. ... . HORSLEY'S GREEN SCHOOL

Old Boy's and staff Web Site

OLD BOY'S RECOLLECTIONS

Former Pupils Recollections
RECOLLECTIONS No. 1

I was 13 years old in 1958 when I went to Stokenchurch School, I later found out that it was not called Stokenchurch the name having been changed to Horsley's Green School in 1950 due to the fact that there was a primary school in the village of Stokenchurch and our school was some three miles away from the village, located just off the busy A40 trunk road at Studley Green. I was never sure where Studley Green finished and Horsley's Green started.
The school had been run by Lancashire Education Committee since April 1947 when they took it over from the National Camp School Corporation I have not found the exact date of its closure yet. It is now used by the Wycliffe organization as a bible translation centre.
I recall an announcement being made in our school assembly that places at a boarding school at Stokenchurch were available and that anyone who would like to go should contact the head teacher. At this point no one did. However the next morning one of the boys in my class came in telling us that his older brother had been and it was great. By the end of the week ten of us had signed up for just a term to test it out.
We had to go to the school clinic for a medical I remember the older brother had told us ''they look at your teeth and in your hair for nits'' for the two weeks before we had the medical I brushed my teeth about ten times a day and washed my hair every night in ''Durback'' soap if that’s how you spell it, it was supposed to get rid of nits not that I had any but it was better to be safe than sorry.
As the time to depart drew closer we all got more excited, I think if only one or two of us had been going the excitement may have been fear.
At last the day to depart arrived, we all met at school to wait for the Eavesway coach that was to take us on our journey into the unknown. We waved good bye to the crowd of crying mothers and some fathers I think and off we went. It seemed to take for ever and be on the other side of the world but one thing I can not remember is stopping for any comfort breaks I am sure we must have.
We drew into the school grounds and were ushered into the hall where we were given our numbers and dormitories, I was HD31 this was also to be my laundry number and stood for Horsley's Disralei bunk 31 me having been placed in Disralei House we wore a blue badge. We were also told what class we would be in T3 was to be mine, if you had signed up for a year you were in a Y class.
There were four dormitories, Disralei (Blue), Hampden (Red), Penn (Yellow) and Stephenson (Green)
I don’t know what I expected of a ''Camp School'' after all I had been to camp twice with the St. John Ambulance Cadets, but when we walked into the huts with there pale green painted walls I imagined this must have been what a concentration camp was like. After getting over the initial shock I decided it wasn't too bad after all and nothing like the bell tents of the St.John camps.
The bunks were flat to the walls in our dormitory and the curtain covered lockers were back to back in four groups down the centre of the room so that they could be used as tables for playing table tennis and other table games. Some of the other dormitories had the bunks with the heads to the wall and a locker on each side but this took up a lot of space and there was no where to play the table games. Then shock horror where was the ''lavvy'' there was NO ''lavvy''. Oh yes there was there was a night lavatory but this was kept locked during the day and was only to be used for emergencies during the night, so where was the toilet ? Across the other side of the grounds in the ablutions now that was a new word to me ablutions.
The ablutions, well here was another shock, rows of wash basins, lots of water closets a very strange shaped bath and SHOWERS I had never had a shower in my life I remember I would take a shower at every opportunity it was wonderful (after all we only had a tin bath at home Saturday night was bath night for all the family). There were two ablution blocks Disralei/Hampden and Penn/Stephenson .
We had our first meal I remember it was better than the school dinners we had at home but I wondered why all the staff were foreign - where they all prisoners of war ? well that’s how a 13 year old mind works, I think they were all Spanish. I also recall that on Sundays at tea time we got an orange and peanut butter butties, I have never liked peanut butter since, one of the things that I had never had before was milk pudding made with macaroni I loved this but we did get told off for slurping it. I also remember that between the classroom block and the dining hall there was a statue that had been made by one of the boys the statue was named Eric. Who Eric was I do not know, Eric was a rather well endowed naked male and I remember that he was boarded up (like Eros) when it was parents week ends as he was not considered suitable to be viewed by parents,
The next day we had our breakfast and then went to our lessons, one of the things I remember about the lessons was that you could just get up and leave the room to go to the toilet without having to ask permission. The lessons were to be every morning and every evening with afternoons sort of free there were organised clubs educational sporting and recreational you could not have all sporting, well that didn't bother me I did not like sport any way and they did not say that you had to join any sports clubs. I joined the Printing Club, the photography club, the film society and the nearest to the St. John cadets I could find, I joined the scouts we used to call the teacher / scout master Kim. Wednesday afternoon was my free afternoon I would take long showers. I remember going swimming in the outdoor pool never was water so cold talk about brass monkey's. It is interesting to note that three of the clubs I joined were run by Mr Milton Cooper we called him ''Dad Cooper'' and I remember I saved up for an Adana 8-5 printing machine that I still have and use most days, We used to enter a weekly competition in the Eagle comic to try to win one (but I never won), I seem to remember Mr Cooper telling me that he had been a camera man for the Rank Organisation. I also wrote an article for the school magazine, about the St John Cadets the magazine was edited by Mr Alf Howden who was the Hampden house master, as well as writing the article I also typeset it and printed my page and others in the magazine.
I also recall that the school was surrounded by woods between the school and the A40 was Thirds wood I remember we used to do a kind of muddy obstacle course called the jungle gym and on the other side was Dett's wood there was a large lawn in the centre of the complex and a large macadam hard standing that reminded me of a parade ground, we used to play basket ball here. At the far end of the complex behind the swimming pool was the small holding with Pigs and chickens I remember the pig giving birth to 15 piglets one evening. My class had to look after the chickens Rhode Island reds crossed with light Sussex, I hated there chickens and they did not like me every time I went to feed them I got attacked by them. ( It is interesting to note that in his notes Eric Saltmarsh who was at the school in 1952 has a vivid recollection of being attacked by the cockerel and has the scars on his knees to this day ! ) However one of the teachers I think he was Mr Chalk, bred Budgies and had an aviary on the edge of football / Rugby field (I could never understand why a Lancashire school played Rugby Union) one of the other boys from my home school also bred budgies so him and me volunteered to look after the budgies in return for not having to look after the chickens. On returning home I started to keep and bread budgies for many years.
On Saturday we could go into High Wycombe on the bus I remember that there was a department store called Murray's they had a big clock that went up and down between floors in the centre of the staircase. We used to watch the ''naked'' bus or lorry chassis being test driven up Dashwood hill. In the evening on Saturday we had a ''disco'' dance in the hall the local children were invited (three boys and a girl) There was also a large projection television in the hall and on Sunday evenings we had Cinema in the hall the film club also met in this hall as there was a cinema screen on the back wall of the stage .

On Sundays we had to walk in a crocodile to Stokenchurch to attend church if it rained we had our own service in the hall I remember we used the BBC hymn books that we used on Friday mornings for the weekly service on the radio. When we arrived in Stokenchurch we split up the Anglicans going to the Parish church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul and the non-conformists attending the Methodist chapel Roman Catholics however went to church on the bus I can not remember if they went to High Wycombe or West Wycombe.
I went to the Parish Church, one Sunday I know not why I decided that I would go to the chapel along with one of my friends from home. It was at this service I had a religious experience that led me to becoming a born again Christian and joining the Methodist church. One of the Teachers I think he was Mr Woods offered to take us to the evening services at the chapel in his car as he always went himself. Mr Woods played the piano for the concert organised by Mr Howden at the end of each term.
Just outside the school gates in the lane was Lena's shop where we could buy sweets but we used to go across the A40 to the post office at Studley Green because we said things were cheaper here we also bought cherries from a house next door to Lena's shop . Also at Studley Green was Chriss' Café a large transport café that was OUT OF BOUNDS !! it was the place to see all the chassis on test runs the drivers used to have RAF type flying hats on and goggles, of course we still went in, if we were caught we were punished by x number of belts with the slipper I think a size 99 it was so big. The punishment was administered by I believe Mr Starkey just before lights out each evening, on your pyjama clad bottom if you cried you got double the punishment. I remember that Mr Milton Cooper was our dorm master and he woke us up in a morning by broadcasting the seven o'clock news on the home service (now radio 4) very loud over the loudspeakers.
Along the drive was a cottage, the Bursar's house he was Commander G Calcutt RN the school office this had been the head masters house until they built a new one just before I went to the school and on the other side of the drive was the sick bay staffed by sister K N Prescott SRN, and a nurse called Teresa C Pullitch, we thought is was a great laugh that the nurse was TCP. Every evening the skinny kids had to queue up outside the sick bay for a big spoonful of cod liver oil and malt my friend did not like it so he gave me a shilling every week to have his malt for him. It was to build you up but it didn't work till I was in my mid 30's.
I remember that the Head master was Mr Livsey, and other teachers I remember were Mr Boniface we thought he was the sisters boy friend, then there was Mr Parsons who smokes Piccadilly cigarettes we would joke that if he gave up smoking Piccadilly would go bankrupt, The art master was Mr Rowlings who had a bushy beard, Mr Woods took us for Science, others I recall are Mr Hough, Mr Webster I think he lived in the married quarters with his wife and baby and Mr Lamb. It is strange but I can only remember a few of the boys names, I remember Gary Parr was the head boy, another boy in our dorm was called Phill Brogden and there was a Richard Almond who lived on a farm at Burtonwood, I also recall one boy was known as Fred but his name was really Errol like in Flynn and so he liked to be known as Fred I remember he was older than me and I think he was also in the printing club and that I liked him for some reason.
One of the things that I remember was that we had visits from our parents for the week-end at half term mine came on the train using free tickets that my father got because he worked for British Railways. We had to write home every week and hand the letters in to the duty master who checked them off to make sure we had written home. We used to tell our parents that we were starving and that the food was terrible. They used to send us what we called Red Cross parcels that we received on Friday evening we would then spend the rest of the evening swapping things with one another.
The highlights of the term were the outings one to London or Oxford and another to a works of some kind furniture was made in High Wycombe and I remember visiting the Renault factory at Acton to watch the Renault dolphine being made a rather bulbous car with hydrolastic suspension.
The time came to return to our home schools some of us never to return, others of us to return this time for a full year and some of us to return so thirty years latter just because we were driving along the M40 motorway and saw the Stokenchurch exit and just had to leave the motorway and take that journey along the A40 for one more look at the old school.

RECOLLECTIONS Number 2

More recollections this time from three more of our new contacts. ROGER SALT came from Irlam Secondary Modern School and attended for a summer term in the early 1950's. He remembers there were three other boys from his school and that they travelled down by coach. Many of our contacts remember travelling by coach but others recall travelling by train to Aylesbury and then on by bus (Ed).
Roger says he remembers sleeping in timber dormitories he says there were four rows of double bunks with bedside storage cupboards. There were bedrooms for teachers at the ends of the dorm. The central area was clear Roger says for the administration of information and ''the slipper'' by the teacher. This must have been in one of the dorms that had the beds head to the wall not side to the wall with cupboards in the centre for table tennis (Ed) Another think Roger remembers is the hospital corners on the bed clothes the locker inspections and the inspection of cleaned shoes.
After lights out the duty teacher would creep about the dorm to control boys engaging in horse play and other games.
Also remembered is marching single file to the shower block for ablutions.
Roger remembers the ''parade ground'' next to the great lawn where he remembers playing netball I think it was called basketball when I was there I remember I was quite good at this unlike other sports look at Mr Jarman's web site for a picture (Ed)
In the refectory or dining hall there was some kind of points system for the first table to finish and we took it in turns to be head of table.
Again the swimming pool is mentioned but not if it was cold in Roger's time
The sick bay and the head masters house along the drive are remembered as is Lena's shop in the lane and as have many others Roger bought cherries here. Another point that has been mentioned by Roger and others is that when in class you did not need to ask the teacher for permission to leave the room to visit the toilet. That long walk along the A40 to Stokenchurch on a Sunday morning to attend the church services are remembered again and a visit to the ''Ball Tower'' at West Wycombe climbing into the dome, The Dashwood family and a painting in church with Jesus as a minor character I do not remember this (Ed)
Dashwood Hill is one of the things recalled by Roger, he remembers seeing the test runs of chassis only vehicles.
There was a no yawning in class rule is you persisted in yawning you had to attend the science room on Saturday morning and lie on the floor as if to catch up on your sleep.
Roger tells of going into the woods to saw a piece of wood to make an ashtray with an extension on it for a woodpecker Roger has sent a drawing but I could not get it into this Word 97 Document. (Ed)
Besides getting the slipper Roger says that another punishment was to be sent into the woods to collect a stork from a particular weed in bunches of 100 to 200 at a time.
Roger played for the school cricket team and was nominated as captain this surprised him as he considered himself to be rubbish at cricket. There were coaching classes for both cricket and shot putting. When playing in the fields he cut his knee on pieces of flint to such an extent that the wound required stiches.
Again the day trips to Windsor and London are mentioned as is an outing to Burnham Beaches (?) to visit a swimming pool. Roger received a visit from his mother who took him into High Wycombe for a meal. He says he would write home for more spending money we would ask for food and tell our parents we were under fed (Ed)
Each term the champion dormitory received a small wooden plaque that was fixed on the outside wall near to the entrance. I remember taking them off Disralei House sanding them, re lettering, varnishing and replacing them in 1958 (Ed)
After his stay at Horsley's Green Roger says he felt that he was very grown up when he returned.
The second recollections are sent in by PETER MOODY from Stretford was at the school for a term in 1953 In the early years three months was the maximum time one could attend for but latter you could attend for a year and before it closed you could spend all you secondary time at the school (Ed)
Peter remembers the head master Mr Livsey, Mr Jarman (visit his web site) Mr Armstrong, Mr Selby, Mr Firth and Mr Boniface, he remembers all the house names except Stevenson I am told the house names changed in later years to Lancashire rivers (Ed) He again remembers Lena and her shop in the lane and the walks to church on Sunday.
Again ''The Slipper'' gets a mention everyone seems to remember this. Peter also remembers having to go to the sick bay to receive a spoonful of malt from the nurse.
He also remembers the dining room and on open day when his parents paid a visit.

The last set of recollections come from ERIC SALTMARSH who lives in Tyldesley he was at the school in 1952, he remembers that in order to attend your home school had to be under the control of Lancashire Education Committee. The cost in 1952 was £1 12/- (£1.60 he parents had to pay 8/- (40p) per week.

He remembers that Colin Raine and Wallace Beavis were also with him he was in Stepnenson house and the house masters at the time were Mr Law, Mr Boniface and Mr Parsons.

Eric was the secretary of the printing club and on leaving school entered the printing industry. He was also the foreman on the farm this got him out of church on Sundays. He remembers that they bought two piglets for £5 each and sold them for £28 when they were ready for bacon they used to ride on the pigs backs they collected the kitchen waste and boiled it up to feed the pigs, they also had a goat, hens, ducks and a couple of turkeys, he says that he still has the scars on his knee where he was attacked by the cockerel
Eric used to work the projector for the weekly film show under the control of Mr Cooper. Eric remembers Mr Cooper had some connection with the Rank Organisation.
Eric won the school five-mile cross country run for Stephenson House, he also remembers sister Prescott who gave him a penicillin injection in his bum.

Following the e-mails sent to evening newspapers in ''Real'' Lancashire we received a number of contacts and also some from girls who attended Whiteacre the girls equivalent to HGS, we were also contacted by a member of the research team for the Allan Beswick programme on BBC GMR (Radio Manchester).
Our Alan spoke on this programme as a result we have received over 30 replies.
Some of the contacts have been to see Alan at his business location and copies of photographs and magazines have been made. We hope to be able to copy many more in the next few weeks.
A number of those who have made contact have put their recollections down on paper, we hope to be able to send them out either as Word 97 documents by e-mail or by post to those who do not have e-mail. Please put your recollections down and let us have them. You will be amazed how much you can remember and how much more comes to you when you read the writings of others.
If you know any other ex-pupils or staff please put them in contact with us either by e-mail, Telephone or post . (or they can call at Alan's shop) All are listed above.
When we have enough memorabilia and names of people we hope to hold a reunion we think on a Saturday or Sunday so that as many as possible can attend, we hope to be able to do this without cost. Someone also thought it may be possible to visit the school on a coach outing.
A web site has been set up at www.hgs.ipfox.com you will also find on it a link to the site set up by former member of the teaching staff Pete Jarman there are some very good photographs taken by Disralei House master Milton Cooper on this site.
Quite a number of new contacts since the last newsletter was e-mailed and posted. We would just like to say to the postal members if you can supply us with an e-mail address it would help as this method does not cost us anything and therefore we can keep in contact more often, at the moment one of the members is standing all the costs of postage and photocopying out of his own pocket.
Some of the interesting things that have come up are that in it's latter years there were new two story buildings with a slot car track (Scalectric) and pupils could spend all of there secondary time at the school.
Also Lancashire schools could rent the school in the holidays for school camps, some schools would hold exchange visits with schools from Europe but would not accommodate the exchange students in homes but would take them with the host children for a week or two to stay at Horsley's Green School.
We have also been able to put a number of former ''best mates'' in contact again after some 30 plus years.
There is quite a collection of photographs coming in we make copies at Alan's shop and then return them by return of post. There are a number of certificates, magazines, Drama group programmes and other souvenirs.
When we have enough items to mount a display we hope to have a reunion. Please put any other ex-pupils (or teachers) that you know in contact with us the more we can find the better. Please write to local newspapers and local radio stations, if you would like a poster or a poster master please contact us and we will send them to you we would like to have a poster in every library in ''Real'' Lancashire they can also be displayed in schools and community buildings etc. Pete Moody has put a number of posters on display in the Manchester area and has been writing to local and regional newspapers.
H.G.S. E-MAIL NEWSLETTER November 2000
Hello all our friends,
I am sorry it has been some time since I last e-mailed you but I have been very busy at work, home and with the Chapel web site (that can be found at http://www.lowtonimchurch.ipfox.com ) It seems to grow by the day from just half a page to many pages now up and running to many more in the construction stages. I hope to be able to add the Recollections and Newsletters to our web site as soon as I have completed the Chapel one, please send recollections or photographs for inclusion.
We have had a few new members joining some from a letter we wrote to the magazine of the Friends of Real Lancashire the wife of there secretary is an old girl of our sister school Whiteacre.
One of the interesting things that has come to light is that during the holidays the school was rented to Lancashire schools for school holidays one school even taking there German exchange students with them. And from the pictures we have mums, dads and little brothers and sisters.
One of our contacts Joe Wrigley, attended a number of these holidays and has some 16mm cine film that was taken by his school headmaster, Joe has had this transferred to video and has sent us a copy, Thanks Joe !! He is trying to get copies for other years for us, it was nice to see the school buildings on this 15 minute video, I will get some copies made when I have finished my web page ''work'' and members can borrow them for the cost of the postage. If you would like to borrow a copy please let me know and I will send it to you. Another new member Tony Smith 1957/59 has sent in some recollections I hope to send them in the next newsletter

RECOLLECTIONS added 1st October 2002
I've dredged my memory and came up with the following, hope you find it
interesting and after all these years I can't guarantee complete accuracy of
details.

I was one of six children when my father died, he was a hospital porter and
we lived in the northern suburbs of Liverpool. It was 1961 and I was 13
years old and had itchy feet, a compulsive wanderlust I have to this day and
from the time I learnt to walk I also had an amazing talent for getting
lost, well not exactly getting lost. It was just that I wanted to know what
was round the corner or what new delights were over the next hill and
retracing my steps never came into the equation. Although I was in the top
stream at school I struggled academically, not bad at English but an
absolute waste of time at everything else apart from sport. In those days it
was cricket in the summer and football in the winter, plain and simple. I
made the cricket team and captain of the school football team, I always won
or got a place in the cross country races and was a good long jumper in the
athletics team, basically that's how I got on at school. When I learnt that
there was a chance of going away to a camping school for a term in the sunny
climes of the south I decided that was what I wanted and begged my mum to
let me go. She eventually and reluctantly gave in to my doubtless
whining, wimpering and moaning and I was soon on the coach making its way to
Stokenchurch for the summer term of 1962. I was the only one from my school
because the teachers actively discouraged such flippancy but I vaguely knew
one lad on the coach who was from another school nearby.

Arriving at the school it all looked exciting and in a way luxurious to me,
everyone busying themselves with bedding and filling lockers, finding out
where things where and being told THE RULES by the housemaster, Pete Webster
I think. I was allocated to Hampden House and from the word go I loved the
food, something which a lot of boys complained about relentlessly for the
coming months. I wondered what all these 'posh' boys ate at home because as
far as I was concerned the meals were plentiful and tasty, of course there
were no 'posh' boys there and complaining about the food was something that
was almost a tradition in these sort of circumstances, a bit like The Forces
at the time I suspect. The first night in the dorm there were some strange
noises, homesick lads trying to disguise their sobs in this unfamiliar, dark
place, I don't remember anyone laughing or ridiculing the criers because I
think we were all walking a tightrope and not very far from tears.

The term progressed very quickly and I was glad my mum came to visit me at
half term, I must have run her ragged while she was here because as well as
showing her round the school and smallholding we went to London. My first
time in the capital and I wanted to see everything, Trafalgar Square, Houses
of Parliament etc. and then rush back in time to see her on the coach, this
all in a day, she must have been exhausted but didn't complain. Mum died
suddenly in April this year having never lost her energy, kindness, and love
for all of us, her children.

I established myself in the school cricket team and also captained the house
team, I think there were about five of us reasonably proficient in the team
and five that would avoid the ball at all costs and one secret weapon.
Not so much a secret because he scared the life out of anyone with a bat in
their hands foolish enough to face him, a fast bowler I think called John
from Britannia, Lancashire. A bit wild and woolly in those days and I should
know because I kept wicket to him and one game as Mr Chris Handly kindly
pointed out I let 18 byes go past, a record for me in over 45 years of
cricket playing. But, when he got it right which he invariably did the
stumps and bails would go flying for miles.

My other interests were the Photography Club, Film Appreciation and the
smallholding. The smallholding was my favourite as I had a natural affinity
with the critters (I was shown how to wring chickens necks and despatched
several in that way for the teacher's table), geese figured largely as not
many lads could handle them, or wanted to be anywhere near them for that
matter. Same with the sow as not many wanted to be anywhere near it but I
used to love feeding her and was soon rewarded by watching her produce I
don't know how many piglets one evening, we did count them as they were
coming out but I can't remember how many, I'm sure it got into double
figures. Talking about the pig, 'Daisy Chain' comes to mind, the electrified
fence around the sty plus a number of lads sometimes up to twelve holding
hands, does anyone willing or unwilling remember that!

Expeditions were blessing, hiking and camping out on our own around the
Marlow/Henley areas, setting up tents and cooking our food. There must have
been a stock of hiking boots available as I can recall my pair, they were
well 'run in' but fabulously comfortable. My own footwear at the time
consisted of one pair of plimpsoles and a pair of black shoes for best.

I don't think we watched television at any time during the term, mainly
because there weren't any about but we did borrow transistor radios and
listened to Radio Luxemburg late into the night. And I must mention the
swimming pool, I was not much of a swimmer but could do reasonably well
until I did the life saving course in THAT pool...that freezing pool...ever
since that day I've avoided swimming and swimming pools like the plague.

What did I get out of my term at Horsley's Green? It made a lasting
impression on me, a love of the countryside and animals and I learnt how to
be self reliant and independant in spite of the encouragement from the
teaching staff as to being a team member (I still won't tow the line unless
it's absolutely necessary). Academically I was still a dunce but bucked my
ideas up later and got into the Liverpool College of Art when I was
eighteen.


Regards,
Terry Marsh 1.10.02



I attended HGS for the summer term of 1957, liked it so much i returned for the 1959 year course. As my dad passed away in December 1956 that event seemed to fill me with a sense of adventure and on hearing about HGS and a boarding school to boot i applied, went through all the necessary tests and medical etc and boarded a train at Manchesters London Road station along with other boys and headed for Aylesbury Buckinghamshire then by coach to HGS. My first impression was one of space and after industrial Eccles it was a huge change. I was put into Stephenson House (yellow) and would also be in the same dorm during my year course. The dorms would be as others have described them, iron bunk beds, wooden lockers etc. We were shown how to make the beds with hospital corners, and how to fold each item of clothing so that on inspection everything would look neat and tidy. While the front of the locker may have looked immaculate the back most times was a jumble hidden by a few neatly folded towels carefully placed on top to hide the mess or the pupils laziness! The dorm master at Stephenson was Mr. Parsons who chain smoked Piccadilly cigarettes from the time he awoke till the time he went to bed and as I got to know him better was sent on many trips through the woods to Lenas store for more Piccadilly's. Mr. Rollings the art master was also a dorm master at Stephenson and I got along with him most of the time. He would read us bedtime stories when he was on duty, most often The Fellowship of the Ring and the Ancient Mariner poem. When off dorm duty he would go to the pub and smell quite strongly of liquor. I was a restless sleeper and would fall asleep on the top bunk with my arm outstretched into the isle which he would walk into in the dark. He would curse a little and always fold my arm under the covers. A few of us had terrible hand writing so Mr. Rollings introduced us to italic script which after time made our hand writing easier to read. After a while with this instilled into you the pupil developed their own writing style and when I write today signs of the italic script are there. Life in the dorm was quite orderly with section leaders and the odd prefect there to make sure nothing got too far out of hand. They would give you lines or have you stand by your bed for so many minutes if you misbehaved. During my year course I was made a section leader and later a prefect. I got into a scrap one day with another pupil and had my prefect badge taken off me only to get it back a few weeks later. I remember standing boys by their beds at night and sometimes falling asleep only to be woken up with a "can I get back in bed Jackson" from a shivering lad! Mr Rollings thought the entrance to Stephenson House needed sprucing up a little so i suggested making a mosaic of Stephensons "Rocket" which I made with some help from Jack Chinn who drew most of the picture. I did allthe tile setting and cementing and built the frame for this master work which hung at the entrance to Stephenson for some time. Does anyone know when it was taken down and what happened to it? Being a strong swimmer I spent a lot of time in the pool and as everyone remembers it was colder more times than it was hot especially after it had been freshly filled with water from a tap which would be on all night and most of the next day, Probably around 4pm it would be ready for the torture test with the daring standing around the edge wondering who would go in first. Finally a few of us would dive in only to make a quick exit and stand on the side and shake, but the more times one went into the water the body would get more and more used to it and it got better. As the days went on the pool would be quite nice and just when you thought the pool was getting to be a fun place to be it was time to drain the thing and start all over again!! I swam for the dorm team and also the school swim team and have fond memories of "the pool". The small holding drew me and I enjoyed working there on my days on and on leaving HGS went farming on the Agricultural Apprenticeship Scheme and worked on farms in the U.K and Canada for over 40 years. Mr. Cooper was my homeroom teacher during my year course. I enjoyed his film appreciation classes amongst other things. If we werent paying close attention to our lessons he would always have us recite this saying, We are dim, we are very dim, as sure as the earth goes round the sun, we are dim. Or he would single out a pupil with "your head is like teak Jackson, what's it like"? "Teak sir" was always the reply!! Sometimes when you least expected it a piece of chalk would go whizzing past your head and crash into the back wall of the classroom, that was just to make sure a particular student was awake and most times it was directed at a pupil named Jones. In Y1 I seemed to misbehave a lot and Mr. Cooper gave me 6 of the slipper one day. 3 the actual punishment and 3 for forgetting to show up for the first 3! ouch!! I also spent a number of Saturday afternoons on detention and when Mr. Bold was on he would play classical music the whole time, mostly Sybelius. Mr. Chalk had budgerigars in a large cage at the edge of the playing fields and during a summer storm it was blown over and most of them escaped. A few stayed in the cage so it was not a total loss but I know deep down he was heartbroken as he loved tending his budgies. Mr. Cooper decided he would make a movie and I auditioned for a part but ended up as an extra and background tech. I was in the swimming race segment of the story as the opposition. I recall it being hard to swim slow so the "star" could win. Fights were usually settled in the "hollow" in the woods behind the common room. The two combatants would fight in this deep hole while other lads would ring the perimeter urging on their favorite. As others have said showers were a real novelty after the old tin bath back home, but you couldnt let your guard down in them as someone would flick a towel at you and boy would that sting!! Spent some time in the sick bay under Ms. Prescots care, sometimes if the medicine tasted terrible the closest plant would get it when she wasnt looking which would always mean a longer stay as you were not getting any better! Two school trips a term to places like London, London Airport, Beaconscot model village, Avebury monument etc. etc. were the highlight of my time at HGS and other things I remember are, watching gliders from Beacon hill with George Speakman a fellow pupil, Saturday night movies in the hall one reel at a time!, being taught how to dance by nurse Prescot and some of the married teachers wives, Saturday morning soccer games rain or shine, thank god for those hot showers! The long Sunday walk to church in Stokenchurch ,Exploring the ball tower church in West Wycombe and the Hellfire Caves in the hill behind, taking my royal life saving bonze medal at High Wycombe swimming pool, being in the prehistoric club and digging a prehistoric house 4 feet deep in the woods behind the Y classrooms, the Jungle gym was always fun, the rural science room with it's see through bee hive, transistor radios at night in the dorm, cross country running, chasing moths and butterflies in Jarmans field behind the football field back of the common room, listening to pupils who didnt like the school plotting their "great escape" and when they finally went through with it counting the hours, minutes and seconds till they were caught and returned as hero's for a day or two!! smokers being paraded in the dining hall for all to see how ill they looked, some did look green. All in all HGS for me was great I really enjoyed the place most of the time and look back on my time there with fond memories and i thank all the teachers and staff for their efforts which made me the person i am. Hope this is of help in your search for memories of Horsley's Green School I look forward to hearing from you and reading updates on the web.

Graham D Jackson.

Received 14th June 2009

I remember being in assembly one day in early July 1954 at my secondary school in Widnes when the headmaster told us about Stokenchurch. My imagination was fired with thoughts of escaping the drudgery of normal education and biding my time until the summer of 1955 when I could start work !

I was surprised and delighted that some other classmates had the same feelings and we then had the task of persuading our parents that it was a sound idea. All the parents agreed and our adventure started early September. It was quite a culture shock. We were from the town. We had seldom travelled so far from home. We felt nervous but excited.

We were designated Penn House. From memory it held forty two children and the sleeping accommodation was bunk beds. We learned that everything was regimented. Up at about 7:30am, sheets and blankets folded in to neat squares, march to the ablutions and wash in almost cold water, back to the dormitory to dress and make bed in a certain way with the famous hospital corners. Head to the canteen and line up outside no matter what the weather was like. On command, file in to the canteen and stand by your bench until instructed to sit.

School time was morning and evening with sports etc. in the afternoon. We found the lessons easy with the exception of one which dealt with rural studies and I remember the first lesson when the teacher left us a list of questions including what are the constituent parts of soil - which we had no idea !

Night time could be cold as every window and external door was left open and we often awoke to birds , twittering in the dormitory.

Punishments could be nasty as the slipper was given in the evening in ones pyjamas. The most inhuman punishment I witnessed was at the jungle gym when a pupil had to swarm along a rope, hanging by his hands, between two trees. There was a ten feet drop and the teacher had placed stones under the rope which would have shattered the boys legs if he had plummeted to the ground.

The nurse at the camp was a lovely person , but the sister was a horror. I saw her hit a small boy across his face with such violence that he dropped like a stone. His sin was to call the sister nurse in error.

I have forgotten most of the teachers now but I remember Milton Cooper and his cine camera. I also remember Mr Lamb who always called us a rabble and consequently got the nickname the rabblemaster. Mr Bonifaces name comes to mind as does Dr Livesey.

Hunger was a problem at the school and pocket money and food parcels were a great help. The tuck shop was useful when we had spare cash and we would purchase a loaf of bread and a jar of jam. On Saturday it was off on the bus to High Wycombe for a fish and chip meal at a cafe and this was the highlight of the week.

I have fond memories of the common room with its arm chairs and magazines ; of playing table tennis on the dorms central lockers; of one of the teachers who read to us before lights out and of lovely fresh air a scarce commodity in industrialised Widnes ! Also of being made a leader with badge but nobody followed my instructions !

The school taught us discipline and certainly made us appreciate home comforts. I feel that it set us up for future life. The lads I went with did well in the work place a works manager, two accountants, a transport manager etc. And strangely enough we performed well at our normal school when we returned. We were only there for three months , but at the time it seemed much, much longer.

Norman Berry

As promised these are my memories of a long time ago so some inaccuracies will have crept in. I have lost touch with the boys I went with to Horsleys Green School so it has been a great pleasure to read your compilation and I wish you all the best and thank you for your sterling effort.

Norman Berry






From Neil Sherry

I first went to Horsleys Green at the age of 13 in 1960. I was then attending North Chadderton Secondary Modern School, not doing very well academically and horrified by the bullying and general agression, staff to students, student to student. Life was boring and seemed to offer no relief. After one year I met a boy Barry Lloyd who I vaguely remembered from when I first started at the school. "Where have you been" a few of us asked, it seems he had an older brother who had attended Horsleys Green so Barry had prior knowledge and had dissappeared there as soon as he could, what's more he was off again as soon as he could. It sounded great, and an opportunity to get out of that dreadful school. The headmaster, Mr. Livesey would be attending North Chad. soon to give us an introductory talk and I persueded my parents to come along and listen, I was already dead keen to go but mum perhaps wasn't so keen to loose her little boy so soon! The talk was well
 attended but the final number of us who went was small, I don't know whether Horsleys Green restricted numbers from each school. I recall Alan Pearson and Clem Beamont and of course Barry Lloyd. We boarded a steam train from Piccadilly station Manchester. I was amazed to see so much countryside, the towns were not continuous but small with lots of fields inbetween though we played cards for a lot of the journey. I think we got off at Tring or nearby and boarded an old coach which wouldn't look out of place in a Miss Marple drama. When we arrived at school we were put into lines of roughly equal length on the tarmac area in front of the classroom block  facing desks manned by members of staff and this is how we were allocated 'houses' I was in Stephenson, yellow. I loved my stay and remember all the staff mentioned by others. our housemaster were Jem Parsons who had what seemed like a swastica branded in his forehead, does anyone else recall this? He
 shook a lot, smoked a lot and used a walking stick. The other was Mr. Rawlings the artmaster. I got to like him, his loud nature and enthusiasm (a bit like James Robertson Justice). He could draw though and paint, he showed me some very typically 30's/40's style beach scenes, small people, wide landscapes, very competant though at the time I thought them old fashioned. Mr. Hanley was a typical sportsmaster bully, we knew if it was bad weather then the chalk board announcing the sports activity for classes of that day would all read XC. Ugh, two miles trudging through very muddy woods, and returning exhausted. And for what? A quick shower which we weren't given time enough to enjoy because he would run around with his slipper getting daudlers out. He also used to place himself at easy to reach, strategic point along the cross country course to check on anyone who might try to walk some of the way, sadist! Of course I recall nice Mr. Hough the musician
 playing his violin at the end of the art block- his flat, the rural studies class with its glass beehive and the smallholding. Al these made such an impression and was so different to 'normal' school. Film studies too with Mr. Cooper, I still can recall the list of early film classics and studying the Lumier brothers etc. that we had to memorise for the tests. I was an only child so I used to enjoy being alone during free time and at weekend. Once I walked to the windmill (filmed in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). Then rolling down the escarpment to Turville below which turns up in so many films - Went the Day Well, Mr. Tom, The Vicar of Dibley and Midsommer Murders to name just a few. It was magic and I went again with the lads from my school. I also went walks with Colin Wicherley. One good friend was David Mason from Royton. We got permission to take a weekend off to visit his aunt once who lived close-ish. From there we went to see a totem pole given to
 the Queen and erected in a nearby country park. The whole experience was lifechanging, the best time of my life for years and years. With only a couple of exceptions. Verucca's was one. Foot inspection each week with Sister looking between the toes of all the boys lined up on the top bunks,feet projected towards the edge followed by nurse with foot powder. The horror was if Sister saw a verucca, you were to attend Sick Bay for the painting on of some stuff to kill it, this was fine until you learned that a week later you were to attend again when the doctor arrived to cut it out with his scalpel, not good, boys had to hold onto the top of the bed lying on their front, grit teeth and try not to cry out. very painful.  One evening we were fighting in the dorm. on the bunks, a sort of pirate game for possesion of the top bunk when I got a glancing slap to the left of my head by Clem, my head rang all night! Next day I visited sick bay, not a good
 experience anytime but Sister Prescott suspected a perforated eardrum and took me to High Wycombe hospital she was right. I have been deaf ever since!! Still I was captain of Stephenson house rugby team and played for the school visiting other local schools. I recall we took some delight in thinking we were rough northerners going to teach these softy southerners a lesson.
The pine wood was the ony place out of bounds and we soon learnt why, a sewage farm. But visits to Murrays in High Wycombe or the ball on the church and the caves at West Wycombe at weekends gave us so much freedom and independence. I always wondered what the Jews and Catholics did after they 'fell out' at Stokenchurch and we had to endure church service. Why didn't I say I was a catholic?
I went back to Horsleys Green but the other lads from my school didn't. It changed my life, I became a house captain and prefect. Mr. Rawlings used to let me paint in the artroom until bedtime or when the time came set the type for the school mag in the print room. I loved these extra things, feeding chickens, pigs and rabbits, looking after trays of day old chicks. nature rambles, collecting apples from the old lady who lived in an old caravan through the woods and along the lane towards where the motorway now crosses. Lena and the Tuck Shop, endless walks in the woods. I went back when I was 40 and Lena was still there! All these irreplacable experiences made me what I am today. I came back to dreary Lancashire and went to Rochdale College of Art (a recommendation of Mr. Rawlings) and never regretted a thing, the world of advertising gave me a great career anmd a good retirement. Thanks in an unimaginable way to that wooden school with not very high
 academic standards but very different teachers. 
Thank you. From Neil Sherry    




Remembered by Michael Tayloe

 

If anyone would like a copy of this recollection please send an email and I will send you a copy as a pdf file. Ed