On the other FB site there is apparently a heated discussion about bullying. I cannot comment THERE, but I have so far escaped being banned HERE!
n.b. I am guessing, but I would imagine that most of whatever bullying took place in whichever era was house-based insofar as boys spent most time out of lessons in their house. And of course all the houses were very different, AND it takes only one rotten apple to cause a rot. My personal experience and memories relate to Halls House, which as far as I recall had no real bullying problems while I was there.
I am very sorry if some OBs were bullied - as they obviously were on occasion, and it seems more so in later eras than mine. That should not have happened, and one cannot blame the staff only; it is up to all of us to stand up to sub-human activity. “The only way for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.” and so on.
I don’t like to criticize the school as it was awesome in most ways, but one thing has occurred to me over the years. No teacher (and Housemasters would have been the most concerned here) EVER invited me into his study for a general chat which would have involved two parts: A) how the Housemaster saw my progress and general well-being and B) my problems: “How are you doing?” Is there anything worrying you?” “Do you have any problems?” etc
Of course, they didn’t have time, but was there also an element of deciding that we should learn to “stand up for ourselves” and so on?
The thing is, if one is being bullied, it is almost impossible to go and tell a teacher about it. Many kids might not even want to tell their PARents. BUT, it might have been easier for a Housemaster to tell if there was something wrong if there had been regular formal - but friendly - interviews.
|John Tuddenham: I was caned only once - can't remember what for - by Johnson ..... didn't hurt!! I was with 2 others ... must have been class or dorm related I guess ... not sure.
John Coles: I was caned by Butch Richardson for being out after lights out. I was photographing lightning of a thunderstorm. It was more humiliating than anything else. It did not happen again.
Nick Brackenbury: I am applying for a School Record ?? Only boy to be caned three times, all during 5th Form 1962/3. Should have got an entry into Janus, ha ha????
Chris Snuggs: I always thought you were a good boy ......
Nick Brackenbury: I was, just misunderstood by a school of teachers, none of whom had been engineers. They did not respect my practical side ....
Graham Forster: I was only caned once but slippered several times.
Nick Brackenbury: Shakey slippered me once; it was worse than the cane. But the worst part was having to wait outside his study door for 20 minutes beforehand. It was for issuing a long string of swear words which I heard from older boys. The joke is, at 11 years old, I had no idea what these words meant.
Louis Parperis: I was caned and slippered so frequently that some masters probably recognised my arse more readily than my face. Doc caned me in my first week, possibly on the first night, and the unfairness of it still irks me as the broken lampshade I was picking up from the floor when he came into the dorm was the work of Bob Peeling who had tried to hit me with a pillow over the top of the partition separating our beds after a mass pillow-fight had ended, and like an idiot I had got out of bed to help him pick up the pieces.
Chris Snuggs: I was never caned or slippered by anyone during my six years at WHS. I used to think this was something positive, but I am now starting to feel like a weirdo .....
Bill Kitchen: WOW! Sooooooo unfair. I received a regular range of slippering and canings (mostly warranted as I could be really cheeky). However, it was Cox’s lashings with the Bunsen burner tube that I really feared. He lost his rag so often with our physics class, although we were in an adjacent lab, that Roberts, Kypri, and I wore 3 pairs of pants to every lesson!
Louis Parperis: I bumped into the venerated Hashi Lulu at various demonstrations and NUS conferences in the early ‘70s (there were four of us at at least one conference, along with Chris Morris and Julius Marstrand, Robinson as was). I think he was reading for a science degree at Surrey. Dave left suddenly at the end of the 5th form, as did his great mate, Andrew Hesketh and his squeeze box, and Andrew Kypri. I had played in junior house rugby and cricket teams with Dave in my first year and always liked him a lot. He was a colossally brave fullback and a great tackler, but I think he suffered from Islington’s Disease, an irrational affection for Woolwich and the colour red.
Bill Kitchen: I presume you refer to Dave Roberts?
Louis Parperis: Yes, the Orwell version, not the older version in Hanson’s who was Alan MacKay’s mate.
Peter Alexander: I believe I hold the record for being slippered. Neil Clayton managed it 5 times in one week. I can't remember what it was for but I'm sure I deserved it. But it was Stretch Poole's who upset me the most. He was standing in as Head for some reason and before he gave me a rather tame slippering, he told me that he had been looking forward to it for three years! That upset me.
Graham Forster: The worst slippering I had was from Fred Mudd. I was sent to the hobbies room for talking after lights out where Fred was making picture-frames. He chatted to me amicably for about 15 minutes then said: "Right! Off you go to bed." Thinking I had escaped I was just about to open the door when he said: "Oh I forgot." He gave me 3 with his enormous plimsoll with me in pyjamas.
Robin Boot: I, too was caned very regularly, at least 8 times in the first two years, each time by Doc with his split cane - which was vicious - and often after he had been at the port. Only ever slippered by Cromarty, but then I suppose everyone who had him was slippered at least once, mostly in a mass-slippering.
At the time, and even looking back now, I think that most of them were well deserved.
Graham Forster: Cromarty's slipperings were great. I remember one mass slippering when Adrian Brown laughed after having received his. "So it's funny, is it? Do you want another dose?" to which Brown replied: "Ooh, yes please Sir!"
Chris Snuggs: I try to be logical:
Two points about this comment:
Ray Brady: I have to say, I was only slippered once and I deserved it; broke the rules after hours - we all knew the score. Woollett tried to cane me in 3rd year before I went home just before my dad died. I said to him: "I dare you. Touch me with that and I'll give it back to you," and I would have. It was then that I started to go off the rails; went home the following day and was gone for 3 or 4 weeks. I was only back for a night; walked out the following morning after maths with Warsi, I never saw Woollett or Skailes again.
Matthew Fuller - 87-89: For those interested what it was like in the "The Last Years of Woolverstone Hall" the press article titled "Bullies and misrule at live-in comprehensive" from May 1985 states that "of the annual intake of 60 boys, 16 places are reserved for those in need of boarding as a result of severe domestic problems. A high and increasing number of boys come from single-parent and ethnic minority families or from disadvantaged areas."