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

Extracts from “The Washout” – a news-sheet edited by N. Richardson.

14th May 1951.

Everyone from US.I. downwards has been given new vocabs. At the moment they are only on large sheets of paper but in about a year’s time they will be probably printed in vocabularies like the old ones. They have more words than the old vocabularies had.

Term Starts. Same old routine. The term started in the usual uneventful way on May 2. Since then the weather has improved somewhat though it still isn’t light enough for scouts to read until nine o’clock.

New look for the dining room. All the cupboards at Top-Table end of the dining room are new. A new system has been devised for which cupboards to keep private food in. The names of those who have gained scholarships have not been put up yet though there are some initials upon smaller boards. These are the initials of the people whose subscription money for the O.W.D. has been used to pay for the boards.

On Saturday May 5 Mr. Kitchin went sick, resulting in slight complications.

Ten Ton Tesse. On Friday, Ten Ton Tesse, the roller, came to roll the pitches, but everyone was told not to go near it.

All in. Why on earth? There was much surprise and annoyance last Thursday when people found out that it was all in, in break. The reason was that the games clothes were being dried after the rain on Wednesday.

A bit of luck for Courtauld. Courtauld was sent down last Wednesday night but he wasn’t slippered because Mr. Tindall had hurt his back. Trévou, on Friday was not so lucky.

On the Sunday before last the people in the play had their parts tested.

28 May 1951

Around the end of the week before last a kind of craze started among the section leaders when everyone was “on parade” before lunch or tea, to tell their section to step one pace forward or backward for no real reason. Here is an example; “Number 6 section ’Shun. One pace forward march.”

Preacher at Evening Chapel. Canon Hood. The preacher yesterday evening in Chapel was Canon Hood, Principal of Pusey House, Oxford. He talked about Christ as the Good Shepherd.

Chicken Pox. One may say that anyone with chicken pox, unless he has a bad temperature, will not go sick, but will just go off games and off gym.

12 June 1951

Rails dedicated. In the service in the evening of Founder’s day two kneeling rails were dedicated. They were given by the three daughters of Mr Rose. Mr Rose came to West Downs in 1898, a year after it came into existence as a prep-school. He was a master here for 49 years. He left in 1947 and died about a year later. A truly remarkable man, and very popular.

28 June 1951.

The Sports. Some Heats already held. It was not possible last term to have the sports, but they are being held this term instead of the Paters’ and Maters’ Match. On Saturday last there were some heats for the hurdles and hundred yards. There have been a few heats for the Long Jump and High Jump ,and there has been great keenness everywhere.

Will the Play come off? The Play, due on July 6th, may not come off. Chicken Pox is, of course, the cause. It is awful when one cannot really rehearse in earnest because the main players are sick. Even so, when Chicken Pox has practically died down, Ingrams ma, playing Hellena, has gone sick. There was a rehearsal on Sunday.

Palmer back. Kitchin still sick. Mr Palmer, who came for two or three terms and left about a year ago has come back for this term to fill the place of Mr. Kitchin, who has been sick since almost the beginning of term.

Chicken Pox died down at last. There are now very few people who are sick. However, there are still a few off games, and a good number who are off swimming, and will be until their spots disappear. Nearly everyone should be on games by the sports. After that the exams and end of term will be drawing near and everyone should be on swimming by then. Then the holidays, and so the Chicken Pox “plague” will fade away into oblivion.

Marsh Court Match. Amazing School. Yesterday we played an away match against Marsh Court, near Stockbridge, whom we have never played against before. The 1st XI came back saying that they were a wizard school. They beat us, scoring 115 for 4 wickets, whilst we scored 71 all out.

Brylcreem. Lately Sister has been giving boys Brylcreem for their hair. The Brylcreem is in little jars and tubes.

Sweets. On Tuesday Mr. Tindall gave out that if anyone was found eating sweets in prep he would stop the sweets at tea altogether, as it seemed to be becoming a custom.

Crazes. The main craze at the moment is one which started only a few days ago, but which is spreading like wildfire. It is to turn one’s handkerchief into a sort of cosh. Also there is a minor craze which has not spread, being to turn one’s handkerchief, plus string and a weight, into a parachute.

Crazes (cont.). Though this craze has not yet entirely come out it will probably develop. The craze is for making sort of paper birds. Apparently, according to Mr. Ledgard, there is a school rule that this is not allowed, but nobody knows this except one or two people.

12 July 1951

A.F.B. plays organ. On Sunday July 1, Mr A.F. Broadhurst, a former West Downs Master, who took over a school in New Zealand, coming back to England for a while, visited West Downs, and played the organ, which he himself presented, in morning chapel. Afterwards he looked at the gardens, and told people what he thought of the Festival [of Britain]. He composed a tune for Magnificat, which we often use.

Play comes off. A good performance. Melbury July 6. The suspense was ended, the play was on. The weather, doubtful at first, yielded a cool evening and there was no trouble with the midges. The play started at about 4:40, taking about an hour and 20 minutes. There were not may slips and considering the lack of rehearsals the play went very well. In fact it could be classed as a good performance.

Swimming. On Tuesday evening the lists for the swimming sports were put up. They are divided into 3 age groups except the Breast Stroke style, which is open. There is Diving, Swimming lengths and the Patrol Relay. Also the Evans cup, a race of six lengths for those over 12 years. For the last 2 years this race was won by Hodson. [A.E. Hodson]

Editorial. The majority of this issue is sport as there have been a lot of events lately. The exams are approaching now, but the excitement near the end of term has not yet come out. By the way, can anybody explain the madness which has being [sic] coming on D-Francis at night lately.

26 Jul 1951

No more bumping. End of an old custom. Last Thursday, in Chapel, Mr K.B. Tindall, gave out that due to the row caused by Raikes’ bumping on his birthday this custom would have to cease. This was disliked by one or two members of the school.

[At the Pow-Wow] Mr Tindall said good bye to the leavers. Also, Madame, who has been here for 25 years, is leaving.

Terrific storm on Sunday. Last Sunday in the morning and evening people were being continually deafened by the thunder crashes. At one moment, when everyone was having lunch the lightning must have struck the lightning conductor, and a little earlier on the lights had temporarily fused. Unfortunately evening Chapel had to be cancelled.

The Peacock Cup. The Peacock Cup Competition was held last Monday. Mrs. Spooner, the mother of an old boy, was judging. The winners, contrary to all expectations, were Ingrams ma, singing “The Evening Star” and Maltby who accompanied him. People were amazed still further when Burrows ma, singing “Lets us wander on unseen”, and Ingrams ma accompanying him, came second. Latta and Scott max, Latta singing “The Gentle Maiden”, had hoped to win. Afterwards, Mrs. Spooner, who sings on the wireless under her maiden name of Megan Foster, sang some songs to us.

4 Oct 1951

Outside West Downs.

The General Election. The announcement of the General Election at such short notice has not as yet aroused much interest here. The newspapers do not say very much, but there is no doubt that not long after our next edition comes out everyone will be thinking of nothing else.

The King. Since the operation on the King’s lung on the twenty third, now 11 days ago, his condition has steadily improved, and there is hardly any doubt about his recovery now.

Festival closes. Last Sunday the Festival closed with a crowd of nearly 36,000 singing The National Anthem, “Abide With Me” and “Auld Lang Syne.”

Persia. Korea. At the moment they [are] still just talking in Persia, and in Korea we are opening a new offensive.

New Arrangement of Forms. Mr. Tindall has made a new arrangement for this term. Last term’s S.D.II and S.D.I, minus Richards, Ritson, Fell, Flower are in S.D.I. The other four plus U.S.I are in Shell. Those in S.D.I are all taking exams in the next year. The Shell boys are younger.

Bookbinding restarts. Bookbinding has started again, under the supervision of Mr. Severn.

Toynby and Madamoiselle. A new master called Mr. Toynby has come in place of Mr. Kitchin. He teaches History chiefly. In place of Madame, Madamoiselle (Carrère) has come. Needless to say she teaches French.

Tests. There has been a remarkable increase in the number of tests passed this term. Last Sunday we went down to Melbury and Mr. Griffith, after announcing the result of the game of the week before, said that [in] the first half hour everyone should either pass or be instructed in tests. This is a new idea.

Sykes not Coming Back. (Hugh) Sykes, who has been a member of this school for more than four years, has gone to a special grammar school.

School adopts Black boy. On Thursday, Mr. Tindall announced that Leslie Marchand, a boy whom the school has looked after for eight years for the Children’s Society, has grown up and got a job with some Painters and Decorators. The Children’s Society sent Mr. Tindall a list of two boys and two girls whom they had found who needed backing. These were Graham Neathe (aged 7), Jennifer Neathe (aged 6), Jan Mills who is a little coloured boy (age 8) and Joan Ward (age 7). The school first chose a boy, and after seeing the photographs, Jan Mills was chosen by a majority vote. There was a collection for him on Sunday.

General Election. The election is drawing near now. Everybody here is getting excited. The difference in the Socialists and the Conservatives has lately been announced by Mr. Churchill, the Conservative Leader.

The King’s Health is steadily increasing. Princess Elizabeth and the Duke have reached Winnipeg.

Egypt. On October 8, Farouk was named King of Egypt. The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty (?) was abrogated.

Mr. Brown gives 2nd lecture on New Zealand. On last Tuesday, Mr. Brown gave a lecture on mountaineering in the S. Island of New Zealand. He has lectured before on the North Island, and many people thought it was the best lecture of last year, and this one also just took one’s breath away. Unfortunately it wasn’t very dark, but that didn’t make much difference, and they were indeed in many ways as beautiful and amazing pictures as last time.

McInnes Whacked. McInnes was whacked on October 5th for letting off a stink bomb in a French period taken by Mr. Tremellen.

From our Sickroom Correspondent. There is a slight sickness spreading through the school at the moment, and Fives has already been converted. Those sick at the moment are: Savege ma, Frost, Wingfield, Also Crawford went sick on his birthday in the evening, and got up on Monday, Wright also was sick for a short time. Also Miss Cobb is sick.

Grand Chess Tournament. Nobody has taken much notice of the Tournament which was arranged by Mr. Tremellen. There are twenty four entrants. There are four rounds plus four preliminary games.

1st Nov 1951

General Election. Great Jubilation at Conservative Victory. There was great excitement when it was announced that the Conservatives had got in. The whole school, with the exception of two or three members, is Conservative. However, the Conservatives have not, as everyone knows, got in by a very great majority. We sincerely hope that the Conservatives can unravel some of the tangles that the Labour have produced of late.

The Royal Tour. Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh have started back across North America from Victoria on Vancouver Island.

School Astonished by New Rule. K.T. Announces New Rule in Chapel. On Saturday October 20th Mr. Tindall announced that a new rule would be brought into action on the Monday. He explained that the number of boys sent out during periods seemed to be unnecessarily high and that all boys who were sent out would have a tick put up against [their names on] a list on the door of Mr. Tindall’s study, so he could see who had been sent out. So far Stobart, Peel mi, Monro mi, Parish ma and Colville have been sent out. Colville was sent out twice and was therefore slippered.

Good Shot. On Monday October 22nd on the 2nd game, Macdonald kicked the ball and knocked Mr. Griffith’s hat off, by mistake of course.

On Tuesday October 30th everyone at dinner was silenced by a roar from Mr. Ledgard addressed to Burrows major.

1 Nov 1951

Editorial. We are inviting all readers to send in any funny pictures, caricatures or cartoons to the Washout’s new Readers’ Corner. A sweet will be given for any effort done by yourself which is published. Do not make your effort more than about 3 inches square. I hope personally to get many contributions. So long. Richardson.

On Thursday October 25th Granville, Cleminson, Savege mi & Brooke mi were slippered for playing about with the lights in N-room after tea when Mr. Toynby was there.

Burrows mi and Richards mi were slippered on October 20th.

A lot of people have been sick lately and on Tuesday Ritson had a nightmare.

15 Nov 1951

Outside news. Conservative Triumph on Steel Debate. On their first major debate the Conservatives triumphed over the Socialists by thirty nine votes. This was an amendment against them about the Steel. The Conservatives have made a good start.

Premier to discuss Atomic Policy. The Premier, with Mr. Eden, Lord Ismay and Lord Cherwell will visit Washington early in January. The purpose of this will be to discuss with President Truman Foreign and Defence policy. Chiefly Mr. Churchill will try to reach closer accord on atom-bomb policy.

There is a possibility of a meeting between Mr. Churchill and M. Stalin. This is however most uncertain at [the] present moment. It is however being looked into.

Inside news. Canon Hood Preacher at Evening Chapel. Last Sunday the preacher at evening Chapel was Canon Hood, Principal of Pusey House, Oxford. He preached on making full use of the fact that we are Christians. He comes here once every term.

Two Lantern Lectures. An Old Favourite and a New One. On October 22nd Mr. Legard consented to read the “Manuscript” for 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, one of Mr. Tindall’s lantern lectures, based on Monsieur Jules Verne’s famous novel. This was much enjoyed by all. On Nov 3rd Mr. Low lectured. The title of this lecture was “Spotlight on Birds!” This was about the common British birds.

Remembrance Day. Poppies not up to standard. Last Sunday was Remembrance Day and the two minutes’ silence was observed in the morning as usual. The poppies this year on display were not as good as usual. There were only two car sprays bought, whilst there seemed a tendency to buy the sixpenny and shilling poppies.

Sent Out. Bloxam, Fielden, Burrows mi, Curling, Cameron mus, Trévou (twice) and Stobart have been sent out. Trévou and Stobart were slippered.

15th November 1951

I am afraid to say that the amount of contributions for our Readers’ Corner has been very low. May I remind you that we are paying a sweet to anybody whose contributions are published. If you have any caricature or cartoon (not more than about 3 inches square if possible) send it in. Don’t forget, and I expect a lot of contributions. So long. Richardson.

Please to Remember. A very rainy 5th of November. Guy Fawkes Day, Monday, was probably the most dampening on record. It just poured! Not many fireworks were heard. The majority were let off on Tuesday. A large part of the school went out on the Sunday, probably for the purpose of letting off fireworks, although the weather was just as bad on the next day. Indeed the weather in the last fortnight has been veritably bad.

Yesterday Prince Charles celebrated his third birthday.

The Government won another victory by 37 votes on Tuesday.

The Festival Gardens will re-open and be open for five years.

I always take one of Messrs. Flat-Tyre and Co.’s Taxis. Don’t you?

A.F.B. Surprise Visit. Yesterday evening, quite unexpectedly Mr. A.F. Broadhurst, whom you will remember from last term, came and talked for half an hour, instead of our prep, about the school he runs in New Zealand. Afterwards he agreed to answer questions which he did for the next three quarters of an hour. After that he talked a little to groups of boys and even played a little piece on Ingrams major’s viola. His talk was a great success. He played the organ in our evening chapel, as he did last term, but he’s a bit too good for us we’ve decided.

Outside News

Korea. At last we are nearing a truce in Korea.

Persia. The oilfield has been evacuated, guns manned and it is a time of suspense.

Egypt. Mr. Eden says we can hold out against them in every way.

Chess Tournament. The chess tournament, organised by Mr. Tremellen early on in the term has been forgotten mostly up till now, Here and there a few games have been played but there definitely was a slump. Lately however there have been developments. What was holding the tournament back was the Aird v. Trévou game. That has now been settled, and there now are two more games only and then the result will be known.

Lectures. Dickens and Roman Britain. The evening of the Saturday before last was devoted to Dickens. Mr. Tindall displayed to us some of Dickens’ well known novels in picture form. Naturally he could only show excerpts but in the course of the evening we were introduced, or reminded of as the case might have been, to “A Christmas Carol”, “The Pickwick Papers”, “Oliver Twist”, “The Old Curiosity Shop” and many others. Last Saturday Mr. Alkin, who has given two lectures already, one on the Stone Age and the second on the Bronze Age, gave the last in a series of three in which he showed us what happened in the time of the second Roman Conquest, and the changes which took place in the lives of the British at that time.

A.F.B. played the organ again in morning chapel.

Crazes. Battleships spreading. A paper and pencil game called Battleships is spreading round the school at the moment. It started being played by S.D.I. in A-class room.

New Rules. Mr. Tindall has announced that continuous games of “tig” must stop. One may however play at odd moments in the gym.

Glue. K.T. also gave out that people mustn’t use other boys’ glue or other aeromodelling stuff.

At last! The first game for ages. After more than three weeks of staying in and walks it was with mixed feelings that everyone indulged in a game of football on Tuesday Nov 20.

Patrol Competition. Last Saturday there was a Patrol Competition down at Melbury. Each patrol had to collect certain objects and make a fire, cook food (potatoes and sausages) and make a campsite, etc. The results have not been announced yet. They will be, next Sunday if possible.

Rumour. A rumour was started about ten days ago to keep people away from N-rooms. Certain boys [say] they saw a ghost there, and others that there was a burglar. The rumour however died out.

Sent Out. A few people have been sent out lately, and one or two have been slippered.

Nicholas Richardson 1948-53.