I read with great interest the article by Frank Foster on the life and times of Mr & Mrs Meerendonk, Housemaster & Mistress of Bradford House. I would like to endorse that fully. I was a senior boy at Bradford House in 1951/52 when Francis and Gladys Meerendonk became our Housemaster and Mistress.

They both breathed a breath of fresh air into the school in those austere days of the early fifties. Both Frank and Gladys, as I refer to them now, were both very approachable and friendly; and as contact from home in those days was almost non existent, Gladys became our second mother, or in some cases the only mother. I also remember with affection their daughter Jennifer, who must have been about the same age as us senior boys. She would often gather with us boys in the library sharing her film magazines with us and exchange film star photos, an early fifties hobby - no TV in those days, just the radio. Oh, Happy days....

I returned to the school a few times in the fifties and sixties, and was always made welcome by Francis and Gladys Meerendonk. I recall one time in the early sixties I happened by with my new wife Anita , we had afternoon tea with Gladys. She always remembered her old boys.

bradfordhouse51-52thI have attached a Bradford House photo, taken the summer of either 1951 or 1952.

I am the boy standing behind Mr. Meerendonk. To my right is Michael Thame and David Thame. Bruce Arnold (who used to help me with English Prep) can be seen on the far left of me (with glasses). To the right of Gladys Meerendonk is Mr. Curl - Deputy House Master, Paterson and James Richmond (a good swimmer as I recall). To the left of Francis Meerendonk is his daughter Jennifer, also Rev Wilkinson and Bruce Reynolds. Top left is Cliff Bradley.

Other faces I remember, but their names escape me; maybe someone else can fill in the gaps.

I am attaching an up-to-date photo of "yours truly", taken recently at my son's wedding. Happy Days.


John Birch - at Kingham Hill 1944 -1952, in Bradford House 1948 - 1952

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