LEAMINGTON COLLEGE FOR BOYSMemories in words and pictures of my time as a pupil there... 1959 to 1966
The inspiration for what you can see on these pages came unexpectedly out of the blue one day quite recently. I'd left Leamington College for Boys on a summer's day in 1966 at the age of 17 with three A Levels, to take up a place at Exeter University, and to make my way into the outside world. As fate would have it, I remained living in the local area, and so from time to time over the years some errand or other would take me down Lillington Avenue past the back of my old school and I'd casually notice that it appeared to look outwardly just the same as it had done in my day - a bit like an old snapshot frozen in time. Apart from that, my memories of the school, and of the time I spent as a pupil there, have lain more or less undisturbed for the best part of half a century.
But then in November 2009 I came across a set of photos posted on the Flickr website, scanned in from an old panoramic one taken in 1964. I recognized myself - as a 15-year old, at the time in Form 5A - standing there on the back row alongside all my old classmates. And as I looked more closely I found myself identifying names from faces, and recognizing as many faces again that I couldn't immediately put names to. What I wasn't anticipating is that - just like Proust's madeleine - it would act as the trigger for a flood of vivid memories, the detail and clarity of which considering the time-lapse, have taken me completely and totally by surprise.
I dug out all my old school photos, some of which I couldn't at first find, and I found others which I'd completely forgotten I'd kept. Thus inspired, I sat down one weekend just before Christmas and wrote - almost entirely from memory - my story of those seven years. I scanned in all my old photos, and added some I took on a bitterly cold Saturday December morning when I revisited my old school for the last time. I'd found it empty, boarded up and fenced off, awaiting the rebuilding work which will soon convert it into a retirement flats complex. I squeezed round past a gap in the fence, and looking nervously over my shoulder, my hands numb with cold, I shot what will have probably been the one of the last sets of photos ever to be taken of it.
Leamington College for Boys: as it is now
It survived decades of use and abuse by generations of local schoolboys, but now protected by a security fence and boarded-up windows, my old school awaits its fate.
And so this, then, is my story....click here to read on
(Click the photo of me to see the full panoramic set for that year)