Christmas has come to Durham House! The House is looking very festive and the girls have hung their stockings with care.
On Sunday 9th September we opened our third girls' boarding house. With more pupils at Kingham Hill at the start of this school year than at the end of the last, and with the percentage of girls at the school now 40%, more beds needed to be found.
Wednesday 26th September 2012
The Durham Reunion Lunch this year was held in the Chequers public house in Churchill, close to Kingham Hill. Though some previous Durhamites couldn't attend through prior commitments, went the day well, if you'll excuse the quote, and it saw the return of other faces.
JUNIOR MATCH years 7 & 8:
U12/13's Latimer V Greenwich
WINNING TEAM: Greenwich
A very strongly fought game ending with no goals being scored either side at full time causing it to go to penalties. Greenwich won on sudden death penalties.
INTER MATCH year 9:
U14's Latimer 3 V Greenwich 9
WINNING TEAM: Greenwhich
This was a tight competition....
For the last four weeks, the Hill has been filled with the sound of 80s music as the houses rehearsed for this year's House Singing competition. The theme this year was 80s film music and each house picked their favourite song from the era in preparation for the competition on Saturday 12 October.
A pen picture
1961 - 1965
When last visiting KHS circa 2005 it struck me, rather like a bolt out of the blue, that when you look from Durham House towards the main school and chapel just how little had changed physically from 1961. The tree outside Durham had grown a bit in the 40 years since my days on the hill came to an end.
The views expressed here on Durham House are rather like a photograph - a snap shot of 4 years between 1961 and 1965 - and are highly personal from Durham 13. Lucky for some!
Durham House was a bit of a hotchpotch of rooms. It is the oldest house and originally was the school in its entirety. Because of this history, there were corridors that led nowhere, plus three entrances and the accommodation was hardly ideal for the House Master and his family.
Early photograph of Durham House. Opened in 1886.
There was an annexe, comprising a boiler room, which in 1961 had a coke boiler - later replaced by oil. The coke boiler had a good side. The boy responsible for the stoking always ensured there was enough hot water on his bath night. Plus if he really worked at it, it was possible to get the water in the pipes and radiators boiling and make a real racket. The downside was that it was always cold at 6:45 am when the alarm went off. Next to the boiler room was the coal hole (which in 1965 became a "jazz cellar", although not very much jazz was ever played there) and boot room where shoes were cleaned and kept.
Durham rugby team. Iain: bottom row far left.
When you entered the main house, by the only boys' entrance, you passed the toilets on the right hand side and then the washroom full of basins, but not quite enough to go around. The corridor ahead of you led nowhere and each boy had a peg in order to store his kit. You turned left and there was the bathroom, and you arrived at the main hall and stairs. The smell of Ronak polish prevailed everywhere.
There were the boys' two day rooms, the common room (complete with table-tennis table) and the walls on all sides had your locker space, and the table to do your two hour's prep from 6:00 pm every weekday evening. There was a gramophone, but only form 5 and above were permitted to use it, plus there was an electric hotplate to heat drinks - which whenever it was used smelled of burnt milk. I can still recall that smell.
There was the other room, I think called the quiet room, which had a couple of shelves of carefully censored paper backs masquerading as a library. There were 4 (or was it 5?) "horse boxes' for the seniors to use. There was a shelf for the various cups, and wooden spoons, for games - which in 61 was rather bare.
Upstairs there were three dorms, each for about 10 boys. Upstairs was out of bounds during day light hours/bedtime unless you sought permission from a house prefect who required a reason. If you were a prefect (house or school) you got a sprung bed - luxury! Also on the upstairs landing was a night toilet and laundry room. The youngest dorm was closest to the school clock - chiming just to compete with the wooden slats to keep you awake!
Because of this topsy layout, the Housemaster's rooms were scattered to the 4 corners of the house. This meant you kept on bumping into the house master + family in the hallway.
My first day, in September 1961, was also George Kingsnorth's (G.K.) first day. He was the English master. He had come with his family from East Africa and there was much acclimatisation both for me, as a very green new boy, and I suspect for all his family too. Life was to very different.
There was Mrs. Kingsnorth and a son circa 9 or 10 years and a sheltie dog. One day I have a vivid memory of smelling cigarette smoke in the house. An unusual smell by any account as many of us were smokers and hiding the smell of tobacco on you was a real challenge. The Kingsnorth boy came into the common room smoking and brandishing a packet of Capstan Full Strength. G.K. had given these to his boy to smoke in the hope that it would make him so ill it would put him off for life. I can recall, to the satisfaction of many of the boys, that the former was achieved. The latter, I have no idea.
The second master in command was Martin Taylor - known by his nickname "MIT" following his initials. He had a green mini van and was also in charge of the Boy Scout Troop.
Both GK's and MIT's tenure at Durham was short, one or two years. Mr Ralph Mann (R.M.) came as House and English master, replaced G.K and family, and so joined Durham. The Rev. Donald Service took over as second-in-command and head of the Boy Scout Troop. This arrangement ran right through to 1965 and beyond...
Durham was a happy house under the auspices of Mr. Mann + family and Donald Service. Both had the patience of saints and probably needed it. I don't think I can recall a raised voice or the slipper or cane ever being used during their time.
KHS Car Club. Iain Helstrip is the driver, Richard Moorein
the dicky seat. 1965. Picture taken by ? Gatwood.
I have memories of hospital corners, cross-country runs, curly sandwich-spread sandwiches being delivered in a wooden box (I've Not eaten sandwich spread or Macaroni cheese since leaving in 1965) and a bright green drink that was made from powder and tasted as awful as it looked!
Nevertheless, happy memories, grateful recollections, and the camaraderie was just amazing.
This article was contributed by Iain Helstrip in May 2007
Iain Helstrip today.
of Ralph Mann's Early Years
We are sorry to report Mrs Batchelor, the house parent in Durham during the 70's and early 80's has died after falling at home.
Weds 11th September
Durham's Reunion Lunch 2013 was again in the Chequers in Churchill, with Ralph and Elizabeth Mann, Nick and June Bonnett, Charles Carter, who had a long distance to drive, Iain Helstrip organising again, wife Nicky, Nick Thompson, Tony and Daphne Dee, 'Westie' West, who energetically turned up on bicycle, not all the way from Kaliningrad hopefully, and Pete Rozycki.
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