Vanbrugh Castle School

The Vanbrugh Chronicle - Christmas 1969

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The Vanbrugh Chronicle


J. H. Corner, M.A. Headmaster M. V. Morton, Second Master
E.D.Pafford, B.A. Miss K.Usher, B.A.
C.Dyer, B.A. J.Berry
Mrs Smith, HousekeeperMiss Oldacres, Matron
Mrs. Berry, Matron
Miss Carleson, CookMrs. Trevor, Assistant Cook


There are a few things I would like to mention that ought to be of interest to parents and boys.

The first is the important matter of work. Looking through the school reports I am struck by the frequent complaints of idleness and low standards, and so we are devising methods of insisting on better work in the coming terms. There are all kinds of woolly ideas roaming through our schools nowadays. Freedom, personal discovery and self-expression are all right, but only after a boy has done his job. And his job is the work that he is told to do. Boys who fail in their duty must be punished, whatever the experts say.

Some mothers are fearful of the very idea of punishment, but I have been at this job long enough to know that they are the mothers who finally complain if their sons are refused entry to a senior boading-school when they leave! You can't have it both ways. If a child is to be allowed to please himself, what is the point of having schools? They can stay at home if they simply want to do what they like - and at far less expense.

The second is a pleasanter subject - the social graces of our senior boys. Wherever they go, and whatever people they meet, from bishops down to labourers, they leave an impression of courtesy. This is something of which we are naturally proud, for good manners are becoming a bit of a rarity among children in the Welfare State. The influence of these boys affects even the youngest here, and mothers are constantly remarking on the trans­formation that takes place in their boys' first term here. I hope this virtue will never abandon us, for it helps many boys of doubtful academic ability to find places at other boarding-schools when they leave.

The third is the extraordinary respect of the boys for the Benevolent Fund and their School. It is probably more an affection. There is never any difficulty in persuading boys to stay on in their holidays to lake part in carol services or other activities; old boys ask to spend their half-terms here; others come to work for us in the holidays; and when we organised a Christmas Lunch for our former pupils at other boarding-schools, no less than thirty appeared. This is the kind of devotion that gives the staff great encouragement, for it is obvious that our work has not been in vain.

The fourth is the great generosity of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund and the serving members of the R.A.F. These boys are very much in the minds of many of them. Mrs. Daphne Maynard, a member of the School Committee, has written to R.A.F. stations asking them to provide birthday cakes for every boy at the school from next term onwards, and I have already received donations from fourteen of them. This is an operation that not only tells the boys of the interest of the Service, but also tells the Royal Air Force that they have a nice little school that they might not have heard about!

Finally. I must mention rather shyly our own pride in the boys we care for. Some give us trouble, others appear to have been born lazy, but we have a splendid family on the whole, and once we have recovered from one term we look forward to seeing their happy faces back again for the next.



Please may I have a few inches of space in the Chronicle to express my thanks to the Headmaster and his staff for all they do for my son and the boys at Vanbrugh. I am sure I write on behalf of all the mums when I say how grateful I am.

Recently, I was at Kingham Hill School when seven of the boys were there to sit the Entrance Examination. There were many boys from other schools, but the Vanbrugh boys' behaviour and appearance was outstanding. I thought of all the work which must go into giving our boys their character training and smart appearance as well as their education and I would like to say a big "Thank you" to everyone concerned. The boys are very fortunate to be in the care of such a wonderful staff.



Easter: 13 Jar. - 25 Mar.
Summer: 29 Apr - 25 Jul

As 25 Mar is only two days before Good Friday, the Belfast mothers might like to obtain their boys' sailing tickets right away. They would be wise to agree among themselves which route will be used, so that all the boys can travel in one party.


Two ambitious little plays were chosen by both houses for this competition on November 26th, and Mrs. Lyons was kind enough to come down to judge.

On this occasion the two house-masters produced the plays with the result that there was a very high standard of diction and stage-craft, and the boys must have learnt far more about successful production than they would have gained by muddling through on their own.

The winners by a narrow margin were Cordingley House who put on the trial scene from "A Man for all Seasons". Harries House were ambitious enough to give us an episode from "Julius Caesar" which was quite first-class, judged by any prep school standards. Mrs. Lyons thought that Cordingley deserved the cup because they appeared to show a greater understanding of their lines, but the cast and production team of both houses deserve the greatest praise for an excellent evening's entertainment that was received in respectful silence by the audience.



Although this was on the whole an enjoyable occasion, we were embarrassed by the presence of about fifty unexpected guests who upset the catering arrangements and caused many ticket-holders to go without tea or to wait until cups and saucers had been washed up for a second service.

Next year admission will therefore be strictly by ticket only, and no exceptions will be made. We shall again limit each family to two tickets, but an extra allocation will be made one week before Speech Day for families who ask for more than two, provided they are available.

I am sorry if this will inconvenience some mothers, but it is a very reasonable condition that applies to every garden party that I have ever attended.


The boys we took to RAF Oakington and RAF Coltishall last Easter holidays made such a good impression and enjoyed themselves so much that we are hoping that another party will be invited to visit two other stations next Easter.

Of course these visits are worse than useless if the generous hosts are not delighted with their guests, so I hope the mothers of the boys who are finally invited will impress on their sons the need for the utmost courtesy and firm discipline. Apart from anything else there is real danger on an air­field if boys are unable to keep to the strict service rules, as I'm sure every mother knows.


Among the various people who have come to lunch or tea during the past term were

Mr. Philip Horton, Secretary of Reed's School,
Major Berry and Major Ellis, of the U.S.A.F.,
Father Derek Brown the Rector of Havant,
The Admiral President of the Naval College and Mrs. Gueritz,
The Chaplain of the Fleet,
Mrs. Lyons and
Mr. Vincent Taylor.

J. Quail


The guests arrived at 4 p.m. and the Christmas play began at 4.20 p.m. called "A man for all Seasons" (the court scene).

The cast being:-

Norfolk - J. Cooke, Cromwell - G. Sanders, Cranmer - K. Leghorn, Rich - B. Jakeman, More - C. Sanderson, Foreman - T. Cadwell and the members of the Jury - A. Walker, M. Blake, and I. Nethercot.

At, 5.15 p.m. we went over to have tea and had sandwiches (salmon, cheese, egg and cress and ham) iced cakes, ice-cream and "Hires" root beer (fizzy). We also had a bag, and a walking stick full of sweets.

After tea, we went over to the class-room block again to sing carols with the band, choir and guests (once in Royal Davids City, While Shepherds watched their flocks by night, and 0 come all Ye Faithful!). Then (after the carols) Santa. Claus came in to give us presents.

Altogether, I think the Americans are immensely kind people, to prepare (since October), and give us such a wonderful party. We are sending them our thanks with a Christmas Card.

D. Macheldren.


On the 3rd October, we had a visit from our local Constable P. C. Beattie. He gave us a very interesting talk on the organisation of the Police in Britain and of the Metropolitan Police in particular. He also told us what we ourselves could do to help the police.

After he had shown us several pieces of equipment that policemen carry with them, including a battery operated radio set, we went out into the garden to see a police dog which a police handler had brought to show us. While we were admiring the dog a disreputable fellow rushed across the lawn and the handler set the dog after him. The man was a plain-clothes policeman, of course, but the dog brought him down quickly and firmly - so firmly, in fact, that the policeman had to have two or three stitches put in his hand at the hospital.

We all enjoyed this talk and demonstrations very much and are most grateful to P.C.Beattie and his assistants. We now know much more about the police force and admire the very difficult task they have.


We have been fairly lucky this term, thanks to the vigilance and care of the Matrons and the good food provided by Mrs. Smith and our two resident cooks.

There has been only one hospital case, poor Kevin Walsh, who was rushed off, in the small hours one morning, with an inflamed appendix. But his recovery was quick and complete. I hope the new mothers are aware that we leave all routine medical attention for them to deal with in the holidays. This includes dental treatment. They will surely understand that the best....

[....text missing....]

This term the first-eleven football team has done well. The team have played 12, won 8, lost 4. The team has scored 58 goals conceded 26. The fixtures and results are :

Westminster Abbey Choir SchoolHome Won 12-0
Clare House School Home Won 3-1
Reeds School (Close) Home Won 2-0
Westminster Under School Away Lost 3- 5
Carn brea 2nd XI Away Lost 1-2
Kings House School, Richmond Away Lost 0-2
Kings House School, Richmond Home Won 3-1
Reeds School (Close) Away Won 4-2
Staff Match Away Lost 6-10
Westminster Abbey Choir School Away Won 14-0
Carn Brea 2nd XI Home Won 6-0
Clare House Away Won 4-3

The team squad consists of :- Rashid (Captain), Sanderson, Sanders, Quail, J. Cadwell, Barlow, Connolly, Jackson, Borthwick, Harris, Jakeman, McConnell, Kimler and Hughes, and Walsh.

The Scorers were:- Quail 1 - J 14, Connolly 13, Cadwell 8, Sanderson 5, Barlow 5. Sanders 5, Jakeman 3, Harris 2, Rashid 1, Kimber 1 and McConnell 1.

Christopher Sanderson.

[...........text missing...........]

R. Leghorn


This term we have two friendly matches against Reeds School Junior House. We played football and then had table tennis,chess and bowls competitions. At Vanbrugh, we won the football 2- 0, lost the table tennis and won the chess and bowls. At Reeds school, we won the football 4-2, lost the table tennis (again!) and won the chess.

G. Sanders.


For one of our visits we went to Quickfit and Quartz, a large glass firm which makes laboratory instruments. There were two visits to this factory. We arrived at Stafford Station and were driven to the factory where we were shown a film on how glass is made. After this we enjoyed a very tasty lunch. We talked for a while and then set off for the main part of the factory. This was a large building. When we got inside the heat and noise were tremendous. We looked round and saw many things. It was interesting and startling to see how the glass was moulded into the shapes. We are grateful to all those who gave their time to these visits.


Last term's choir at the Royal Naval College consists of :

A. Butler, C. Sanderson, I, Jackson, J. Rashid, M. Gribben, A. Walker, I. Barlow, T. Cadwell, P. McCann, G. Butler and R. Leghorn.

They have sung at the formal Sunday Matins throughout the term. Also they attended the end of term carol service at the Royal Naval College.

A. Butler


Last term the Headmaster arranged several films. They were:-

Shanandoah - Never a dull moment - Bullwhip Griffin - Round the World and Under the Sea - Assault on a Queen.

These films have been enjoyed very much, and we would like to thank the masters that were kind enough to project them.

A. Butler


On the 7th December, an old boys reunion took place. A magnificent lunch of turkey and Christmas pudding was prepared by Mrs. Smith and her staff. There were about 30 old boys, the Headmaster and I, afterwards discussions were held about the association.

Martin Smith, the Hon. Sec. is taking his finals soon, so a lot of time will be taken up by study. Naturally, a discussion was held about giving him some help with all the letters and papers, and an appeal was made for an assistant.

After lunch, the school played the O.V.B's at various games: Chess, Football, Table Tennis, and a rough and tumble in the games-room, (of which we lost all except chess). Anyway, we thank the old boys very much for coming and I am sure that they were as pleased to see us as we were to see them.

J. Cooke


I must beg every mother who possibly can to accompany her boy to and from school, or to persuade a friend to do so. Lately, there have been one or two mishaps when boys have not been met, and our organisation is becoming over­loaded with requests. It seems to me very reasonable that boys of thirteen should be considered capable of making the journey on their own. I think we shall shortly have to re-organise the operation differently, but meanwhile do please travel with your boy if it is possible, at all. If boys must travel on their own and find no one to meet them at the London terminus, they should report to the Station Master (or Manager) in future and not to the Transport Police (who have told me they cannot accept stranded boys in their custody).


OLD BOYS' NEWS - from Martin Smith, Hon. Sec of the December, 1969 Old Boys' Association.

On Sunday December 7th, 29 Old Boys "stormed the Castle" (to quote one of Sir John V's favourite metaphors, which he often used when referring to his visitors) to hold their third Reunion Dinner and Annual General Meeting, and afterwards had great pleasure in seeing the old place again, meeting the boys and playing games - we must thank everybody for a wonderful day, and look forward to the next Old Boys' Day.

During the afternoon, I co-opted Christopher Owens (1968) to collect news from the other Old Boys, and here is his contribution:

" Charles Kendall (1967) of Kingham Hill's form 5a is a member of the Bradford House Shooting and Rugby teams (this year his was the winning rugby team), and of the Octagon Debating Society. He has passed his R.A. F. Proficiency Exams, and hopes to be a Meteorologist when he leaves school.

Alan Comeau (1967) has left school and began work in August as an apprentice motor mechanic. He has been attending Croydon Technical College since September on a 3-year day-release course.

Brian Tyekiff (1966) is a Greenwich House monitor at Kingham Hill School, where he is a member of form 5a, and the Octagon Debating Society. He plays second-row forward in the school's 1st Rugby XV, and is a member of the school shooting team. Brian also plays for his house Rugby and Basket-Ball Teams. He is an NCO in the CCF (RAF section) of which he is a founder-member.

Ian MacFadyan (1964) is studying Law at Kingston College of Technology, where he is Chairman of the Union of Liberal Students, and a member of the standing sub-committee on Overseas Students, which was set up as the result of a motion proposed by Ian and passed at the college Union's Annual General Meeting. Ian is standing for election to the post of Treasurer of his college Law Society, and is ex-Chairman of the Luton Shelter group. "
Chris ends his report with the following entry: 'Martin Smith (1962) played in one of the Old Boys' football teams' (he omitted to mention that I was Goalkeeper and let in two goals-MS), and an imperious "MARTIN -DON'T FORGET SOMETHING ON YOU" (his capitals), so to satisfy him, here goes:

I have had the pleasure of running the OVBA since its conception in 1967 (Mr Corner and I were the only members of the ad-hoc committee set up to form the Association), and had the honour of being elected to a third term of office as Hon.Sec., I am in my third and final year of teachers' training, and have just finished my final teaching-practice. It is my intention to go forward for ordination as a minister of the Church of England when I reach the age of 25, in 1974 (this may come as a surprise to anyone who knew me at VCS, but I assure you that I'm not joking), and to return to teaching as Chaplain in a boarding-school. At present much of the time when I'm not studying is spent on church activities - I am a communion server and crucifer, and sing for three church choirs. I also sing with various choral societies as a tenor, and have taken part in concerts in the Royal Albert and Royal Festival Halls, as well as locally. Fortunately, tenors are in demand. I have an unofficial connection with the local scouts, whom I instruct for swimming. When I leave college I hope to take out a Scouter's Warrant, but I can't do so yet. because my college tends to disapprove of outside activities. In fact whenever I write for local publications, such as the Parish Magazine, I have to do so under a pen-name. The College once found out about the OVBA, but seems to have forgotten it.

Enough about me now. After the football matches, I retrieved the notebook from Chris Ownes, and interviewed him, although the only gems of information I could elicit from him were that he is now a member of the RAF section of the Reed's School CCF, and next term he is to represent Bristowe House by playing the Junior Piano Solo in the Inter-House Music Competition.

George Pountney (1966) is now in his last year at Kingham Hill, and will be taking five CSE's this Summer. He is a member of Bradford House (which he assures me is the "Best"), and is a House Prefect. George plays for the school's 2nd Rugby XV.

Timothy Baker (1969) has just finished his first term at KHS, in form U3. He plays for the Norwich House Junior Rugger and Basketball teams. Tim plays the trombone in the school orchestra, and is a member of the school Music Club. His favourite subjects are Mathematics and Physics.

Anthony and Barrington Seaton (1969), also at KHS, are both members of form L2, and play for tho Bradford House Junior Rugby Team, which they very much enjoy. Both are members of the CCF, and neither claims to have a favourite subject-yet!

Graham Fowler (1966) is attending Sprowston Secondary Modern School, where he is a member of the Fifth Form. This is his last year at school, and he is taking 5 "0" levels. His ambition is to join the Merchant Navy.

Andrew Solomon (1966) left Kingham Hill in July, with 3 "0" levels, and is now an apprentice aircraft mechanic with BEA.

Duncan Brown (1969) is enjoying life at St. Augustine's College, where he is in form 3, and is a member of Alcock House. He wrote recently "we play rugby here, which I enjoy very much, and have scored two tries. The school has an excellent Biology laboratory - among its exhibits are 3 pickled babies (?! - MS). The lessons are quite good. We have three beaks plus one tea break a day. We have prep on all days except Sunday and Wednesday. We also have Fencing, Judo and Woodwork Clubs, and A.T.C. At the Reunion Duncan told me that he thought school food is terrible, but after a little persuasion conceded that it is "not bad".

John Ingleson (1968) left Reed's School in October, and is now attending Bishop Wordsworth Grammar School in Salisbury, where he is a member of form 4D. John is studying Economic and Political affairs, and Classical Studies. He hopes eventually to become an Industrial Designer, for which he needs 5 "Ov levels, and must take a Design and Art Diploma at Art School. I asked him how he felt about life in a day-school after 5 years as a boarder. His reply? "You have much more freedom at home, but there is not as much incentive to do homework on your own as in supervised prep - and this is a retrograde step. However, you are able to join in social occasions, such as dances, to attend a cinema and generally to run your life your own way".

James Stephenson (1968) wrote recently: " Since I left VCS I have been at Reedham, and after three years I have been made a prefect. We have many activites such as Army and Air Cadets, Scouts and Art Club. We are separated from the girls. The boys are in the main building, and the girls are in a small house. "

Kevin Mulligan (1966) has left school and is now training to be an Accountant.

David Williams (1961) is the Assistant Manager of the Bromley branch of Marks and Spencer.

Keith Huxford (1965) has not, as wrongly reported previously, left school. He is a Capel House Prefect at Reed's School, where David Patten (1965) is vice-school Captain.

Stephen Keeble (1968) wrote recently: " I am in the 3rd year at Waltham Tollbar Secondary School near Grimsby. It has a French Club, Gym Club, Maths Club and Library Club. On Tuesday I have Games. Each Thursday we hold a dance, and on Friday (my best day) swimming in the morning, then Geography, Metal work and Woodwork. My brother James (1966) is serving an Apprenticeship in Essex, where he is doing very well. "
Geoffrey Fenner (1965) wrote during August:
" At the time of leaving school I had no ideas as to what I wanted to do for a living, and in order to straighten out my ideas. I signed on with the Anglo-American Corporation of South Africa, and emigrated to South Africa in October 1965. I was sent to the President Steyn Gold Mine, which is situated about 200 miles S.S.W. of Johannesburg. The mine is one of several in the area, and employs 11,000 people, the majority of whom are Bantus. I joined the mine as a Learner Official, and worked underground for the first year, after which I went to Johannesburg Technical College to attend a Sandwich Course. Thanks to a sound basic education I did well in my subjects, and on my return to the mine I was sent to the Group Training Centre to be trained in Work Study Techniques. I am now employed as a Work Study Officer, and I find it a most rewarding career. To forestall any queries, I feel bound to add that it is impossible to remove gold from the property. " Geoffrey Williams (1942) formerly Treasurer to the predecessor of the OVBA, entitled the "Vanbrugh Old Boys' Association" is our most recent member. He wrote recently :
" when my father died in 1930 having served in the RFC and RAF, my mother and two sisters moved to Bridgwater to live with relations, whilst I went to VCS at the age of 5. Like most children of the depressing period, my life was not exactly a bed of roses; but I still remember many of the happier events. I did not shine academically, but could not be touched at the 100 yards and 200 yards at sports, gaining my Roan colours in these events, I was then an still am very keen on keeping 100% fit. I joined the RAF in 1942 and reached the dizzy" heights of LAC Fitter 11 Engines. Two years of my service were in the UK, and the remaining time in the Middle East, being demobbed in 1947, I then married and settled down in Bridgwater to a very happy existence. I now work in a light engineering factory in charge of a section of 25 people. We manufacture circulating pumps for central heating systems. It is an up and coming company and the prospects are very good, as we are exporting a good percentage of our output. My main interest apart from work is Archery. This sport is very popular in Somerset, and I belong to a local club. I have been an archer since 1952, and am now Treasurer of the Somerset County Archery Association. On occasions I have shot for the county team (when on form). " Geoffrey recently sent the VOBA treasury fund, totalling £17.4.2., to the VCS Amenities Fund, which at present finances the OVBA.

Glenn Webber (1969) has written from the Royal Albert and Alexandra School at Reigate:
" I'm enjoying the school very much. To start with, we have clubs such as the Marines, Sea Cadets, Gardening Club, Young Farmers Club, Pets Club, History Club, Maths Club, which are voluntary and we can join when we like. The Marines and Sea Cadets go canoeing every Sunday. We have 7 lessons per day: 2 before break, 2 before dinner, and three in the afternoons except Mondays when we have Games last lesson till tea, and Friday when we have Exeat. On Exeat we go to Redhill for the afternoon. I'm in the newly built house which is divided from the girls' house by a partition. At times this is open and we have socials when we mix, and have dances, music, TV, etc. The new house is well surrounded by country and is away from the other houses. I am enjoying the school very much. " Finally, a personal comment: by the way some people who write to the OVBA (particularly the younger ones) address their letters to me implies that Yours Truly is an inhabitant of the planet Mars - which I declare emphatically, I am NOT! Martian Smith doesn't exist.

With best wishes to all for a happy and prosperous New Year.

Martin (note spelling) Smith.
Hon. Sec. OVBA