"WH Then & Now - and Tennis "   -   Chris Snuggs

Richard Merghani - ???? ????: "Amazing photos! “Been far far too long since I was there . I haven't been back since the day I left , even though I keep saying I must visit .”

Eric Coates - Corners 57-64: “Whatever they do to the place it’ll never be a patch on how it was in the 50s and 60s.”

Chris Snuggs Berners/Halls 58-65: “Yes ..... and no! The transformation of the cricket pitch is like a huge scar. It was just beautiful to wander out to sit round the boundary and watch a game on a Saturday - or Sunday in the case of Woolverstone Park. But if they don't play cricket then there was a huge space wasted when space was lacking to put hockey pitches. But point of information. I imagine IHS didn't play cricket in the old days, but now they have boys? And cricket for girls is more common than it was. Do they use what's left of the main field for cricket? If not, where do they play cricket? Or don't they? I also just realized that I don't know what they use Church Field for, apart presumably for athletics.”

The other thing is that - sublime though WHS was in so many ways - it lacked in particular three things: a decent gym, ditto swimming-pool and tennis courts. I didn't miss the first so much - we did a lot in that tiny low-ceilinged gym, but when I lived in Camberwell in the 50s I went to Camberwell baths at least once a week, and I missed swimming. I was also sorry not to be able to play tennis. After leaving WHS I found out that I was quite good and played for my university team. Being objective, I have to admit the facilities are much better now, BUT they have lost most of the boarding element, which hugely contributed the the excellence in sport, the arts and the astonishing range of clubs and societies. You just can't achieve that in a day-school. Their business-plan of bussing kids in and out is not likely to please Greta Thunberg either. Unfortunately, there seems to lack the space to build boarding houses, which is ironic given how huge the Berners estate was. I guess we are lucky that they haven't built (probably not allowed to) on Orwell Side, so that the whole area behind the hall is pretty much preserved.”

Mark Frost - Hansons 71-77: “There was a (or perhaps 2?) tennis court - presumably built after your time. Smokey Joe was the 6th form tennis coach. This photo shows them along the eastern boundary. IHS have improved them but still in the same position I think.”

Eric Coates - Corners 57-64: 2 tennis courts were there in 50s and 60s - but little used by boys. I played a doubles with Mark Wing-Davey against John Percival and Ian McEwan in the 1980s on the same courts. We won, of course, and as far as I recall exactly the same courts and surface as 25 years earlier.”

Chris Snuggs Berners/Halls 58-65: “I thought they were exclusively for staff. I don't ever remember any boys playing there or being invited to do so - or the courts even being mentioned! I do remember seeing Shakey and Stretch play there on occasion.”

Philip Lecount - Berners 81-86: “The tennis courts were still used in the 80s. I tried tennis but couldn’t get into it! It wasn’t until I hit my 40s when I got a fancy for playing. In the 80s at WHS the foreshore was very much everyone’s playground.”