Sunday 21 October 2007

Mr Kemp

Middleton Kemp was a somewhat elderly man whom I saw around the school and at Beech House, where he lived; but I don't think he ever taught me.

Stephen Fry thinks he looked and talked like C. Aubrey Smith in The Four Feathers.

Here he is walking down the drive:

Mr Kemp walking down the drive


Julian Williams said...

Mr Kemp used to be known as Pope. He taught 5b Latin and Maths. He was a character from a previous age who would throw chalk at us, his favorite phrase was "Williams, you are a Bumptious little Arse".

We were not very frightened of him, for instance I remember there was a billiard table with a wooden cover at the back of the classroom on which we placed a piles of books. Through these books we made a ramped channel for billard balls to travel back and forth from one side of the table to the other before exiting one after the other from the side of the table and dropping on to the floor. When Pope's back was turned one of us would set the balls rolling at the top of the ramp before running back to our desks where we would sit innocently and pretend to work. As the balls rolled along the channel there would be a rumbling and then a clatter, and then all the balls would arrive at the end of the chute and drop off the edge of the table on to the floor; bang - bang - bang - bang -bang. Poor pope would turn and flap his arms whilst 20 balls banged and rolled across the floor of the classroom not knowing what to do because all the boys were looking innocent and surprised at the mayhem that seemed to have hit us from nowhere.

Well we were the B stream and Pope was a bit doddery.

I can remember his classes full of Popish Latin translations using Kennedy's Latin Grammer. "The Romans, having been defeated in battle, returned to the base camp"

I think it was Pope's Latin classes, with their stilted translations that inspired me to invent my own memory-aid for the names of the masters at Stouts Hill: The Pope (Mr Kemp)declared, when the weather cock changed (Cock was Commander Staverley)the Flood (Mr Flood) rose quick (Mr Quick) day (Mr Day) and night (Knight) in the Crinkled (Crinkles - Mr Cromie) Birch (Mr Birchall Wood (Mr Wood - Peck). I forgot all my latin, but thanks to the Latin classes I am able to remember the names of the school masters.

david said...

Mr Kemp was the assistant head master when I was at the school.
He had like Mr Angus not long returned from the second world war.
He and his family lived in the village at the Beech House.Which was my dorm when I was older.We had fun and games there.

Mr Kemp had a son so far as I remember either called Robin or Michael who was away at another boarding school at that time (middle and late 1940's)
Mr Kemp was our maths and latin master,he also taught horse riding. He liked (dare I say it ) fox hunting and rode to hounds with the Berkeley hunt.
I think he was a part time bailiff or something on Lord John Berkeley's estate at Berkeley castle( as a point of interest my maternal grandmother's family are descended from the Berkeleys of Berkeley castle, co. Gloucestershire.

The hunt occasionly met at Stouts hill and we the boys were encouraged to follow the hunt on foot over the fields and rough terain of the hilly district. we thoroughly enjoyed running over many miles.

Mr Kemp's wife was a lovely lady who also rode horses and taught riding and art.She rode side saddle at hunts.she was an accomplished artist. Art was one of best subjects.

Mr kemp was always very kind to me
and he had to rescue me from the bathroom at Beech house when I stupidly locked myself in.
He sometimes got a little impatient with me when I was in his maths class called" cottage" (which was down in the old stables) A group of us were designated into this classroom for extra coaching since we Were not doing well at maths and maths was my worst subject.

Happy Memories,
David Mackinley-Woodhall

Julian Williams said...

Welcome David. Did they call him Pope in your day David?

Anonymous said...

Hello Julian,

Nice to make your acquaintance.

In my day Mr Kemp was not called "pope",we always called him "Sir,
but I always found him kind and easy to get along with.
David Mackinley-Woodhall

Anonymous said...

Re Mid Kemp:
My researches suggest that Middleton Fitch Kemp's birth was reguistered in Chelsea in the fourth quarter of 1904. Old, yes but it still makes him the same generation at Robert Angus. And twelve years younger than my father of course!

I always felt like some of the staff were quite old. Even someone like Major Dobson was born in 1915.


Richard Darell 1964-69 said...

Mr Kemp was known as 'MID' no idea where 'Pope'comes from. He taught me Latin and Maths and again one of the nicest masters one could meet. He was also very keen on horses'

I remember his classes not being very disciplined as there was always lots of chatter going on.

He was also a cricket master and very keen. Taught me how to use a straight bat.

Jonathan said...

Richard: "Taught me how to use a straight bat."

Sorry, but at this point I can't help visualizing people trying to play cricket with curved bats...