School Days

School Days

1950 - 1980


For a period of almost 90 years the old Plymouth House - situated nearly a mile from the senior school - was for most new pupils their first experience of house life at Kingham Hill. On this page we present some recollections of Plymouth and its staff during that time.

Plymouth House opened as the Junior School in 1893  and was rebuilt after fire damage in 1938. Sadly Plymouth House was sold off in 1980. Its role as reception house was transferred up onto The Hill into the old Norwich House which was renamed Plymouth House.

Clyde House, which re-opened after refurbishment in 1980, was then renamed Norwich House.

Sadly, just like those famously named regiments that get consigned to the history books by the whims of changing governments, the name Clyde lingers on only in the memories of former pupils. Long live the memory of Clyde House.

Your Historian. May 2007

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Flying over Plymouth House. Click images to enlarge. Images open in new window.
Photos courtesy of James Woolliams who was a teacher at KHS from
1961 to 1981and Plymouth Housemaster from 1973 to 1981.


Philip Hildesley (1954 to 1962):

In September 1954 I arrived at KHS. I was ten and a half years old and the youngest boy in the school at that particular time. I was, of course, placed in Plymouth House, which was the Junior House and situated down by the farm. The housemaster was Reg Durant, who sometimes liked to be known as Uncle Reg, or, if in a good mood, "Pop". Mrs Durant, or Aunty Ruth as we were encouraged to call her, acted as a matron and she was assisted by Aunty Lucy (whose name I can not remember, but who married an employee of the school, I think, whilst I was there).

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Mr and Mrs Durrant, and the school
nurse - Sister Pauline Wright (1959).

Because I was under age I spent two years in Plymouth. This was probably not a bad thing as it helped me settle down and gradually get used to the idea of boarding
full-time.

Read Our Life in Sheffield House by Peter Hildesley.


K.M.Wingfield (M.B.E.):

I spent my first year in Plymouth House; the Rev Wilkinson and his family were the House master and matron. We all got a rude awakening when we found out where the senior school was located. Nearly a mile up hill in all weathers!! It was like army fitness training lugging satchels, books, P.E. kit. So having survived that early discipline, we were prepared for the transfer to the senior houses.

Read Kenny Wingfield's Recollections of Norwich House.

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Seated: Mary Wilkinson, Joan Wilkinson & Padre Harry Wilkinson and Mrs. Knight.


Plymouth House with Mrs. Knight

By Mary Wilkinson, daughter of the late Harry & Joan Wilkinson

House parents at Plymouth from 1957 to 1970.

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Gladys Lillian Knight was born on 12th May in 1911 and was brought up on a farm with her parents. This is where she developed her great love for caring for both animals and children. She, like many daughters, was very close to her father, but was heartbroken when, as a relatively young man, he died.

On leaving school, at a young age, some years after the end of the great war - very changing times in our history - Gladys decided that she wanted to become a childs' nanny, which she did. She became a very accomplished nanny working in London with a family, then on to a large children's nursery. The children of Lord Hailsham, both Douglas and Mary, were looked after by Mrs. Knight. (Lord Hailsham visited school as the guest speaker on speech day in July 1961).

It's true to say that wherever Gladys worked the children were always happy, safe and loved. She worked with a school in Great Missenden for just over six years, together with her son Peter. It was from this school in Buckinghamshire that both Mrs. Knight and Peter arrived at Kingham Hill. Gladys joined my mother and father in Plymouth, and assisted with looking after the boys. Young Peter, being a little older than most of the junior boys who first enter school via Plymouth house, was placed in Clyde House with the Rev. Glyn-James and his family. Sadly, Peter was one of the five boys, together with Mr. Colin Noble (KHS teacher 1948 - 1959) and his friend John Clewett, whose lives where lost in the Rohilla sailing yacht tragedy, in the English Channel, in September 1959. The sea gave back both the boys from Clyde House and they are buried, along with other boys who died at school, in Kingham Church yard.

Gladys has mentioned that, despite being grief stricken over the loss of Peter, her best therapy was to plough herself into her work, and be a mother to all the boys who needed it in their early years on the hill. During the school holidays she would return to the children's nursery in London . When my mother and father retired as house parents of Plymouth in 1970, to maintain continuity in the house, Gladys remain at her post for a further year. This was to assist the new house parents. Then a year later, around 1972, she joined Top School on the domestic staff. Here she worked on with her close friend Esme Mehan - the daughter of one of ground staff. They became known affectionately as "Esmee & Snite"

In the 1980s she finally retired to Duck End Cottage, together with her cats, and lived for many more happy and contented years. However, due to failing eyesight, being almost completely blind, she moved into Castle View Old People's Home in Chipping Norton.

Despite having lost her eyesight, she still recalls her days on The Hill, and so many of the boys. Most recently, on the 12th of May last, she enjoyed her 96th birthday.

She is another remarkable lady of our time who gave so much to others. I know first hand because I was privileged to grow up also as a young person with her.

Mary Wilkinson, May 2007


Lord Andrew Adonis DPhil, BA:

I arrived at Plymouth in April 1974 after an extremely unsettled few years in a children's home. It was one of the first times I had seen the English countryside, and the first time in England I had been so far from London. It was also mid-way through the school year. So all in all, it was a shock to the system, and to begin with an unhappy experience.

But Plymouth and KHS soon came to supply all I lacked in life outside: stability, friends, values and a sense of self-worth and self-belief. My housemaster, Mr Woolliams, and his then house tutor, Mr Rees, played a big part in this, as did Mr Cooper from a benign distance.

Read Lord Andrew Adonis' complete article.



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Bradford House 1960
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Sheffield House 1961
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Clyde House 1962
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Durham House 1963
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Clyde House 1964
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Clyde House 1965
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Norwich House 1965
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Contact The Historian

Bradford House 1960

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1 Dave Casson
2 Tony Brinklow
3 Tim Pope
4 Tommy Gradwell
5 Frank Foster
6 Joe Bumford
7 Robert Sansom
8 Noel Harrison
9 Richard Wallace
10 Stephenson

11 Tim Bullock
12 Stewart Earle
13 Stewart Earle
14 ?
15 Neil James
16 Basil Benson. Head of PE
17 Michael Sharples
18 Anthony Reynolds
19 Tim Hilddesley
20 Charles Dawson

21 Robert Blackshaw
22 Lawrence
23 Wilkins
24 Cornford
25 Ron Gray (dec'd)
26 Lesley Clair
27 Chris Prince
28 Peter James
29 Hobbs
30 Mick Casson
31 William Winter

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Sheffield House 1961

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1 Roy Wolf
2 Anthony Thompson
3 Conway Dunn
4 Peter Jones (dec'd)
5 James Baldock
6 Paul Dickinson
7 W Wilson
8 Martin Powys
9 Tim Jackson
10 John Timmins

11 Peter Morris
12 Paul Hooper
13 Frank Woodington
14 Jonathan Hall
15 Chris Roberts
16 Richard Berg
17 Clifford Searle-Baker
18 Rory Mortimer
19 John Silverthorne Dec'd
20 Tim Hart
21 Mr. Chapman Dec'd
22 Mrs. Chapman
23 Richard Mullarky
24 Philip Hildesley
25 Nick Stubbs
26 John Williams
27 Nigle Dunning
28 Richard Young
29 Mark Mitchell
30 Jeremy Rudman
31 Chris Sheldrake
32 Richard Greenwell

Between 28 & 29 are: Charles Bowker, Jeremy Bowker, Julian Bowker.
With Jean Bowker is Catheriner.

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Clyde House 1962

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Back row: Mortimer, G Sewell, B Stead, Downing, J Bennett, R Boulcott, Whitman, M Tomlinson

Rear middle row: Francis Inman, Chaplin(?), Davies, Veitch, Atkinson, Parnell(?), Franklin, J Carey, L Silverthorne, R Gosnell

Seated: D Taylor, Smith(?) R Kirby, Revd James, wife and children, J G Essame, F Hilsdon, M Spacek.

Front Row: M Allen, David Williams, Andrews, ????, N Welch, D Ware.

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Durham House 1963

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1 Simon Lewis
2 Tony Dee
3 Nick Bonnett
4 Iain Helstrip
5 Richard Moore
6 Peter Rozicki
7 ?
8 Peter Dully
9 Alan Fisher
10 ?

11 John Caldicott
12 Brian Coe
13 Nick Thompson
14 Tony Rolfe
15 Gatwood
16 ? West
17 Malcolm Rogers
18 Barry Drewett
19 David Shorrock
20 Mrs. Kingsnorth

21 Mr. Kingsnorth (Dec'd) 
22 Martin Ian Taylor
23 Stephen Powys
24 Lesley Hackett
25 Sid Manning
26 John Burgess
27 ? Nicholls
28 Timothy O'Regan
29 Mr Kingsnorth's son
30 Mr Kingsnorth's son
31 'Flopsit' Lloyd
33 Robert Betteridge

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Clyde House 1964

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Back row: M Tadman, C Jordan, P Barber, Williams(?) M Tomlinson(?) D Ware, Lawrence

Rear middle row: M Grandsault, D Bell, M Foley, Vernon, M Allen, F Budge, F B Inman, Nick Welch, John Bennett, A Morrison

Seated: Whitman, F Hillsdon, J G Essame, RHB & Mrs A Chapman, L Silverthorne, R Boulcott

Front Row: K Targett, M Powell, R Blake, A Bell, A Hill, A Swinbank

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Clyde House 1965

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Back row: R Blake, D Bell, M Tadman, M Grandsault, C Jordan, A Morrison, D Ware, R Lawrence, K Targett

Rear middle row: A Hill, M Powell, M Foley, F Budge, J Vernon, R Gosnell, P Barber, A Swinbank, C Lawrence

Seated: F Inman, N Welch, L Silverthorne, J G Essame, RHB & A G Chapman, M Allen, J Bennett

Front Row: A Bell, M Playfoot, D Drake, C Alexander, P Johansen, P Martin

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Norwich House 1965

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Back Row: Dunning, Fall, Hunt, Pafford, Ogden, Seamer, Holifield, Lofts, Pendleton, Greenwood

Next Row: Russell, Collier P., Crawford, Westerby, Forsdyke, Quelch S., Reed P., Williamson, Crewdson, Speller

Seated Row: McGrath, Dixon, Shorter, Gilmore, Mr Turner, Mrs Turner, Towner, Hewlett

Front Row: Newbury, Edwards, Ware P, Doe, Jowett, Beal, Hogkinson

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A collection of memories and
anecdotes about E C Cooper

A shining light
When I first met Mr Cooper, as a new boy of 10 years old, in those days Richmond Park was the countryside to a young lad from Battersea. Taking my place in Plymouth House, as number 5 and 2nd youngest in the school, he treated me like a friend who knew my family.

He asked me when my birthday was and it happened to be the day after his. Mine is the 15th October. He asked where I lived and I replied: Lavender Hill in Battersea. Mr Cooper then went on to tell me about the time he nearly fell under a tram on Lavender Hill when he was a boy.

He then asked who my favourite football team was and, low and behold, it was the same - Chelsea!! He then asked me if I supported England and my reply was "No". My dad was Scottish and that made me half Scottish. "So that's who I support", I replied. Mr Cooper gave me a thumbs up and told me his dad was also Scottish! This old man in front of me was suddenly like a friend in a very strange place for this little lad from London. I got a pot of lemon curd (for my birthday) that year too.

Alex is in the window seat of this DC10 bound for Scotland

Several years later I decided to run away from home before going back to school. I came back a week late expecting the cane. But he seemed to know about my problems at home. We talked and he told me he understood, gave me a kiss on the crown of my head and sent me on my way, telling me not to hurt the ones that really loved and cared for me - my older brother, who I was now living with in Croydon.

Now and again my mind goes back to those meetings (and more) and that's why I'm writing this . I am honoured to have meet and known Mr Cooper. He was like the kind uncle that cares about us small boys with no fathers or no mothers or from broken homes. He always had a moment for us - and that was like a shining light in the Cotswold rain.

Alex Paterson August 2007.    Alex is a founder member of  The Orb - an English electronic music group known for popularising chill out music in the 1990s and spawning the genre of ambient house .

 

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Crime and Punishment
I can remember a time when someone was caught smoking or drinking. He was duly whacked by the Warden (Teddie Cooper), after waiting outside his study for some time, following morning chapel.

The house master contacted the boy's mother directly and told her the story.

 

The mother was very upset, and thought that she had a juvenile delinquent on her hands. She had hoped, that by sending her son to Kingham, the school would not need to worry her about what he got up to. She assumed that Kingham would deal with it. Being so far away she could not talk to her son, and any small incident appeared so much worse in the retelling of the story.

On previous occasions the punishment had been dished out and taken; and that was the end of it. Teddie understood how parents worried about things like this, especially recently widowed ones with young boys to bring up. As far as Teddie was concerned the 'crime' had been committed, the culprit was caught and punished - there was no need for any further action. So he was not pleased  that the housemaster had contacted the parent without consulting the Warden first.

I think that he had a word in the right quarter, and explained how things were dealt with at Teddie's academy. He appeared to work on the principle that boys will be boys, and that he would try to keep things within the school. The aim being to not worry parents unduly.  Of course if it was something serious, and he considered that the parents needed to be informed, then he would be the person to  contact them. It was a good system and worked well.  He appeared to turn out reasonably civilised chaps!

To protect reputations the name of the guilty party has been withheld.

However, our master criminal was proven guilty, beyond all reasonable shadow of doubt, because the perpetrator had left his gloves in the off-license with his name and house number clearly marked inside them.   Fair Trading:  Not only did the 1960's store keeper sell to underage customers, but being an honest trader returned the gloves to the school. QED (Quod Erat Demonstrandum).

 

Furniture Fun
A significant and memorable event was Peter Morris's night out. Now Pete Morris was the head of school, was in Sheffield, and never did ANYTHING wrong. But one night he organised - with military precision - for most of the school to perform secret furniture removals. The hall was swapped with the Gym, so that at assembly next morning we all had to stand. The hall was furnished with mats, 'horses' and spring boards, gymnastic equipment, whereas the gym proudly displayed rows of neatly laid out chairs. What we achieved by this was unclear, but the thrill was merely to be involved with a 'mass breakout'. Of course, we COULD have been spotted, and the Warden called, so to avoid this our telephone expert (me) was called upon to disable the internal exchange - which I did - but only for the duration of the move. In fairness, Teddie Cooper took it in reasonably good heart, and played the whole thing with a straight bat. But of course we then had to replace everything in our own time, so who had the last laugh?

Lloyd Silverthorne BA

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Do you have stories to share about your time at KHS with Teddie Cooper?
If you do then please
contact the historian

 

 

Peter Morris's recollection of the events, and Teddie's reaction:

My memory of this is a bit dim.  I think during the night a fair number of us moved all the equipment in the gym to the hall, and set out the gym for assembly.  It may have been the last assembly of the school year. Teddie didn't say anything.  Assembly went ahead as scheduled in the assembly hall.  Everyone had to stand.  He spoke for a more than usually long time.  By the end, the troops were fairly restless and the perpetrators not at all popular.  He handled it with the lightest of touches.  Organisationally, the more difficult feat may have been getting half the school on the road outside on April Fool's morning at 5 a.m. to wake the masters in Severn House with jeers and dustbin lids.  Again, I can't remember anything more than a sardonic raised eyebrow. 

 

Diet? What diet?
Years after I left and was at the BBC,  we (BBC Drama) once used the school for some location recording.  Can't remember why now.  The producer and I sat at the 'top' table with Teddie - who was on a strict diet at the time. Our producer asked him if the meagre diet meal left him hungry. 'Not at all', he said.  'I have my diet,  and then I have my dinner!'

Lloyd Silverthorne

 

Hugely enjoyable company
You've asked for my memories of Teddie Cooper.  It was of course a long time ago. When I was in the 6th form, I suppose as a prefect, we would have meals with him at the high table.  His company was hugely enjoyable.  He was shrewd, kindly and humorous.  He loved talking about sport, books, theatre and politics.  I don't think I knew about his sporting and academic prowess.  He certainly wore both lightly -as he did his faith, in the sense that it was part of the way he lived and not forced on anyone.  His politics I suppose were liberal Tory but he loved the gossip and machinations of politics. If he was bored with us he never showed it.

He was a great head teacher.  I'm not sure we realised at the time just how good he was.  He seemed to be on our side, even if it meant disagreeing on occasion with a teacher, which must have taken courage as well as skill.  I regret that I never really saw him again after I left Kingham. 

Peter Morris BA (Hons) MA

 

Please click on any image to see the large version

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Scout Troop 1946

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Bradford House 1946

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Durham House 1946

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Norwich House 1946
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Plymouth House 1946
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Sheffield House 1946
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Captain Edward White 1947
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Sheffield House 1947
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Plymouth House 1947
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Norwich House 1947
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Captain Peter Hannaford 1947
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Durham House 1947
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Clyde House 1947
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Captain John Benz 1947

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Bradford House 1948
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Clyde House 1948
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Durham House 1948
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Plymouth House 1948
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Sheffield House 1948

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Bradford House 1949
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Clyde House 1949
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Durham House 1949
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Norwich House 1949
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Plymouth House 1949
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Sheffield House 1949

The pictures taken at the KHA AGM by Tony Middleton have now been uploaded to the photo archive: >> click here <<

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Kingham Hill Association
Patron: Lord Adonis of Camden
Minutes of Meeting
Meeting Date: Saturday 16th March 2013 Meeting Location: Kingham Hill School

Annual Report to the KHA AGM 2012

1st of June 2011 to 23st June 2012

Kingham Hill School Days (KHSD) is the KHS alumni website run by an independent team made up of individuals who were at KHS, all with varied skills who organise multiple types of material to be published online as well as reunions and other events.

KHA LogoThe KHA held the 124th Annual General Meeting on the 23rd of June 2012. There are a number of publications, photographs and a continuing debate as a result, we are going to bring these to you shortly.

Initially recent publications are shown here on the front page however over time these drop off as more recent news comes in. To see all the KHA publications please visit the KHA area here on School Days buy clicking the KHA link in the menu above, or by clicking this link: The KHA Area

NOW UPDATED

Minutes of KHA committee meeting

17 March 2012 Venue KHA centre – KHS

Those present:-

Nick Seward (part time), Jon Montgomerie, Leo Smith, Brian Dean, Simon Briggs, Mike Kent, John Hughes, Bryan Shaw, Mike Tadman, Simon Howlett, Iain Helstrip.

Apologies for absence:- Eddie White, Kenny Wingfield, & R. Hughes

Circulation: Those above and Keith Target & Jo Cavan.

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A Bradford House photo, taken the summer of either1951 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.

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

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