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...

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sejintenej
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Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by sejintenej » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:59 pm

michael scuffil wrote:
Donsimone wrote:
1970's CH... the shabby decadence of the boarding houses - badly in need of modernisation -
They'd been given a thorough makeover in 1964. You should have seen them c. 1955!
when for a number of boys they were far better than damp mouldy hovels with leaking roofs, a privy in the yard and milk sold off the back of a horse and cart out of a churn. Apart from the junior boy's bogs and the lack of shower curtains they were not too bad in 1955. For decadent hell you should have been sent on one of the CCF Arduous Training Courses

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Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by michael scuffil » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:07 am

sejintenej wrote:
michael scuffil wrote:
Donsimone wrote:
1970's CH... the shabby decadence of the boarding houses - badly in need of modernisation -
They'd been given a thorough makeover in 1964. You should have seen them c. 1955!
when for a number of boys they were far better than damp mouldy hovels with leaking roofs, a privy in the yard and milk sold off the back of a horse and cart out of a churn. Apart from the junior boy's bogs and the lack of shower curtains they were not too bad in 1955. For decadent hell you should have been sent on one of the CCF Arduous Training Courses
Actually the point I was making was that they couldn't have been too bad in the 1970s, and certainly far better than c. 1960. And even then, as you point out, they were serviceable, though Spartan. I didn't have hot water at home either. Anywhere inhabited by adolescents or young men will look shabby quite quickly.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by Donsimone » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:35 am

Crikey - listening to you lot anyone'd think that living in a septic tank and eating cold poison for breakfast was almost, albeit Pythonesquely, normal. :lol:

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Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by michael scuffil » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:17 am

Donsimone wrote:Crikey - listening to you lot anyone'd think that living in a septic tank and eating cold poison for breakfast was almost, albeit Pythonesquely, normal. :lol:
We didn't do either. I'm surprised that standards deteriorated so much between 1960 and 1975. Although 'modernization' can bring unintended consequences.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by Donsimone » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:29 am

michael scuffil wrote:
Donsimone wrote:Crikey - listening to you lot anyone'd think that living in a septic tank and eating cold poison for breakfast was almost, albeit Pythonesquely, normal. :lol:
We didn't do either. I'm surprised that standards deteriorated so much between 1960 and 1975. Although 'modernization' can bring unintended consequences.
Culturally, we're now well into POSTmodernism - to my mind a grotesquely overconceptualised ba**ard child of modernism - but point taken.

Our house in London in the '60s didn't have central heating, nobody had ever even heard the term 'double-glazing'. Our Dad, bless him, had adapted a couple of old toffee tins. A lightfitting complete with bulb was drilled into the lid and screwed into the inside, 'The Can' was plugged in and served as an excellent bedwarmer in the winter.

'Standards' at CH in the '70s clearly hadn't deteriorated, especially in comparison with what you describe - more a case that expectations had risen, the notion of aspiration being the hallmark of what can be thought of as modern along with a mixed bag of wide-ranging cultural values stretching back over most of the twentieth century. The whole '60s 'counter-culture' movement, a reactionary term which I find rather stupid, really started to bite into the youth of the '70s.

Which was cleverly exploited in the Python sketch.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by J.R. » Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:35 pm

I think that most pupils at school on and before the retirement of C.M.E. Seaman would say that massive changes occured as soon as C.M.E.S., went.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by michael scuffil » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:28 pm

J.R. wrote:I think that most pupils at school on and before the retirement of C.M.E. Seaman would say that massive changes occured as soon as C.M.E.S., went.
That's what new headmasters are for.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by Fjgrogan » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:37 pm

There were certainly big changes at Hertford when Miss West was replaced by Miss Tucker.
Frances Grogan (Haley) 6's 1956 - 62

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Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by Donsimone » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:04 pm

Question is, is it progress when a cannibal decides to use a fork?

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Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by michael scuffil » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:38 pm

Donsimone wrote:Question is, is it progress when a cannibal decides to use a fork?
Given the existence of original sin ('The only Christian doctrine that is empirically verifiable' -- Mr T.P. ('Tim') Law), the answer to your question is probably yes.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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J.R.
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Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by J.R. » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:40 pm

michael scuffil wrote:
Donsimone wrote:Question is, is it progress when a cannibal decides to use a fork?
Given the existence of original sin ('The only Christian doctrine that is empirically verifiable' -- Mr T.P. ('Tim') Law), the answer to your question is probably yes.

...........Or as the first cannibal said to the second cannibal, after finishing off a circus clown...................

"Did that taste funny to you ??"
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by Donsimone » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:09 am

:lol:

Disobedience being the Original Virtue....

:axe:

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Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by DavebytheSea » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:51 pm

What a wonderful thread! I now feel I know a little more about CH in those years which hitherto I have regarded as the dark ages which followed the glorious post-war years when I was there and preceded the Poulton/ Southern era when care supplanted survival.

I did visit the school once in the sixties, and felt that the school had gone shabby; now I find a well managed estate but am saddened that Aston Webb's glorious airy - some would say breezy - dormitories have become a warren of soulless cells with ancient parquet floors peeping shamefacedly here and there through cheap carpet and linoleum. Yes, yes I know - the modern child needs privacy and proper bathrooms and lavatories, far more salubrious than the windy bogs and lav-ends of my time. Married teachers and girls are probably the catalyst for these improvements and are themselves the most important and beneficial changes that grace the present school. As mentioned in a previous post, times change and with it, the school.
David Eastburn (Prep B and Mid A 1947-55)

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Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by Donsimone » Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:49 pm

You've put your finger on an interesting evolutionary pattern there, David. Perhaps we could engage in some plucky demystification of stereotypes and prejudices past and present along the lines of 'Surviving is not thriving'. Discuss in less than 200 words....

I don't claim to have an eagle's eye view – more of a weevil's eye view actually. Age 11, my own choice of school, roundly ignored by my parents, was for Dulwich College, a short bus-ride away from us in South London. At the very least, I suspect my rugby would've been better. :)
As a kid, I was clueless about what to expect from boarding school in reality. A bit like Withnail in the film, despondently disclaiming 'I've come on holiday – by mistake', before you could say 'surely this is against the law', I found myself being whisked off to and intimidated by the frowning arches of the Quadrangle, the musty grandeur of what seemed like a vast and asthmatically wheezing cobweb castle in the countryside. London and Horsham were two very different planets.

Particularly uninspiring, conformity to the mould was still a priority at that time and enforced with a pretty heavy hand ( see the thread 'Beyond Good and Evil?' ), actually more consistent with the doughty culture of knowing self-sacrifice and 'character building' associated with previous generations than the languid cool dudes of the '70s. After all, you don't build character by diminishing it – but it is a very good way of alienating people. In my experience, a slap-happy method to teach non-aggression will always end up rather defeating the aim, n'est ce pas?
Is that why I found the CH landscape unsympathetic, eerie even? Not exclusively, nor due to the living conditions - probably in line with other boarding schools of the day - more the general sense of feeling roped in as ballast, manacled to this huge creaking galleon kept afloat by a scarecrow crew of arcane, rough practicioners, just about all male.
There were times I could have been a pork pie at a Jewish wedding.
And I didn't get to go home at teatime. :roll:
You could shrug and conclude that school is just a means to an end anyway so no big deal. That's partly true - I don't have any naïve argument with the reality that we all need some kind of intro to the not-so-subtle blackmail of patronage on which our communities are still regrettably based. But schooldays also tend to leave an indelible mark which is presumably why we still find ourselves occasionally mulling it over many years after the fact. Not least, because CH, with a hatful of history and a carefully selected clientele, regards itself as a wee bit special.

I experienced a pretty masonic heirarchy though I sort of appreciate that a public school Headmaster's lot can doubtless be a poisoned chalice:

Wanted – apprentice flatulent bigwig, main duty to flank governors carrying spiced orange ( supplied ) in outstretched palm thus keeping the stench of the vulgar concourse at bay.
Vacancy - vile totem of denial, responsible for terrorising large groups of fanciful youth.
Applications welcome - icon of worshipful stoogery, to follow in our footsteps ( you know what we mean ).

Headmasters also have the power to make or break a school. On the whole Newsome, despite displaying certain archetypally fungal, dyspeptic qualities, came across as an unwordly Christian theologian contentedly lost in his ivory tower and arguably driven more by his rather retro take on vocation than seduced by the soft drug of office.
He could have been a lot more proactive.
How many on Newsome's staff embodied a genuine sense of equanimity, of a sporting chance being offered to a wide diversity of view? Why did this unsinkable classic of a school, capsized by the weight of its own overbarnacled hull, feel like it was at any moment heading for the ocean floor,? Why were we always being beaten at rugby by Dulwich College ( who else...)? :D
CH become an evolutionary cul-de-sac, at odds with my own premonitions of a glittering future - on the Deps I ended up crossing that Rubycon by myself which in any event turned out to be an illuminating experience. Education never really stops, regardless.

So when you mention 'support' Dave, I guess you mean that current pupils now enjoy less violation from the smouldering savagery of certain staff members – a long and dishonourable public schol tradition. A more articulate and initiative-rich, family-style hothousing maybe? Which sounds like a good idea. After all when you're young you can never have too many toys. And at any age, too much well-being is, let's be honest, never enough.
Trouble is, in our adolescence, part of that well-being also involves unearthing intimidating influences to bounce off of and I imagine a whole new generation is quietly doing just that even as we speak.
Because the enemy is only ever one – and that is narrow-mindedness.

Oops, it appears my own small pirate craft has cheerfully breezed past the self-imposed word limit in search of buried treasure again. Openseawards.

In the words of the butterfly, there is nothing more stable than change.

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Re: Gruesome Encounter of the Newsome Kind

Post by amjnewman » Sat Aug 16, 2014 10:29 am

I'm struggling to recognise, in many of the threads here, the DHN I experienced at CH. Yes he was a notorious flogger (remember the same true of Coleridge's, Lamb's and Leigh Hunt's Boyer). There was the easily mocked 'quintessence of Kierkegaard' side to him. And there was the cloying sentimentality of his last sermon all based around the friendship of Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh. These obscure but don't change the big picture.

I remember someone who, in an atmosphere that was stodgily anti-intellectual (hence typically and reassuringly British), provided air cover that allowed thought, reading and discussion to be taken seriously. And I remember someone who brought one of the most colourful and creative explosions imaginable into our lives, against overwhelming institutional prejudice - DNP, whose theatre he defended against all comers.

Anyone remember the big banner in the quad on his last day? God Bless You DHN. That was no propaganda stunt.

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