School photo 1964 and recollections from then
Thank you for making available the school photo from 1964 on the Alumni website. The resolution is not good enough for me to find myself but I can clearly see Mr GJ Cross, headmaster at the time, sitting in the centre. To his right it is possibly Mr Wallace. I see there are various ladies sitting to his left; I assume these were the school secretary and staff from the boarding house. There were still a few borders in the school at the time, mainly the sons of RAF officers serving overseas. The boarding house was above the Old Big School and was strictly out of bounds to day boys. One of the borders in my class was Darrell Staff-Brett, who was, I think, the son of an RAF officer stationed overseas, and an outstandingly good scrum-half in the school rugby team. I wonder what has become of him.
1964 was the year I did my O-levels, so I would have been in form 5A-K. There were three classes in each year, except the fifth year, called A, A-K, and L-Z. The A stream did O-levels in four years, enabling them to spend a third year in the sixth form to do the then compulsory Oxbridge entry exams. The rest of us were divided between A-K and L-Z according to the letter of one's surname, although this system seems to have been applied rather loosely.
After O-levels I went into the sixth form to do A-levels, in my case going into form PMGFL6 followed by PMGF6. The letters referred to the subjects, physics maths, geography and French (Lower) 6th.. Other sixth forms were MPC (maths, physics and chemistry), PCBZ (physics, chemistry, botany and zoology-for the medics) and Arts, which was everything else. The system was totally confusing to all outsiders but made perfect sense to us at the time.
One of the features of the school that time was that each boy was issued with a small hymn book to be kept in his top blazer pocket. Mr Cross wrote in each book personally when the boy joined the school. I still have mine, rather battered from many years of use at school, and it is just possible to make out Mr Cross’ handwriting, in blue fountain pen ink of course, on the inside front cover. I attach a photograph of it and I wonder if any other school hymn books from this period have survived.
I would be delighted to hear from any other Alumnus or former (then very young) member of staff who was on the 1964 photo.