Old West Downs Society – Memories of the Helbert/Brymer Era, 1897-1922

From Lord Hazlerigg, 1918-22

I was at W.D. from 1918 to 1922 so some of my recollections may go further than most.

WD was chosen by my parents mainly because Mr Helbert was Headmaster, so it was disaster for us when he died after my first term, especially as we had got to know and like one another very well, while I was many weeks on the lawn with ??Prototypist?? still there 2 weeks into the Xmas holidays.

I don’t remember temperatures taken twice a day or the bag of raw onions, but I vividly remember “Puffing Billy,” which I suppose you never knew. It was a dreadful experience on the first day of each term being sterilised inside and out in a tiny dark airtight room with nasty smelling and suffocating steam. Did it do any good?

An exact contemporary of mine and a close friend there was the late Sir Peter Scott. At his mother’s insistence he never wore any woolly or jacket, only a pair of shorts and a vest. He used to collect every sort of wildlife and several times brought a grass-snake into class in the pocket of his shorts. He was left-handed, and used to write (beautifully) with his right cheek flat on the paper and pushing the pen straight into his face!

Foricas. Did the rule about asking to ‘go’ from the after breakfast prep class continue? It was addressed to the Master in Charge “Lecture mihi ad foricas ire.” I think it was months before I knew what it meant, except that it had the magic effect of letting you go to the loo and I don’t remember any complaints about staying there too long.

I used rather to dread the once a term visit of my parents, because I feared I might not recognise them! Irrational really since my Father weighed over 20 stone at the time and must have been recognisable from a quarter of a mile away!

Arthur Hazlerigg