OLD TENISONIANS

Est 1875


The Association of former pupils of Archbishop Tenisons School

Subject to any other commitments I would like to attend the next 'School Dinner' - how well I remember those at South Lake in the early forties which cost the princely sum of 6d in old money - and the free (courtesy of the State) one third of a pint bottle of milk we had every day. I have a particular recollection that once a week we enjoyed a meal of roasted stuffed heart, a 'delicacy' that was not rationed.     No doubt you will let me know the date and venue of the dinner.

I was, I suppose, fortunate in that, when my father was mobilised in July 1939 (pre-war he was RAFVR) my mother evacuated herself and me to the home of her parents in Reading: that is how I became a pupil at ATGS.   Our pre-war home was in Blackheath and but for the war I would have likely joined the Roan School.    My only personal experience of the war was in February 1943 when, accompanied by a fellow pupil, I cycled from South Lake to my home in Tilehurst  we were prevented from proceeding through Reading town centre because about 30 minutes earlier a number of bombs had been dropped by a German warplane which caused some 40 fatalities, over 100 injured and extensive damage to a large Department Store and a restaurant.    Afterwards we both said that we heard neither the air raid sirens nor the explosions.     

As you will have appreciated, I really am an OLD BOY (of Hunter House) and well remember Mr Waddingham and many of the teaching staff, some being more memorable than others.   I particularly remember the Headmaster, Dr Robinson; Mr Flint (my Form master) and Mr Field under whose tutilage I became a moderately proficient violinist and I recall being a member of the small school orchestra, my last appearance with that group being at a School Speech Day in St Martin's in the Fields in my final term.     There was also Mr Wright, an English teacher who wrote and published a text book on English grammar; who had an unerring accuracy in the throwing of chalk and occasionally the blackboard rubber at an inattentive pupil and was also quite handy with a ruler.    Apart from, I think, two elderly ladies, the teachers were all male until the arrival circa 1942 of a very attractive young lady teacher, Miss Merriman, who caused a flutter in many a young boy's heart.

One other vivid memory is of corporal punishment being administered, with every pupil at South Lake bearing witness, by Dr Robinson in the grounds at the front of the house at South Lake - the recipient being a boy some two years older than I whose crime was of persistent bullying of younger pupils about which he had been warned on several occasions.     After that physical punishment he was then expelled.


 Although I did join the Old Tenisonians Asscociation way back in1946, which enabled one to continue receiving a copy of the School magazine, in that non-computor age keeping in touch with one's contemporaries was not easy, particularly bearing in mind that all of us, very soon after finishing our education, were called up for National Service (for me that was in the RAF) and, in my case, after demobilisation, obtaining employment with a large Insurance company and for much of the fifties, working for them in India and Pakistan.


 I do have a photograph of the OTA reunion dinner & dance that took place in October 1953 - I had returned to the UK on leave that year to get married.   I also have a school photograph taken in 1945 (during the last term before the school returned to Kennington) of Forms IVa and IVb - a total of 41 pupils - at South Lake and another of myself and the other members of the School First XI soccer team.    I never excelled on the cricket pitch but I do recall - and of course this was after the School had returned to London from its wartime sojourn in South Lake - watching the School XI playing a team from the OTA in 1946 - that used to be an annual match played at The Oval.

I can never forget the School badge: I have in my study an Edwardian hall chair which my father bought - he removed the shield (and what it was I never knew) and replaced it with one of the ATGS emblem.   He gave me this chair as a present for successfully persuading (or, as my father put it, hoodwinking) Dr Robinson to accept me as a pupil at the school.

I brought to an end my overseas employment in the late fifties and joined another international Insurance organisation by whom i was employed until I reached retirement age.   I was actually able to put my feet up for just three weeks before my late employers persuaded me to return to the fold as a Consultant to assist in bringing about the acquisition and successful  integration of another company and that task did not come to an end until I was 72 years of age.   It was then that my wife and I decided that it was time for her to end her full time involvement and me to cease my part time activities in the equestrian world so that we could move to the south of France where we have now resided for some 15 years.

I did meet up with some of my contemporaries for lunch in a restaurant near All Souls, Langham Place in the early seventies but unfortunately we lost touch.   I have oft wondered how many of my classmates are still alive - I presume that there is a list of OTA members which might help answer that question.


I trust that I have not bored you with my reminiscing about what were very happy days as a pupil of Archbishop Tenison's Grammar School.    Today's world is very different from that when I was a student but I hope that today's pupils at the school have the same pride in the present day school as my contemporaries and I had in ATGS some seventy odd years ago.


 

Sincerely



David J Pounds(1940-1946)


Letter from David Pounds