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Whittlebury School 1960 63 - a Memory of Whittlebury.

Ah Whittlebury! Always knew that infamous dump would surface on the www sooner or later. A regime model for any totalitarian state, I still remember the oppression and dehumanisation that prevailed there, where the only way out was up (join the oppressors) or out (escape to brief freedom before the police picked you up and you were seamlessly reinserted). I remember only half-jokingly forming an escape committee, and the boy who cunningly concealed himself in the deer park for a week, in a bramble thicket, to whom we smuggled out supplies of food filched from the kitchens before he chose to walk back in. Also recall liberating saws from the woodwork room one freezing night in '62 and sawing off antlers from the frozen stags in the moonlight. I took three O levels with a 'select' group when I was fifteen and then virtually gave the whole thing up as a con, spending most of the time in the Art room under the genial eye of Dennis Johnson. Then went to a more liberating but academically even worse crammer called The MaClennan Project (my parents sure knew how to pick 'em) and then somehow got into advertising copywriting in the middle of swinging London in '67, dropped out, burnt out, limped back to Herefordshire in '72 and eventually got into restoration building, plus a bit of writing and book editing.

On the good side, Whittlebury instilled in me a healthy lifelong suspicion of authority and reinforced an independent and stubborn nature (not a bad thing). But, as Martin Fuller said, it's got a lot to answer for: arguably at least one suicide, much mental anguish, not to mention deliberate physical injury, and general corruption of youth at a very susceptible and malleable age (not that youth isn't attracted to corruption - but that's where the guidance should come in). A prime example of the worst of the dregs of the public school system - yes, would make a great novel.

A memory shared by Simon Gwynn on May 30th, 2010. Send Simon Gwynn a message

 Comments & Feedback

Sat Jun 4th 2016, at 2:47 am
Sean O'brien commented:
Hi Simon,
I am writing a biography of a fellow from Whittlebury School in 1962. I would very much appreciate any further memories you could provide - whether they be good or bad, as it were.
Please feel free to contact me anytime.
Kind Regards, Sean O'Brien.

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