Est 1875

The Association of former pupils of Archbishop Tenisons School

“School Dinners”  2004

My good friend John Adlington invited/instructed me to attend the 2004 “School Dinners” Annual function on Friday 30th April in St. Georges Hotel, just off Oxford Circus. I am so grateful to him. Until I was actually involved in the incredible atmosphere of good fellowship, tradition and reminiscences- I did not realise the importance of the occasion. 319 years of Archbishop Tenison’s Grammar School history was being upheld and maintained. I believe that “The Old Tenisonians Association” is the oldest “Old Boys Association” in the country-I may be wrong, but that is nothing new, I usually am-and it was a privilege to be included amongst the 60 gathered to commemorate their time at the “School”.

 What an assembly?! There were gentlemen, businessmen, rapscallions and downright “bloody Herberts”- who all contributed to the mosaic

Of “characters” that has always distinguished “Archbishop Tenison’s” from the Headmaster, Staff and boys to the newest intake of First Formers.

If they did not arrive as characters many of them certainly became characters who will be remembered by their contemporaries forever.

 It was extraordinary and rewarding for me to experience the phenomenon of introducing one “O.T.” to another because although they had attended the “School” at different times and had never met-they had both known the trauma of my peculiarly gentle manner in the gym. And Cadet Corps.

 I had the pleasure of sitting beside President Mickey Vaughan at lunch and was able to unload most of my huge steak on my plate-on to his. He took some interesting photographs which I hope to get a sight of one day.

 To all “O.T’s” who were present- thank you for the friendship and affection that I was most touched to receive-especially bearing in mind the many alarming anecdotes about the way in which I am alleged to have administered physical training during the period 1946-1959.

 I cannot congratulate too strongly Eddie Boyle; who shoulders the onerous task of organising this important annual event and I commend every Old Tenisonian to support him in his efforts to preserve this memorial to our days at such a fine old school.

 As the only member of the teaching staff present, I intended to keep a low profile but it soon became apparent that this would be impossible. Boys from the Dean Farrar Street and Queen’s Westminster Rifles Drill Hall era: from the Surrey Cricket Club Players’ Long Room era; The Cadet Corps; the Belgian Invasion Party; the P.T. Display Teams and many other facets of life at Tenisons ensured that I could not stand quietly in a corner.

 I was sad to have to leave. There were many familiar faces that I saw across that crowded room and I missed the opportunity of speaking to so many. I will certainly arrange o stay longer next year.

       Thank you all for a momentous and memorable day.

                        Best wishes and kindest regards.

                                     Harry Waddingham