Malcolm Muggeridge – simultaneously meting out hefty fines to the lowly errant student classes.

Happy New Year
I can confirm that he had this reputation (the wall behind the dustbins was the easiest to climb over), though I never actually heard the nickname "dustbin".

I did have dinner with him once, when he was Senior Tutor of Emmanuel. I was captain of the University Challenge team which had done reasonably well, and he took us to the Plough at Fen Ditton. It was quite a good meal. I don't remember much of the conversation, but we talked about the BBC's epic series on the Great War, which had just started. He said: "I think a series which features the bare bottom of Tsar Nicholas II in its first episode must hold out great promise."

I think his resignation had nothing to do with co-education. It was a demarcation dispute between Headmaster and Council of the sort that afflicted a number of schools and perhaps still does. In particular, he was strictly against allowing the admission of full-fee-paying pupils, which the Council even then were trying to introduce in the hope of getting in more money.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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

Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by NEILL THE NOTORIOUS » Sun Jan 16, 2011 9:37 pm

To the matter of reconciliation, or revenge ---------

A few years ago,at an Old Blue's Dinner, I met up with an ex-Monitor, who had made my life a living hell, in my first year.

I had for many years, both at CH, and after leaving, cherished the idea of thumping him, fairly conclusively, because, by that time, I was "Useful"


When we met, I was astounded to find that he was small and weedy ----certainly not worth the trouble !!

Time not only heals -- it gives one, an entirely different perspective !! :oops:

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

Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by englishangel » Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:46 am

NEILL THE NOTORIOUS wrote:To the matter of reconciliation, or revenge ---------

A few years ago,at an Old Blue's Dinner, I met up with an ex-Monitor, who had made my life a living hell, in my first year.

I had for many years, both at CH, and after leaving, cherished the idea of thumping him, fairly conclusively, because, by that time, I was "Useful"


When we met, I was astounded to find that he was small and weedy ----certainly not worth the trouble !!

Time not only heals -- it gives one, an entirely different perspective !! :oops:
and a lot more height.
"If a man speaks, and there isn't a woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

User avatar
J.R.
Forum Moderator
Posts: 14817
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:53 pm
Real Name: John Rutley
Location: Dorking, Surrey

Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by J.R. » Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:12 pm

It's also strange how time can change people. At our last house re-union, I met up with a house monitor that I had 'fagged' for. He never really gave me a hard time, but made sure I was fully aware of the age difference and his importance within the school.

At the re-union, we spent most of the day together and it was amazing what a great day we had together.

Incidently, NO NAMES - NO PACK DRILL !!
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

sejintenej
Button Grecian
Posts: 3107
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:19 pm
Real Name: David Brown
Location: Essex

Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by sejintenej » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:55 pm

J.R. wrote: He never really gave me a hard time, but made sure I was fully aware of the age difference and his importance within the school.
At the re-union, we spent most of the day together and it was amazing what a great day we had together.
Isn't that typical of people. I had a lot of involvement with an Old Etonian 6 times my age; he could get along with anyone at any time and they would not realise his background or wealth. His (late) elder son, who had the silver spoon, had a problem with his nose trying to lift the clouds - not a person I liked to be around. His younger son, (now retired) chairman of one of Britain's largest companies is like his father - happy to try anything and is at ease in any company. Both sons are ex-Eton, the younger saw action with the Guards - I don't know about the elder son.

You just cannot tell how people will turn out.

User avatar
J.R.
Forum Moderator
Posts: 14817
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:53 pm
Real Name: John Rutley
Location: Dorking, Surrey

Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by J.R. » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:37 pm

Could it be a case of..................

'Time is a great healer' !!
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

Jandewalden
2nd Former
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:53 pm
Real Name: Jan de Walden

Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by Jandewalden » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:29 pm

I can safely say that CMES DID use the cane although he was not a great lover of the punishment. I and Neil Morris both got 3 of his best for talking in chapel during prayers. Not very clever by us as we were in the row in front of him! At a guess I would say it was 1968... That aside he was a very kind man and I owe his wife Peggy big time for finding me a governor to get me into CH..

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

Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by michael scuffil » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:04 am

Jandewalden wrote:I can safely say that CMES DID use the cane although he was not a great lover of the punishment. I and Neil Morris both got 3 of his best for talking in chapel during prayers. Not very clever by us as we were in the row in front of him! At a guess I would say it was 1968... That aside he was a very kind man and I owe his wife Peggy big time for finding me a governor to get me into CH..
You know, that is the first time I've heard Mrs Seaman called "Peggy".

He was a good man who was overwhelmed by the 1960s, which he didn't understand.

CMES once beat a friend of mine (he reads this forum so he may own up) for camping out one night in Shelley's Wood, and having half of WS police force out searching for him.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

Donsimone
3rd Former
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:54 am

Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by Donsimone » Sat Oct 08, 2011 2:04 pm

Hi again.

For fun, I've written up the anecdote that started off this thread in a more literary style.

Hope some people enjoy it.



BUSTER MEETS THE BOGEYMAN

Michaelmas term, many moons ago....and Autumn, uncaring of dull distinctions as to Junior and Senior ends, had long since democratically scattered the debris from the trees lining the length of the Avenue over still-green lawns. Down in the engine room of Leigh Hunt B, the toil of study resumed, our wistful Charlie Brown was basking in the glow of 'Bomber' Nicholson's 3A English and History set. A compelling master with a quirky eccentricity - crème de la crème, old boy, crème de la crème was his mantra – he was the missing ingredient, a star in a generally lacklustre firmament.
Promotion to the top set had been a welcome gesture of recognition - capping an enthusiastic year, I'd been awarded by Mrs Peto, sole female teacher on the staff and reluctant surrogate mother to scores of homesick boarders, the Second Form English prize. Due to be presented at the end of the term, I'd been summoned to the School Office and instructed by the Secretary to choose a suitable book, a hardback which could be embossed with the school crest. From a ramshackle filing cabinet of brochures outside the School Office. Off you go.
This apparently simple task proved anything but, the frugal sum allocated promising scarce room for manoeuvre as I flipped through the glossy publishing material. Half an hour - and a teeth-grinding search animated by a litany of silent curses - later, the lone candidate at the price point picked itself and I was relieved to be able to claim the title on the form provided. Prize in the bag, I gave it no more thought – weeks were to pass before the pomp and circumstance ceremonial moment was scheduled.

Unwittingly however, I had just lit the blue touchpaper which would soon ignite the dreary stalemate of schoolboy existence and propel it, cartwheeling uncontrollably, through an evermore bizarre cosmos of genteel mayhem.

Weeks later, breakfast downed and loitering carefree amongst cohorts in the pre-Morning Chapel mist, I feel my psychic hackles freeze as the disembodied voice of Housemaster 'Killer' Fry - no-nonsense Dining Hall gavel-wielder and sternly handsome ex-military policeman - pierces the crisp air like a rapier; "Anything on your conscience, Youl?” Deftly dodging the ringing of distant alarm bells and quick to rally my angelic disposition, the hammer blow followed on at pace;
“The Headmaster wants to see you. In his study. Immediately."
That ringing sound could only have been my tin halo hitting the floor and sinking without trace beneath the ankle-deep leaves. Instantly digested as Very Bad News, adding insult to injury, the combination of the huge sprawling school site with the HM's aura of divine untouchability meant, not unlike those comical tourists who regularly got lost on walkabout, my having to humbly request directions as to his location..
The clearing fog served only to make my own confusion all the more palpable as I trekked the endless mile or so to my appointment with Nemesis personified. Had I inadvertently stumbled through some time-space portal? Landed in a Kafkaesque world of retribution for crimes uncommitted? Was I about to be held under house arrest with no accusation and, on the whim of some faceless higher authority, shot like a dog?
I found myself quaking with the sinister knowledge of one whose DNA was slated for imminent scrutiny at close quarters by a grim reaper of notoriously macabre proportions.

The HM, the eminently niggardly David Hay Newsome, Doctor of Divinity, was a William of Ockham-style Christian scholar of some renown and, Lord help us, a throwback to latter day Victorian ethics. A Judge Dread of perennial glaring menace, he usually appeared regally swathed in black silk gown, a diabolic shroud of Turin crowned by a tasselled mortar board. Imperious on the lawn in front of Dining Hall as the school band jollied the marching phalanxes into lunch, he projected from his vantage point a mindcrime deterrent of which Darth Vadar could have been proud. Similarly, from the privileged platform offered by his carved ecclesiastical Chapel throne, his probing gaze would routinely rake the ranks of assembled sitting targets replete in twee, anachronistic uniforms in search of any show of glowering rebellion, real or imagined, taking mental note for later corrective social surgery. For him to miss Chapel on my account was a white knuckle notion; God was descending from the machine....
So it was with a racing pulse that I eventually located the secluded corridor where the inner sanctum of high priesthood was lodged, knocked timidly and was received with the terse command 'Come'. I went sheepishly in.
He was perched, bat-like, at the far end of the aircraft carrier-sized table, framed by maroon velvet crush curtains. Rarely seen without his apparatus of office, mortar board resting slightly to one side in front of him, right then it was his expression that alerted me to the gravity of my predicament. Spectacles firmly on, his unblinking gaze was directed down at the polished wooden tabletop and he was smouldering with the silent resolve of the righteous man on a mission. Having reached him where he sat, I was left standing, apparently ignored, in the hallowed stillness. A theatrical lowering of the spectacles finally fanfared the awakening of Gruesome Newsome;
"Are you feeling guilty about anything you've done this term?"
As an opener, the tone was purposefully hostile. A rush of panic for the second time that morning but, a further mental scan coming up empty-handed, nonplussed on that front I remained and managed a few pidgin monosyllables of mumbling appeasement by way of reply.
Only, with a chillingly outraged shuffling of the sea of documents floating in front of him, and to my disbelief, like a rabbit from a magician's hat, a book was revealed for my inspection, the cover of which was carpeted with a Himalayan mountainscape of eye-poppingly fulsome bosoms in varying states of undress. Bust Up: The History Of The Bra. By Otto Titzlinger.
My Lord! - with the shock of sudden recognition, my English prize was revealed in all its tainted glory. The only hardback I could find for that paltry sum. From the brochures outside the School Office. As instructed. Evidently a titanic error had occurred, more misguided than mischievous yet here before my very eyes was the damning evidence of my Gunpowder Plotting. The swiftness and intensity of the ensuing tirade was geared to take no prisoners; "This was a direct attempt to cheek the school" and "an unforgivable undermining of the school's public image”. Gaining volume, the venomous hiss rattled on; “Have you any idea what the book suppliers must have thought?" And on. And on. The pecking order requiring its due pound of flesh, the gradual dawning that I was the meat on today's menu overwhelmed me.
The room swirling around my head without me, the hypnotic dirge of the accusation a faraway echo from some alien place, the writing on the wall could not have been any clearer - this vile, libidinous affront to the school's reputation as well as his own personal moral code was to be met with exemplary punishment;
Bend over.
Punchdrunk from the bodyblows of the verbal onslaught, suddenly I found myself long bluecoat up, over thee armchair while from somewhere behind a spin-bowler's shuffling run-up and a wild dervish flailing of black fabric and double bamboo cane flagged the stinging arrival of six of the very best, applied with counter-revolutionary zeal to my protesting buttocks.
As the spittle flew around me, cocooned face down in that throbbing, suffocating silence, the odour of old chairleather was oddly inebriating.
The barrage at last subsided and the mercy seat having claimed its latest scalp, the honour of the School was thus resurrected. The whipping-boy of collective guilt, upright once more, thanked him and slithered out the heavy oak door like a dazed but pathetically grateful puppy. He was, after all, The Headmaster, you know.

Paying the price difference from my own pocket money ( and with the Secretary's vicious barb you should have been expelled ringing in my ears ), I subsequently took receipt of the Complete Works of Shakespeare. A weighty tome to be sure, I still have it with its proud gold-embossed school crest somewhere, dusty and long unopened.
On occasion though, I catch my thoughts drifting dreamily back to Herr Titzlinger and Bust Up: The History Of The Bra, that storm in a C-cup which I suspect may have boosted the bursting bubblegum of imagination with more invisible lift than any offering by the Bard.

Strange to tell, there were to be no more prizes.

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

Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by michael scuffil » Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:29 am

Just in passing...

Newsome shares a churchyard (I think) with John Ruskin and Donald Campbell.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests