It is at the time of writing over SEVEN DECADES since Woolverstone Hall School opened, but we STILL lack the following:
1) a precise timeline of events for the period from the sale of the Shotley Estate in 1937 to the opening of WHS.
2) personal accounts of life on the estate and in the school during that period and the first few years of the school.
I hope to put this right once and for all and invite OBs to write something about their experience. The following are those who started from 1949 to 1953, some of whom have not surprisingly passed away.
A start was made recently when Ron Gould posted a comment on Facebook, repeated below with the ensuing replies to date:
Ron Gould - Corners 50-54: "I was at WH with Bob Croucher: 1st year in Forecastle in a nissen hut, then Corners, our superb house."
Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: "Thanks. I guessed so. You must have been a close-knit group in those early days!"
Ron Gould: "We certainly were.
It was odd. We knew we were experimental; we had this very bizarre experience that almost no one else in the world has had. We were in a Grammar School, and we were the oldest boys in the school from the 2nd year until we left. For those that don't know, the very 1st form were in LNS Woolverstone, but we had all passed "The Scholarship" and had been accepted for grammar schools in London. When LNS closed there were no older boys left.
I read here that there were some "left overs from LNS" that is not true. We original first years knew that we were attending "a boarding grammar school" run by the LCC. It really pisses me off to see the dates of WH. They all start a year late."
Chris Snuggs: "Quite moving - and enlightening. To be clear, WHS was born in September 1950, not 51? WHS was an imaginative, risky and therefore courageous, astonishing and somewhat expensive experiment, and I believe (though to what extent I am not sure) that Irene Chaplin was the prime originator and promoter of the idea. The authorities at the time chose wisely in John Smitherman and Leslie Johnston, who with other dedicated colleagues made WHS into a renowned school of excellence within only ten years. The selection of boys also played a major part, as many of that "golden generation" were all-round superstars. Arriving in September 1958 I of course had not the faintest idea about any of this!"
RED below shows the OBs that I know have died, but there must be a good few more.