Old West Downs Society – Memories of the Cornes Era, 1954-1988

From Christopher Jerram, 1962-67

Dear Mr. Hichens,

A few jottings for the help of the “History of West Downs” which you might like. Sorry for the delay since Nick Hodson’s letter of 11th December 1989.

1. Last day of term with London Mush lunch always at 11.30 a.m!

2. Fire practice – Mr. Hinds was the “fire” and stood in the passages saying “I am the fire”.

3. Jerry Cornes 1950s Morris Oxford Traveller packed with boys – the floors rusted through and the driving somewhat erratic!

4. Melbury House – a delightful summer term there with Miss Payne & midnight feasts prepared in the cellar. This was at the time the Warmisleys occupied one flat and Spaniards another.

5. A punch-up between Mr. Evans the boot man and Pete the odd job man in the changing rooms.

6. Lessons in the summer on the croquet lawn – also summer half term teas there.

7. 1962-3 – A room on the right in the old San was used for music groups simulating the Beatles.

8. Busy afternoons with Mr. Dempster in the Carpentry Shop.

9. A number of beating sessions by the Headmaster with a billiard cue.

10. Headmaster’s talks on facts of life to Leavers. First one in was always quizzed by the others.

11. Leavers’ photographs and whole school photographs. Taken by Mr. Salmon with his prehistoric camera, with Mr. Salmon under a black cloth.

12. Boys’ gardens and competitions.

13. Sports Days – the Maze.

14. 1963 Winter – tobogganing every day on the Golf Course. Snowballs thrown at passing cars on the main road.

15. Running the Gauntlet in the dormitory.

16. Mrs. Cornes singing a song for new boys in Top Dormitory (each evening).

17. Miss Frampton (Under Matron) convinced the boys “she won the war”.

18. Because of my high marks in a Geography Test I was accused of cheating by various elder boys!

19. School lunches – on Risbridger’s table you got your knuckles hit with his fork if you ate peas off the base and not the back of your fork.

20. Scouts – Melbury – camp fires – hikes – badges – courses.

I hope the above may be helpful. I look forward to hearing how I may obtain a copy in due course.

I used to work at Middle Aston for Lane Fox in the old Estate Office, so know North Aston well!

Christopher Jerram