The WHS Community - Chris Snuggs : Berners/Halls 58-64

We recently welcomed Ms Wendy Offord to our Facebook Group. She has a close connection to Woolverstone Village and her family with WHS, and as it happens she also works for IHS. She is actually not the only non Old Boy in our group, and though this point has not to my knowledge been discussed before it seems perfectly right and proper, because ......

.... WHS WAS A COMMUNITY! A school of course does need pupils and masters, but one cannot imagine it functioning without a lot of other essential people. As with many other things when I was at WHS in the 60s, I never consciously thought about this too much; I just took it all for granted and got on with what I had to do. But the non-teaching staff were absolutely essential to the school's success. I think we should welcome to the group people who feel they are part of the Woolverstone Hall Community - either or both WHS and IHS.

AND of course, the majority lived locally, and so there was a strong connection to Woolverstone Village and no doubt some others places nearby - as one suspects there had been for well over a century with the Berners family. Indeed, a number of non-teaching staff worked for well over a decade for WHS - some for several decades. Some we didn't know very well - particularly the kitchen staff I suppose - but others had a higher profile and were very much cherished by both boys and masters.

We're all different, but I have always felt a very close attachment to the places I have worked. After all, you dedicate part of your LIFE to a place when you work there, and so the connection to and with the community was very strong - but not perhaps fully appreciated by the boys - certainly not by me until recently.

Hindsight? A wonderful thing, and sometimes irritating! But it may teach us things for the future. I once worked in an English Language school where foreign students were farmed out to homestays with local families. My boss had the genius idea one year of inviting ALL our host families to a Soiree: a light buffet, a couple of thank you speeches and general milling about chatting. His idea was to show the families how much we appreciated their work and support. Of COURSE they were paid to look after the students, but it isn't ALL about money, is it? I wonder whether that idea was ever considered by the WHS management? Money was always tight, so perhaps that would have been a problem, but such a reception need not have cost a lot. Or perhaps nobody ever thought of it! WE BOYS certainly didn't!

On the right is a list of titles I found in "Janus" - an impressively LONG one! I am pretty sure I never personally thanked ANY non-teaching staff for what they did for the school, and therefore for me - so that is just one more regret to have to live with.

Role Titles Found in "Janus"
Assistant Domestic Bursar Head Gardener
Assistant Housemaster Headmaster's Secretary
Assistant Librarian Housematron
Admin Staff i/s Sailing
Boatman i/c Sea Cadets
Bursar Lab. Assistant
Bursar's Office Librarian
Caretaker Music Teacher
Catering Staff Nurse
Catering Officer Principal Domestic Assistant
Churchman Sailing Assistant
Cleaning Staff Sick Bay Assistant
Coach Matron Sick Bay
Deputy Catering Officer Sister
Driver Sewing Lady
Deputy Senior Admin. Officer Senior Sister
Gardener Stoker
Governor Tuck Shop Manager (ess)
Groundsman Workman