Thursday, 6 September 2007


There were various dormitories for younger boys on the first floor of the main building, each dormitory having curtains and bedcovers of a different colour. Julian and I remember blue, green, and pink dormitories; there may have been more.

On the same floor was the medical section: a small room in which boys could have their temperatures taken, etc., and another small room with a couple of beds in it, where boys could stay if they were deemed too ill to be walking around. In times of mass illness, I think the nearest dormitory was also pressed into service for this purpose.

There wasn't room for all boys to sleep in the main building. The older boys slept in one of three alternative locations: in another house on the same site, called The Cottage according to Robert, which had one small dormitory with bunk beds and was also lived in by Mr and Mrs Cromie; or in Beech House or South Bend, located in the village of Uley.

Beech House had a large dormitory on the first floor and perhaps one or two smaller dormitories on the ground floor; I forget. Mr Kemp also lived in the house.

South Bend had several small dormitories on the first floor. Julian says that Mr and Mrs Knight lived there; I don't remember. There was a matron who was in charge of the boys; one of whom was once caned for calling her a gorilla in a moment of bad temper. At one time there was also a rather young lady who slept in a bedroom above the stairs with an internal window of coloured glass. Some boys used to sit on the stairs to try to catch a glimpse of her undressing, but I think she was wise to that and managed to keep out of sight.

We didn't go back and forth freely between Beech House/South Bend and the school: we went all together at the same time, in a supervised column. There were few people or cars to be seen in Uley, but I suppose the school didn't want us wandering around the village unsupervised.


Julian Williams 1962 - 67 said...

There was a long dormitory in the main building, maybe it was called "long" or "new". It stretched over all the classrooms 3b,3a,4a,4b and was the largest dormitory in the main building. To get to it you had to go through the refectory passed a door to the flat where Mr Angus lived and at the far end of the dormitory was a fire escape down which we would sometimes escape to go for midnight swims.

Alan Davis said...

The dorms in Old Wing (ie: the original house) were Tapestry, Blue, Green, Pink and Disney. As a rule of thumb they were allocated according to age. The youngest went into Tapestry etc etc.
Then there was New Dorm above the classrooms. I also recall there being beds in a room called 'Tower', in effect over the changing rooms. This was probably an overflow dorm.
Over in New Wing there was Oak, Beech, Cyprus and Chestnut.
The beds left a lot to be desired, with a common repair to the endless bouncing and jumping on they frequently endured being a section of half inch chip board screwed to the base. Felt like sleeping on a bench!
Go on , own up. Who remembers carving their name into the headboard with their pen knife?
Alan Davis

Jonathan said...

Thanks, Alan. Now you mention it, I think I remember Tapestry, and I remember a dorm above the classrooms, though I don't remember any name for it.

I don't remember any Disney dorm, and New Wing as a whole must have been added after my time.

I was relatively tall for my age then (I stopped growing at 14 and I'm just medium-sized now), and the beds in the younger dorms were too small, so I had to sleep in a curve in order to fit into the bed.

Alan Davis said...

Disney dorm may not have existed whilst you were there Jonathan, or may have had another name. It was next to Pink at the end of the landing (ie: directly over The Study!) and only had 4 or 5 beds. I only slept in it once when it was being used as an overfow sick bay for those of us who had had bad reactions to the annual flu jab.
I do remember it having large cut out pictures of Disney characters on the wall.
New Wing (or Angus Wing as it may have been initially christened) would have come after your time but before mine. It has been demolished for some years now. When I was talking to one of the staff at the timeshare office, they said there was not a lot they could make use of it for and it wasn't in keeping with the rest of the buildings. It had the four dorms and a large washroom upstairs with four classrooms, the library, music room, toilets, utility room, and 4(?) rooms for staff accommodation downstairs.
Alan Davis

Julian Williams 1962 - 67 said...

After my time too Alan. What years were you there?

In my day new boys went in Blue or Green, and maybe Pink. The long dorm was next followed by being sent to Beech House and South Bend.

Alan Davis said...

Hi Julian, I started in the Summer term 1974 and went into Blue as that was the only spare space. I was the youngest in the school at 6 years and 8 months so in the autumn I was put into Tapestry.
I don't think that there were any boys boarding outside of the main school when I started, but with New Wing and its large capacity dorms, I wouldn't have thought it necessary.
As an aside, as pupil numbers declined towards the final terms, New Dorm (as I knew it) or Long Dorm was cleared of beds and morning assembly/ prayers took place there. This was to preserve the newly refurbished floor of the gym that had been instigated by a new master (and former pupil) Miles Wachter who was heavily into PE. He also taught Maths and Latin. He was ex. army and was a breath of fresh air. I think he moved to Beaudesert when the school closed in March '79.
Alan Davis

Robert Mills said...

Your collective memory is only OK. There was another dorm in the Cottage where Crinks and Sue lived, with room for about 9, partly in Bunk beds. I was ther for a remarkably long time, and never saw Beech House or South Bend.
The reference to the Tower is clearly post 1968, as it was the rooms used by Reginald Sawden, (Ma Angus' deaf-mute brother, who died in 1965-ish.

Jonathan said...

Hm, I already mentioned the dormitory in the Cromie house in my original post, but what was the house called? I think it had a name.

Were there two Sawdens at the school? I don't think the one I remember was deaf or mute — he played the piano, which would be an unusual accomplishment for a deaf man. And if he'd died in 1965 I'd probably have trouble remembering him at all.

Alan Davis said...

Mr Sawden (Soggy) was tormented relentlessly wasn't he? He was very vocal and threatened us with Mr Cromie for our cheek many times.
Our paths crossed about ten or so years ago when I was working for the local bus company. He was living in a nursing home in Nailsworth I think, but still getting about. Whether he is still 'with us' or not I don't know. One of life's characters.
Alan Davis

Robert Mills said...

The Cromie house was called the Cottage.
Reggie Sawden may have died in 1964, I'm not sure. Soggy was Tom, not deaf, and played the piano not nearly as well as Beethoven.

Robert Mills said...

Where were you the day Kennedy was assassinated?
Everyone remembers - even 8/9 year olds!
First term at school.
Green Dorm.
Half an hour or more after lights out - 6 o'clock bedders.
Between Waterstone and Mann (Michael).
Someone, (Tim Frankau or David Llewellyn, I think) announces that it has been established that the assassin is English, and the Yanks are on their way to bomb us.
At least one of me covered my head with the blanket - history doesn't relate, and I couldn't see through the blanket, to see if I was the ONLY coward!

Jonathan said...

Robert, thanks for the info about The Cottage (sadly, the name doesn't ring a bell), and about Tom and Reggie Sawden.

Sorry, I'm the one person who doesn't remember where he was when Kennedy was assassinated. In those days I was generally oblivious to anything going on outside school and home. I'm not sure I would even have known who Kennedy was at the time.

Jonathan said...

Beethoven, incidentally, learnt to play various instruments well as a child, and began to get hearing problems at the age of 26. He became totally deaf in his forties.

It would be quite a different matter for someone born deaf to play the piano.

Jonathan said...

Stephen Fry says, “The dormitories were named after trees — Elm, Oak, Beech, Sycamore and Cyprus.” I suppose he's talking about the dorms in the New Wing, but compared with Alan's his list omits Chestnut and adds Elm and Sycamore. Odd that he seems to have forgotten the dorms in the main building — especially as New Wing didn't exist for his first few years at the school.

Anonymous said...

Soggy was Tim Sawdon. Reggie may have been the gifted pianist, but Tim/Soggy was pretty good too and occasionbally played at chapel. Sue Cromie told me he was called Froggy originally as he was a fantastic swimmer and used to wriggle all round that damn freezing cold pool to get out all the frogs.
There was a parrot near the stairs to the cellar that used to call out "silly soggy". Tim liked the bird and he used to talk to it a lot. It may be that he thus picked up an alternative nickname.
New dorm was called "Liberty" offically in my time. There was a drying room between it and Refectory in which, allegedly, some one in the term before I arrived (that would make it Summer 1968) had had a clsoe encounter with one of those lovley young assistant matrons.
John M

John Morris said...

When I arrived in 1968 the big new building by the pool had just been completed so it was perhaps deemed no longer appropriate to call the big dorm in the old extension “new” (The long dormitory above the four class rooms). That long dorm also went by the name "Liberty", but whether that was its official name I don't know.

The colour of the blankets in Tapestry, Pink, Blue and Green dorms matched the names: "tapestry" being a bit of a flowery bedspread affair. Under those colour-coordinated blankets was a blanket of your own, (You had to take a blanket of your own to the school at the beginning of your time and got it back when you left.)
In the new-block dormitories any sort of colour scheme only went as far as the curtains, as in those dorms you could put your own blanket on the outside! There was a boy called Davidson in my year who was surprised (and pleased?) that my blanket was the Davidson Tartan.

I was in Beech dorm for three years!

Crinks used to patrol around outside after “lights out” which stopped excursions via fire escapes etc almost as soon as I started at the school. He would also shine a torch at the windows and shout up at anyone he heard talking. Another method he had of interrupting sleep was to suddenly fling open a dorm door and burst in in the hope of catching someone out of bed or talking.