This was the report I took home at Christmas in 1961. The two salient points for me are the liking for Spanish and History (which I went on to study at university) and my distaste for physical education. The first term had marked a tremendous change for me in every sense.

My friend Alan reminded me of the harsh regime instituted by a P.E. teacher who did not last long at the school following a series of complaints. He introduced us to the joys of “circuit training.” When I watch the film “If” I am always reminded of the school gym. Alan also mentioned the bust of Queen Bess that sat aloft the gym. I was always the slowest getting changed and about the same where the exercises were concerned.

I found this picture of the main hall at Stogs (during lunch, 1962) at Southwark History Library. I could be in it. I like it because it shows the lamps, the balcony and the organ at the far end. The wood paneling and balcony were extremely impressive.

The dais was where The Oaf lorded it over us during morning and afternoon assembly. There were hymns, prayers and announcements. The choir sang from the balcony, from where the organ also boomed out. I remember, as an older boy, having to climb the stairs to read the lesson from the huge Bible on the equally huge lectern. I was so nervous my knees banged together. For the Bible reading we were coached by the always lovely Miss “Fanny” Robinson, an aging spinster who wore lots of makeup and had a “tide mark” on her neck.

The organ was subsequently dismantled, restored and installed in the new school at Orpington.

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