David Newsome

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Fidésien
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David Newsome

Post by Fidésien »

I am sitting in Chantilly reading, for the first time in 50 years, David Newsome's book Godliness and Good Learning, a study in Victorian education. Which he wrote when he was a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. I understand that he was Headmaster at CH from 1970-1979, following on from George Seaman. And then he moved to become Headmaster at Wellington College until he retired. I can't believe that Wellington was a "promotion". What caused him to leave CH ? Was he, as a somewhat old-fashioned headmaster-don, and a professing Christian, just out of touch with educational developments in the 1970s ?
dsm
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Re: David Newsome

Post by dsm »

I had one year with Seaman, the rest with Newsome as head. He was known as The Toad and gave out plenty of canings (as did many teachers in that era, so is not really a criticism. For that see plenty of posts on Sillett and his infamous tangents). I have no idea why he moved on to Wellington after not many years at CH but can only think of two reasons. More money or problems with the Governors. He took the chaplain Rev Rob (Robson) with him iirc.
Fidésien
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Re: David Newsome

Post by Fidésien »

Thanks, Daniel. I doubt if Wellington would have paid him [much] more money. Perhaps there was an issue with the Governors ? And might it have been to do with going co-ed ? And the girls arriving ? I am hoping someone will enlighten us.
rockfreak
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Re: David Newsome

Post by rockfreak »

Thinking back on past posts, was this the same Newsome who, I'm told, went apesh*t when Roy Hattersley declared his intention to close down the private schools, and he gathered the school together to tell them not to vote Labour at the election?
loringa
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Re: David Newsome

Post by loringa »

Fidésien wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 4:34 pm I can't believe that Wellington was a "promotion". What caused him to leave CH ? Was he, as a somewhat old-fashioned headmaster-don, and a professing Christian, just out of touch with educational developments in the 1970s ?
I think Wellington would have been seen as a promotion, however, there was, if I understand correctly, a massive falling out with the Governors which led to his early departure. For a while I believe Christ's Hospital was kicked out of (or possibly voluntarily resigned from) the Headmaster's Conference. He was replaced by Derek Baker, an Old Blue. It all caused a bit of a ruction at the time. Baker wasn't universally popular though I had nothing against him personally, but he wasn't a man of Newsome's stature.
dsm
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Re: David Newsome

Post by dsm »

Stature metaphorically speaking maybe. Newsome was small and well, toadlike.
JamesF35
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Re: David Newsome

Post by JamesF35 »

Newsome's 'fall out' with the Council was over the closure of Hettford and the girls joining the boys in Horsham. He was strongly against this and resigned in protest. The consequence of this was that HMC supported him and refused to allow the new Head to become a member of their exclusive club. This situation continued for a number of years. During this time CH technically could not be known as a Public School.

Newsome's habit of caning boys bottoms continued when he moved the Wellington and his often used phrase "I'm going to beat you" became a well known catch phrase there.
Fidésien
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Re: David Newsome

Post by Fidésien »

Thanks for that guys [as they say on the Private Eye message board]. It sounds as if he wasn't a great success at CH. {i was there in Seaman's time.] But Newsome is well thought of as a historian, in the relatively niche field of 19th century Ecclesiastical History. I have just re-read his book Godliness and Good Learning for the first time in 50 years. And I am looking forward to reading Edwardian Excusions, from the diaries of A.C. Benson which Newsome edited. And of which I have tracked down a second-hand copy. I guess that Newsome taught Michael Scuffil at Cambridge; it's a pity he's not around to tell us more.
harryh
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Re: David Newsome

Post by harryh »

Oh well....I thought David Nrwsome was a great man and a sincere Head Master. I have many memories of talking with him as a pupil - as a House Captain/School Monitor, and as captain of the 1st XI, to which he gave unswerving and greatly appreciated support. He was unfailingly honest and complimentary in all my dealings with him as an Old Blue. There was one particularly memorable meeting by the 1st XI square on the day of the unveiling of his portrait in Dining Hall...but that's for another day.
JamesF35
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Re: David Newsome

Post by JamesF35 »

Fidésien wrote: Fri Sep 30, 2022 9:27 am It sounds as if he wasn't a great success at CH.
I wouldn't say that. I was there under his Headship from 1972 to 78 and he was highly respected and well thought of. The Theatre (or The Arts Centre as it was known then) and the Octagon were built during that time which was a pretty good legacy.

His penchant for caning boys' bottoms wasn't something that would have been questioned back in the 70s and it was considered quite normal. Speaking from experience, one could be on the receiving end of his "grolly rod" one day and then meet him in the cloisters a few days later and he'd stop and make polite conversation with a smile. That sort of discipline was just the way things were back then. Of course, now it seems awful but you can't judge the past by today's standards. Did he get some sort of gratification from dishing out those physical punishments - maybe, or perhaps even probably, but did it do most of us any harm - no certainly not (with the caveat that there may be some genuine exceptions to that). I certainly don't harbour any grudges. On the contrary, I have a lot to be thankful for in respect of six fulfilling years spent at CH that I look back fondly upon.
time please
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Re: David Newsome

Post by time please »

JamesF35 wrote: Sat Oct 01, 2022 5:10 pm
Fidésien wrote: Fri Sep 30, 2022 9:27 am It sounds as if he wasn't a great success at CH.
I wouldn't say that. I was there under his Headship from 1972 to 78 and he was highly respected and well thought of. The Theatre (or The Arts Centre as it was known then) and the Octagon were built during that time which was a pretty good legacy.

His penchant for caning boys' bottoms wasn't something that would have been questioned back in the 70s and it was considered quite normal. Speaking from experience, one could be on the receiving end of his "grolly rod" one day and then meet him in the cloisters a few days later and he'd stop and make polite conversation with a smile. That sort of discipline was just the way things were back then. Of course, now it seems awful but you can't judge the past by today's standards. Did he get some sort of gratification from dishing out those physical punishments - maybe, or perhaps even probably, but did it do most of us any harm - no certainly not (with the caveat that there may be some genuine exceptions to that). I certainly don't harbour any grudges. On the contrary, I have a lot to be thankful for in respect of six fulfilling years spent at CH that I look back fondly upon.
In my opinion Newsome was a quite horrible person who I delighted in winding up. He was full of himself, I am not sure that he cared about the pupils who he was trusted to look after, but I am certain that he cared about his position in society. As for winding him up...after being caught smoking again and again I was summoned to his office reeking of smoke. He was livid and even more so when I told him to forget about the sermon and get on with what he enjoyed. Presumably I was one of the few pupils who managed to get 12 strokes in the same day. Not surprisingly he wrote to my parents and suggested I should leave CH shortly after.

What I find disturbing in the quoted post is that it implies that Newsome enjoyed inflicting pain on young people and that it was to be accepted. Strange very strange and disturbing
sejintenej
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Re: David Newsome

Post by sejintenej »

inflicting pain on young people and that it was to be accepted. Strange very strange and disturbing

Time please. By TODAY'S standards in the UK perhaps but not when we were at school.

Don't forget that on an isle not too far from Liverpool a birching was an accepted punishment which often resulted in a hospital stay. A bit further away and even now punishments are public from flogging to an axe to sever the penis to castration to hanging. On an island yet further away sentences to flogging are carried out in batches so the victim can recover for the next session instead of dying.
THINK! (It’s not illegal ... YET).
time please
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Re: David Newsome

Post by time please »

I think you are missing my point: If Newsome or anybody enjoyed canning pupils then that is wrong regardless if it was 50 years ago or more. While I agee that nowadays the act of canning would be frowned at it was considered a punishment then. There is a difference between a punishment and the person who deals it out actually enjoying it. IF he enjoyed it is totally wrong.
SandysJ
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Re: David Newsome

Post by SandysJ »

Having had our interview with Mr Seaman, who seemed very ancient and old fashioned, my twin and I started CH in Sept 1970 and found CH had a new head.
David Newsome wanted to get to know pupils, he came and read ghost stories to the 2nd formers and invited boys for a 'family' tea.
This happened, for us, sometime after the clocks went back (it was dark by 5pm), in our first term. There were about 5 or 6 boys along with the Newsome daughters and after sandwich and cakes (I think home-made by Mrs N) we watched the Saturday afternoon cartoons. I had never been allowed Pink Panther at home, (and this was on a colour TV, rare back then) so I was suitably impressed by the new head.
In my 2nd term I found myself summoned to his office, for a disciplinary, the day after running away.
I was petrified but found someone who tried to understand me.
A few terms later Mr & Mrs Newsome were taking a Sunday afternoon walk, to see the new Masters houses (the 2 that Duncan Noel-Paton and Mr Dennison moved into) on the Sicker Loop, and caught Richard and I working in one of them (paid by the builders to move bricks around). Again I was petrified, but DHN just asked us what we were up to, then asked for a guided tour!
At the beginning of 3rd Form, when the plans for the new Theatre, Octagon and Music School were being presented to the Deps and Grecians in the Dominions library, Richard and I decided to sneak in, but were met by a School Monitor saying Deps only BUT Mr Newsome had stated beforehand that the Sandys twins should be let in! At the end of the presentation, Mr Newsome came over to chat with us about the plans.
Yes, in later years, Richard did see DHN when in trouble and subsequently got the cane. I had a narrow escape from the Head's cane when Killer Fry sent me along with Richard "for good measure". When Mr Newsome started issuing choices of cane or worse, I challenged why I was there; He phoned Fry, clarified that I wasn't guilty and I was released from his office without punishment.
I always felt Mr Newsome was a fair minded man, who tried to do his best for all in his charge.
I feel it is a shame that his tenure has since been tainted by the abuse wreaked by some of the staff but I can remember he ousted IC Hayden after he had been caught acting inappropriately with boys; and I believe he would have treated other abusers in the same way, if they had been discovered at that time.
Yes, Richard and I suffered from bullying and some of it made us very miserable but CH always gave us space to do some of what we wanted to do. From what I have read elsewhere, on this site, I think bullying was far worse before and even worse say 20 years after our time under DHN.
It was different times then and David Newsome will always have my respect.
Last edited by SandysJ on Wed Oct 05, 2022 6:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
LHB 70-73, THA 73-75
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