Ballard School Memories
MEMORIES OF EDINBURGH HOUSE PREPARATORY SCHOOL, 1956 -1961
In Michael Green’s well-known book ‘The Art of Coarse Rugby’ there are written the following immortal and seemingly sensible words:
‘Finally, a word of advice about training. Don’t.’
If there was a similar tome about visiting your old Prep School then I would suggest the advice would be the same – don’t – because you are almost certain to be cajoled into penning an article about your reminiscences, or maybe asked to talk to the current pupils about your experiences during your time there!
Mike Clifford, the Alumni Manager, seems to know exactly how to press your time for the benefit of the other old boys who passed through EHS (now Ballard School for boys and girls).
I am more than happy to comply and I will willingly record anything I can remember after all these years. It’s the least I can do since my time at EHS was hardly exceptional!
Whilst my parents were tooing and froing from Nigeria one of our temporary homes was in New Milton, so it was partly understandable that I was enrolled as a boarder at the local prep. I joined in 1956 and took CE to Hurstpierpoint College five years later in 1961 when we had moved to West Sussex.
I am not really the literary sort so I will list whatever I can; hopefully they will be easier to interpret!
In no particular order....................
The 4 Houses: Ballard, Brightwell, Lee, Wellington
Fire escape practice from a 2nd floor dormitory (using underarm harness & pulley system)
Gun turret by the tennis court
Making a pair of bookends in carpentry (I still have them!)
1/3 pint of milk bottles; Swiss bun at break
Marching from the Old Gym to the Dining Room for meals
Wide games (conveys, kick-the-can, etc) organised by Hutch (Bongo?) on Sundays
Weekend book quizzes in Tatham’s Library at the bottom of the main staircase, with unusual circular radiator
Local competition: Hordle House, Durlston Court, Sandle Manor, Walhampton
The secret passage from one 2nd floor dormitory to another
A half-day if a boy won a scholarship
c 80 boys on the roll (& mostly boarders)
Middle school classrooms & their folding doors
Mr Hutchinson teaching French, Mr Stirling taking Scripture, Mr Watkins Latin & Mrs Milne’s Art lessons
Dip pens (messy!)
Saturday evening films
Sunday evening TV in HM’s lounge
.22 postal shooting competitions
Formal dancing lessons on the 1st floor landing
Boxing competitions in the old gym – it is still there!
Cycling crocodile fashion to Barton-on-Sea for swimming
Outdoor swimming pool being built & 2L test to be allowed at the deep end
Appendicitis on my last Sports Day!
Being 1st X1 scorer in the small thatched cricket pavilion
Pre-breakfast PT & run during the Summer Term
Walking round the drive when the pitches were too wet for games
First football lesson (with Mrs Milne who wore duffel coat & wellies!)
Scratchy football shirt
Travelling to away matches in Mr Kefford’s large jalopy
HM’s Study (now the Library)
The Dining Room (now the Heritage Room, which I commend you to view)
School plays: Arsenic & Old Lace; The Happiest Days of your Life
Plaque on Chapel chair (mine was still there when I first went back in 1991 – but outside the Chapel!)
Who took my pocket money, a 2/6p coin from my raincoat pocket?
Making dens in the grounds
Being told to leave the kitchen because I couldn’t make a sandwich properly – not enough butter to the edges!
Glee Club (run by Miss Bath)
Suddenly becoming very popular when my weekly (banned) Beano arrived
Writing letters home on Sunday mornings – which had to be check-read by the member of staff on duty
Storing trunks above the raincoat & cap room next to the Old Gym
Meeting my parents at Southampton Station after travelling halfway home by train on my own
Arriving for a 2-week holiday at a hotel in Cornwall & spotting another boy from EHS there as well!
Passing CE to Hurstpierpoint College
At the request of Robert Lawrence, EHS 1959-1962, I compiled a shorter list for a personal website he was producing in an attempt to track down some fellow old boys. I was also able to scan in some old photographs taken from a mid-1950’s prospectus. I urge you to explore the link below – I’m sure you’ll find it interesting:
All the best for 2016.