The Old West Downs Society
The OWD Society Committee
The Committee of the Old West Downs Society used to be appointed on an
annual basis at its AGM on the morning of Founder’s Day, held each June
at West Downs itself. We made an attempt to carry this on after the
School had closed, by combining the AGM with a Dinner or Lunch to which
all OWDs were invited. At the Dinner in 1992 it was agreed that the
Committee as it was then should stand, including of course the two
younger members that had been elected at that meeting. The names of the
Committee Members are sent out every two years with the Dinner
invitations, and anyone who wants to raise a point at a committee
meeting, or to become a member of the Committee, is welcome to contact
the Secretary and arrange to attend the next meeting if practicable.
Meetings of the Committee are held roughly once a year at a Pub called
“The Old Cock” in Fleet Street, at 12 or 12:30 for 1 pm. These meetings
are not normally subsidised by the Society. There is not a fixed date or
season for Committee Meetings, except as dictated by the pressure of other
- The Chairman is Daniel Hodson (1952-57). His duties
include taking the chair at meetings; making outside contacts, where
necessary, such as with King Alfred’s, the new owners of West Downs;
and generally geeing up the other members.
- The Secretary and Treasurer is Nick Hodson (1943-1947). His
duties include taking the minutes of meetings; arranging the time and
place of the dinners and of the committee meetings; dealing with incoming
correspondence regarding the dinners, the school photographs and other
memorabilia; keeping and publishing the accounts; dealing with any
correspondence regarding the deaths of members or regarding any
fund-raising activities entered into by the Committee, whether on its own
behalf or that of persons it is interested in.
- The Membership Secretary and Keeper of the Archives is
Nick Hodson (1943-47). His duties include maintaining the register of
members and their addresses; dealing with enquiries by members about
their contemporaries' addresses; setting up the pages of letters to be
sent out to members; addressing the envelopes for mailshots to members;
inserting the letters into the envelopes, stamping them and posting them
out. He does not deal with acceptances for the dinner, for that is down
to the Secretary. He also deals with the archives of printed and written
materials, such as bundles of school papers handed to the Society by Old
Boys executors, on their decease. He is responsible for editing the
source books on the life at the school and other OWD Society
publications, including The Masters’ Plays and the Life of Jesus. This
work has required extensive scanning for OCR and sometimes retyping of
documents. He develops software to aid his work on for the OWD Society.
Future duties may include taking scanned images of the Tindalls’ Lantern
Slide Collection; and dealing with the Society’s Internet Web Site.
- Mark Hichens (1935-39) is the OWDS Historian. He wrote the
book “West Downs — A Portrait of an English Prep School‘. He and his
two brothers were at West Downs, and he was the OWD Society’s Secretary
for a decade after the War. His career as a Prep School master has given him
a great insight into many of the issues which we discuss.
- Lionel Kay, a former Deputy Headmaster, is on
the Committee, where his great experience of teaching at WD and knowledge
of Staff matters makes him invaluable.
- The two younger members are: Edward Wake (1973-78), and Hugh Tottenham
(1970-74). Although they do not yet have any
of the official tasks of the longer serving committee members, they can
and do advise on the interests of the younger members. Andrew Parker-Jervis
and Nick Bloxam have also attended recent committee meetings (which are
pretty informal affairs).
There are some gaps in the years covered by members. Apart from Staff
members, we no longer have anybody whose years at WD were pre-1935,
though there are quite a few such members still. Nobody dates from the
period 1957-70, and there is nobody from the final years of the school,