At my mother's insistence, I had to stay for school dinners. The dining hall wasn't big enough to accommodate everyone at once, so they were held in two sittings - at 12.30 for the first three years, and 1.00 for the 4th 5th and 6th. The food was all cooked on the premises: the "menu" was the same for everyone and although it obviously varied from day to day, there wasn't any choice and certain "staples" were featured on a regular basis. Notably I recollect stew, which I think I was unusual in finding to be one of my favourites, spotted dick and - mainly in the summer - corned beef salad, which I still hate with a passion even now. We were allocated regular tables: after the Duty Master said Grace, as an exercise in communal dining someone would go and collect the tins of food from the servery by the kitchen, the contents were shared out, and then someone else took the empty plates back afterwards. A certain number of tables had one of the Masters allocated to them: the idea of this (apart from the obvious one of preventing food fights) was presumably to teach table manners. I know at one stage I sat on Mr Bailey's table, and I'm sure there were others which I can no longer remember. I don't know true it was, but I did hear that the staff concerned got free meals as a reward for slumming it with us pupils.

Classroom block - playground view

As it is now: Classrooms as seen from the playground
At top left of the picture, in the oldest part of the building, is Room 17 (Geography), underneath is Room 18 (History) and at playground level Room 19 (Technical/Engineering Drawing). At right angles in the slightly more modern-looking part are - L to R and top to bottom - Rooms 2 & 3 on the top floor, 6 & 7 underneath, 10 & 11 underneath with the boarded-up windows, and 15 (Metalwork Room) behind the railings almost at basement level.

As at Break, the rest of the lunch-time time normally had to be spent outdoors - in the playground apart from in the summer term when we were allowed to go across Lillington Avenue into the nearest of the playing fields. I have a hazy recollection of lunchtime Chess sessions taking place in Room 19 at some stage, which I occasionally used to take part in. My father had taught me how to play, but he invariably beat me: I never quite mastered the knack of anticipating my opponent's next move and planning my strategy accordingly. The afternoon then consisted of Periods 5, 6 and 7: 1.45-2.35, 2.35-3.15 and 3.15-3.55 respectively. Lessons were mostly single periods distributed somewhat unevenly through the week, with most academic subjects having at least one double. Not being in the least bit sporty, I grew throughout my school career to dread the loathesome double Games, which was always the last two periods of one afternoon, and which I strived with increasing success to get out of!

Photocall in the HallJunior Prizewinners 1960-61

I couldn't at first remember what the date or occasion of this was! It was taken in the school hall, and we weren't all from the same form. On the left of the back row, I look older than I did in the Form 2L group photo, so I'm guessing I was now in Form 3L aged 13.

Thanks to some detective work by Sam Saunders, I've now established that it's a photocall of the 1960-61 Junior Prizewinners: I'd won the Junior French prize and the photo was taken somewhere around the date of the actual prizegiving ceremony which was on 15th May 1962.
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