Friday 7 September 2007


We played soccer in the autumn term, except for the older boys, who played rugger. We played cricket in the summer term. I don't remember what we did in the spring term.

In general I wasn't a sporty type, but one year I had a fit of enthusiasm for soccer, and played keenly at centre half. I rather liked tennis, which I think we could play on Sundays in the summer, and sometimes I spent hours at it without stopping, although I've never been good at it. The school had both grass and hard courts, in front of the main building; I preferred the grass courts.

When a visiting team from another school came to play, we were obliged to watch the match (otherwise I wouldn't have bothered). Some boys liked to shout, "Up the Hill and down the other side!", which I thought was rather amusing, but the masters thought it unsporting and sternly discouraged it.

The school had a small outdoor swimming pool, located in the garden area at the back. After a couple of unpleasant experiences, I avoided it, because the water was always cold, even in high summer. My parents lived in Nigeria and I was accustomed to swim in comfortably lukewarm water; swimming in cold water seemed an extraordinary form of masochism. Fortunately, swimming wasn't obligatory.

There was an indoor shooting range at the bottom of the hill, for shooting rifles (I think) at targets. I seem to remember trying it once. It was an optional activity for boys who were interested in it.

There were rowing boats and perhaps one sailing boat for use on the lake; the lake was too small to do much sailing, but it served as an introduction. Older boys could go and sail at Frampton thanks to Mr Flood.

Jonathan Marler adds:

Riding was another highlight. The stables were “down the hill” near Mr Flood’s room. Mr Kemp and Mr Knight were in charge. I believe Mrs Knight was also involved. My parents did not have much money and I offered to give up riding after a year, because it cost them an extra guinea. In hindsight that was foolish. It would have been well worth a guinea to continue riding. Who knows, I might have married Princess Anne.


Julian Williams said...

Well you were a bit of an odd one Jonathan, my memory is that the whole school got very excited when the large white oblong swimming pool was filled. Boys who had passed their swimming test, two lengths in front of the school, wore blue trunks and learners red.

At the far end of the pool the grass grew longer and I would catch grasshoppers there and one year there was a very active wasps nest.

Sports was always important, we had PE in the morning breaks and sports every afternoon. Cricket in the summer and a school sports day, soccer in the autumn and rugby in the winter.

As you say we had to watch the matches against other schools, I paticularly remember long summers days lined up along the edge of the cricket pitches with these little books in which we kept notations of every ball bowled and how many runs exch player scored.

Anonymous said...

I'll never forget the astonishing cold of that pool,though I did just manage to stay in long enough to pass the test. What long dormant memories this blog has dredged up. It was a remarkable school, populated by people who on the whole combined eccentricity with great kindness and even I think some scholarship. I managed to learn almost nothing without being victimised at all.