Brian Middlebrook    :  59-69

Brian was a total gem, not charismatic or high profile, but a most kind and considerate man. Latin is not a particularly riveting subject per se (compared to physics for example), but I was never bored in his lessons, and I had him for 5 years - AND as assistant Housemaster and after Taffy left Master of Halls. Everyone's experiences
and memories are different, but I don't ever recall a harsh word or deed from him.
And as far as I remember he never slippered anyone at a time when that was still common. In my experience classroom behaviour at WHS was actually pretty good in general. but in any case nobody in his class ever felt inclined to play the fool or do anything disruptive.
His general niceness and quiet demeanour automatically inspired respect.

He also coached various cricket teams over the years and was in general one of those
long-serving stalwarts of the WHS staff who helped make the school what it was - an extraordinary centre of excellence.
Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65

Richard Cyster - Orwell 59-66: "I have good memories of Brian Middlebrook. He taught me Latin throughout my school career, right up to 'A' Level. When I elected to take Latin at 'A' Level, there were problems fitting it into the rest of the school curriculum so he agreed to teach me (and one other boy, James Grant) during the afternoon. He must have been a good teacher as I attained a 'B' grade in my final exam. He was strict but fair and I respected him. By contrast, the other memory I have, is of him playing the comic lead in the 1965 staff production of "Dry Rot", directed by Neil Clayton. They presented their version of a Whitehall farce with Brian Middlebrook playing the character of the 'fool' usually played by Brian Rix . I don't think I've laughed at anything since quite as hard as I laughed at that play. It presented a whole new side of my previously very formal Latin teacher."

Dennis Alexander - Orwell/Hansons 58-64: "Brian Middlebrook also looked after the School's chess team during 1962-64. This meant he accompanied us to away matches, sometimes driving, and kept an eye on proceedings during matches. He always seemed slightly bemused by proceedings but was very supportive and never questioned our sometimes dubious tactics. He was genuinely pleased when we won the Suffolk Schools trophy. I was also in his tutorial group in 62-63 and quite enjoyed the discussions we had, a kind gentle man."

above in 1960

left: at the 50th reunion in 2001

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: Learning latin may not seem much fun to today's generations of first-formers, but to a South-east London backstreet kid it was a romantic affair, reminding me of those Billy Bunter stories I used to lap up after a hard day's clambering over the bombsites at the bottom of the road in Camberwell. (This was 1955!!)

Brian Middlebrook played the part of the "Billy Bunter" Welch. I never heard him use the word 'construe', but he did his best to teach us latin in an old Nissen hut near the tuckshop. He was a kind and patient man that all of us respected, but none of us feared (which is as it should be).

At the time, we weren't 100% convinced of the use of latin, but in retrospect it was worth every second of effort in teaching us about the origins and structure of our own language. Thank you Brian.
Chris Snuggs - Jan 2003