The exterior of the old school building has been allowed to deteriorate. I imagine that the developers will be undertaking some major restoration work.
The main hall is bare but the wood paneling is intact. The arch on the balcony is where the large organ was installed. A podium stood beneath the balcony. It was from up there that the Oaf looked down upon us. There was a table and a tall lectern with an enormous Bible, from which older boys read the lesson. Miss Robinson coached us beforehand. There were morning and afternoon assemblies. The walls were covered with plaques and there was also a painting of Queen Elizabeth I.
This room, leading directly off the hall, was the home of 4R in my day. The teacher’s desk stood in the corner. For some reason, I have clear memories of Mr Moon (English) and Mr. Baldelli (Latin), who would put his feet up and appear to fall into a trance. Our form teacher was the mustachioed and beret-wearing Francophile Mr. Peters.
We now come to the holy of holies – the Oaf’s office, where all the flogging took place. It was clear from chatting with old boys older than myself that they were far more accepting of the corporal punishment that the Oaf dished out. This could be because in the 1960s people began questioning authority to a degree previously unknown. Over the years, I have noticed that few boys of my generation are keen to revisit their time at Stogs.
This is looking toward the other end of the room, where beatings took place. The door, to the left, was left open so that one’s humiliation could be observed by other boys (the library was next door), presumably as a warning. There was also a large mirror, placed in such a way as to allow the Oaf to see your face as you were being caned (for signs of rebellion?).
Last week I also had a drink with a classmate whom I had not seen for 47 years and who used to bully me. He informed me that he bullied me because he was jealous of my barathea blazer. With hindsight, I realize that I was perhaps the best-dressed boy in my year. Mum always made sure my brother and I were sharply dressed. My former classmate was expelled in the second year for refusing to take a beating from the Oaf (he reckons he had had some 70 strokes of the cane by then). He kicked the head in the shins, fled out of the building with one of the monitors in pursuit, and managed to shin over the fence. He never returned but his actions ensured him legendary status. After the Oaf had caned me for the second time, Mum went to see him and basically threatened to wrap his rack of canes around his neck if he ever caned me again. Funnily enough, he never did.