Braintree County High School

A Memory of Braintree

I attended Braintree County High School from 1944 to 1950. Nihil Nisi Optima I recall as the school motto, and the school song started with the words “With hearts close knit in comradeship …” When sung at morning Assembly, I remember some joker had changed the words to the last two lines of the first verse to “And, welcome him with half a brick; Who talks of school and arithmetic”. Giggling during Assembly was highly frowned upon by headmaster Dr Cordingly. Thus, one morning after dropping a water bomb during prayers from the balcony above the Assembly Hall in the Main Building, two friends of mine – Robin Addington and Gordon Smee – and I, were summoned to receive ‘six of the best’!

First year the Headmaster was Mr Dell. He retired in 1945 when Dr Cordingly took over. Deputy Head was Ms Elliott (also French teacher). Other teachers I remember were: Mr Williamson (Math), Ms Lewis (English), Mr Boardman (German), Mr McLaren (Latin), Mr Smith (Science and Sports) and Mr Bell – then Mr Priday (Woodworking). Fellow students, other than my two close mates aforementioned were: Pearl Robinson (had a crush on her!), Alan Thompson (parents farmed near Dunmow), Keith Seago, Avril May, Jean Honeyben, Daphne Kerlogg, Dulcie Sach, and Ellen Whatley.

I see from Google Earth that the gymnasium is now a District Register Office, and that Main Building is also Council Offices. But I can still see the pathway leading from what used to be the gymnasium to Tabor building. We would walk that way to classes in biology, and to the carpentry workshop. I recall a very bad storm one morning as students were walking to school when a large limb of an elm tree (close to the gym) fell and killed a first year girl.

I now live in Virginia USA, and have read the interesting items on this website by Malcolm Stewart-Morris and Roy Leach et al. They are not names I remember, but I would dearly love to see an image of that 1947 school photo you have Malcolm. I do know of a girl named Valerie O’Neill that you mention in your class – she was a close neighbor of mine in Braintree.

A memory shared by Roy Stone , on Apr 26th, 2012.

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