The Berners House Cellars

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: “Here are two photos of the cellar under Berners House. Strange that we haven't got more.”

Trevor Prior - Halls 73-80: “I remember shooting down there.”

Roger Evans - Corners 68-75: “Yepp - .22 rifle if memory serves me correctly and the smell of gunpowder lingering in the air - but as with yourself, that's about all I can remember. Don't even recall who ran the club.”

Nick Brackenbury - Berners 58-65: "Up to 1965 when we left, there was no locked door to the cellars. You could just walk down some steps in the courtyard next to the biology lab. There was only a couple of 'light bulbs', most of the place was dingy and dark. It was dirty, brick walls not painted, old junk (tables, chairs) in a few of the side rooms. Since we did not walk around with torches the cellars were not an inviting place to visit. You could walk along a corridor from the courtyard entrance to the bottom of the narrow spiral staircase which went up to the ground, first and second floors. There were rooms coming off both sides all the way along. Using the spiral staircase was a 'scare challenge' because Mr Shakeshaft used it all the time, he never used the main staircase. Perhaps Stretch and other teachers also used it, but I was only caught by Shakey a few times. I was in Berners for 6 years out of the 7 at WH."

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: “Trevor - maybe you could write something describing the cellars and your activities? I was at WHS from 58 to 65, but didn't even realize there were cellars - which now sounds to me stupid and hard to credit, but somehow they never came up in discussion or discovery.”

Trevor Prior - Halls 73-80: “Crikey - the memory is dim and distant - I was there 3-80 and I am surprised by the lack of memories I have. I was recently re-united with a number of my year group who now endeavour to meet yearly for a luncheon and copious alcohol. Their memories are far better than mine but it has been one of my greatest joys in recent years to be in their company again.”

Mike Wardell - Berners 59-63: “Something Nick Brackenbury failed to make keys for, perhaps.”

Jon Kemp - Corners 73-80: “There was a 2.2 rifle range in the cellars. The shooting club would alternate between shooting a 2.2 rifle down there and air guns in the physics labs. We were allowed 10 shots a week. There was an inter House shooting competition, ironically the cup awarded to the winning team had an inscription on it showing that it had originally been awarded to First Aiders.”

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: “Much more organised and exploited than in my era ((58 to 65). Perhaps the Sea Cadets used the cellars for shooting, but the funny thing about them was that if you weren't in the SC they seemed like a world apart. One just saw them marching about now and then without ever knowing what exactly they did and/or getting involved. I am not aware of a shooting club during my time there. In the "WHS Clubs & Societies” section of the archives site there was an entry for the Rifle (Shooting) Club in the 55 "Janus" and then not until 66!” HERE is a record of ALL "Janus" entries relating to that club.

Barry Clark - Hansons 58-65: “Correct Chris. It was used by the Sea Cadets as a range. Breach loaded bolt action. Unfortunately the only had a "right handed" rifle. Though right-handed I was "left eyed" and had to reach over to move the bolt. made it difficult to get the marksmanship badge - 5 shots on the target in 5 seconds - but I managed once!”

Nick Sibley - Halls 67-74: “There was a chess club and a scalextric club there but I mostly remember it for brewing gallons of marmalade wine in one of the more hidden rooms - so many gallons one time we were giving the plastic bottles to anyone who showed any interest. This was thanks to Boots and the brewing craze and the endless supply of sugar and marmalade.”

John Dawlings - Orwell 64-71: “Chess club was in one of the nissen huts in my day. Saturday mornings after lessons. Brian Middlebrook and Bob Skailes were in charge with 'lab scab' Tony Fuller also helping out.”

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: “I guess different clubs and activities took place in different places at different times! Hard to keep track of it all over a period of four decades!”

Peter Watson - Orwell 72-77: “Trunks stored in a room down (having arrived by BRS state owned haulage Co). Mid 70 parents day there was a ghost tunnel -Berners boys in bandages and stage makeup. Us Orwell lads I think manned the ducking-stool in the swimming pool?”

David Bannister - Corners 69-76: “There were a couple of Berners discos down there in 74/75. I can remember lugging decks, amps and speakers from Witherley of Ipswich up and down the Masters Stairs and someone - probably Gerry Warren - playing The Flock version of "I Still Waiting" with the volume at 11. Maybe earlier, come to think of it - Gerry was in the fifth form when I joined in 1969.