Updated February '20

This page comprises anecdotes by former-pupils of school-days.


I attended Chandos Girls from 1970 to its last year 1974 and onto Park High for my 5th year 1975.  Headmistress being Miss Irene Grimley… I saw her once strolling past Stanmore Common… she told me about a trip to China she had taken… she hadn't changed a bit - same hairstyle… not aged a year… Mrs Cunningham was my first teacher… scarey as hell as she taught French and I knew very little… Mr Kimber was a lot easier later on although he was my form tutor not a teacher for any of my lessons as I was on a secretarial course... I remember the {dotted?} line and multicolured huts clearly… swinging doors dividing us from the boys including the huge dividing doors(bi-fold)that separated the school halls/dinner hall… and being sent home for wearing navy blue top-to-toe including having blue hair lips nails… a pencil skirt I could hardly move in with 6 inch platforms that were a nightmare on the stairs… thank Davie Bowie and Biba fashion shops for that and Mary Quant makeup… haha.  Being threatened by being banned on the school cruise in 1974 from the SS Uganda soon made me into a fairly normal pupil.

Angela Priest (in 2015)

School Concerts (late '40s/early '50s)

I always thought they were very good - although I never took part myself.  But very well done by Mrs Markham with help from pupils - and teachers when required.

The Quad Garden

In 1951 The Festival of Britain Gardens were laid out in the quad.  It was Mr Wood's shining moment with a good group of boys - the main one being a boy called Ron Halsey.  He put in a lot of work outside school hours.

Swimming Lessons

Swimming Pools were few and far between in the late '40s so we did not get much chance to use them unless parents etc. took you.

In the summer of '47 it was decided that all second year boys would be taken to Wealdstone Baths.  We went by coach.  I was keen - as there is nothing better than being out in the sunshine.  The first couple of visits were okay - mind you the teachers never went in.  They gave instructions from the side.  Anyway, midway through the 3rd or 4th session there was trouble.  It was a cold day and no one was keen.  Anyway, a teacher got pushed in.  It really 'hit the fan'.  We were returned to school where everyone was questioned - but they never found out who pushed him in.  Several of us boys knew the culprit.  The teacher was Mr Cornwell.  Hence our swimming drew to an abrut end for that season.

Two classes were taken to The British Musem - I think four or five teachers went.  It was not well organized because we were told to go to different sections and look around and the teachers would meet us.  Well, it went off "sort of okay" apart from Mr Cornwell and Mr Head who were good to listen-to.  The others never seemed to be around.  Once we were all on the buses to come back, two teachers were missing plus one pupil - the teachers turned-up 30 minutes late.  The boy had not gone into the museum but went to visit his aunt who lived nearby, returnong to school the next day.  I'm not sure of the outcome - but future trips looked doubtful.

One outstanding trip was to Westminster Abbey and St Pauls led by Mr Crawley, and I mean "led".  He organised church staff to to show us around… no lagging behind - applying even to the other two teachers with us! The next day we had to write about the trip and read it out.  No other teacher would get the written results Mr Crawley got from that trip.

At election time he divided our class into four groups giving each group a party to follow.  They were then told to fill-in the results in party colours on a chart - based on the share of the vote.  Such was the interest that a lot of us got to school early "to do our bit" and then take it in turns to read the newspapers that he brought in.  That suited me because my father was involved in canvassing for a local candidate.  So I picked-up a lot of things and my interest in the political scene here (New Zealand) and in Europe remains high.

Mike Dickson

1952/3 Football trip to The Welsh Valleys

I went to Chandos from 1951 to 54, captained the school football team and played for Harrow schools.

Around about the Spring of '52 or '53 a football trip was organized by Mr. Cope (teacher from Wales) to his home Welsh village.  It was a weeks visit and all those that went lodged with Welsh village families.  They made us all very welcome.  We had tea with the Mayor of Cardiff, visited various places of interest and played several football matches.

I have for many years been trying to find out information about that trip  What was the name of the village?  Is there any information in the school records?  There were also framed photos of past school football teams on the walls of a first floor corridor and wondered what happened to them.  Any information on any of the above would be greatly appreciated.

Patrick (Pat) Conway

A Just Outcome

In wet breaktimes we were not allowed back into our classroom in the New block and were in a classroom on the second floor.  When the bell went we rushed down to the pegs to put our coats on but I grabbed my umbrella and found that I'd left my pencil case upstairs and went back for it.  Miss Pearce came in behind me and immediately gave me an order mark for having the umbrella in the room(three 'order marks' and you were expelled),  She had announced the ban in morning assembly which we had been excused from that day because of the weather!  Mrs Ward was upset to see me in tears and she and the whole class protested to the Head.  I was sent to Miss Pearce's office, glued myself to watch the 'green light' - scared that I might miss the signal to enter.  I was given 100 lines "¯I must not take my umbrella into the classroom". ¯ I completed the task in my best handwriting - as taught by Miss Pearce - and was given a housepoint for Whitchurch, as they were perfectly presented.  Justice prevailed.


There was a large metal pipe(heating? - Col)at ceiling height which ran through our classroom and into the boys section, on which we morse-coded by tapping.  Miss Pearce checked in on us, stood under the pipe as the boys returned our signal and she got a dusting!

June Wendy Gaines, 1960-65

The Girls' School Song (from the late 60s)

I was surprised that there are actual rhymes in every verse if you write it out in the following format:

Chandos School we here today, sing what we mean to do and be,
To thee our formal vows we pay.  We lift our hearts and hands to thee.

Chandos School, we'll live and strive
to keep thy honoured name alive

Selfish ambition we'll despise, nor profit by another's pain
For 'tis the striving, not the prize, that brings us real and worthy gain.


The truth once found, that truth we'll speak, for worldwide truthfulness we long
Defend the right, however weak, against the wrong, however strong.


Suspicion never shall find place in any heart.  We'll think the best
Of those around us.  Every face shall smile, nor ever seem depressed.


God grant we keep these vows always and shall thy name be ne'er disgraced
From Chandos School, the world will say "We know our trust is not misplaced".

Chandos School! … Chandos School!

According to Lisa Harris (staff), the words were written by the girls in 1939, they were finalised by Miss Grimley and Miss Hyde.  The music was composed by Miss Hyde’s brother.

Geraldine Charles ('65-'70)

Plug-in your speakers/headphones and enjoy Geraldine's rendition of the song


At dinner time we were on the first table on the first row, and in those days we had a choice of dinner, 'take it' or 'leave it'.  After Mr Whiting had left we then had a choice of 2 different dinners - much better.

Steve Sayer ('64-'69)


One memory of the workshop was that in the store room there was a cartoon someone from a previous year had created which showed a "spotty youth" with the legend attached as follows..."jus fink 6 munfs ago icootnt even spell injuneer now I are one!"

Charles Drakeford ('59-'65)


I remember the introduction of the tuck shop with the digestives (1d each) at break-time and the endless battle to prevent wholesale robbery whilst of course getting your fair share of breakages and extras!

Charles Drakeford


When I left school I did not actually see or meet anybody from that time which, when you think that some lived not too far from me, was a bit odd really.  I suppose the thing was in those days it was a bit like one chapter closed… move on to the next.

I was in the Engineering group which taught me I did not want to do that for a living but did teach me the importance of accuracy and attention to detail which was very useful in my career.

Charles Drakeford

Match Makers

In academic year 1961/62, the Head Boy, Kenneth Brown, and Head Girl, Jennifer Pell were rather well-suited to each other.  Boys' School staff members even hoped a marriage might be in the offing and encouraged it.  But, despite their best efforts, this romantic aspiration came to naught.

Albert Barclay (staff)

A Budding Thespian

In 1962 Ken Whiting came to me with an unusual conundrum: would I consider it reasonable for a pupil in my form to be released for a year to perform in a West End play.  It was obvious that Ken had severe concerns about the whole enterprise.  However I felt that this opportunity could open-up a whole new career possibility for this particular second-year boy, the diminutive Kim Goodman, and said so.  I duly filled-in all the required forms and Kim was allowed his 'break' to star as Oliver (one of several 'Olivers') and he has been appearing on stage and screen ever since.

Al Barclay

Listen to the Band

We played at the school 'prefects' dance as the Mavericks, and we were awful.

It's all coming flooding back - our band were practising at Steve Barker's house when his mum came in with a tray of coffees and told us that JFK had just been shot.

David Maslen ('59-'64)

Baby Talk

Our class of girls had an intuition that, although she wasn't showing any visible signs, our form teacher, Mrs Barclay, had fallen pregnant.  One lunch-time, the class decided to invite in Mr Barclay from 'next door' to present them both with a Baby Book.  They were astonished and asked "How do you know? We haven't announced anything yet".  You can't keep that kind of thing a secret from 15 year-old girls.

The Barclay's first daughter, Victoria, was born in March 1971.

Alison Manly ('66-'71)

Great Exploding Ovens

Our domestic science cookers were all gas.  But at home we had an electric cooker.  One day during a cookery class I turned the oven on and initially forgot that it needed lighting (with a taper).  I soon remembered and searched for a match - but I left the gas flowing, so that when I eventually attempted to light it, it blew-up in my face.  My eyebrows, eyelashes and some hair were all burnt.

Lynn Buckland ('66-'71)

Educational Cruises

From 1965, Harrow County Council block-booked places on B & I's fleet of Educational Cruise vessels.

The Ships

In March '65 Bob Allen and I led a party of about 28 Chandos boys on MS Dunera for a Mediterranean Educational Cruise.  All the staff members (from different schools) got-on with each other so well that we determined to meet-up again on future cruises.  There is a colour slide of a chap named Caron Morgan ('Caron' is Welsh for 'Cyril') from a central London school and us in Venice, at the completion of this cruise, posted on Friends Reunited.

Dunera's Entertainments Officer, B&I's John Coulthard, ran dances and early 'discos' on-deck with his record player.

As arranged, Bob and I went on the '66 cruise on-board Nevasa (for which the Chief Engineer was Ron Moscrop).  Bob transferred to another school shortly afterwards so, for the '67 cruise, Cliff Wilcox was keen to be my compatriot.  'Devonia', a much larger ship, hosted this particular cruise.

For the '68 cruise we went on 'Uganda'.  'The Hardings', Moira Fleming and pupils from the Girls' School accompanied us.

In 1970 an opportunity arose to go to Leningrad on the 'Baltika' (again with Cliff).  I naturally took it.

By 1972 I had transferred to Whitefriars School and had presumed that, for me, cruising would be over.  However, I was called-on to deputise for our group leader on yet another cruise.  Although it was winter, we called in at Cyprus where it was 82F.

Albert Barclay (staff)

Pupil recollections of cruises

I was lucky enough to go on both the 1968 (on-board the 'Nevasa') and 1970 (on the 'Uganda') cruises.

When we visited Santorini, in 1968, the weather was fine until we had climbed to the top of the island.  As we started to come down the zig-zag path, the heavens opened.  Mrs Jones, geography teacher and Deputy Head, ended up looking very bedraggled as her bun loosened - so unlike her.  We all looked like drowned rats by the time we returned to the ship.

Gwendoline Barnes was on the trip.  One night we were ironing clothes for the evening, unfortunately I had the iron up too high and burnt a slip that I was ironing.  Gwendoline used the iron straight after me and unfortunately marked the dress she was ironing.

Jane Sturman

I played violin in the Girls' school orcestra.  In 1968 I went on the Nevasa cruise to Venice, Santorini, Malta, Gibralta and Athens.  Somehow my violin got taken onboard too.  Muir Mathieson, of whose fame at the time I was completely oblivious, was on the cruise and he conducted a cruise orchestra.  I was 'press-ganged' into playing with the orchestra but, as I was rather shy in those days, I told Mr Mathieson that I didn't think I was up to the same standard as the rest of the orchestra.  He said he fully understood and was happy to let me off - much to the disappointment of our staff.

Alison Manly ('66-'71)  Alison has four younger brothers, Stuart, Andrew, Ian and David, all of whom attended Chandos in the late '60s/early '70s.

The cost of the two-week cruises was about £49 in 1965 and had risen to £66 by 1970.  Families usually needed to scrimp and save to generate sufficient funds, so payment was achieved by employing a subscription system.  Alison remembers asking her parents for her weekly contribution for 'cruise money' day.

Lessons were administered - and somewhat reluctantly attended - on-board ship.  But lessons actually only comprised an introduction to the culture of the next country on the itinerary.

On excursions, it was de rigeur for all pupils to wear their school uniform as this made it easier for staff to identify waifs and stragglers. - CP

We used to chat to the boys through the swing doors but woe betide anyone getting caught.

Last Day pranks

I left Chandos in 1971.  On our last day at school we tied the staff room door and the ladies cloak room door handles together, trapping the staff inside the staff room.  This was fine until we needed to let them out again.  Muggins agreed to release them.  I did release them - then ran like hell.

Oh - the bells, the bells!

As a prefect, I had the dubious privilege of ringing the bell at the start of the day and at the end of lessons.  My opposite number for the boys was Lawrence Duncombe.  We each used to try and ring the bell before the other, two short rings for girls - or one long ring for boys.  If I was in Miss Tyrie’s class for history or Mrs Adcock’s class for art in the art block, I had to run across the playground to the main school to ring the bell, in all weathers.  It seems ludicrous now to have had two separate bells for the school.

Jane Sturman née Gates ('66-'71)


My form room (3rd to 5th year) was the History room in the new block - on the floor below the Art Room.  On the way up to the Art room, on the landing just out side was a large golden lion (I think it may have been something to do with Leonardo da Vinci.)  In my memory it was full size - but perhaps not!

When we visted for the Diamond Jubilee, at one point we did see a head of a sculpted lion (no longer gold) could this be all that's left of 'Leo'?

Geraldine Charles ('65-'70) - Deputy Chair of the OGA

Joan Adcock's lion was procured from a local sculptor.  It was a 'blank' for the sculptor to sand-cast bronze lions.  It was probably made using a timber frame covered with clay and then painted gold.

Al Barclay

I remember removing the plaster cast of the lion which resided in the girls half of the New building, and placing it in the men's staff room after school.  The next day we were called out in assembly by Mr Bellion and received the cane and at lunch being addressed by Miss Grimley and how hard it was to keep a straight face.

Steve Overed-Sayer ('64-'69)

Girl's Accoutrements

I think the school 'girdle' needs to be remembered.  It was pale blue with a maroon zig-zag, we all wore them.  Prefects had a maroon girdle with pale blue zig-zag.  The girdles were possibly a sort of woven material, pale blue with a maroon zig-zag down its length and fringed at both ends.  The prefects' girdle had colours reversed being maroon with a blue zig-zag.  The girdles were basically tied round our waist and knotted with the same type of knot used on a tie, but with the two strips the same length.  When I joined in 1965 the "tails" were worn hanging down the back of the skirt allowing you to attach PE bags to them, tie the person to the back of their chair, to a banister (in dinner queue) or to another girl.  Later, I seem to recall wearing mine with tails down the side.  I also recall that when I became a prefect in 1969/70 the school did not re-order new prefect's girdles so I think I wore an ordinary one.

I have my school tie (found amongst my father's possessions after he died), it was based around the same colours as our blazer badge).  It's hard to describe: a navy blue stripe then a paler blue stripe that has a maroon border on either side and a thicker maroon stripe in its centre and then the next navy blue stripe (see the 'Geraldine and Keith' photograph from the school visit November 2010).  It is now proudly worn by my penguin.  On your tie you could wear a round badge of your house colour.  By the 1960's the Girls had a different tie from the Boys, I think originally the Girls may have had the same tie as Boys - but I can't swear to that.

In the mid '60s the winter uniform comprised: navy jumper/cardigan; white blouse, navy skirt/pinafore, tie, girdle, white socks, navy knickers, black or brown shoes.  Older girls could wear stockings instead of socks (in the 1960's I recall these were replaced by tights)… and I remember having a navy blue gabardine mac in winter.

Summer school uniform was a dress made of hideous light blue cotton material with white spots.  Some girls (like me) continued to wear winter uniform without the jumper.

Our school hat, which was not compulsory, was a "Juliet" hat (prefects could have a tassel on their hat).  I never wore one so can't remember the exact colours.

Other badges on ties/jumpers:
Prefects wore a small pale blue shield badge that said "Prefect".  Form captains wore bar-shaped "form captain" badges, I think the school games Captain and Deputy had special badges as did the Head Girl and Deputy Head Girl.

Geraldine Charles ('65-'70) - Deputy Chair of the OGA


Brockley (Green) - Miss Tyrie (History), House Head
Canons (Blue) - Mrs Adcock (Art), House Head
Stanmore (Red) - Mrs Sawyer (Needlework), House Head - then Mrs Day (Singing/RI)
Whitchurch (White) - Miss Grimley (Deputy Head, then Head), House Head

We had house results once a month and house meetings I believe on the same day.  The house results were given out during the assembly and we would sing the School Song (omitting verse 4).  We only, I think, sang verse 4 at the first assembly of the Autumn Term (when we also sang Lord Behold us With Thy Blessing) and the last of the summer term (when we sang Lord Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing.  In the last assembly, we would gather with our hymn books and other books that we had not given in (I think may be exercise books) as we would find out who our form teacher for the next term would be, all except the fifth form who would be leaving the school and normally cried during Lord Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing.  Each form teacher would stand up and read out the names of the girls who would be in their form.  This was when you found out of you were going down or going up when you were in 1st, 2nd and 3rd years.

After the exams you were given a final place on the form list, (based on your marks in the exams and overall average - my poor needle work and Domestic Sciences marks made sure I never came in first place!  The top three in 1B for example moved up to 2AG, the bottom of 1AG I assume moved into 2B.

When I started we had the Grammar Stream (1AG, 2AG, 3AG); then the B stream (1B, 2B, 3B) then the 'Remove' (1BR, 2BR, 3BR).
I was in 1AG, 2AG and 3AG  then 4 Academic and 5 Academic (I am wondering if the school system altered when I was entering 4th form, but can't remember now, I have a feeling it did.

Unfortunately, I landed Miss Tyrie as form teacher for three consecutive years: 3AG, 4 Academic and 5 Academic.

We competed for:
Work Shield - (would gain or lose house marks), in our house (Stanmore).  If you got over 30 house marks and no black marks, you got a bar of chocolate.
Conduct Cup - I can't remember if this was something to do with Conduct marks.
Uniform Cup - to get a uniform mark each week you had to have been in school in complete uniform for at least four of the five days).
The house with the most house marks or uniform marks would have their house colour ribbon attached to the relevant trophy for that month.
I imagine that the house with the least Conduct marks got its ribbon on the trophy for that month.

Punishment Marks
Black Mark - these were deducted from your house-score towards the Work Shield.  You could lose marks for bad work, or I think, if you did something wrong but trivial.  I think each form captain was in charge of a book for recording Black marks/house marks.  In your notebook a black mark would be written in black ink while a house mark would be in red.  I can remember getting a black mark for smudging ink on a page of my history note book.
Conduct Mark - worse than a black mark.
Order Mark - these were probably not very common.  If you received an Order Mark it was recorded on your report.

Geraldine Charles ('65-'70)


During Assembly, looking at the stage, the Head Girl and Deputy Head Girl sat (I seem to recall, at least in my early time there) on the left of the stage and the Games captain and deputy Games captains on the right.  (There were a few steps on either side of stage then a wider bit where their chairs were, then more steps took you onto the actual stage.  There was a black grand piano in our hall.  The boys hall was separated from ours by a folding screen.  They faced a stage (I think) at the opposite end of their hall.  I also think their assembly must have started at a different time from ours - ours started at about 9 o'clock - or ten minutes after.  (Boys' assembly started at about 8:45 - CP.)

Miss Pearce and then her successor, Miss Grimley, as Head Mistress, took assembly from a table on the stage.  The other teachers sat on chairs down either side of the hall.  The fifth formers, who were at the back of the hall, also were allowed chairs - the rest of us sat cross-legged.  Within each form we stood in height order at assembly, so in September 1965 I was on right hand side of hall, down the front, left hand side of first row, making me the shortest girl on my side of the hall.  I having a feeling that by the time I was in 4th year the 'height' thing wasn't rigidly stuck to.

Geraldine Charles ('65-'70)

The '13+' Examination

I lived at 31, Palmerston Road, Wealdstone.  It was a road off the High Street.  Barnard's Gentlemans' Outfitters was on one corner, Boots on the other.  We lived opposite the fire station, in a house on the back of the site of Tann & Archer, the family-owned builders' merchant.  I was at Chandos Boys in 1958 and 1959, class 115 and 215.  There was a Jenkins family opposite in number 50.  The son of that household, Albert Jenkins, was a bit older than me, and did the '13+'.  That's how my mother found out about it.  What Albert did, I did too!!  I subsequently took the '13+' and went on to Willesden Secondary Tech.

Richard Tann ('58-'60)


Anecdotes from the Chandos Old Girls Association (defunct since 2009).

"Removed" (as in the form designation)

There were too many girls that qualified to be in the A class, so they had split them up into 2 classes: 1A and 1AR.  The 'R' was for "removed".  I believe they did it for the B classes too.  Like 1B and 1BR.  The second year was 2A and 2AR and so on.

Sheila Bush (1945-'50)

More generally, a 'remove' form seems to relate to low achievement - Billy Bunter being an example of a 'remove' pupil. - CP

The Perks of Responsibility

There was previous mention of Ink Monitors and Blackboard Monitors but I wonder if you recall Tea Monitors.  I had the dubious honour together with a friend called Freddie King to hold this title for a short while.

There was a staff room in the new block by the Technical Drawing room and another room with a small kitchen that faced it.  We had to prepare the tea for the teachers in the new block for the morning and afternoon breaks.  There were some perks of course in that you could make a cup of tea for yourself, always had a good excuse for being late into a lesson, but best of all, could go out of school at lunchtime on the pretext of purchasing supplies.  We used to whiz down to the shops in Honeypot Lane on our bikes and it always seemed to take a full lunch break to get there and back, I wonder why.  Actually I think it was called a dinner break then.

There were some air raid shelters across from the shops in Honeypot lane alongside a stream.  Someone managed to get them open and they were quite interesting to go into, you had to drop down from an opening at ground level and you entered square concrete corridors.  They covered them over years ago, but I bet they are still lurking underground.

Dick Flood ('60-'64)


Those old huts that were mentioned, they had the gateway to access them on the girls side of the playground.  I used to do basket work in one of those, we made things like waste paper baskets, baskets for fruit, teapot stands and anything else that could be made out of cane.  We used to get a bit wet because the cane had to be soaked in water to make it pliable enough to work with.

Dick Flood ('60-'64)

The Line

This was the line in the upper playground that separated the boys from the girls.  I seem to recall that boys and girls used to congregate around a couple of dustbins that were positioned on the line.  We had problems if we were playing a ball game, generally football and usually played with a tennis ball.  If the ball you were playing with strayed over, you had dash across to get it back before the girls got it because they would taunt you with it.  You also ran the risk of being spotted by a teacher and getting into more trouble.

Dick Flood ('60-'64)


Do you recall the swimming lessons that we used to have at Wealdstone open air pool?  We used to get there and back on an old double decker bus.

The changing rooms were around the outside of the pool, they were small cubicles with a timber half-door - green, I think - and we used to leave our clothes piled up on the stone bench while we were in the water.

There was one day I recall when the pool water temperature was around mid-fifties.  The instruction from the teacher on that day was to get into swimming trunks, jump into the pool, then get out and get changed.  It was dreadful, we all had to do it and then we had to stand down near the entrance with wet hair, shivering with the cold, waiting for the bus to return to take us back to school.

Dick Flood ('60-64)

Gym (- lad)

I remember that we used to clamber up the wall bars in the gym and sit on the top rail while waiting for our turn to play.  No health and safety worries then, but I don’t ever remember anyone falling off.

Dick Flood ('60-'64)

Old Scholars Club

I was chairman of Chandos Old Scholars club about 1954/55 - you had to be 14 years of (or last year at school) before you could join.  We used to have trips to Clacton and organise square dancing and met on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Roy Fabian (1949 to 1953)

St Mary's Bay Camp

During a couple of summer terms we went off for two educational weeks at St Mary's Bay, near Romney Marsh, Kent.  We were normally accompanied by two or three teachers.  During the day we would usually go on coach trips to visit local churches or excursions to Dover Castle, Rye, Winchelsea or the Dymchurch Railway.

Terry Mason ('54-'59)

At one church-yard Barker spied us laughing at a headstone - it's inscription bore the name "Fanny M Pratt".

Michael Crosswell ('54-'59)

Also see 'Documents' (Malcolm Hall's memoir).

Coach holidays

During the 1965 summer holidays a party of boys went on a coach trip to Beaufort Luxembourg.  The route was Ostend, Bruges, Dinant, Trier and past the aerial masts of Radio Luxembourg (at Marnach) to Beaufort.

For the 1966 summer holidays Jones, Webb and Wilcox escorted a party of boys on a coach trip to the Hotel Rossli at Alpnachstad near Lucerne, Switzerland.  One excursion was on the rack-and-pinion railway (the steepest in the world) up Mount Pilatus.

This trip was particularly memorable because the coach, supplied by 'Gateways of Chester', suffered a puncture while abroad.  The driver must have been 'local' because he was able to negotiate with police in their own language.

John Clayton ('62-'67)

In 1958 we had an 8-day coach-trip to Draconfeld on the Rhine near Koblenz.  When we arrived at Köln (Cologne) I remember our coach guide, in his broken English, kept introducing the sights as: "ze bombed ruins of … ".

All the boys, well you do at age 15, fell for the two waitresses at our hotel, Usthi and ?

Eric McRae ('54-'58)


In the '60s most desks were 'individual' with separate chairs - but a few classrooms (eg. Mr Kendall's) had retained their original desks.  These were 'double'-style to take pairs of pupils side-by-side.  The frame for the desk, as I recall, comprised two I-section metal beams bent into a 'U' shape.  These were positioned vertically - sandwiching the pair of wooden desks.  The desks themselves were mounted on one limb of the 'U' and a fixed wooden bench seat with a vertical back mounted on the other limb.  Entering and leaving the apparatus could be rather awkward - you had to slide-in as the seats didn't tilt.

Desk-tops sloped down slightly from a level strip at the top which boasted a carved trough to hold a pencil or pen and a hole towards the right to hold an ink pot.  Lifting the hinged top revealed the owner's fluff-covered personal possessions.

Colin Poyton ('59-'65)

Before Biro

In the '40s, pens comprised (as I remember) a soft, wooden, dowel holder into which the steel nibs would clip - seems they just slid in at one end.  We would have to continuously dip them into the ink, of course.  There were inkwells (porcelain or black Bakelite) that fit into a little round hole on each desk and could be pulled out very easily and they would be filled from a larger jug with a long, narrow spout.  I believe everything was provided by the school at that time and the inkwells were filled by a student ('ink monitor').  We used to love to do odd jobs for the teacher if we liked that particular teacher.  (Same with cleaning the blackboard).

Over here (Florida) the student/parent has to provide just about everything....pens, pencils, paper, erasers, etc.

Kathleen Goshawk ('41-'45)


I lived a couple of miles from Chandos.  Bicycle was my preferred mode of transportation to school.

By the '60s the capacity of the original bike sheds, that ran along the northern edge of the school, had long been exceeded so bikes were additionally stored in a compound at the rear (adjacent to the 'new' block).  Front wheels were duly deposited in the diagonal 'slot' in one of the couple-of-hundred substantial moulded concrete slabs which extended in several ranks along the compound.

As a punishment for some unremembered transgression, I was once barred from taking my bike to school for two, whole weeks.  I considered this a rather excessive punishment, as the journey was at least half-an-hour longer by foot.  So I conceived a much more sustainable (and concealable) alternative: to just cycle to Honeypot Lane library (adjacent to the clinic which distributed bottles - with their pale-blue screw-tops - of concentrated orange juice) and park my bike there.

Hardly a day would go by, in the early '60s, without the need to mount my bike.  Older boys would venture far-and-wide on their steeds.  Neighbour Paul Gough recently recounted that he and his chums used to embark on day-long cycle trips to exotic destinations like Chenies on the River Chess.  I rather admire their determination to cope with the succession of energy-sapping hills on their route through Watford and Rickmansworth.

"Need something for the bike sir?  You'll be off to Rex Judd's (at the top of Burnt Oak Broadway) then."

If I needed something from Sopers - or to visit a cinema in Wealdstone - I would have opted for either the '18' bus or '114'.  Both provided a frequent and reliable service.  But one had to contend with the lingering, stale, acrid stench of cigarette smoke which permeated the upholstery - especially if one went upstairs.

By the '60s, the conductor's row of brightly coloured, individually-priced tickets had been replaced by chest-mounted tally-rolls.

Colin Poyton ('59-'65)

Destiny determined

Classes from the second year were divided into either 'academic' or 'commercial' streams.  If you were good at mathematics you were graded as 'academic'.  The 'commercial' stream concentrated on 'accounts', 'law', 'short-hand typing' and 'English'.

Only the 'academic' girls were allowed on foreign trips.  My elder sister, Anne, went on the trip (ski) to Lucerne in about '60.

Linda Beavan ('59-'64)

Annexed in Elstree

As an Elstree boy, why we were not allowed to school locally seems more and more an outrage as the years go on.  Bus to Edgware and another to Canons Park/Honeypot Lane then a walk.  The journey would often take over an hour unsupervised.

The Elstree lot were never ‘part’ of the school somehow, we always had to get home, no time for after-school activities.

Mick Jackson ('58-'63)

The 'Fog' scam

When it was foggy (which it often was during the '50/'60s) girls who travelled from Elstree would be allowed to embark early on their bus journey home.  Ironically, by the time the bus had climbed to the top of Brockley Hill, the fog would usually have cleared!

Linda Beavan


At afternoon recess a long table was laid-out in the playground with cream buns and long iced cakes, they were sold for a few (old) pence each.

Sheila Monincx ('45-'50)

Weather station

The quadrangle was crossed by a couple of paved paths - each providing side-door access to a half of the main hall.  Adjacent to the lower (boys') path stood a 'Stephenson screen' (a white, slatted wooden structure on legs) which housed a wet and dry-bulb hygrometer, max/min thermometer, aneroid barometer and a sunshine recorder comprising a 4 inch diameter glass sphere mounted above a pale strip of fabric onto which a trace was burned.  But I don't recall seeing a soul using any of the apparatus during the period '59 to '65.

Malcolm Hall, Head Boy '64/'65 (lived in Lyon Meade), was deemed responsible enough to attend to the 'filtration' (titration) apparatus that was located in the store room linking the two science labs.  It sampled air from above the lower playground and was used for monitoring levels of air-pollution.  This equipment appeared to require frequent attention from Malcolm - a rather onerous commitment.

Colin Poyton ('59-'65)

Sounds like the titration was just me and M Hall?… we were probably gluttons for duty once they pinned the badges (prefect) on!!! … and it was bit of a chore! And we never got much feedback.

Roger Burrell ('59-'65)