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Farnborough Grammar School

Prospect Avenue, Farnborough, Hampshire

Telephone : Farnborough 539

Mike Webb (Memories) - 1960 to 19?



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Here are a few random memories…

• The time when Ken Clements (I think) sat through a whole lesson in his underpants and nothing else, for a bet. I cannot remember who the accommodating teacher was.

• Drinking our 1/3 pints of milk in the quadrangle during the mid morning break. In the winter they were frozen and in the summer almost gone off in the heat. I particularly remember talking about the Cuban missile crisis one such mid morning.

• Doing detention involved writing lines over and over, for an hour, I think. I cannot remember my misdemeanours apart from ‘I must wear my school cap. I must wear my school cap. I must wear my school cap……’

• I had previously been at St. Peter’s primary school where I had been good at most things. When I started at FGS, I was put in the top stream in class 1C. For many years I floundered at 30th or 31st out of 31 in every subject except woodwork.

• Latterly, I spent a lot of time involved in the drama society as stage manager and really enjoyed organising practical things. I think my only mention in any school publication ever was in the 1966 FGS Annual Record which refers to the Browning Version play and to ‘Webb, who proved himself to be a first-class stage director as well as a master carpenter’.

• The corrugated cadet building in which was the rifle range. Outside, people regularly practiced the bugle, playing the same few notes, over and over, badly.

• Several of us started a recorder group instead of playing soldiers on Friday afternoons. We got together in the music room outside the armoury. There was some reason why we thought it had been agreed. We must have got away with it for quite a few weeks until Mr/Major Thomas found us and we had to go back to marching and boot polishing. I don’t remember any punishment. Maybe he understood why we preferred playing recorders to soldiers; but probably not.

• Staying at Holiday Fellowship accommodation on our geography field trip and singing ‘Big Fat Nat’ at the tops of our voices to the accompaniment of the single ‘Big Bad John’ by Jimmy Dean. Meanwhile, teacher Nat, whose surname I cannot remember, smiled benevolently.

• It was not until about the third form that we started wearing long trousers instead of shorts.

• An early sentence in the Latin book about the Roman Centurions thrusting their hands into the fire of a burning brassière (brazier). How we sniggered. But it still seems a strange thing for Centurions to do.

• I was pretty good at running and was selected several times to run at the annual mixed sports at the army sports ground mid-way between North Camp and Aldershot. The lunchtimes were particularly interesting for innocent grammar school boys (like me) because things happened in the absence of any apparent adult supervision.

• My school cap was buried at the top of Cader Idris in Wales. I went on a cycling holiday with Tim Hughes, a year above me, presumably at the end of my last compulsory cap-wearing year.

• I still have my very tatty school tie, complete with a ‘Webb’ label stitched on the back and a school scarf. I have now also found my prefect’s tie.


Mike Webb - 11th August 2008