Elizabeth Cairncross

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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by Avon »

bakunin wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:02 pm
AMP wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:31 am

I have recently heard that some boy squits were deliberately withheld food and had to go begging from girls' tables.
I can confirm this. It happened to me as well as at least one other poster on this forum. I lived on milk and toast. I would enter weird dreamlike states every evening before bedtime due to lack of food.
There was a boy in Sillett’s LHB who was publicly and relentlessly bullied by many in the House. He wasn’t allowed to eat lunch, instead he was forced to eat bowls of old and cold custard. Noticeably skeletal and increasingly quirky he got to about the UF before embarking on a massive shoplifting spree in Horsham resulting in his eventual withdrawal.

His father was a local publican.

I often think about that boy. CH failed him, under the noses of the staff.

Fcuk You Bob Sillett and your OBE-emblazoned apron. CH deserved better.
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by J.R. »

The only bullying in CMES's time was verbal and occasionally slight physical.

I never heard of food being denied.

It does seem things definitely got worse after my time.
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by Phil »

I supplement (and endorse) JR’s previous posting with the following amendments.
The only bullying in HLOF's time was verbal and occasionally physical. [The word ‘slight’ is omitted.]
I never heard of food being denied.
It does seem things definitely got worse after my time [according to the Forum].

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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by Pe.A »

AMP wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:31 am
Pe.A wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:05 am
AMP wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:29 pm
Bullying and anti social behaviour seems to have got worse during the 70s, 80s and 90s on an upward chronological trajectory.

We are talking about the modern era by the way, not Oliver Twist.
Not that I am an expert on CH in the 70s and 80s, but could you pls explain this one?
The school hadn't been modernised since the victorian era and the food was mostly inedible. Different for those who ate on the dais. And dais trades was a privilege as you got to nick some toast and orange juice.

Dining room seating was by house and based on each table of 14 having a combination of years from a monitor at one end dealing out the food to the most junior at the other end, literally at the end of the food chain. You never got seconds unless you found a tray in one of the trolleys near the end of dining time and you were permanently hungry for the most part, without really realising it. Tuck parcels from home were a godsend. Fruit cake was a filler.

I have recently heard that some boy squits were deliberately withheld food and had to go begging from girls' tables.

This and other reports I have read on here make me think that things were actually getting worse before they finally got better.

Spartan victorian conditions was never a problem - in fact I am proud to have endured that. And we had cold winters in those days, often snow.

But the general nastiness was unacceptable and should have been stamped out. But there was no governance and when a management structure was later implemented, it seems it was ineffectual.

Don't get me wrong, 7 years is a long time and it wasn't all bad. Far from it. But people need to know.
Ok. But with regards to your claiming the food was inedible, how bad was it in the 80s in relative terms compared to schools dinners in state schools, or indeed in other independent schools? My recollection from the start of the 90s was that if anything could be hit or miss, it was lunches. Breakfasts and tea were all about hash brown, beans and sausages. Hardly prison fare.

I still don't understand how you can correlate your supposed 'Oliver in the Workhouse' existence with the cases of sexual/indecent assault that occurred way back when...

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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by Pe.A »

bakunin wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:57 pm
AMP wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:29 pm

CH is where I learned to be very cynical about authority, religion, tradition, hierarchy, bureaucracy, etc.
...upsides of a good education...?
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by Avon »

An indicative story.

Sometime in the mid 80’s rice pudding was served to the school. Almost in unison there was a groan of surprise from the tables.

The reason? Salt had been used instead of sugar. It was inedible. For 850 people.

No form of tasting or quality control had been done between pantry and table. None.

Nobody cared enough.
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by AMP »

Avon wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:56 pm
An indicative story.

Sometime in the mid 80’s rice pudding was served to the school. Almost in unison there was a groan of surprise from the tables.

The reason? Salt had been used instead of sugar. It was inedible. For 850 people.

No form of tasting or quality control had been done between pantry and table. None.

Nobody cared enough.
Spot on, nobody cared.

Even the bread was disgusting. They injected it with water so it would last longer and it was just soggy.

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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by AMP »

Pe.A wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 5:39 pm
AMP wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:31 am
Pe.A wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:05 am


Not that I am an expert on CH in the 70s and 80s, but could you pls explain this one?
The school hadn't been modernised since the victorian era and the food was mostly inedible. Different for those who ate on the dais. And dais trades was a privilege as you got to nick some toast and orange juice.

Dining room seating was by house and based on each table of 14 having a combination of years from a monitor at one end dealing out the food to the most junior at the other end, literally at the end of the food chain. You never got seconds unless you found a tray in one of the trolleys near the end of dining time and you were permanently hungry for the most part, without really realising it. Tuck parcels from home were a godsend. Fruit cake was a filler.

I have recently heard that some boy squits were deliberately withheld food and had to go begging from girls' tables.

This and other reports I have read on here make me think that things were actually getting worse before they finally got better.

Spartan victorian conditions was never a problem - in fact I am proud to have endured that. And we had cold winters in those days, often snow.

But the general nastiness was unacceptable and should have been stamped out. But there was no governance and when a management structure was later implemented, it seems it was ineffectual.

Don't get me wrong, 7 years is a long time and it wasn't all bad. Far from it. But people need to know.
Ok. But with regards to your claiming the food was inedible, how bad was it in the 80s in relative terms compared to schools dinners in state schools, or indeed in other independent schools? My recollection from the start of the 90s was that if anything could be hit or miss, it was lunches. Breakfasts and tea were all about hash brown, beans and sausages. Hardly prison fare.

I still don't understand how you can correlate your supposed 'Oliver in the Workhouse' existence with the cases of sexual/indecent assault that occurred way back when...
Deliberately starving squits is abuse
Last edited by AMP on Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by bakunin »

Pe.A wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 5:39 pm
...with regards to your claiming the food was inedible, how bad was it in the 80s in relative terms compared to schools dinners in state schools, or indeed in other independent schools? My recollection from the start of the 90s was that if anything could be hit or miss, it was lunches. Breakfasts and tea were all about hash brown, beans and sausages. Hardly prison fare.
Lunches and tea were prison-level. I've only spent 3 days in a US jail but the food was comparable, or maybe slightly better than CH lunch or dinner. Breakfast was much better for some reason... Fried bread, hash browns and baked beans were great. Compared to the state middle school I went to, lunch was definitely inferior.

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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by bakunin »

Avon wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:56 pm
An indicative story.

Sometime in the mid 80’s rice pudding was served to the school. Almost in unison there was a groan of surprise from the tables.

The reason? Salt had been used instead of sugar. It was inedible. For 850 people.

No form of tasting or quality control had been done between pantry and table. None.

Nobody cared enough.
This also happened in the 90s, except that they put pepper in the rice pudding for some reason (instead of cinnamon maybe?) and had to make a big announcement/apology

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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by AMP »

The food is now cordon bleu.
At some point they finally gave up trying to cook and sub contracted it.
I don't know if that is still the case, but the food was transformed.
And they stagger sittings which probably eases the pressure on the chef.
About 4 years ago I went down to Beating Retreat and afterwards I was standing at the urinal in a portacabin at the back of the old Art School.
As you do, got chatting to an older fellow who told me his daughter who is Head of Modern Languages only eats in Dining Hall once a week for fear of putting on too much weight.

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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by graham »

bakunin wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:02 pm
AMP wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:31 am

I have recently heard that some boy squits were deliberately withheld food and had to go begging from girls' tables.
I can confirm this. It happened to me as well as at least one other poster on this forum. I lived on milk and toast. I would enter weird dreamlike states every evening before bedtime due to lack of food.
Never experienced this as a squit but definitely did as a UF in the mid 90's. Senior houses were way more brutal.
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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by AMP »

Avon wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:52 pm
bakunin wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:02 pm
AMP wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:31 am

I have recently heard that some boy squits were deliberately withheld food and had to go begging from girls' tables.
I can confirm this. It happened to me as well as at least one other poster on this forum. I lived on milk and toast. I would enter weird dreamlike states every evening before bedtime due to lack of food.
There was a boy in Sillett’s LHB who was publicly and relentlessly bullied by many in the House. He wasn’t allowed to eat lunch, instead he was forced to eat bowls of old and cold custard. Noticeably skeletal and increasingly quirky he got to about the UF before embarking on a massive shoplifting spree in Horsham resulting in his eventual withdrawal.

His father was a local publican.

I often think about that boy. CH failed him, under the noses of the staff.

Fcuk You Bob Sillett and your OBE-emblazoned apron. CH deserved better.
I can't believe Sillett would have knowingly allowed that to happen. None of the housemasters would have.
I knew him.

I don't know how or why any of this was able to happen.

It needs to be investigated, but I think it is too simple to just blame housemasters.

I am guessing that Housemasters were overwhelmed. They were also full time teachers, sports coaches and ran numerous extra curricular activities and therefore it is not surprising they were seen fleetingly in the houses.

They were on their own without any management support and/or guidance from older, more experienced masters.

Which brings us back to safeguarding and the lack of.

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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by Pe.A »

bakunin wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 7:53 pm
Pe.A wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 5:39 pm
...with regards to your claiming the food was inedible, how bad was it in the 80s in relative terms compared to schools dinners in state schools, or indeed in other independent schools? My recollection from the start of the 90s was that if anything could be hit or miss, it was lunches. Breakfasts and tea were all about hash brown, beans and sausages. Hardly prison fare.
Lunches and tea were prison-level. I've only spent 3 days in a US jail but the food was comparable, or maybe slightly better than CH lunch or dinner. Breakfast was much better for some reason... Fried bread, hash browns and baked beans were great. Compared to the state middle school I went to, lunch was definitely inferior.
Ok. excluding lunches, what was wrong with tea time...? It wasn't that bad

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Re: Elizabeth Cairncross

Post by Pe.A »

AMP wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 12:42 am
Avon wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:52 pm
bakunin wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:02 pm


I can confirm this. It happened to me as well as at least one other poster on this forum. I lived on milk and toast. I would enter weird dreamlike states every evening before bedtime due to lack of food.
There was a boy in Sillett’s LHB who was publicly and relentlessly bullied by many in the House. He wasn’t allowed to eat lunch, instead he was forced to eat bowls of old and cold custard. Noticeably skeletal and increasingly quirky he got to about the UF before embarking on a massive shoplifting spree in Horsham resulting in his eventual withdrawal.

His father was a local publican.

I often think about that boy. CH failed him, under the noses of the staff.

Fcuk You Bob Sillett and your OBE-emblazoned apron. CH deserved better.
I can't believe Sillett would have knowingly allowed that to happen. None of the housemasters would have.
I knew him.

I don't know how or why any of this was able to happen.

It needs to be investigated, but I think it is too simple to just blame housemasters.

I am guessing that Housemasters were overwhelmed. They were also full time teachers, sports coaches and ran numerous extra curricular activities and therefore it is not surprising they were seen fleetingly in the houses.

They were on their own without any management support and/or guidance from older, more experienced masters.

Which brings us back to safeguarding and the lack of.
I don't think it's helpful to try and paint a picture by using a single brush stroke

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