FACEBOOK MEMORIES - "Pocket Money" - 14 May, 2018
Mike O’Leary: Who remembers pocket money being doled out! I have a vague recollection of queuing up on a Friday night in Orwell to collect 2s/6d (can't remember how we used to write it!). Was it the same amount for everyone? Where did the money come from? When did they stop doing it? Was it unique to some houses? I also had a Post Office book given to me by my mum and I used to go into Chelmo PO sometimes to draw money out! I used to feel like a millionaire.

Terry Ashcroft: I can remember getting 2/6d on a Friday at Berners. I suppose the money came from my Mum.

Omar James-Johnson: Usually we started the term with money sent by parents direct to housemaster (we couldn't be trusted) and topped up by them if 1. we had been good and 2 if they could afford it.We queued up outside the housemasters office and he had a cashbox and ledger and would ask how much you wanted up to a set amount. I also remember the excitement of the tuck boxes my mum sent when she could with little treats and things. Funny how you acquired a few extra friends when the tuck boxes arrived.

Bill Kitchen: We had to ask for our pocket money weekly in Hanson’s too. It was up to our parents/guardians to keep our accounts ‘in credit’. Occasional postal orders received at birthdays etc were a welcome bonus once cashed at Woolverstone PO!

Michael Handley: Even in the early 50's we still got half a crown (2/6d) if our parents could afford it, but we also had rationing still and sweet coupons; there weren't many sweets off-rations in those days.

Chris Snuggs: Dunno about pocket money, but having read "Billy Bunter" I kept waiting in vain for a tuck parcel from home ..... I guess that Mum would have done her best to send something despite our relative poverty but I do remember that I never asked her to. My father would never have dreamed of doing such a thing even if I HAD asked him .... the love of a mother surpasses all understanding.

Omar James-Johnson: I know I shouldn't have but I did ask my mum to send tuck parcels on a regular basis not thinking she couldn't really afford it. Shame on me!! but the marathon bars were nice.

Michael John O'Leary: I feel the same way now Omar; my mum couldn't really afford it either!

Omar James-Johnson: It's so nice that from a small thing about pocket money it opens up the memory box and the fond memories of all our time at Woolverstone.The grey matter is still working OK.

Chris Snuggs: Omar, your Mum was probably overjoyed to do it. If I had been more mature I WOULD have asked my Mum just to please HER! But I wasn't ........

Michael John O'Leary: My mum used to bring me a (small) complete roast chicken sometimes when she came down for a Parents' Day! I still remember scoffing it in the dorm after she'd gone.

Chris Snuggs: You were lucky not to be given the nickname "Chicken"!!!

Michael John O'Leary: Only a select few knew.

Harvey Angel: I used to get postal orders to subsidise the measly amount we were allowed each week. I soon learned that tuck parcels had to consist of items that would be less likely to get nicked. So I got things like powdered chicken soup (add boiling water) or Nesquick (which could be added to the daily milk), rather than chocolate bars or crisps.

Chris Snuggs: I seem to remember Taffy in his study/office on Halls ground floor just by the canteen doling out half a crown once a week; was that on a Friday evening? I also vaguely remember spending it all at the tuck-shop, but that wasn't open all the time. Anyone remember the opening hours? I have a dreamy vision of Mr Chilton behind the counter, but it is all rather misty now.

As for the TS, I am impressed that in the 40 years of the school's existence no boy or boys ever broke into it as far as I know. It must have been an easy target for the daring thief! But obviously an instantly expellable offence .....

PS The money was paid by Pater at the beginning of term and we all had an account administered by Taffy. Must have got pocket-money in Berners Junior House, too, but I simply don't remember Shakey giving it out! At my age I am surprised by what I CAN remember, not by what I can't!

Michael John O'Leary: I think certain (goody two shoes?) boys also used to help out behind the counter with Mr Chilton. I couldn't remember his name until Chris said it. My favourite in the tuck shop (down in a Nissen hut at the side of Orwell Side, if I remember) was Wagon Wheels and crisps and (hard to believe it now) coffee in transparent plastic cups with saucers

Chris Snuggs: You can still find Wagon Wheels here and there. Amazing. One thing my peers were addicted to was Marmite. Lots of Halls boys had a pot kept in a wall cupboard in the Halls canteen; that and peanut butter. I can't abide either now, but they were both really fashionable at the time!

Chris Snuggs: I KNEW I had a photo of the tuckshop somewhere! Is that even Mr Chilton lurking in the shadows on the left? Unfortunately, I have no pics of Mike O'Leary demolishing his chicken under the bedclothes .....

Mark Frost: Tuck Shop? Run by Mr Mann in the 1970's. I remember seeing my first microwave in about 1975 which he used to heat up baked beans in a cup. 4 ozs of sweets in a bag from a jar were 9d at decimalisation which became 4p if I remember correctly!

Brian Cooper: Mine was an ice cream soda - delicious but didn't last long enough.

Omar James-Johnson: Good old Wagon Wheels. have you seen the size of them now? Should be called mini-wheels

Chris Snuggs: DIET? We haven't talked about that, but nobody was going to get fat on half a crown's worth of sweets once a week. And during the week (and even at weekends it was difficult) you couldn't get to a shop to buy Mars Bars and crisps. AND there were no soft drinks available either. But at BREAK there was a small bottle of milk, free if I remember rightly.

School meals were also far from the usual schoolboy joke; I always enjoyed them, and never went hungry. What with that and the small intake of sweets PLUS all the sport we were BLOODY FIT! And lucky compared to many kids today whose parents allow them to stuff themselves with rubbish food, drinks and sweets. BTW, did McDonalds even EXIST in the early 60s?

Mark Frost: First McDonalds opened in Woolwich in 1974. Has been in the US since the 1940's I think.

Michael John O'Leary: I don't think McDonald's was around in the 60s, but I remember when I was going to tech college in London in the middle to late 60s, they opened a Wimpy Bar that was really popular. Burger and chips etc sitting down at a table and my really favourite dessert was Rum Baba!

Michael John O'Leary: I was always starving at Woolverstone so I loved the food!

Mark Frost: Hmm, I don't share your fond memories of the food! Breakfast scrambled egg swimming in a sea of water - streaky bacon more fat than meat - custard with a skin so thick you could cut it. Toast that was piled on top of each other so invariably soggy..... Toast became a sought after commodity - the 6th form Common Room in Hansons had a 6 slice toaster, so the favoured few could partake in REAL toast.

Harvey Angel: I remember providing toast for many of your year. All I asked was that you provided the bread & butter, and not get seen eating it.

Mark Frost: Heart of gold Harvey!

Omar James-Johnson: Remember Hanson's toaster well. Would carry out armfuls of bread and piles of butter from breakfast and hide it in the dorm. Even bought a jar of Lime marmalade to go with it - fond memories.

Peter Warne: I have not been able to break the habit of eating quickly. If I see someone else eating as quickly as I am, it usually turns out they went to boarding school as well. There are two types of people: the quick and the hungry.

Bill Kitchen: We were constantly disappointed with WH food throughout 60’s but enjoyed Sunday’s cold breakfast; cereal ( cornflakes) toast, honey and bananas: a tradition that several of my contemporaries still uphold, (wholemeal non-soggy nowadays). Bizarrely we occasionally send each other photos of us enjoying said meal in different parts of the world!

Craig Halls: I remember pocket money days (I think Wednesdays and sat mornings). Plonk had everyone's pm accounts on his new computer! Quite impressive in 1981.....

Edmund Mensah: Yes the practice continued after decimalisation we had money given to our house master in brown envelop by parents he then allocated the money through a book system and if you went in the red the money was deducted from next terms pocket money.

Omar James-Johnson: I often wondered why mine always showed red; thought Goetzee just had a red pen.

Chris Snuggs: How could you go into the red??????

Edmund Mensah: Spend more than you were given by your parents on extra activities like trips to Felixstowe and Yarmoth.

Chris Snuggs: I never dared ask Taffy for credit!!!

Edmund Mensah: Different generation. Taffy had gone by ‘83 when I arrived.

Mark Frost: Harvey - don't suppose you remember doing Lights Out? We used to tie dressing gown cords across the aisle through the dorm to trip up 6th formers on duty. Also, at Christmas, holly was put on the door handles which were then grabbed in the dark - ouch!

Mark Frost: Finally, the Piece de Resistance: Roll Over ....... Everyone swapped beds and then insulted whoever was on duty. That person then went to where he thought the person who made the comment slept, and thumped them. No protestation was allowed as it was not the person who it should have been. Follow?

Harvey Angel: I certainly remember doing lights-out. Your lot had your pillows confiscated by Matron after we had a massive pillow fight which she came in during the middle of. Feathers absoIutely everywhere! I remember my glasses flying across the dorm but fortunately not breaking. I never got tripped by your cords but I think others in my year may have done.

Omar James-Johnson: We used to fold the sheet in two in someone's bed with stinging-nettles in it; we were good boys!!

Michael John O'Leary: In my day the discipline was very strict. Talking after lights-out was punished by a slippering on the pjama'ed arse!