When We were Very Young

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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When We were Very Young

Post by DavebytheSea » Tue May 09, 2006 2:45 pm

JT has made me look for an early pic of me when a Blue. This has meant a trip to the attic and much sneezing as a result of centuries of dust. Remarkably perhaps, among a disorganised mass of family history - letters, photos (and indeed daguerrotypes) dating back to the 1840s - there were very few pictures to be found of me wearing Housey uniform.

What I did find was an abundance of letters including the very first one I wrote home from CH. Written in pencil and undated (though it will be from late September in 1947 when I was aged just 9), it reads as follows (I don't think it would scan though the writing is lovely!):

Dear Mother and daddy,
I hope you are verry well I'm not I hav been feeling sick ever since you went, I think it is the food its dredful. what they call scivvage pie is all the sluf that people leave over. by the way they say that the barbar just says come here and grabs your hair and cuts of your hair with a knife, so I advise you to take me to Horsham When you write next (please write soon) please writ a note to matrain about it. Thank you very much for your parcel my nursemaid has turned out horrid what shall I do. send a lot of writing paper and stamps love from David
PS send the pencil box you forgot


How about some more early bits of memorabilia?
David Eastburn (Prep B and Mid A 1947-55)

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Post by DavebytheSea » Tue May 09, 2006 4:05 pm

Ok - one more - if you are not too bored! I have only just discovered this and it may contain what is really my first effort for the Limerick thread.

This letter is written on tiny CH crested regulation write-home letter paper (throughout my time at Housie, letter writing on a Sunday afternoon remained compulsory). It contains a reference to one Bawtree (not Adrian Bawtree who teaches the organ at CH, but his father David, now Admiral Bawtree) ; when I last met him, he said we had been in Prep B together, but I couldn't remember it. Perhaps now I understand why. He was a year my senior and I followed him into Middleton A where we later were choristers together. Clearly in those first months in the Prep he was not my most favourite person!! Sorry David!

Dated 8th Feb, 1948

Dear Mother and daddy I hope you are very well, I am. There is not much news today Except that my music master [Mr Gerrish] has given me a frightful piece It has to sharps in it. Lately peopl have not been liking the food like spagetti and celery done in the same princeble as maccarroni so I eat quite a lot of it. shall I tell you about a poem I am lerning in a serrial I is called
Admiral Benbow
and it goes like this ........
[4 lines missed]

......... That is four lines now I shall write my housy Alphabet

A is for Art school where we sometimes work,
B is for Bawtree who I think is a twerp, [ :oops: ]
C is for Clarence our Dormitry maid
D is for Dirty Boys out on parade
[punishment drill in the Prep?]
E is for Edwards who I very much hate
F is for Flory who never was late,
G is for games and also for Gym,
H is for Hill who always says fin,
I is for Infirmary the place where were ill,
J is for Jam with which I often fill,
K is for Kerr quite a nice boy
L is for Lerning which is such a joy
M is for masters like Mr Pink
N is for nasly one when we spill ink
O is for Oranges we often get these
P is for pinker who I think likes cheese.

That is all so for the prezen
Love from
David

PS come and see me soon next Salurday perhaps


Obviously food was important and I am no longer quite so worried about it!
Last edited by DavebytheSea on Tue May 09, 2006 4:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
David Eastburn (Prep B and Mid A 1947-55)

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Post by J.R. » Tue May 09, 2006 4:18 pm

Dave:

Your first letter bought back memories.

When my beloved Mum died a few years ago, I inherited the customary family deeds box, and Jan and I found my first letter home, pleading to be released from the Horrors of Horsham.

After Jan had read it to a couple of our Grand-Children, I haven't been seen in the same light by them since !

Grand-Son can't believe I could be such a 'Wimp'. (His word !)
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Post by Mid A 15 » Tue May 09, 2006 4:28 pm

DavebytheSea wrote:Ok - one more - if you are not too bored! I have only just discovered this and it may contain what is really my first effort for the Limerick thread.

This letter is written on tiny CH crested regulation write-home letter paper (throughout my time at Housie, letter writing on a Sunday afternoon remained compulsory). It contains a reference to one Bawtree (not Adrian Bawtree who teaches the organ at CH, but his father David, now Admiral Bawtree) ; when I last met him, he said we had been in Prep B together, but I couldn't remember it. Perhaps now I understand why. He was a year my senior and I followed him into Middleton A where we later were choristers together. Clearly in those first months in the Prep he was not my most favourite person!! Sorry David!

Dated 8th Feb, 1948

Dear Mother and daddy I hope you are very well, I am. There is not much news today Except that my music master [Mr Gerrish] has given me a frightful piece It has to sharps in it. Lately peopl have not been liking the food like spagetti and celery done in the same princeble as maccarroni so I eat quite a lot of it. shall I tell you about a poem I am lerning in a serrial I is called
Admiral Benbow
and it goes like this ........
[4 lines missed]

......... That is four lines now I shall write my housy Alphabet

A is for Art school where we sometimes work,
B is for Bawtree who I think is a twerp, [ :oops: ]
C is for Clarence our Dormitry maid
D is for Dirty Boys out on parade
[punishment drill in the Prep?]
E is for Edwards who I very much hate
F is for Flory who never was late,
G is for games and also for Gym,
H is for Hill who always says fin,
I is for Infirmary the place where were ill,
J is for Jam with which I often fill,
K is for Kerr quite a nice boy
L is for Lerning which is such a joy
M is for masters like Mr Pink
N is for nasly one when we spill ink
O is for Oranges we often get these
P is for pinker who I think likes cheese.

That is all so for the prezen
Love from
David

PS come and see me soon next Salurday perhaps


Obviously food was important and I am no longer quite so worried about it!
My mother discovered some of my letters home fairly recently. It is fascinating reading them after all these years.

I have to say yours appear to be rather more erudite than mine were though!
Ma A, Mid A 65 -72

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Post by englishangel » Tue May 09, 2006 9:43 pm

We had to write home on sunday afternoon too. I dare not ask my mother if she has my letters. My folks have moved house 3 times since I left home and they still have so much crap you wouldn't believe.
"If a man speaks, and there isn't a woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

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Post by sejintenej » Mon Nov 13, 2006 10:00 pm

DavebytheSea wrote:Ok - one more - if you are not too bored! I have only just discovered this and it may contain what is really my first effort for the Limerick thread.

This letter is written on tiny CH crested regulation write-home letter

......... That is four lines now I shall write my housy Alphabet


J is for Jam with which I often fill,
K is for Kerr quite a nice boy
L is for Lerning which is such a joy
M is for masters like Mr Pink
N is for nasly one when we spill ink
O is for Oranges we often get these
P is for pinker who I think likes cheese.

Obviously food was important and I am no longer quite so worried about it!
I have to assume that the jam was from your parents' famine releif. As for fruit (oranges or any other such luxury) a cautionary tale:

My mother's employer, concerned at my lack of health when returning for the holidsays arranged for me to see a Herley Streetrspecialist who prescribed one piece of fruit per day.

The school was very displeased to receive such a prescription from the doctor but accepted that as I had no part in arranging the appointment I should not be beaten on that occasion; I would not be let off again. I had to go out to the back of the kitchens to collect my banana - not that I was complaining given the sights to be seen ........
Later on when we went off rockclimbing at weekends - sorry, "attending scout camp" - she used toi smuggle me an orange instead!

I think you had it pretty cushy back in 1948 - think - Labour had not yet brought in bread rationing .

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Post by englishangel » Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:07 am

We could order a bag of fruit from the local greengrocer which was delivered once a week. I would get an apple (or 2) a banana, a pear and some orange coloured fruit (it varied by season) for about 1s3d (about 6pence for those too young to remember.

NOW I feel old
"If a man speaks, and there isn't a woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

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Post by jhopgood » Tue Nov 14, 2006 9:22 am

Not CH but related.
I have my school journey book from my Junior school. In it I see that I had to leave half way through to go up to London to sit the CH exams. We have a video of that school journey which we played at a reunion some years ago. (Copied from Super 8 or something similar).
On the matter of post war food, does anyone remember the powdered milk in large cans, still in use in our house to store screw drivers, orange syrup and cod liver oil in similar bottles (I assume the orange was a fore runner of orange squash, it was impossible to drink neat), malt, a spoonful of which was handed out at school with the morning milk?
We only ever had oranges and bananas at Christmas, or when my grandfather visited as they fell of a barrow in Woolwich market.
My Costa Rican wife only got apples and grapes at Christmas, and they came from Florida.
Here in the village the roads were only paved about 50 years ago and water mains date from the 1950's. Where they used to wash clothes is now a dried up river bed.
It's remarkable how quickly things change.

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Post by Mid A 15 » Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:57 am

jhopgood wrote:Not CH but related.
I have my school journey book from my Junior school. In it I see that I had to leave half way through to go up to London to sit the CH exams. We have a video of that school journey which we played at a reunion some years ago. (Copied from Super 8 or something similar).
On the matter of post war food, does anyone remember the powdered milk in large cans, still in use in our house to store screw drivers, orange syrup and cod liver oil in similar bottles (I assume the orange was a fore runner of orange squash, it was impossible to drink neat), malt, a spoonful of which was handed out at school with the morning milk?
We only ever had oranges and bananas at Christmas, or when my grandfather visited as they fell of a barrow in Woolwich market.
My Costa Rican wife only got apples and grapes at Christmas, and they came from Florida.
Here in the village the roads were only paved about 50 years ago and water mains date from the 1950's. Where they used to wash clothes is now a dried up river bed.
It's remarkable how quickly things change.
I remember travelling on the train from Woolwich Arsenal to London as a small boy and passing through areas like Deptford and seeing hundreds and hundreds of terraced houses with tin baths hanging on the back wall. None of these houses would have had bathrooms.

Indeed I can remember visiting my grandmother, who lived in Red Lion Lane Shooters Hill SE18, on friday nights, which was bath night, and most of of the time we were there she would be heating water up and pouring it in the tin bath ready for my grandfather.

They had no electricity either and had a gas light in the living room.

I'm talking late fifties and very early sixties before they migrated to what was then considered the utopia of Stevenage New Town in Hertfordshire.

These youngsters don't know they're born :wink:
Ma A, Mid A 65 -72

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Post by jhopgood » Tue Nov 14, 2006 1:39 pm

If you had gone a decade earlier and looked out of the window just before Charlton station, you would have seen me sitting in a pram in the back garden. So I am told.
My parents lived in similar lodgings to those you describe and managed to get shipped out to the Coldharbour estate, Eltham, after my sister was born and made it difficult for a couple to live with 2 children in 2 rooms.
I remember none of this but certainly remember visiting my Grandad, who lived with his eldest son, wife and 5 kids in a 2 up and 2 down terrace on Ordinance Road. At the time I thought nothing of it, but talking to my cousin, who shared with my Grandad and my father before he got married, it was pretty crowded.

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Re:

Post by rockfreak » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:14 pm

J.R. wrote:Dave:

Your first letter bought back memories.

When my beloved Mum died a few years ago, I inherited the customary family deeds box, and Jan and I found my first letter home, pleading to be released from the Horrors of Horsham.

After Jan had read it to a couple of our Grand-Children, I haven't been seen in the same light by them since !

Grand-Son can't believe I could be such a 'Wimp'. (His word !)

Just browsing these posts, DavebytheSea's letters home are pure Nigel Molesworth. "Chiz chiz!" And JR's grandson needs to be advised that no-one who survived CH back then deserves to be called a wimp. As any fule kno.

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Re: When We were Very Young

Post by DavebytheSea » Sat Apr 30, 2016 10:09 pm

What fun to see this thread emerging into the light once more. :)
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Re: When We were Very Young

Post by J.R. » Sun May 01, 2016 11:56 am

I remember talking to an OB who went straight into the army as a non-com. He reckoned basic training was no worse than his first years at Horsham in the late 1950's/early 60's.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: When We were Very Young

Post by sejintenej » Sun May 01, 2016 8:00 pm

J.R. wrote:I remember talking to an OB who went straight into the army as a non-com. He reckoned basic training was no worse than his first years at Horsham in the late 1950's/early 60's.
Not surprising - we were being trained to be Somme cannon fodder 45 years too late. As for the promise of an automatic commission if one had actually joined the H.A.C and been called up - I wonder if any OB actually got one.
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Re: When We were Very Young

Post by rockfreak » Tue May 03, 2016 8:16 pm

It was difficult to know what people felt at the time about their early years at CH. I was in Prep B just a year or two before JR, and I remember that we had a lad who cried almost continuously. He was actually rather good at rugby which is usually a passport to popularity - and indeed I don't think he was unpopular; I think we all felt sorry for him. But he looked miserable when dashing down the wing scoring tries and he'd usually burst into tears again before the conversion was taken. After a couple of weeks he disappeared so I imagine the school contacted his parents and told them he wasn't going to settle. Nick Duffell, I believe, is interesting on this in his books and he believes that many of us construct a "strategic survival personality" right from the start because we don't want to be "the one that blubs", "the one that is homesick", "the one that can't take it", even though, in fact, we may all be feeling miserable. The need to be one of the group kicks in very early.

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