Old West Downs Society – Memories of the Tindall Era, 1922-1954

From Lord Gainford, 1930-35

At many OWD meetings and events I have had great fun being a “memory man” in connection with my West Downs years, which were from 24th September 1930 to 5th April 1935.

I only wish that I had made copies of much of the correspondence I had with D. Howell-Griffith. Over a number of years, until he died, we wrote to each other at least twice a year. I would write at Christmas, and after any OWD event, particularly Founder’s Day.

About twenty years ago my letter to him contained lengthy details of my West Downs years. I may have to re-write those memoirs. All I have at present are mediocre photostats of my last two years at the school.

For a start, I first went to West Downs on Wednesday, 24th September 1930. Never in the rest of my school days did Short Half, or whatever my other schools called the Autumn Term, start as late as that. I was one of a batch of new boys so large that LS II had to be divided into two. LS IIa were in A class room with Mr Brownrigg as form master. He had the initials CAGB and, as a result, got nicknamed “Cabbage.” LS IIb was with Miss Squilley in G class room. I think that is how she spelt her name. I used, like many others, to think of her as Miss Quilley, until I read K.B. Tindall’s testimonial about her, on her retirement, in the OWD magazine.

LS IIb was an all new boy class, except for one second termer, Talents minor, who was form captain. After his name, the division list read – de Burgh, Hargreaves, Pease, Scott, Southeron-Escount minor, Taylor, Trelawny minor, Whyte, Ward.

Southeron-Escount minor lasted one term. He was a very nervy boy. The next term he was listed in brackets in the Division List, and then his name was removed altogether.

I was in the Lions Patrol. In Short Half 1930 we were in Top Dormitory. H.C. Corbett was Patrol Leader, and Bannister ma the second.

Of the three terms, Short Half was my favourite. It was the term of most entertainment, particularly plays. Each patrol had to act the story of a Shakespeare play. Towards the end of the term there would be the French play and the masters’ play, a Bassett Kendall thriller.

Joseph Gainford