The Lancastrian Boys’ School photographs we published at the end of last year have sparked memories galore.
CA Hanmore of Langley Grove, Bognor Regis, shared his recollections with us all.
And he’s back with more:
I have read with great interest the letters about the Lancastrian Boys school, most of them were obviously concerning the new Lancastrian school at Kingsham.
My younger brother Tony Hanmore attended the Kingsham Lancastrian Boys’ School. He would have been 67 this year, unfortunately he died at 42.
If you were guilty of talking in class when told not to, you were made to stand outside the classroom in the assembly hall, or sent to the headmaster’s study.
If you were unlucky and you were seen by the headmaster or his deputy as they walked round, you were taken to the headmaster’s study.
Explaining why you were outside the classroom usually earned you two or three strokes of the cane, and you were then taken back to your class.
The teacher was told you had been dealt with, and if you caused any further trouble to be sent straight back to the headmaster.
Needless to say, this rarely happened.
The headmaster also dealt with pupils who brought the reputation of the school into disrepute.
I well remember the time we were all called to assembly and were told by Mr Trotter the reason we had been assembled was to witness a boy being punished for persistent truancy.
His mother was a single parent and had asked Mr Trotter to carry out the punishment as she could do nothing with him.
We were told he was to receive 12 strokes of the cane, and that if anyone was caught playing truant they would get double the punishment.
I do not think anyone played truant after that.
It might seem a harsh punishment in these present times, but we never held a grudge against any punishment we were given, as we knew we deserved it.
In answer to the letter from R McCutcheon of Felpham, yes, we did give some teachers nicknames, but we never said it to their face as we had respect for them, and they were good teachers.
I left school with a good knowledge of the three Rs, and a discipline and sense of respect I have carried with me all my life.
I also left with the ability to do mental arithmetic. Even now I often use it – no calculators in my day.
It seems these days all the tills are programmed to work out change – and to me it seems most younger people would be lost without this facility – so the teachers must have been good to pass on their skills to all of us.
The pupils at Kingsham school were lucky to have access to a much larger selection of subjects to study, but I still think we were lucky to have attended the Lancastrian school and receive the education we had.
I also had, through my letter which was published in the Observer, contact from a Mr J Hanmore, whose grandfather and great-grandfather had been chimney sweeps. We are in contact and trying to find any past links, which I am sure there will be.
Thanks to the power of the press, I have made contact with another member of the Hanmore clan.
Another ex-pupil with fond memories is Bill Chitty.
He writes: I was one of Roy’s Boys’ in the 1950s and was interested to see the picture of the staff.
The teacher in the bow tie was Ed Freeny from Baltimore, USA, who served over here as a GI in the war and then returned on an exchange visit for the academic year 1956-57. He took the place of Mr Watson, a maths teacher, who spent the year teaching in Mr Freeny’s own school in the USA.
Ed Freeny and I corresponded for several years before we lost contact. Sadly, like most of the people in the photo, I expect he has gone now.
The ‘Lancs’ at this time was a dynamic school where Roy Lewis had gathered a dedicated staff around him, which meant none of us was allowed to consider ourselves insignificant 11-plus failures.
In fact, thanks to the education we received under Roy Lewis, several of us went on to obtain university degrees in later life.
Roy’s progressive ideas about treating each pupil as an individual had their origins from much earlier in his teaching career and I only discovered this many years later when I had a spell as acting headteacher at Wisborough Green School.
Roy Lewis had been head of this country school before he moved on to the Lancastrian School and, on my first day, I opened the school log book to record my first entry as headteacher.
Before doing this I decided to look up Roy’s own entries for the years 1945-1949 when he was in charge. This proved to be a real eye-opener for it was obvious many of the innovations that were part and parcel of life at the Lancs had first been tried out at Wisborough Green!
Many years ago Roy told me he never expected to get the job at the Lancs because it was apparent at the interview that, without exception, all the other candidates were more experienced and better qualified than him. He was being too modest as his work at Wisborough Green had clearly reached a much wider educational audience!
Roy was also very fortunate in having Don Hanson as his deputy. Don had been educated at the school early in the 20th century and had then stayed before gradually working his way up to deputy head.
While Roy pushed the school ahead academically, Don never let us forget about the traditions of the school that had been built up over almost 150 years. The two of them complemented each other perfectly. It’s interesting to note that nowadays it is not unknown for school kitchen assistants to receive the MBE for dishing the spuds out for 25 years while 50 years ago Roy Lewis and Don Hanson got precisely nothing for their dedication to the boys of this city!
Very similar to Leslie Evershed-Martin not getting a knighthood for founding the Festival Theatre.
Incidentally, I enjoyed Mrs McCutchion’s comments last week. I remember her teaching at the school while her husband was a very popular member of the staff – particularly as he ran the school tuck shop!