On Saturday 8 March 2014, we are delighted to be hosting a touring production of Three Witnesses at Kingham Hill School. We have a limited number of tickets available to members of the public priced at £5. To book please email or telephone Mrs Harriet Dearden 01608 731880.
1961 - 1965
Lloyd Silverthorne BA
Deputy Head Boy 1964-1965
Clyde was a popular choice of house for us 'Plyms' in the early 1960s, so I was really pleased to be allocated there in 1961. Under Rev Glyn-James, who ran a 'tight' ship, with any major discretions being severely dealt with!
As 'juniors', we were very much under the thumb of the house prefects - especially head of house, Cox, but bullying was rare - if there at all - and the junior dorm was generally a happy place. I seem to remember spending many hours in the 'quiet' room. We had supposedly (relatively) comfy chairs - which had to be surrendered to seniors when requested - and the daily papers. Of course, we 'bagged' stories from them if they were at all interesting.
Sadly, it was the period of the Rohilla tragedy, and we read the unfolding story with enthusiasm and mounting dread. Though of course we were under strict instructions.... NOT to talk to the press!
Head of HouseP W Cox Clyde House (opened in 1888)
Clyde junior dorm, 1961
Then there was the house library -also in the 'quiet' room. As I was quickly volunteered as 'house librarian' this had a more than usual image in my life. Not that the duties were very arduous - keeping the cupboard tidy, and making sure I knew who had which books. Winter evenings always seemed dark and cold, and the 'quiet room' became a popular haunt as that was where the fire was. Unguarded and accessible to everyone, it was a source of entertainment as well as warmth. On one horrific occasion, someone produced a .22 round (smuggled out of the range next to the dining hall no doubt). This was pushed into a tin of 'Ronuk' and thrown carelessly into the flames. Nothing happened, but we all took cover anyway. Except that is for the young Target who sat un-moved on the 'Dunlopillo' seat. Much shouting ensued, and he was eventually persuaded to move to 'cover' - just as the tin exploded. The khaki stain remained on the ceiling for years afterwards - as did the chip in the wall right behind where Target (well named) had been sitting!
Moving up to the 'Middle' dorm was done with great pride. We were now no longer the bottom of the pecking order. Sadly, I don't remember much of my time in there Mr.& Mrs. Glyn-James and family moved out and went to St. Lawrence's School, Ramsgate, where he became school Chaplain.
Mr. & Mrs. Rodney Chapman, a graduate of St. John's College, Cambridge, joining our school staff in the Easter Term 1962. Arriving on the hill via one of the largest grammar schools in Ghana, where he was a house-master and in charge of the CCF, besides being Chairman of the Ghana Hockey Association.
Senior Dorm was the ultimate. Real power - and then prefecture - and even head of house! This meant I could sleep in THE spring bed - no more wooden slats, as had been endured for all of the preceding years.
Clyde House prefects: John Bennett, Francis Inman, Michael Allen,
Lloyd Silverthorne, R B H Chapman & Nick Welch.
It was about this time that during the summer holidays that I made the amazing discovery that dynamic headphones made crude but effective microphones. Two sets of headphones could be wired together to make an effective telephone. So, on returning to school, cheap bell-wire was pushed under stones, trees and into Mr Kingsnorth's lawn, and telephonic communication between the senior dorms of Durham and Clyde were established. A huge - if somewhat useless - thrill. But alas, the scar in the lawn gave us away, the wire was easily traced, and on pain of pain it was removed - to be slung instead through the trees.
Similar wires followed to Sheffield, and an exchange (of sorts) appeared in Clyde common room. Even Norwich (the Old Norwich that is) was reached by 'borrowing' the telegraph poles which carried the normal PO phone wires.
Fine, until one evening during silent Prayers we had a noisy call from one of the other houses. Not a good move! But the phone system stayed, and I even made a small profit by charging 6d a term 'membership' to allow usage. But alas, one stormy night, the wire to Norwich became entangled with the 'real' phone lines and we found ourselves having three-way conversations with paying 'real' phone subscribers. So the novelty wore off, the system fell into disuse and was eventually abandoned. Nowadays, communication is easy and cheap, but THEN it was a thrill just to achieve inter-house speech!
The 'Glory-Hole' was the centre of Clyde's 'underground' movement. We painted it in 'psychedelic' colours (pale lilac if I remember correctly) and put in a false ceiling to help with the acoustics (egg cartons!). In there we kept that icon of the '60s, the Dancette record player. The latest Beatles records blared out. But before the 'Glory Hole' came into being, the Dancette resided in the common room, where we had to make do with endless Buddy Holly.
But the 'Glory Hole' was OUR den. We even formed a 'group' - if you can call one guitar (Boulcott) one bass (me on 'cello) and drums (John Bennett on upturned waste bins) - a 'group'. But it was fun - and made a break from the endless routine.
Then there were the 'Curry' nights. 'Dixie' Dean did a remarkable job in feeding over 200 hungry boys, and probably on a tight budget too. Even more remarkable was that there was always sufficient food, but yet we were always left wanting just a little more.
And so it was that in Clyde the seniors and prefects pooled resources and bought curry. Of course, resources were severely limited. In our house 'bank' we were fortunate indeed if we each had more than a pound or two each at the start of term, so a withdrawal of 6d (2.5p) was a significant amount. Yet we managed, at least two or three times per term (and sometimes more) to purchase pre-packed 'Vesta' curries.
Inter-house competitions really meant something, and for a while, Norwich seemed to hold every sports cup going, whereas we in Clyde had nothing. Then, three of us challenged Durham for the 'chess cup'. Not a sport exactly, but when you have NO silverware, even the diminutive chess cup would be a triumph - and it was. I believe we won 2 - 1. What celebrations when we returned 'home' to Clyde - all 30 yards of it!
Chess cup winners. Left to right: Lloyd Silverthorne, Ron Kirby, Frank Hilsdon .
After that, the ice was broken and we did rather better, but never so well as to dominate. But Not all doom and Gloom - our shooters where good.
'Shooters' outside Clyde House 1963. Left to Right: Chris Downing, Russell Boulcott & Dave Taylor.
But the residing memory is of unmitigated routine. Every day had its schedule, except Sunday afternoon - which was 'free time' - not that we were really 'free'. Straying off school grounds was not permitted, but the farm and the Dell were 'in bounds' and the latter at least offered an unsupervised playground which, like the farm, I believe hasnow been lost to the school.
Lloyd now runs his own music business, Music Dynamics Ltd. It was Lloyd who provided the sound clip of Teddie Cooper's voice which can be heard on Teddie's page.
Committee members present:
Nick Seward (Headmaster, invited), Kenny Winfield (Events), Leo Smith, Brian Dean, Mike Kent (Treasurer), Eddie White, John Hughes, Mike Tadman, Iain Helstrip (Secretary), Simon Briggs (Memorabilia), Simon Howlett (KHSD, Chair stand in).
President of the KHA 2008-2015
I have the privilege to collate a tribute to all those who knew Robert C Hughes, known affectionately as " Bob" Hughes, who came to Kingham-Hill School in 1930 as an eight year old, but dedicated his whole life after the second world war to the Kingham Hill Association in many ways.
Simon Briggs who knew Bob over 60 years has kindly helped me to give a valuable insight into Bob's life.
Hans Leistina, a dear friend to many on School Days and a well known member of our community passed away at the end of September 2014.
Nick Seward writes,
I was very sorry to hear of Hans' passing. We remember him for his great love of Kingham Hill and the fascinating stories he told about his life. Kingham Hill School took him in as a young refugee who had escaped from a concentration camp at the beginning of the Second World War. The School became his home and family. Hans retained his links with KHS throughout his life despite living overseas for much of it. He will be greatly missed among the Kingham Hillians community.
Nick Seward, Headmaster
It was with genuine sadness I learnt of the death of Basil.
I will attempt to say a few words of what he meant to some of us 'sports fanatics' and the influence he had in instilling in me my life long love of sport. My apologies if some facts have become a bit blurred with time.
He and Giles Heron, the new History master, arrived at KHS in 1955, Basil as Physical Education 'Specialist' and deputy Bradford Housemaster to Francis Meerendonk ( arguably the best Housemaster the Hill has ever had.)
Bradford House left KHS 1980
News has only just reached us that Mark Freeman died suddenly of a heart attack on March 14th 2005, at the age of just 42.
Mark was at Kingham Hill School right up until completing his A-levels (upper 6th form) in academic year 1979-1980, by which time he was deputy Head Boy, a Colour Sergeant in the CCF, Head of Bradford House and captain of the second XV rugby team.
Arthur was born on Kingham Hill on the 12th April 1922 in the bailiff's cottage. Arthur's father was Frederick Arthur Meehan who worked on the estate and was himself and Old Boy. Kingham Hill archives show that Frederick entered the School on the 30th August 1902 at the age of 9 along with his brother Ernest who was 11. Arthur's sister Esmee was also born on the estate and worked for much of her life in the school refectory.
The one and only time that I have ever been asked to write an article about a period in my past life was a couple of years ago for an ex employee organisation involved in aviation. I had ran one of the divisions of this group for 5 ½ years. The consequence of my article, which was forthright, was that the organisation shut up shop the following year - thanking me for my honesty in telling everybody what had really happened when the group in question collapsed in 1974!
So it was with some trepidation that I agreed to contribute an article for the KHSD Website.