Vanbrugh Castle School

The Vanbrugh Chronicle - Christmas 1968

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The Vanbrugh Chronicle


Although our Chronicle remains a diary of the past term, we have had time to for a few extra items in this edition. They will give our friends an idea of the kind of life we lead, and we hope the revelation will be encouraging. (The items follow no particular sequence: neither did the events!) If any readers, especially a mother or two, would like to send us a letter or an article for our next edition at Easter, we would be very pleased.


We are pleased to welcome Mr. David Pafford, an old boy, back to our school, and he is living with his wife in the Knollys Wing flat.
Mrs. Trevor has joined our Catering Staff and also lives in the Knollys Wing.
Mr.W.I. Garstang, formerly Headmaster of Roan Grammar School, has also come to teach Physics and Chemistry, leaving Mr. Morton free to specialise in Biology in the new laboratory that is being built in the holidays.
We are very pleased to have then all, and we wish the whole staff a happy holiday.


The following friends have visited the school for lunch during the past term:

Squadron Leader Down
Sir William Coles
Miss McKaig, H.M.I.
John Ingleson
Tommy Calvin and
Martin Barlow
Martin Payne
The Reverend Basil Watson
Father Edgar Dunn
Mrs. Graham
Mrs. Croome
Mr. P. V. Taylor
Mr. Murray (Superintendent of Greenwich Park)
Miss Dowdwell and Mrs. Ling
Mrs. Novell
Miss Wentworth
Mr. John Trice
Mr. John Smalman-Smith
Mr. John Welch
Mr. P. M. Cutting
The Bishop of Woolwich


We are all sad to be saying farewell to Father Brown who has been our Anglican Chaplain in recent years and a great friend in many ways. As Rector of Deptford he has had one of the hardest of parish jobs in the country, but his sense of humour and his extraordinary devotion have made him a real father of his flock, and the people of Deptford will miss him as much as we shall here. How he found time to come to us once a week or more is hard to understand, but he did so without fail and made us all believe that he was glad to serve us. If there were more men of his kind in the land, we would be a stronger and happier nation. There has been nothing soft or permissive in his teaching- he has made it plain that Christ was asking for courage, not comfort, and that personal happiness can only be secured by service to God and to the people around us. Our boys will remember him and envy the people of Havant the man they are receiving.

All mothers will recognise the photograph on the cover, for it appears on the little prospectus they received from the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund before their boys joined the school. It was taken many years ago. The boy on the right is William Antill with whom we have lost touch since he left the Royal Wolverhampton School some years ago. The boy on the left is Barry Whitaker who went from Kingham Hill School to Lancaster University after being Vice-Captain of his School.

In a Christmas Card sent to us by the staff of the United States Air Attache, there were three £10 notes concealed. They have been put into the Amenities Fund.


We now have Mr. Naish of the Royal Artillery Band as our instructor, and we meet three times a week. Our only engagement this term was the carol-playing at the Party, which everyone seemed to enjoy. The full members are:

Brian Jakeman Clarinet
Javaid Rashid Clarinet
Mark McConnell Clarinet
Gregory Sanders Trumpet
Ian Jackson Trumpet
Mark Fifield Trumpet
Ian Barlow Tenor Cor
Timothy Baker Trombone
Peter Borthwick Tuba
Martin Cribben Saxophone


It has been a reasonable term for our football team. We played 10 matches, won 4, lost 3 and drew 3. We scored 25 goals to the 17 of our opponents.


Westminster Abbey Choir School Draw 2-2
Carn Brea 11 Won 2-1
Clare House Draw 1-1
Westminster Under School. Lost 0-5
Carn Brea 11 Won 9-0
King's House, Richmond Lost 2-3
Westminster Abbey Choir School Won 4-1
King's House, Richmond Lost 1-2
Westminster Under School Won 3-1
Reed's School Juniors Draw 1-1

The teams have been chosen from : McConnell, M. , Sanders, C, Rashid, T. , Kimber, S., Quail, J., Seaton, A., Cadwell, T, Baker, T, Borthwick, P., Jackson, I., Barlow I., McGartland, M., Sanderson, C.

Mr. Lillywhite has given much of his time to the team and we take this opportunity of thanking him.


We have had a fairly good term, having played six matches, won three, lost two and drawn one. In most cases the sides were fairly evenly matched. Against Christ's College there were three matches of which we won one (4-2), lost one (3-4), and drew one (2-2). We won both matches against Riverston School (3-0) (1-0). Brooklands School beat us (0-7).

The following boys have played for the teams.

M McConnell (Goal) I. Barlow (Captain)
M.Galvin D.Quail
P.Start K.McCartland
P.McCann M.Davidson
I.Nethercott K.Webb
T.Cadwell K.Walsh
C.Hughes S.Webber

We are very grateful to Mr. Pafford for all the time he has given to our coaching.


I was pleased to receive a copy of the Vanbrugh Castle Chronicle for Summer 1968. Your Headmaster asked me to write about the "old days" as though I were about 90!!

Anyway, I was at the school from 1924 to 1932 and in spite of Stanley Willis' comments about "terrors reminiscent of those in the Bastille" and "nightnares in the dorm" the place wasn't quite a modern "Dotheboys Hall". Of course, there will have been changes - if only because of changes of Headmaster -and of course, theories and methods of education have also changed. The whole relationship between teacher and pupil is, I suspect, more free and easy than it was but I don't think we suffered in the result.

We had, what I think, is one advantage over the present - we all, except the very young, went to the Roan School and remained there for the whole of our school days. There was no "scattering" of boys at age eleven to other schools and we grew up together until we left school to earn our living.

The Roan School - then, as now - gave an excellent education and we participated in all the sports, and in which Vanbrugh boys often led the field.

Apart from Captain Slimming - the Headmaster - there were no other masters at Vanbrugh - whereas it seems you have now a teaching staff - but I doubt whether present day boys worked longer than we did, and I have a great deal of fellow feeling with your Editor's comments that "we've been doing all the work".

Apart from our normal school day at Roan, homework for a 14 yr. old was from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and for half an hour after breakfast. Those at Matriculation standard worked later.

We enjoyed Saturdays in particular. Most of us spent the morning on household chores like polishing the Schoolroom floor, cleaning windows or weeding that great circular drive in front of the Castle. I note, it is now asphalted and I regret the loss of that magnificent oak which stood in the centre of the lawn. Was it 300 years old? We generally made light work of Saturday morning tasks - we got the jobs done but accompanied them by much fooling about or singing, or both.
Saturday afternoon and evening was for Scouting.

There were certain annual events which we usually attended. We were guests every year, of the R.A.F. at the Hendon Pageant. This is no longer held, but it seems strange now to think, in this jet age, how we were impressed with single engined bi-planes and how we saw two "experimental" planes - one a helicopter and the other a tail-less plane called a Pterodactyl which seems never to have been further developed.

Before going home for Christmas there was a visit to a London Pantomime and a Christmas party complete with tree, presents and Turkey dinner.

Our lives were governed by a fairly strict timetable, but we found (or made!) opportunities to land in trouble over some misdemeanour or other. I won't list them in case I am accused of encouraging you, but when found out we were invariably rewarded with the cane, and few of us got through without some corporal punishment. In spite of modern psychological thought, caning didn't turn us into delinquents.

Some small things stick in my mind I loathed Tuesday dinners, I hated Eton collars worn outside the jacket and I shall never forget our first wireless set which had a large horn, three dials (which all had to be tuned) and a 100 ft. aerial - but if your dislikes don't go further than an Eton collar, you haven't really much to complain about, have you?


Mrs. Spiers has been here regularly during the past term. On Monday evening she holds her Art Club with the following boys:

G. Webber, J. Rashid, P. McCann, D. Brown, M. Cribben, B. Jakeman, A. Jakeman, and G. Sanders. The weavers are : M. McConnell, T. Baker, D. Mackelden, A. Walker, M. Fifield and P.Dow.

On December 7th an exhibition of art and handicrafts was held at the Church of the Ascension, and over a hundred pieces or work were submitted from twelve local primary and secondary schools in the Greenwich district. To our surprise Vanbrugh Castle were awarded thirteen prizes, Thus making it by far the most successful school. For this remarkable triumph the school must thank Mrs. Spiers and Miss.Johnson whose encouragement and instruction have been outstanding. The prize winners were:-

Webb i
Webb ii
Quail ii
Webber ii
Connolly ii


When the necessary reconstruction of the former basement laundry in the Castle, has been completed, the room will become a woodwork centre and Mr. Blakeley, who teaches at Charlton Secondary School, will be coming once a week to run a Woodwork Club on the same lines as the Art and Weaving Clubs. The subject will not be compulsory.


A number of travelling scholarships worth fron £60 to £100 are awarded every year to enable children from this country to travel or stay in France. Of the 5 scholarships given this year 4 have been won by former Vanbrugh boys, and the 5th was given to Michael McConnell, a boy still at the school. We congratulate them all on this remarkable success. These awards are made in memory of Squadron Leader Tony Gaugin.


The IVth and Vth forms saw the film 'A Man for All Seasons' and enjoyed it very much. Later the Vth form attended a Science Lecture, at the Royal Institution and went out on several trips to local places as part of a history project they are doing.


On December 22nd twelve of our boys formed a lantern procession at St. Clement Danes Church, and Michael McConnell read the first Lesson. The occasion was the annual Carol Service in this R.A.F. Church.

THE CHOIR - A. Butler

These are the boys who have been singing in the Choir of the Royal Naval College in the past term:

A. Butler (Head Boy) Baker Sanderson
Cadwell Barlow G. Butler
Jackson McCann Cribben
A. Walker Leghorn Rashid

There are also a few probationers, and at the College Carol Service on December 17th four non-singing boys will be helping in the procession.


This term Mr. Morton took a large group of boys to a concert by the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Greenwich Borough Hall and heard Variations on a Theme of Haydn by Brahms, Mozart's Horn Concerto and Elgar's Serenade for Strings, followed by Beethoven's Eighth Symphony.

We are most grateful for the gift of a stereophonic record-player by a friend of the school, for it enables us to hear the music in the school beforehand.


Every fortnight during the two winter terms we have a film at the school. I have just been asking a number of Second Form boys which of this term's films they have preferred. Three quarters of them mentioned the latest films, because those are the only ones they can remember. When asked which films they would like the school to show in future they mentioned the following:

Darby O'Gill and the Little People
Going to Hell
Animal Farm
The Incredible Journey
Blue Murder at St. Trinian's


Mr. Cheesman told me that he had worked for the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund for seventeen years, five years at Rook's Hill School and twelve years here.
He told me that Rook's Hill was a school for boys and girls aged two to seven. It was a big country house in its own grounds near Sevenoaks. There were no masters, but instead there were two matrons and five nurses. Mr. Cheesman used to look after the garden and the maintenance of the buildings. He also drove the children to school when they reached the age of five.

Mr. Cheesman told me that his work is much the same here and that he likes the surroundings of the Park and the Heath. He said that on the whole he preferred the age of the boys here to the younger children at Rook's Hill.
Among other things that he particularly remembers here have been the building of the Games Room, the making of the hard-court, the new classrooms and the playground.


When I interviewed the First and Second Forms I found to my surprise that nearly one half of them wanted to be pilots, four because of the money they would earn, four because they wanted to carry on their fathers' work, and three because they wanted to see the world.
Among other careers that found favour was one sky-diver, one train-driver, two members of the R.A.F. Police, two vets, two mechanics, and one shopkeeper. One boy changed his mind five times while being questioned.


(Andrew Butler, Gregory Sanders and Anthony Jakeman held an enquiry about the use to which our Dell could be put in the future. This is a thickly wooded piece of land that slopes steeply down towards the railway on the north side of our property.)

We were astonished by the imaginative but highly impracticable suggestions we received. Among them were the following:-

Commando Course - Adventure Playground - Miniature Railway - Zoo - Tropical Garden - Theatre - Swimming Pool - Garage - Gymnasium - Woodwork Shop -Discotheque - Study - Motorcycle Scramble Course - Surgery for Wounded Animals - Football Pitch (On a slope 1 in 5!).

It was interesting that no boy mentioned the cost or where the money would come from.


In case we become overwhelmed by donations for any of these amenities it ought to be pointed out that the Dell is almost permanently out-of-bounds! This is not because of any lack of charity or sympathy, but because some form of "indiscretion" always arises when boys are let loose down there, for the whole area is out of sight of the Duty Master. If any well-wisher would care to take on the job of Warden or Warder throughout the year, his offer would be accepted most gratefully. The fact that another boy suggested that a torture-chamber might be installed there gives some clue to our objection.


John Cooke and Glenn Webber asked My. Morton and Mr. Lillywhite twenty questions, and we give their answers.


Who is your favourite author and name of book of his you have read. P. G. Wodehouse. Love among the Chickens.
Where would you like to live? In Perthshire in Scotland.
Do you make models or ships, tanks, cars etc.? I used to make them but don't now.
Do you prefer the new decimal coinage? It will be easier, but I like, the old one.
How many languages can you speak? English, Latin and French.
What is your favourite sport? Cricket, I think.
Which television programme do you like? Doctor Finlay's Casebook.
Who is your favourite actress or actor? Margaret Rutherford.
What is your favourite hobby? Music.
Which is your favourite film? I hardly ever see them, but I think I prefer Charlie Chaplin.
Who is your favourite, poet? Omar Khayyam
Which is your favourite make of car? I am impressed by the Fords.
What is your favourite make of pen? The Schrader, but it takes too much trouble to fill, so I use a ball-point.
Which is your favourite animal? I like the cat best.
Do you read books very much? I read poetry a lot.
Do you go to theatres at all? Sometimes but norc often 1 go to concerts.
What is your favourite game? Auction bridge, an old sort of card-game.
What would you do with a hundred pounds? Spend it.
Which is your favourite shop? Antique and bookshops.
Which is your favourire newspaper? Daily Mail.


Which film do you like most? Ben Hur.
Which hobby do you like most? Coaching football, because I love to have my team win.
What job would you like if you were not a schoolmaster? A Pilot. I have always wanted to be one.
Which T.V. programme do you like best? The Forsyte Saga.
Which football team do you support? Blackpool, because I was born there.
Who is your favourite actor or actress? James Stewart.
Do you like reading adventure books? I think only the true ones are worth reading.
Which food do you enjoy eating most? Venison with redcurrant jelly.
What kind of shop do you find most interesting for visiting? Old antique coin shops.
What kind of car would you like to own? A Ford V12, because they csn go at 200 miles an hour.
What would you alter in this school? Have fewer assemblies and more hobbies.
Which school, apart from this, would you like to teach at? Dauntsey's School.
Which sport gives you most pleasure? Cricket.
If you were allowed to have a private study in the school where would it be? As far from the boys as possible.
Where would you like to live? About forty miles south-east of Paris.
What would you do if you won one hundred pounds on the Pools? Invest it.
Would you like to live in Paris? Yes, for a while, because I havo heard it's a very interesting city. I've only been there for a few hours.
Which sort of plays do you like to go to? Only very good ones.
Which cricket team do you support? Lancashire, because although they are useless they might one day win a game.
Do you like reading and writing plays? I like reading them but I'm not clever enough to write them.

MY IMPRESSIONS AFTER A LARGE ABSENCE - An interview with Mr. Pafford by Michael McConnell.

Mr. David Pafford came to Vanbrugh Castle in 1954 and left in 1960. He was the first of our boys to go to Reed's School and finally became Head of the School. After then he went to King's College, London and obtained a degree in Spanish.
Shortly before he came here he was married and now lives in the flat in the Knollys Wing.

The first question I asked him was "Do you think that the school has deteriorated, and if you do, why?" He answered "No! It has improved." He then said "There's nothing I had which you haven't got - in fact you have more". I then asked his "What more have we got then?" The answer to this was "Round about 1956 there were fewer buildings, only a rough play area, no hard court, no library, no junior playground or jumping pit. As a result the boys made their own amusements to a much larger extent instead of watching television and playing football." I then asked him "Do the boys get on better now?" "Yes, it has become a more unified boarding school. In my day many boys went out to local schools and just slept here, and that caused a lot or trouble. The boys are now more friendly and mix better". Then the question of lessons arose. He gave the answer: "The lessons are far more modern and effective. When I was here, there was hardly any practical work at all. It was just reading, writing and learning".

"What about the sports?" I enquired. "Oh, they are much better". He replied and went on to say "They are organised better. There is coaching now, which I never got. You also have a fixed home pitch for matches. We always had to use the Heath".

Then Mr. Pafford finished the interview with a general comment: "The standards set by the school are basically the same, but the school has improved considerably because the organisation and the facilities are better".


Andrew Walker and Javaid Rashid interviewed all the new boys and asked their impressions of our school. They were given a large number of varied and disjointed observations which the Editor has tried to summarize. Among the comments reported were:

1. The school is all right.
2. I would have the whole school completely re-decorated.
3. The bed-times should be changed.
4. I like it because there are lots of games.
5. The food at Vanbrugh Castle is very good.
6. We need a wrestling ring in the Games Room.
7. The Castle is interesting because of its funny shape. It look eerie on a dark stormy night.
8. We ought to have a heated swimming pool.
9. I think the boys are well-mannered.
10. I do not like going to bed so early.
11. We need more pocket-money.
12. Punishments should not be abolished.

We are not sure what the authorities will make of that lot.


1. A ricochet is a Chinese vehicle.
2. "What is a quisling?" "A baby quiz, sir".
3. A ship's kitchen is called a gallery.
4. A volcano is a hill with a creator at the top.

5. "Use the word 'through' in a sentence." "The boy was through out of the school".


In Christmas past, the Christ-child first was found
Under a star, in Bethlehem, to tell the world around
That God was Love,
The air was filled with sound,
Men thought
He came there from above.
At Christmas-time today, where may Christ choose
To place his foot, to reign, to love,
To maintain contact with, and strengthen
Those who race
Beyond the moon,
Or hurtle, lost, in space.
Christ came, as man, to man, to each man's heart,
In him to dwell, and not to dwell apart.
Now Christmas-time recalls, and this alone
That God in man did live
And did atone
For all man's frailty.
That man may know
Where e'er, in space or time, he probe,
Or may be sent,
Christ will preserve him safe,
If he consent.

11th December, 1968 S.L.S.

This was written by a friend of the School who works at the Fund's office in Portland Place.


The Annual meeting of old boys took place on Saturday, December 21st and they were given a turkey lunch.

OLD BOYS NEWS - from Kingham Hill


James Keeble: R.A.F. Section, Form 5B, Model Club, U16 Rugby team, Capt. of house Basket Ball.
Richard Haigh: R.A.F. Section, History Club, Form 5B.
Andrew Soloman: R.A.F. Section, Engineers Club, Form 5B.
Charles Kendall: R.A.F. Section, Model Club, U15 Rugby Team, Form U4.
George Pountney: Army Section, Form L4, Modes! Club, Holds a school record for Back Stroke.


Brian Tyekiff: R.A.F. Section, Form 5b, Engineers Club, U16 Rugby Team.
Peter Banbury: Form 5A, Army Section, 2nd XV Rugby team, Music Club.
Robert Campbell: R.A.F. Section, Music Club, Model Club, Form L4.
Philip Greig: Form U2, Ul3 Rugby Team, Junior Games.


Stephen Jones: Head of House, Natural History Club, Fore 5A, Army Section.


Trevor Ogden: Army Section, Form L6, 1st XV Rugby Team, House Prefect, Engineers Club. Capt. of House Table Tennis (winners).
Brian Pafford: Army Section, Form L6, History Club, 1st XV Rugby Team, House Prefect. Capt. of House Rugby House Basket Ball Team.
Paul McCann: R.A.F. Section, 1st XV Rugby Team, Form 5B, Camera Club.
Geoffrey Meace: Army Section, Form 5b, History Club.
Arthur Rodgers: R.A.F. Section, Form U6, Camera Club, U15 Rugby Team.

All of these (except P. Greig) are members of the Octagon debating Society.