Origins of the school

The Mayor of Brighton and the Duke of Richmond laying the foundation stone for the new building in Dyke Road, June 1912
Wounded soldiers arriving at the Grammar School, September 1914

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

This large school, which actually stands within the borough of Hove, has its origins in the Brighton Proprietary Grammar and Commercial School, founded in July 1859 at Lancaster House, 47 Grand Parade.

Pupils were nominated and elected to the proprietary school by shareholders, to be transferred later to the higher school on approval. There they were instructed in the classics, arithmetic, bookkeeping, accounting, etc., and also received a non-sectarian religious education. Non-proprietary pupils paid an entrance fee of one guinea and a quarterly fee of £2/10s. The boys had one week’s holiday at Christmas and one month in the summer.

On 27 May 1868 the 180 pupils of the Brighton Grammar School marched in procession to a new, plain, three-storey school building in Buckingham Road. The headmaster from 1861 until 1899 was E.J.Marshall, to whom a plaque has been erected on the adjacent 79 Buckingham Road.

Due to the increasing number of pupils, the Grammar School moved for a second time in September 1913 to a site off Dyke Road then in the parish of Preston Rural; the Buckingham Road building at the corner of Upper Gloucester Road then became the Sussex Maternity Hospital and has now been replaced by a County Council social education centre. The new school, designed by S.B.Russell and known as the Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School, was requisitioned for use as a military hospital soon after it opened in 1914.

It continued after the Great War as a grammar school until 1975 when it became a sixth-form college, commonly known by the acronym ‘BHASVIC’. Especially notable is the panelled hall, decorated with murals, while the large library was added in 1935. The playing fields occupy 15 acres.
Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

Comments about this page

  • I was at Brighton and Hove Grammar from 1961-66 leaving under a cloud with the minimum of 5 ‘O’ levels. When I started it was a ‘proper’ Grammar,shorts until year 4. There were caps always – Saturday morning school – Combined Cadet Force on Friday afternoon – Latin! ‘Killer’ Reeve the art master flinging whole chairs at boys. Jack Smithies the English master[the most erudite man I ever met. No ASBOs needed then – just a clout from the hard end of ‘Spud’ Murphy’s long gown as he swept by in Latin classes. Ah happy days!

    By Geoffrey Mead (11/10/2005)
  • I was at the grammar school from 1968-1971. What did happen to Jack Smithies ? Does anyone know ? He was a great English master.

    By Thomas Daffern (04/12/2005)
  • I went to BHSGS 1959-1964 and shared in the experiences of the other fellow-students. We had an old gym in the school before the new one was built on the field which I remember. Mr Jelfs the ex RAF PE master certainly put us through our paces! Then Mike Smith came, with Mike Yaxley. Smith went on to Wales football club and Yaxley to Brighton & Hove Albion. I last saw Jack Smithies outside my house in the late 1980’s in Patcham, and later learned that he had passed away. Who remembers his olde English renditions of Chaucer, and his great lessons that stimulated our taste of the subject. Then there’s Paterson, the old Scots chemistry master, Berry, the wild geography master, and the dreaded Head, Mr Harry Brogden, who held us in fear. The times he suddenly appeared in the noisy classroom to tell us off about the noise….

    By David Dhelton (01/02/2006)
  • In reply to Thomas Daffern’s concern about Jack Smithies. Jack passed away about 18 months ago. There is a good tribute to him in the Past and Present magazine which is published annually. Jack also headed up the Naval Section of the CCF. Jack must have had some input into the fact that four admirals developed from ‘old boys’ who left the school in the early ’60’s. Not bad for a school of 550 pupils.

    By Dudley Seifert (11/02/2006)
  • The school building on Buckingham Road became a maternity hospital. I was born there in 1938 and started my secondary education at BH&SGS in 1949. As Mr. Dickinson, the Lower School maths master, pointed out to us, the school motto – “Absque Labore Nihil” – was still above the front door of the maternity hospital. The translation – “Without work nothing” – did induce snickering even at the age of 12.

    By Dudley Seifert (11/02/2006)
  • I happened to Google the name “Jack Smithies” after his name was mentioned whilst dining just last night with two other old Grammarians, Russell Ward and John Darcy. Russell and I have both lived in Sydney since emigrating here – myself in 1970, Russ some years later. John Darcy came to Australia a bit later and lives in rural Victoria with another home in Melbourne. Our infrequent reunions are always spectacular occasions. Jack Smithies was unforgettable as our English teacher who knew EVERY passage of Shakespeare’s complete works. His disrepect for authority and great sense of fun impacted on me profoundly at that impressionable age. David Shelton sat opposite me in class 2B and got me a Tuesday afternoon detention once from “Hoss” Ryder when I sprayed David’s white shirt with ink from my nib pen. Whatever happened to those I wonder? Dudley Seifert was my “swimming hero” from the Shiverers Swimming Club and attended BH&S in the same or next year as my elder brother, Godrey Butler who is still going strong, retired and living near Bournemouth. I seem to remember Dudley teaching PE briefly at the school in the Mike Smith and Yaxley era. He was a super athlete and good bloke.

    By graham butler (03/04/2006)
  • Good to read your comments, Graham. I seem to remember that your brother, who was my contemporary and a large fellow, caused quite a dilemma when he joined the CCF in the Third Form. He had to have boots made to fit his wide, size 13 feet. Correct me if I am wrong. But getting back to Jack Smithies. One year Jack wrote the Smith House notes in the style of Chaucer which did refer to my swimming ability at that time — ‘See Dudley with sinews brave cleave the chlorinated wave’. I must be getting old because when I think how lucky we were to attend such a good school, I can get tears of gratitude in my eyes.

    By Dudley Seifert (20/04/2006)
  • Sadly, Jack S passed away earlier this year. I believe they have an old boys’ association and the secretary is at 35 Half Moon Lane, Worthing.

    By Eric F (21/08/2006)
  • It is nice to see a comment from Doug Siefert who seemed to be house captain at all sports. I can remember him threatening me about stopping smoking when he was school athletics captain. When I look back I feel that he was a great sportsman and an absolute gentleman.

    By G.M.Herriott (1953-1959) (26/08/2006)
  • I was at the school 1952-59. I think I was probably a misfit, but have fond memories of many things which have remained with me. Monday morning “recital” hosted by Albert Chapman opened the world of classical music to me. I never learned to play an instrument, but now at 65 am going to try to learn to play the piano! After leaving BGS I never kept up any regular contact with the school, but was really pleased when on graduating as a mature student at LSE in 1971 I had a little congratulatory note from Harry Brogden!

    By Tony King (21/09/2006)
  • I was a pupil from 1963-68 and can still remember the names of some of the masters, many of whom must be 80 plus or passed on. “Don” Anderson was the junior school senior master then, a real gent. I recall I was in Chichester House (those of the yellow shirts and the best footballers at the time). Jack Smithies taught me English from form 3 on. I remember he read us ghost stories by M R James and was always the most popular of the masters due to his laid back anti authority attitude. “Killer” Reeve, the art master, scared the hell out of all the young boys. He used to walk behind us when we were learning to apply a watercolour “wash” screaming “Where is your blob boy?” a reference to the required blob of water that should be present at the base of all washes. He was also a great shot with a blackboad rubber and could hit a boy from 30 feet with a well aimed throw. Then here was “Benji” Buckman the geogaphy teacher, Middleditch, the ageing Maths master (pet hate -anyone talking when he was), Patterson the equally old Chemistry teacher who we used to torture by turning on and igniting the gas so as to shoot a flame across the desk when he wasn’t looking. Does anyone remember spinning a penny around the inside of the circular windows on the stairs? That could be a capital offence if Mr Brogden found out. Games could be fun or torture under the watchful eye of the 2 Mikes. Mike Smith used to put me out on the right wing and send impossibly long, fast, passes to chase on the old first eleven pitch during soccer practise. As for the worst torture of all, that was being sent out for the ever popular cross-country run in the driving rain around the sports field, out onto the old Shoreham Road and up the Upper Drive for ever, before returning to the field for the final lap of death and as you staggered, soaking wet, caked in mud, the final few hundred yards there was Mike Smith urging you into a sprint finish. Does anyone remember queuing at the tuck shop for iced or cream buns at two and a half pence each? I can still hear the sound of steel tipped boots sliding on the concrete floors on a Friday afternoon as we junior CCF trained killers went about our day dressed as extras from a John Mills wartime movie. Those are days long gone.

    By Ian Smith (28/10/2006)
  • Good to hear from some of my contemporaries. Graham Butler I remember carried the big bass drum in the Cadet Force Band when we marched up and down the school field. We had some fun at school, it’s good to hear from you. The ink episode caused a stir, as I seem to think that I tried it out on Jack Smithies as well! It was all the rage, a trick ink, but to some they didn’t see the joke. We also went through phases of getting the latest fads, like staplers, or scoobedoo. John Darcy was with me all through my school life from infants, and I believe he became a doctor in Australia. Pity I didn’t know where you were when I was in Melbourne in March. The tuck shop always was popular, and we eagerly awaited the big wooden trays of buns that were carried in every morning break. Some students that I know from BHASVIC tell me about the hall and its paintings, and it was a pleasant surprise to see these paintings again on an edition of BBC Question Time held in the school hall. I have recently been in touch with the “Old Boys” association for some research and they can be contacted at 35 Half Moon Lane in Worthing. Maybe we can get a website for the friends of BHSGS!

    By David Shelton (08/11/2006)
  • I was sorry to hear of the death of ‘Jack’ Smithies. I remember particularly his performances in the Corps concerts in the late fifties, and his purported hobby of making rubbings of manhole covers. The story goes that he was invited to talk about the latter on the BBC, Panorama, I think, but declined because he thought their interest was less than serious.

    By Robin Healey (04/12/2006)
  • Interesting to see the comments, all way past my time. Any comments from earlier, say from 1938 to 1946? I had some moments in the 40s.

    By Michael Hooper (15/12/2006)
  • I would like to hear from anyone who had relatives working in the VAD or at the Grammar school in WW1, as I have been doing some research into the hospital at the Grammar School through St John Ambulance for our Division’s 90th anniversary.

    By David Shelton (02/01/2007)
  • I was at BHSG from 61 to 67 or 68 (memory fades) in the Marshall boarding house. I still remember that the borders were the poor relations and nearly always got a hammering at sport. Jack Smithies, well what a gentleman, it was an honour to know the man. I still remember my first sail with him when he took 4 of us naval cadets out on Piddinghoe lake. I still sail to this day. As for his sense of humour,- in one English class one of us said, Sir, can you close that window, the sun is shining in my eyes! He dutifully closed it, before realising he had been had when a beautiful smile crossed his face and he spent the rest of the lesson chuckling to himself. Patterson the Physics master – do yo remember climbing the long stairs to reach the high ceiling physics lab to have a double period with the old fellow”pay attention boys, you will note this machine is turned by a crank.” or ” Today we will do a titration.. this has nothing to do with tits.” When he turned back to the blackboard, my classmate Jeremy Bushell would hold a one meter rule tight over the edge of the bench whilst I pulled down and launched a stick of chalk high into the atmosphere to strike the ceiling grids. Next second we were intently back at work while old Patterson would have tirned round with the noise to be slowly covered by a falling cloud of snow chalk…. grand days. ‘Killer’ Reeeves may have been a dab shot with the chalk duster, but he certainly missed when he threw my just finished clay pot at me (for poor work) and hit the adjacent aquarium). Anybody remember the Annual school photos hanging in the lower corridor – where are they now? Can we get copies. John D`Arcy and Russell Ward, the names ring a bell. Didn’t Russell Ward organise the first Motor Show to be held on the school playing fields? I certainly remember asking how he got Rolls Royce to turn up and display. Reply:” I told them Jaguar was coming” Q. “How then did you get Jaguar to come? Reply ” I told them Rolls Royce was coming!!”
    My contempories in the Boarding House, were Jeremy Bushell, Andrew Dixon, Alan Furnace, ? Cowan, the Warburton brothers, Richard Lutchford (who used to do a fantastic rendition at full volume of ” when I was a little girl I had a rag doll… at 1 am in the dormitory” Where are they now? Oh I could go on. Does anyone remember the terric explosion that occured behind the gym? We stopped the traffic on Shoreham Road. with a homemade device. (thankfully I still have 10 digits) I, Alan Furness, and Richard Lutchford had to see Harry Brogden next day (We needed some fast talking there) . Then there was Mr McClaine the Housemaster of Marshall house (another gentleman and very fair) Can anybody remember the teacher Rodney Stone and then spending time looking on the old school photos to see him as a pupil in early years? Mr Randall – the English teacher – (loved English, hated schoolboys – or at least live ones) Mr Harris the Biology teacher – most chagrined to find the water coming out of his bunsen burners. Have loads more if anyone interested, great days, Robin Finch (now living in NSW Australia )

    By Robin Finch (05/01/2007)
  • What a fantastic collection of memories! Schools cannot be as much fun now can they? I spoke to Steyning History Society last summer and ‘Benjie’Buckman was there lean and fit and riding his bike!
    I was put on a CCF charge one Friday afternoon when I was spotted leaning over the upper corridor balustrade taking pot shots at Albert Chapman’s music class in the hall. The rifle was of course unloaded!. I was marched off to the Officer of the Day[Jack Smithies in full Naval rig] who told me however much I did not like Mr Chapman’s choice of music I was not to attempt assasination. The dreaded cross country training….in Smith house we were sent all the way up Dyke Road to Woodruff Avenue! But it did ensure I got my Smith House Colours for Cross Country, I still have them and occasionally wear them! I was stopped in Brighton by an even older boy when last they were trotted out. There is a display in Brighton Museum that contains a junior school cap which is a sobering thought…I lost many a cap by having it whizzed over the Dyke Road Drive railway bridge by a chum who was a Dorothy Stringer oik! No one has mentioned the woodwork master ‘Joe’ Woolven as deaf as a post, or Mr Crabtree who taught me pottery, Killer Reeve[still alive] used to fill in for him and it always made for exciting classes. I think someone told me Killer was in Yugoslavia with the partisans in WWII and it would make sense as his accuracy with board rubber or chair was unrealistically accurate.
    In the winter of 62/63 there was very heavy snow and the field was perfect for [forbidden] snow ball fights,these of course migrated to the bastion of the bike sheds in the lower playground with warring parties skirmishing across The Twitten. Some hapless local ‘civilians’ were caught up in this and reported it to Harry Brogden, next morning assembly,silence all round, Harry came out with the immortal words ” boys from THIS school, THIS SCHOOL I say, were involved in an incident with local residents… etc etc”. Sniggers all round, prefects prowling, boys made to stand on chairs, more sniggering, McLean bellowing,general mayhem ensuing.
    The tuck shop’s 2d iced what a size, they came from Perry’s the bakers and were amazing, the trick was to see who could stick a whole bun in the mouth without biting it, dangerous though, as fellow scholars would wait until you had a mouthfull and clap you hard on the back! Our German classes were with ‘Henry’ Smith a tall Scotsman whose class was over the heads study in the Chequered Corridor. While waiting for Henry to arrive one day we all broke into ‘Glad All Over’ by the Dave Clarke Five, this involved a huge amount of stamping at crucial parts of the song, Harry came flying upstairs as he thought his ceiling was about to cave in..lots of detentions that day.

    By Geoffrey Mead (05/01/2007)
  • I was at the “Grammar” from 1960 to 1967 – I served the whole seven years, no remission – and graduated with modest A-Levels in Maths and Physics, eventually going on to university in Bath where I still live. My classmates will probably remember me as a rather small and squeaky late developer with little aptitude for sport (partly as the result of an earlier childhood disability) but a voracious appetite for all academic subjects and, perhaps surprisingly, for the Combined Cadet Force whose RAF Section activities I enjoyed immensely.
    I can’t match the hilarious stories of classroom misdemeanours recounted by earlier contributors, I’m afraid. I lived in perpetual awe – nay, terror – of the masters (the title was wholly appropriate in those days) and only amassed three detentions in my entire career, and one of those was for forgetting the proof to Pythagoras’s Theorem (thanks, Mr James). Did you guys really get up to all that Greyfriars-type stuff?
    Many memories, of course, but one that continues to amuse me is the nicknames of the masters – a tradition that no longer pertains in schools nowadays, perhaps oddly given the notable decline of discipline and respect. I recall “Spud” Murphy (Latin), “Desperate Dan” Randall (English, and liable to bounce the collected works of Shakespeare off your cranium if you appeared not to be concentrating – yes, it happened to me), “Noilly” Pratt (History), “Dim Jim” James (Maths), “Dizzy” Mills (Physics: all six foot four of him), “Toady” Hall (Geography), “Gleg” (sic) Holmes (Physics – why?) and of course “Killer” Reeves (Art, and genuinely the most fearsome and feared character in the school), and that’s only the ones I can remember at the time of writing. Most of the others were usually referred to by familiar versions of their forenames, which seemed to imply that they might have been somewhat better respected.
    Everything written earlier about Jack Smithies is absolutely spot-on. I recall how he would hold the class enthralled with impromptu condensed accounts of HG Wells novels, and would laughingly swipe at dilatory pupils with the knot at the end of the sleeve of his gown. He often had us in fits of laughter and was universally loved, but we always knew that beneath his jolly exterior beat the heart of a traditional disciplinarian, and nobody ever pushed their luck with him. A brilliant teacher and a role model for practitioners of pedagogy everywhere and everywhen.
    The other master I remember with affection is Iain MacLean (Geography), who was a caring pastoral teacher and form master to me in the Fourth Form and who generously helped my mother at a time of family breakdown. I know that he continued, unlike most of the other masters, to serve the “Grammar” for many years after it became BHASVIC. Another fine teacher and role model for those in the profession today.
    If any of my former classmates, or indeed teachers, at the “Grammar” should happen to read this, I’d be dleighted to hear from them with any reminiscences or updates. Drop me an e-mail to

    By Len Liechti (26/03/2007)
  • Interesting reading contemporary reminiscences and realising how differently we remember the past. I seem to be alone in not finding Jack Smithies particularly pleasant, though he did have a sense of humour. However, I liked and appreciated Killer Reeve who I remember doing more for sailing than the more obviously CCF masters. I also liked ‘Windy’ Blows History and ‘Alfie’ Bass, Maths. I was impressed by the musical skills of Mr Akers (History) but never learnt a thing about music at the school. A music lesson seemed to consist of trying to follow a piece of classical music by looking at the score – I never even knew which page I was supposed to be on. I remember Mike Yaxley reading MR James – in what I assume was a Lincolnshire accent. I liked xc running – it was the only sport I was any good at. I still run now, occasionally competing in the Blaydon race on Tyneside. Who can forget rolling coins round the windows, the buns, but also the little milk bottles – frozen in winter, half sour cream in summer, the old cut down Morris 1000(?) in the armoury, the occasional aerial runway at the far end of the field, almost having one’s leg blown off when someone accidently fired a blank right behind you, the 4 herons – Betty, Wichitti, Poldina & Joanna, the walk from the station to school, buying 5 Park Drive at a shop by the 7 dials, “watch the board while I go through it”, “everytime I open my mouth, some fool speaks”, Doris the canteen lady, Toady’s Triumph spitfire, Mr Spivey, turqoise ink, Gilbert & Sullivan, BCG day and being so thankful your surname didn’t start with an ‘A’, kazoos in 1961/2, North Road baths and the long plunge, speech day at the Dome, EB or was it EBB Harris for German and the French master whose name I think began with T, the annual football/ running visit to Sandhurst – which had the biggest gym I’d ever seen; and just making the train for home then realising you were on the fast to London; pressing your CCF uniform and trying to get rid of the dimples on your boots without really knowing why, playing frisbee with your naval hat before frisbees were invented; hot & cold rice on the school field; sliding the bolt home on a 303, playing chess & bridge (both badly); evening dance classes with the high school, those chunky maths textbooks one each for geometry, arithmetic & alegbra, the general knowledge quiz competition. Sorry I’d better stop now!

    By Pete H (16/05/2007)
  • How surprising to come across this “blog” when looking for something totally different. Too many memories to jot down just now. You may be interested that there is now a friendly corner of the BHASVIC website devoted to Past & Present at 

    By Ryan Kemp (21/08/2007)
  • I’m still trying to track down copies of the annual school photographs, 61 to 67. Any of you guys out there got any ideas? Many thanks.

    By Robin Finch (08/09/2007)
  • I served from 1959 – 1966. I’m over from Australia at the moment and last night attended a mini-reunion at the home of Patrick Cornish in Sole Street, Kent. Also present, Paul Costello and Bill Catchpole, the latter still a Sussex resident. I’d just like to convey to David Shelton that I was by no means clever enough to have become a Doctor. Instead, the fledgling I.T. industry of the late sixties set me on my way. My most vivid memory of poor David was his receiving a caning on his hands at the infamous Ellen Street primary school for the unforgiveable crime of talking during lunch. How times have changed.

    By John D'Arcy (09/09/2007)
  • I was at the Grammar School from 1965-1972. Have not been in touch with anyone from those days since going off to university. A couple of answers to questions above. The French teacher was ‘Toby’ Turl, not sure whether the spelling is correct. On the subject of old school photographs, I actually got out my copies (1966 and 1971) last night to show my son who had just had taken part in his school photo. Was there ever any truth of the same person appearing on both ends?

    By James Kirkcaldy (11/09/2007)
  • James K, if you are so inclined and can get a scanned image of your 1966 photo emailed to me at I will be more than happy to cover your expenses. Same for anyone else that can email a copy of ’62`,’63’, `64′, ’65,, ’66’ or `67′ photos. Many thanks, Robin Finch.

    By Robin Finch (21/09/2007)
  • I was at the BHSGS from 1959 to 1966 and I stumbled over this page the other evening when for some inexplicable reason I came to think of Harry Brogden. To be honest, he was not a person who made any favourable impression on me during my years at the school. But a man who really did make a very profound impression on me was Jack Smithies and judging by the comments of some of my contemporaries here I see that I am not alone in having been influenced by him. Directly or indirectly I have him to thank for a good many things in my life. He kindled my interest in English literature and in the English language, particularly its more archaic forms. So much so that I applied to do a degree in Anglo-Saxon but (fortunately as it turned out) my grades were not good enough for that. But they were good enough for me to get into a course in Scandinavian studies (Modern Swedish, Old Icelandic, Scandinavian history and that kind of thing) and I ended up doing post-graduate research into Swedish literature in Sweden. I tried my hand at teaching for a couple of years but realised that I was never going to reach the Smithies standard, so I went into medicine and am now Consultant in Respiratory medicine at one of the big hospitals in Stockholm. A long way from Chaucer perhaps, but there is a definite Smithies link. I am also indebted to him for a lifelong interest in architecture. During one of my years in the sixth form he held lessons in the history of architecture as part of an effort to broaden our minds. I have a feeling that the course was really supposed to be about Church architecture and was an alternative to more formal lessons in RI for those of us who were less religiously inclined? He illustrated these fascinating lessons with slides that he had taken himself and I remember particularly one picture he had taken of the interior of a very dark church. When asked about the technical details of how he had taken the photo he said he attributed the successful result to prayer and supplication.

    By Richard Nightingale (02/10/2007)
  • My great grandmother Emma Pope was a nurse at the Military Hospital at the Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School during WWI. I have a couple of photos of her. Her nephew Frederick Owen Pope died on 5 August 1916 in Thiepval , France, and I think there is a memorial plaque to those who died on the current BHASVIC site- can anyone clarify this? I have a photo of this plaque too.

    By Jackie Wickham (28/10/2007)
  • I am thinking of writing about my early life and that of my Mother. An important part of that story will be my years at BHS Grammar from 1948 to 1953. Although I was an abject failure at the school, the values and basic knowledge I learned there have served me well. I became an engineer and joined the IT industry when 4 kilo-bytes was a “a big memory”. Even the hated Latin has served me well learning French and still helps with my Spanish classes. Killer Reeves was always my favourite, maybe because our team of Tony Gibbons, Brian Clasby, myself and another whom I forget, won the interhouse swimming cup for Ireland, Killer’s outfit, in 1952. My contemporaries included Adrian Thorne (a legendary 5 goals for BHA), Pete Walker (TV with Nicholas Parsons), but at 70, the names are long- faded.
    My memories include playing the violin on the stage in front of 500 odd boys, when my music stand fell apart, the CCF army camps at Fingrinhoe, the freezing North Road baths, and Tony Hollis caught shouting racing odds during an unexpected silence in the hymn at morning assembly. I live in Spain now, so research is not so easy, but I’d like to know if the super murals in the hall still exist.
    Peter Courtney

    By Peter Courtney (20/11/2007)
  • I attended BHSGS from 1948 until 1953 and was in the ‘B’ forms throughout. I was in Willett House when we had all the good athletes, Adrian Thorne was in my class and my soccer teams, Derek Marchand was in the ‘A’ stream during my years and both played for Brighton Boys. I was in Jack Smithies first English class when he started teaching at the school, also I was in the naval cadets when he ran it. Peter Courtney must have been a contemporary but I don’t remember. Everyone’s comments have brought back many memories for me.

    By John Manton (01/01/2008)
  • I was at the school from1946 to 1953.
    Does anyone else remember the trenches and the broken down observatory. I have the sheet music to the old school song should anybody be interested. Scout camp near Bolney crossroads – CCf camp at Pirbright- the CCf fife and drum band the first time that Major Randall allowed it to lead the entire force. Ah well I guess these memories are to much in the past for many. ‘Twas a good School

    By Geoffrey Smith (02/01/2008)
  • I joined the School in 1959 after four very happy years at Ellen Street, and didn’t thrive at the Grammar School. I largely wasted my five years there to the despair of my father, who had left school at fourteen. But what a place it was in retrospect! I enjoyed CCF enormously and eventually shot for the School Shooting Eight at Bisley. Another obsession from that time was electric guitars. Does anyone remember the Beat Competition, held in the School Hall one evening in Spring 1964? The School was well represented, by classmate and friend Chris Aylmer’s Nighthawks amongst others. Chris showed me the chords to ‘House Of The Rising Sun’, and from then on academic studies took a back seat and I made a very poor showing at ‘O’ Level that Summer, ending up in The Shell, the special class run by Crabtree for academic no-hopers with less than five passes at ‘O’ Level.
    Talking of the Shooting Eight, a Master whom I have not seen mentioned in these pages but who was as likeable and unflappable as Jack Smithies, was J.B. Williams, who ran the Shooting Eight and who took us on memorable Easter Camps at Bisley in the years of the early ‘Sixties. His patience was sorely tested at times, such as the occasion on which, at Bisley, Partridge (I think), joy-riding a fellow pupil’s sidecar combination (with me in the sidecar), somehow managed to drive smack in to the side of the Mess President’s parked car, causing considerable damage, which must have taken some explaining on J.B.’s part. Oh well, happy days! I’m sorry to hear that Marshall House is apparently to be bulldozed. I never entered it during my years at the School but the Upper Playground will never be the same.

    By Nick Rosewarne (06/01/2008)
  • Just a further comment: I see above that Robin Finch is seeking copies of the ‘annual’ School Photo. My recollection is that the photos were only taken once every four years. Can anyone confirm? I have a copy of the photo for 1962, although in lots of different bits – I only have that because I happened to visit Jack Smithies at the School just before the entire collection of school photos was carted off to some external archive, and thanks to Jack I was able to photograph the 1962 photo (in which I appear) with a hand-held camera, close-up, in about six different sections. This was quite some years ago; I’ve recently scanned the negs as jpegs, and if anyone wants copies on a disc (they’re large files to email, as I’ve cleaned them up on Photoshop), let me know on

    By Nick Rosewarne (10/01/2008)
  • I am writing my memoirs and the grammar school is one chapter. Reading the postings here and also other research has jogged some memories that I would like to share with those who attended from 1948-1953. Boys that I remember are: Adrian Thorne, Ticknor, Fleming, Gibbons, Collins, Palmer, Whitbourne, Halliday, Kirby, Kelly, Brown, Fungus Forbes, Derek Marchand and from the year ahead of me, Clive Yeates, Alan Heaps and Chesty Symmonds. I believe John Latter also attended but I forget which year. I now think I remember Peter Courtney and Tony Hollis. My nickname at school was Charlie, maybe that will jog some peoples memories. There are some teachers names that I can’t remember, maybe someone can help fill theses gaps. I had a French teacher whose name was Mills and also there was a Frenchman who would take the class whose name I can’t remember, his son played in goal for the Brighton Old Grammarians when I played. I don’t remember the name of the chemistry teacher, he was housemaster for Willett and had bifocals. The physics teacher I don’t remember, he was an older man that I remember talked about steering into the skid when driving a car and somehow brought it into a physics lecture. When I played for the colts, a teacher accompanied us, I think he was a gym teacher, can anyone remember his name? I was on the rifle team at school, who was in charge of that?
    I am sure that many of you remember ‘prefects drills’, I managed to be awarded one on my first day in assembly. I also had one for not wearing my cap on the way to school and also for eating a cream bun in the street and thus disgracing the school uniform. A number of times I received the cane from Harry Brogden, talking during assembly and being called out to stand in front of the school in disgrace. Harry would make you bend over and hold the arms of his chair, lift your blazer to remove as much padding as possible, then walk around swishing the cane until finally landing six blows on your behind. I would have six lines of bruises that I dare not let my parents see because I would then receive more punishment. In spite of all that it was a great school and I received a valuable education there.

    By John Manton (15/01/2008)
  • I was at BHGS from 1957 (I started in the 3rd year as I came from Kendal GS – more about that later) and left after a third term in the Sixth in 1962. I had a terrible time when I arrived. I spoke with a strong northern accent so that I was treated as a half-wit – very unfair. My best friend was Chris Wellings and I was pally with Andrew Feast and Terry Wilton – known as ‘Ko Ko’ from his Mikado performance (as a girl). There was a day when Harry Brogden called all the prefects, or it could have been all sixth formers, into the library and warned them about unnatural affections between senior and “pretty” juniors – especially during the rehearsals for the Shakespeare play or G & S. I hated Randall who humiliated me several times, Arnold Berry was a strange man and my form master for several years. I had a brother 2 years below me who went to Cambridge to read History. I was in the CCF band – played the big drum – I loved the CCF especially on arduous training in Wales. I remember Jack Smithies getting legless one night on camp near Aldershot. Monty took the salute at Rushmoor Arena. Oddly enough, I ended up living 5 miles from there for 30 years and visited what is now a derelict stadium and comp site. I taught PE, being inspired by Jelfs, for 8 years then took a couple of degrees in educational topics and research. I ended up in Guildford at AEB (now AQA) as an (international and national) business development manager. I got a doctorate in my last few years at work and I am now retired. I re-married a co-worker – we met in Poland during a major reform project of the Polish education system. I can be contacted on

    By John Francis (21/02/2008)
  • To Jackie Wickham: I have two photos of my great grandfather in hospital in Hove during World War I. I think it is very likely they were taken at the military hospital which is now BHASVIC. If you are interested in seeing the pictures, and I am very intested in verifying them, then please answer this comment.

    By Adam Dennis (24/02/2008)
  • I remember John Manton as a fellow classmate at BH&SGS and would love to hear from him at  I remember all of the names he listed and would add that John Latter was the same year as us but was in the A stream while we were B.  Johnny Rovere was the eccentric French teacher.  I am in touch with several other Old Grammarians and am still a member of the Past & Present Association.

    By Michael Robbie (24/02/2008)
  • In response to John/Charlie Manton’s requests:-
    H. R. Mills (Masher) was the French master who was approaching retirement age and not averse to a lunchtime sherry. He also was Second Master and the writer of the words of the school song – Absque Labore Nihil. A very respected man.
    A bit more on Mike Robbie’s mention of Johnny Rover. He was an energetic man in his seventies who smelled of Iodex and used desks to propel himself up the aisle between the desks. He had no problem with discipline. It was rumoured that he, holding one boy by the ankles, shook him outside the window that overlooked the southside bus stop. That wasn’t you, Charlie?
    On a more serious note, Jack Smithies told us that Mr. Rover was awarded the Croix de Guerre (3 times?) in the First World War and that his discharge papers stated that he would make the perfect revolutionary. His son, Dennis Palmer, did play for the Old Grams.
    T.S. Alexander was the Head Chemistry Master. He ruled the laboratory areas with extreme authority by voice alone and very military bearing. I often wondered why he wasn’t in the corps.
    ‘Stooge’ Williams was Head Physics Master but I am not sure how he acquired this nickname. He could be temperamental on occasions and kept a set of children’s wooden building blocks to vent his frustration if confronted by what he perceived as idiocy. Standing on the Menai Bridge spitting was one of his stories.
    The equable (Capt.) J.B. Williams, Latin Master, was the coach of the CCF shooting team. Incidentally, he was a colonel and saw active service during the war.
    My comment, we owe a lot to these dedicated teachers.
    Hopefully my memory hasn’t been playing tricks.
    Good luck with your memoirs.

    By Dudley Seifert (25/02/2008)
  • I was at the school from 1944 to 1952 in  Chichester House under Stan Cave. I remember many names from the past: Mike Till (he was Friar Tuck), Warwick Whitaker was Little John, Mike Jordan was Will Scarlett and needless to say I was Robin Hood. The woods around Withdean reverberated to our calls to arms. Mike Robbie, Dudley Seifert, Don Tidey, Eric Gill, Roy Sinclair some of these I was at Kindergarten and Prep School with. The list is endless. Many memorable memories. I was the school captain the year we won the Inter School Chess Championships beating Varndean in the finals. I remember Les Zurich and Newman being in the team – 2 great players. Being asked to leave the VIth form conference at Roedean in the summer of ’52 with Derek Gardner (conduct unbecoming). The inevitable confrontation with Harry Brogden the next day. I was involved in a melee in the school refectory: Six of the Best from Barron, the giant Headmaster whose swing plane was longer than Tiger Woods – it was painful.
    Using the telescope in the Chemistry lab to spy on my favourite ‘friends’, the girls of Winstons at PT. You guessed it, caught by Williams and another visit to the torture chamber dark and grim. In between, I got through the academic curriculum, and as a Sea Cadet learned to sail at Shoreham Harbour under Smithies’ excellent guidance. Finally had many exciting times representing the school at tennis (Woolven was my coach), soccer and athletics.  Met Di Burnett from Varndean (great tennis player) the one of my dreams, at a VIth Form dance at Brighton and Hove High School for Girls, Montpelier Road in December, 1951. At the end of the day I never wanted to leave the school. My instinct told me my happy but irresponsible life would end.  Always follow your instincts. The moving finger writes and having writ moves on etc – how true.

    By Paul Tomsett (28/02/2008)
  • Having recently discovered this site, your jottings have brought back many memories. I was at BHSGS between 59 – 66 – a contemporary of Dudley Seifert. DS was a friend outside school and I remember he and I exploring the grounds of Sylvan Hall near his home. Three masters who haven’t been mentioned were Charlie Toll, Doc Harris and Pewtress. Charlie taught me maths up to the fifth form, but his ability to maintain order in class was zero, how we ever learnt anything I shall never understand – but I did get my O level. Doc was the biology master & sometime soccer referee. I came across him a couple of times when playing for the OG’s in the County League. He taught me A level biology, carrying out practical classes in a broom-cupboard masquerading as a lab. The sink was always filled with formalin and dog-fish – no fume-cupboards (or H and S) in those days. Deep breaths required before you went in. Pewtress ruled the gym area with an iron-hand (I think he played cricket for Lancs), although being relatively proficient at football and cricket got on well with him. That is, until I ventured onto the tennis court. He hurtled across the top quad and ordered me off the court on the grounds it would ruin my cricket. “If you want to play in my cricket team, keep off that court”. I never played tennis again! I’ve got two photos of the 1 XI, one from 55(?) – Geoff Downs was captain. The other is from 56(?) and because all signed that photo I can name the other ten: Fane, Fisher, Hanley, Langridge (now deceased), Swadling, Pountain, Igglesden, Harding, Gillingham and Warner. Besides the two school photos of 50 and 54, I’ve a rather sepia photo from the Sussex Daily News dated 13.11.1951 of Speech Day. Some receiving their prizes were (I think); Cranfield, Hunt, Tomsett, Lawrence, Beal (a fine swimmer), Shaw (musician), Hoare (centre-half in the 1 XI) and Dove (the younger). Ah, where are they now?

    By Alan English (14/03/2008)
  • Charlie didn’t do a good job for you, Alan. You were at the school 1949 to 1956.  You were very modest about your football skills. I remember you from your days at the Downs School (?) when you and Standing were considered a formidable pair. I hope Pharmacology did you proud.  Feel free to contact me at

    By Dudley Seifert (17/03/2008)
  • This is in response to Peter Courtney’s query as to whether the School Hall murals still exist. They certainly do Peter. I attended the Past & Present annual reunion luncheon in 2006 and am pleased to report that the murals and the war memorial stained glass windows are still there. The only change that I could detect was that the platform at the Dyke Road end of the hall on which Harry Brogden held court is no longer there. Incidentally Peter, you and I were classmates and I do remember your unfortunate accident during your performance at the music competition but also recollect that you recovered with aplomb and received a hearty applause. If you do remember me feel free to contact me at

    By Michael Robbie (17/03/2008)
  • What a great blog. Many thanks to Nick Rosewarne who has supplied me with copies of the `62 school photo. Still trying to track down a copy of the `66 photo you guys. And to Jeremy Bushell who recently contacted me via email, please do so again – (my computer crashed before I backed up your email address).

    By Robin Finch (22/03/2008)
  • Have just rediscovered this site 2 years after writing my earlier contribution in April 2006. Fabulous to read names of some 1959-1966 contemporaries like Richard Nightingale, Nick Rosewarne and David Shelton. I can vividly recall Richard Nightingale being “the boy who threw the tomato” in Bill Bone’s French class one day. Later on Richard developed his improbable “bad boy” reputation to cult hero status by bringing bogus “notes from the headmaster” to Horatio Middleditch’s Saturday morning Maths classes. Poor old Middleditch, well past normal retiring age, always accepted these as the genuine article and would unhesitatingly read aloud the “headmaster’s message” to class. Content was always BBC comedy script writer standard!  Great too to hear from Dudley Seifert and Alan English, both classmates of my brother Godfrey Butler who sadly passed away in May 2006. They and others will remember Godfrey as “the boy who broke the bridge” that is the black-painted, steel pedestrian bridge in the vicinity of the “old” gymnasium and “old” science labs. Dudley Seifert is quite correct in describing my brother as a large, hefty chap with big feet. Whether the young Godfrey’s falling through the floor of the bridge was a result of sub-standard construction or some destructive intent will remain a mystery. I do know that he was very proud of the achievement which he chortled about throughout his life and was mentioned by his eldest daughter in her eulogy at his funeral service.
    To Robin Finch, I have a framed copy of the 1966 school photograph on our bedroom wall. Seeing that you live in New South Wales, I’ll try contacting your email address in next few days or contact me   Happy memories indeed!

    By Graham Butlerr (24/03/2008)
  • Thank you, Michael Robbie, for showing me this site. I have certainly enjoyed reading all the “blogs” from Old Boys posted on it so far and can particularly relate to the interesting snippets on Marshall House and Jack Smithies. I was at the school from 1952 to 1959 and well remember “big boys” like Seifert, Fane, Henderson and Blundell, to name but a few. I was known as “Moran” whilst at school for reasons I will not explain here. Suffice to say, such family anomalies were by no means the norm in those days! My nickname was “Sprune” because of my apparent liking for prunes. Like many other contributors, I too look back on my days at the school with a great deal of pride and affection, though my academic achievement could have been better. It is true that Harry Brogden was quite a strict Headmaster but my perception is that he and Wendy were like surrogate parents to many of us boarders in Marshall House. Neither did I excel in sport, with the possible exception of cross-country running, which I came to enjoy. I was also privileged to be the official scorer for the Cricket 1st XI for a couple of years and well remember those names mentioned by Alan English in his piece: Langridge, Pountain (also deceased), Henderson, Igglesden, Harding, Gillingham (Mark’s brother, J.B.), Powell-Jackson and Warner. A couple of memories that I have, not mentioned by others, are: Rodney Stone – he was ill with TB and isolated for a time in a sanatorium at Robertsbridge. Alistair Tapsell and I (both keen scouts) cycled to Robertsbridge and back one Sunday to visit him. Rodney, who was an Old Boy himself, sadly passed away in 2006 at the age of 72. His obituary was in the 2006 issue of Past & Present magazine. Scout camps near Bolney Crossroads were mentioned by Geoffrey Smith – I also recall those camps and also that Hendry Bruce (another notable French Master of the time) used to live in a cottage near there. The 1st XI cricket team were invited to his house when playing the Old Grammarians on the Bolney village green. Hammer and Sickle on the weather vane: I recall one Sunday morning waking to find that some daring souls (I’m not sure we ever knew who!) had hoisted the red Soviet flag on the bell tower. Does anybody else remember this? Lynch Law: a number of prefects, myself included, were kept behind at the end of term by Brogden and told to write an essay on lynch law. This followed an incident when a group of senior boys took the law into their own hands and shaved the head of an anti-social pupil who we saw getting away with unacceptable behaviour (no ASBOs in those days!). My younger brothers, Keith and Clive, also attended the school.
    I am currently the Membership Secretary of the Past & Present Association, which succeeded the Old Boys’ Association (OBA) when the school changed to BHASVIC, and I have posted a page on this site relating to our activities.  Please take a look and join us!

    By Bruce Rawlings (21/04/2008)
  • Reading all the comments and memories has caused a torrent of happy grammar school memories flooding back. I was at BHSGS from 64 to 71 and from around 67 in the boarding house so I well remember Robin Finch who has contributed a few times also a boarder from those days. I remember Saturday morning school for the first year before that was abolished but caps weren’t until the 3rd year. I was a year below Robin Finch (how did you end up in NW Australia?!) with Colin Warburton, Brian Ricketts, John Goodsell, John Coote, Trevor Coe, Stephen Gilmore Ellis, Stephen Chalice, Pollard, Ian Grey, Sam Grace, and others whose names are fading. Memories of ‘Prep’ in the refectory for the 3rd, 4th and 5th years from 7-8.30pm. What a great 6th form common room we had which held such great folk nights and discos. Dave Acres, the history teacher, often sang at the folk nights, talented giutarist that he was, and an even better pianist, Oxford Blue footballer, just a lousy history teacher! Sorry Dave – you were quite good actually singing your own history songs to us in class! He used to regularly give us an essay test in class. I thought I had the easy answer by pre-writing the essay before hand and switching it in for the blank sheet given out at the start. It worked twice and then he spotted the staple holes didn’t match all the other sheets he collected! Whoops – Saturday detention!
    Bill Bone was a wonderful entertainer and often lapsed into telling us stories of all kinds which we loved as it got away from the 18 (16?) irregular French verbs he endlessly lectured us on, to no avail. His sleight of hand with a piece of chalk was also worth the price of admission!
    Oh the House Music competition days (I was Marshall House Music captain!), swimming at the victorian North Road Baths in the winter and getting 6d worth of chips after and a pickled onion. Bertie Blows, Wickson, PE with the pre Wales national team manager, laughing as Mike Yaxley would attempt a shot at goal to show off and slice it off his foot, Dim Jim, Killer Reeve, Dam Randall, Dogface Patterson, Middleditch who looked like the oldest person in the world but a sweet man I think, and then, in around 1970, the arrival of the first ever female teacher at BHSGS (Maths). I can’t remember her name now, a nice woman but she couldn’t cope with the fifth year set 4 Maths as we were by then beyond hope.
    Music teachers Albert Chapman and then later his succesor John Gardiner, both wonderful dedicated musicians. John Gardiner drove a group of us in the school minibus all the way to Vienna and back for the Mozart Festival! What a trip and dedication from him. Albert Chapman wrote some funny arrangements for piano of popular tunes in the style of classical composers like “whose got a lovely bunch of coconuts” in the style of Beethoven – he would play them now and again. I rescued the manuscript of these after he died which would have otherwise have been thrown away I’m sure and I still have them.
    In the boarding house we had the run of the sports facilities after school in the evenings after Prep so 3-a-side football and basketball in the gym went on until lights out. Pocket money in Marshall House was 4 shillings I think and then from the 4th year 8 shillings (40p now!) a week weekly handed out on a Saturday afternoon by Rod Stone. Ian Maclean looked after us with his wife known as Ma Mac (a delightfully posh woman) and their attractive daughter who Marshall House boys secretly (?) lusted after although she was many years our senior!
    CCF afternoons as 303s sounded down the end of the field and the Corps of Drums practiced their marching manouvres, Gilbert and Sullivan light operas and playing a fairy in Iolanthe in the first year before your voice had broken. Geology field trips to the Isle of Wight in that minibus again, and thinking back to CCF activities one of which was sending us off in pairs in CCF uniform to hitch hike as far as you could get and back in 24 hours! Somehow Colin Moules and myself got up to Yorkshire and back again. Everyone thought we were in the Army so lifts weren’t a problem. A stamped piece of paper from a local police station proved where we had been but somebody else got further and beat us.  Sneaking down to the Good Companions pub at the Seven Dials even though we were only 17.
    One memory few would know about was one evening whilst playing football on the school field we couldn’t believe our eyes as many of the then Chelsea football team jogged on to the field followed by TV cameras for a pre match (possibly Cup Final) warm up which would have been around 1969’ish.
    Yes, that was certainly a well rounded education with some wonderful teachers who scared us and delighted us. Perhaps I’ll think of more later.

    By Paul Preager (24/05/2008)
  • Having read Paul Preager’s entry, I’m sorry but I couldn’t resist putting in more of my trivia. Paul, were you in the same dormitory as myself and a poor unfortunate lad called Stephen Hopley? If you’re out there, Stephen, I now apologise 40 odd years later. Anway it was about 1 am in the dormitory and a few of us were chatting quietly away when the subject of restless sleep came up. I suggested a good cure would be to balance a glass of water on one’s forehead. As we who were discussing it were awake we naturally had to choose a subject who was asleep. Enter stage left, Stephen Hopley. He was snoring so, returning from the washroom, I gently placed a full glass of water on his forhead and we all sat back awaiting the outcome. After some five minutes during which he didn’t move a muscle, it was suggested that we call him and wake him up. Stephen, Steve!! HOPLEY… still no response. Deciding that we couldn’t wait all night to put the subject to the test (we had to get some sleep), I returned to his bed side and with my mouth no more than an inch from his ear, I took my deepest breath…. fire FIRE! FIRE! This had the required effect of waking him up but I’d overlooked the fact it would also bring the Duty House Master from his room below, a period of about 15 seconds on previous occasions. I was hitting my bed at about the 12 second mark and was under the sheets when all the lights came on to reveal a soundly sleeping dorm except for a poor bewildered Hopley sitting up in bed completely soaked. “What is the meaning of this?” screamed the House Master (the rest of us now apparently just waking and taking in the scene) to be met with Hopley’s immortal words: “I don’t rightly know…. I think I’ve had a little accident!” Hopley, if you’re out there, I’m sorry mate.
    One summer Saturday morning it was deemed a good idea to go canoeing off the beach. This involved the manual transport of two heavy wood-framed canvas-covered canoes from the CCF store to the beach. The usual method was for them to be placed on a two wheel hand cart and, with a group of ten, wheeled down to the shore and afterwards labouriously pulled back up. 35 mins there, 1hr 15 mins back. This morning however we could only round up five participants. No problem – more canoeing time for the rest of us. We set out past the Seven Dials and down to the beach. “Down” was the operative word. It began to dawn on us at this stage why it was usually ten boys that managed the cart. A third of the way down the hill we were in no doubt that, whereas when we started out we were taking the cart, it was clear the cart was now taking us. Feet skidding and hanging on for dear life we managed to keep the cart centred and away from the rapidly accelerating parked cars. Fortunately no traffic along the side road, but rapidly approaching was the crossroads to one of the main Brighton shopping precincts. The cart was now a beast unto itself, snorting wildly from side to side on its downhill mission to the sea, with its cargo of two canoes and five screaming kids.  Between eyes full of tears (it was the wind) I noted that the welcoming Green of the traffic light changed to RED. The thought occurred to me how anybody could think that a RED light was going to stop this monster. I suppose it was the combined hysterical screaming of five kids doing about thirty miles an hour that attracted the attention of the copper on duty at the junction. I’ll give him his due, he only went white for a minute before he summed up the situation, stepped out into the road and held up all east/west traffic whilst we thundered across the junction, us taking the time to give him a weak smile and a wave. Thereafter the slope petered out and with hot shoes we finally got our beast under control. A great morning canoeing was had by all…….oh, by the way, the copper was waiting for us on the way back. I remember having to explain to Harry Brogden something about Inertia….

    By Robin Finch (21/06/2008)
  • I was at BHSGH 1953-60, have just come across this website, and thought I would add my pennyworth.
    I concur with everything that has been said about Jack Smithies, a supremely civilised and humane man who seemed to be able to inspire without the aid of shouting or detentions. He was my form master in the Third Year, and our paths never crossed again, but once when I was in the sixth form he stopped me in the corridor and said, ‘There’s something on at the Theatre Royal you might like’ so I went and it was Under Milk Wood. My version of the manhole cover story is that he wrote a spoof article for The Times about the weirdest hobby he could think of, and that evening the ‘Tonight’ programme invited him on. I think he declined. Another teacher whose erudition Jack himself held in high regard was E.B.Harris (‘Eb’, to distinguish him from ‘Doc’ Harris), whose subjects were French and German and who allegedly knew the name of every possible type of grass in all three languages, besides Latin. He taught me only for one year, and I can’t say it was terrifically inspiring, but one respected him for his low-key delivery and general tolerance of diversity, or perhaps it was simply indifference. A third undoubted ‘intellectual’ on the staff was Stephen Pratt, otherwise known as Nolly (noilly prat – ho! ho!). I think of all the teachers he had the greatest influence on me, not just in his subject but by generally widening my horizons to include modern English music – he was a great Britten fan – and modern novels. He gave me free run of his collection and I have never lost the habit.
    Harry Brogden was a strange man. I believe he was a twin, and like several other twins I have known since was intensely ambitious. People, including boys and I suspect his staff, were assessed as to whether they would ‘amount’ to anything. I was always puzzled how he reconciled his blatant partisanship of the boarding house with fair treatment for everyone else, but somehow I never doubted he would. He had some weird ideas – he once tried to persuade us in an RI class (RI (instruction) then, not RE) that the escape of the British forces from Dunkirk was an example of a modern miracle. In 1959, at the time of the centenary, he launched an appeal to parents for funds. Fine, but the names of donors and the amount they had signed up for were posted up in the refectory, which I thought rather bad form. Then again, my brother broke his arm in a gym accident, and he sent a letter home which said – and it was so funny that I can remember it pretty well exactly – ‘if it is any consolation I can say that at his age I broke my arm in a very similar way. It was due to my own carelessness; I would not dare to suggest that the same was true in his case’ Nowadays with anybody suing anybody about the slightest thing, it might have made sense, but in 1959 nobody I knew thought like that. On the other hand I always found him fair-minded and encouraging. And it was in his classes (not physics) that I first came into contact with relativity and quantum theory.
    I.S.Maclean I remember with affection. He was a thoroughly decent man in a somewhat Daily Telegraph way, with a capacity to put up with the most arrant youthful nonsense with good humour. We thought he was angling for the deputy headship. I found out years later from a younger ex-pupil that he had taken over the boarding house, and the main thing that came across was that Mrs Maclean had been a bit of a tyrant. I can only suppose she did not have the tolerance her husband had learned on the job. Another easy-going master who found discipline easy was Stan Cave. I mention this because some time later I met someone who had been at the school when Stan had just arrived. He said they gave him 6 months in the job because he could not keep order. Just goes to show it can all come right with experience.
    Other staff I look back on fondly include ‘Dim Jim’, aka P.R.James, a one-time PE teacher who had moved to maths, ‘Killer’ Reeve, the art master, who once you got to know him was both good fun and erudite, and Robin (?) Jelfs who although I was a very sloppy sportsperson was never less than encouraging and positive. Indeed looking at this list, I think the common capacity of all of them was the ability to find something positive in even the most sloppy pupils, among whom I am now ashamed to say I was one. The contrast was with teachers like ‘Rastus’ Randall (then the head of the CCF), who never concealed his view of sloppiness (but for him I would have done AL English), Arnold Berry, who seemed unable to manage his classes without heading the detention league, and E.S.Dickinson, in the junior school, who took a dislike to me, probably on very good grounds, and never let me forget it (and he liked to tell the whole class how much better things had been before the war, when parents had had to pay fees and the boys were therefore so much more motivated. With kids they approved of these people were fine, but if not, not. The sad thing is that I have sometimes caught myself behaving in the same way, which only increases my respect for those teachers who managed not to. One man whose name has not come up so far is Captain Wilkins, known to us for some reason as Pug. He ran the CCF armory and was a general factotum – he supervised the school dinners etc. I believe he also ran a highly-regarded boys club over Patcham way. One day travelling home by train I found myself in conversation with a fellow passenger, a vicar as it happened. He saw my school uniform and told me he had been at the school before the war, and indeed had been a contemporary of Jack Smithies. He told me that several staff had been called up, along with the school gardener. When they returned, the gardener had an army rank higher than any of the academic staff, and this was Captain Wilkins. I don’t know if there’s any truth in this – the chap who told it to me, vicar or no, struck me as someone who might not be able to resist spicing up a good story. Perhaps someone else out there knows more.
    Overall I would say that BHSGH did very well for me, and if it did not do better it was my fault for not taking full advantage of everything it offered. There were some daft aspects. We were offered a choice of Chemistry and German in the Third Year, and if ever there was a language useful for Chemists it is surely German. The ‘and Sussex’ of the title was a joke. Boys who had to come in by train were given no concessions – witness the school on Saturday mornings. Later on they built a new Grammar School at Haywards Heath. And I occasionally thought some members of the Boarding House thought they were at St Dominic’s or Tom Brown’s Rugby. Looking back it was a different age. The war had ended only a decade earlier. Many of the teachers had been in it and modern nostalgia for service life had not yet set in. Even some of the German teachers openly hated the Germans; French teachers despised the French. Yet anti-semitism was fairly open – the Germans were wicked because they had started two wars, not because they had murdered Jews. Brighton had a large Jewish population; there were a lot of Jewish boys at the school, but in my time at least Harry Brogden never made one of them a prefect. But all in all, while it is a cliché nowadays to speak of the buttoned-up ’50s liberated by the free spirits of the ’60s, there was certainly as much tolerance of diversity and eccentricity as there is today, if not more. Nobody I came across scorned those who would now be called ‘nerds’, who were interested in astronomy, or the Third Programme, or even their school work. ‘Swot’ was an insult, but one tinged with a grudging respect.

    By John Critchley (13/09/2008)
  • I was in the same class as Jim Critchley. I remember him as a most talented footballer. Our PE teacher was Brian Jelfs. Ex RAF – and a national basketball player. There was an issue of the “London Illustrated News” which featured the school. Photos of the Cadets Corps band ( I was playing the Bass drum), actions photos in the gym – etc. My parents were very proud of this. Do you remember the graffitti on the School pavillion roof – “Don’t forget democracy dictactor!” A J Berry was my form master – what a strange man. I was always in fear of him. I loved the CCF. It was able to free my aspirations. I would like to hear from the Wilton brothers and The St Johns.

    By John Francis (25/09/2008)
  • I too was in the same year as John Critchley (and Ian St John and John Morgan and Pongo Palmer and…). Correct me if I am wrong John but I think we there from 1955 – 1962. In 1953 I was a young Canadian taken there after the war by my Canadian father who had been here during the war). We returned briefly in 1953 for the coronation and then permanently in 1955 which is when I started in 1c at BHSGS. After a term they decided the Canadian was not quite as thick as they thought and I was promoted to 1b (Mr Milton) and the following year to 2a (Mr Maclean). I coped (just) with a situation where many of my contemporaries had a fair grounding in Latin before they arrived. Thanks to Hoss Ryder I eventually ‘got it’. I have fond recollections of many of the names mentioned in the accounts above but my abiding memory is of being in the first intake of Duke of Edinburgh Award candidates. Killer Reeve took us all off to the Brecon Beacons where the harsh realities of wet CCF issue boots made their presence felt. I spent the great majority of my time at BHSGS believing the staff (at least most of them) were closely related to God so it was interesting to read John’s insightful recollections of their other sides. I agree with all that has been said of Jack Smithies. He was an inspiration to all of us from reciting the Lords Prayer in Anglo Saxon to producing the Gilbert and Sullivan Christmas operas. Does anyone remember the Smithies entertainments at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Dyke Road? BHSGS gave all that a good school should be asked to provide. Those of us who were privileged to be there owe it much.

    By David Warr (18/11/2008)
  • I remember, whilst in Brighton, an Adrian Thorne who then moved to Plymouth, I think (football). What happened to Adrian?

    By Margret Gant (25/11/2008)
  • I was at the school from 1959 until 1966. For contemporaries who cannot remember me I was (and still am) vertically challenged in modern jargon. Naturally the double barrelled name was ignored and I was sneeringly referred to as Jones.
    Previous contributors have stirred my memory. I will try not to repeat what has already been said but to add my own recollections. Despite the masters nicknames all the masters were respected and to some extent feared for the consequences of misbehaving. I never had the misfortune to be caned by Harry Brogden though I am sure I had many detentions. I only recall one caning and that was for one boy who had his hair too long – over his collar. Much has been said about Killer Reeve and his tendency to throw objects at boys. On one occasion I recall he threw a pair of compasses which speared into a desk between the outstretched fingers of a boy! Dickinson has also been mentioned. I remember him for feeling jacket shoulders when it had been raining – damp shoulders was evidence of playing in the playground in the rain – not allowed. And Killer Reeve was in charge of the weekly trip to North Road swimming baths. I was a non-swimmer and hated these visits, The austere Victorian baths and the overpowering smell of chlorine was too much for me. I recall Killer Reeve throwing me in (the shallow end) one time. By the time I reached the sixth form and attended his art classes all was forgotten. As to Joe Woolvern we always joked that it was no wonder he could not hear properly with something in his ear. Doris has also been mentioned – one of the ladies in the canteen. Unfortunately she had a malformed eye which prompted her to be nicknamed Dead -Eye Doris.
    I did not excel at CCF (Army). Indeed I failed the parade at which uniforms were given out. Exercises were quite fun. Firing blanks at cow pats on Ditchling Common. An all-night exercise on Ashdown Forest with the challenge of finding our way back to Ditchling Common ended in failure. My co-soldier and I got lost and had to be recovered at Hartfield by my mother and driven back.
    I have both the 1962 and 1966 school photographs which I have scanned. I would be pleased to email to anyone who may be interested. I have probably gone for far too long but perhaps these boyhood recollections will spark some more.

    By Kingsley Roger-Jones (28/11/2008)
  • Whoops – I have just realised that I should have been speaking of Jim Critchley and not John. Therefore John’s dates are right! Anyone know of Jim’s whereabouts?

    By David Warr (01/12/2008)
  • I have scanned the 1950 school photograph and will be pleased to share it with anyone who requests it. Just e-mail me at

    By Michael Robbie (07/12/2008)
  • Margret Gant asks about Adrian Thorne. Half a dozen of us from Ellen Street school in Hove (actually) passed the “Scholarship” in 1948 and joined BHASGS. The others included Michael Robbie, Chris (Ciffy) Metcalfe and Mike Philips. For several years, Adrian, Ciffy and I were close friends, and spent our summers together exploring the Downs around Hangleton and the old Dyke Railway line. Adrian joined B&H Albion and made his mark on history by scoring 5 goals, ensuring the club’s promotion to Div 2. I married, joined the RAF and started a family and lost touch with my schoolmates. I’ve been trying to contact Adrian for a couple of years without success. The last time I met his brother Keith (more than 25 years ago), he gave me an address in Twickenham, but it hasn’t worked. Take a look at:

    By Peter Courtney (17/12/2008)
  • I was at BHASGS from 1964 to 1971 in the same form as Paul Praeger, with Roger Wickson as our form master in 1W and 2W. My surname at that time was not Dean but Muggleston; I later changed it for reasons that shouldn’t need spelling out! It was one of several factors that gave me rather a hard time, though I survived in the end. I can still remember the form list, or most of it: Anthony, Baker, Brill, Brine, Clifton, Coe, Downton, Durrant, Elliott, Foster, Gilmore-Ellis, Gross, Hunt, Langley, Long, Mist, Morley, Muggleston, Newham, Praeger, Ramsey, Tighe, Walsom, Warburton, Weeks and Wellings. I can remember some trivial things about them — for instance, Walsom was perpetually covered in ink! Weeks was the son of Alan Weeks the sports commentator. Roger Wickson ended his career as HM of King’s School, Chester. He was an immensely kind man who went out of his way to help me when I was hospitalized for a serious operation at the start of my second year. The first female teacher of Maths referred to was called Mrs Smith. Had I been taught by her earlier, I might well have passed O level, but she arrived too late, and left too early (to have a baby). JAS was the greatest influence on my life as on so many others. I wrote some recollections about him after he died, which were printed in ‘Past and Present’. When he heard I was going to follow him into English teaching he remarked, ‘I’ve only got one piece of advice. Many people will tell you that a teacher has to stand on his dignity. There’s only one thing to do with your dignity and that is to TRAMPLE ALL OVER IT!’ Also in the English Dept in my time were Randall, Hancock and Pascoe, the last-named a wistfully melancholic man who knew he was less than inspiring. I once fell asleep in one of his lessons and he said to the others, ‘No, don’t wake him, up, he’s having a much better time than you are!’ As well as the other missiles mentioned, Killer Reeve also threw blackboard compasses; he was a seriously dangerous man who taught us nothing about Art. The big event in his lessons was having to line up the desk so that one of the corners was aligned with a stud driven into the floor. Another Smithies aphorism was, ‘When I come into a room my pupils dilate, but when Dick Reeve comes in, his pupils contract!’ remember many of the other teachers others have mentioned. Paterson had some odd turns of phrase, such as, when singling out a pupil for rebuke, ‘Boy, stand on your hind legs!’ I was in two school plays, ‘Macbeth’ in which my friend Martin Thomspon played Lady Macbeth and Andrew Seear (who went on to an acting career, as did the rather later Mike Simkins) was Macbeth; and Richard III in which Martin was Richard and I was the Duke of Buckingham. Nobody has mentioned the Lit & Deb, of which I was Secretary in the Sixth Form. It was an unpredictable society but at its best produced some really entertaining public speaking. I was a disaster in the CCF (RAF section), nearly shooting the instructor on the one occasion we were taken on a rifle range, and nearly crashing the glider on the one occasion we were taken to Shoreham airport. I was told I was the only boy in the history of the Corps ever to fail Basic Proficiency twice! I was also on a charge every week for not blancoing my belt (I did, but it always came off by Friday afternoon). I could go on at greater length but this may be enough for now. Best wishes to any who would like them!

    By Paul Dean (22/12/2008)
  • I am trying to track down a photograph I remember hung in the gymn of the First Eleven football team – of which I was a member. I forget the exact year but was either 1946,1947 or 1948. My team mates were Rogers, Dilly Bedson and Hearne to mention just four. Also, anyone knowing the whereabouts of Paddy Macaulay circa (1940-1946), please let me know.

    By Jeremy Hargreaves (22/12/2008)
  • Having read articles by other old boys I feel encouraged to write my own. My time at the Grammar School (1955-61) had many highs and lows. I always enjoyed French lessons with Messrs Bruce and Turl, and English Language with Jack Smithies. Having arrived at the Grammar School from a very small church school, I felt completely lost for the first two years. I was also the youngest in my class, my birthday being in August. Fortunately, Harry Brogden realised that it would be better if I repeated the second year. To this day, I remember the utter humiliation that I felt when it was announced that “Harvey will remain in 2C for another year.” While my contemporaries moved on to the third year I returned to my classroom in the second form to be consoled by my new classmates. Fortunately, Mr Brogden’s decision proved to be wise indeed and I never really looked back. Upon leaving school I worked in banking and insurance for much of my career. However, there were two intervals during which I felt happier. In 1967 I applied for a position at a secondary school in Brighton, assisting in French and English. The following year I applied for a post at a school in Valence, France, where I managed to improve my knowledge of the French language. Upon returning to the UK, however, instead of going on to a College of Education, I entered St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, near Guildford, and began a course of studies for the Roman Catholic Priesthood. It was a wonderful experience, and one which taught me a great deal. However, during this time I met my wife, Sally. We married eventually in 1979 (on Bastille Day) and now have three children – each with a university degree – and three grandchildren.
    For many years after leaving school I kept in touch with Dave Dombroskie and Richard Tarrant. Dave worked for the European Commission in Brussels until retiring and settling in La Rochelle where, I believe, he still lives. I see Richard occasionally and he still lives locally.
    I retired finally almost a year ago and have never been busier! Although I was never ordained as a Priest, in 1997 I became a Permanent Deacon in the Catholic Church and I am privileged to assist in my local Parish. I am always interested in reading about other old boys, particularly those who were known to me personally, so I am grateful for this website!

    By JRS Harvey (known as Rick/Richard) (08/01/2009)
  • Many thanks to Peter (Courtney) for his help with information, I found the article re. Adiran Thorne most interesting. In one of my searches I found whilst under A T (Sports) Therapies the following: I do hope this could be helpful to you Peter and good luck in your search!!

    By Margret Gant (08/01/2009)
  • Paul Dean has jogged my memory with his reference to Roger Dickson his form master. I was in Marshall boarding House the year ahead but Gilmore -Ellis, Paul Praeger, Colin Warburton, Trevor Coe were all residents in our dormitory. Mr Dickson I remember as a cricket fanatic which we turned to our advantage. Whenever Dickson was duty House master after dormitory lights out, if he ever caught us talking or out of bed, providing we were quick off the mark and swore we were only discussing some aspect of cricket or practicing an overarm he would relent and let us off with a warning as opposed to the slipper across the backside (mind you that didn’t work the night we soaked Stephen Hopley and he was on duty – see earlier related incident).
    I seem to remember he was also mad keen on canal longboats and wrote a number of books on the subject.
    I particularly remember that he did purchase one during our time at school and the rumour was it was a bit worse for wear and required extensive work. He was at lunch one day in the Marshall House dining room (the masters and other staff sat on a slightly raised platform within earshot of the boys at the 4 a side tables) I think he was a bit sweet on the daughter of Mr MacLean (the Deputy Head) sitting beside him at the master’s table. A conversation developed between Wickson and MacLean’s daughter regarding the merits of canal boats (eagerly being eavesdropped by us lads nearest to the master’s table). The subject of the poor state of Wickson’s boat arose, when the daughter was heard to remark “Why did you want to buy a stupid old boat anyway?” Well to say the air turned blue was an understatement. Wickson lost his cool, turned bright red and verbally let fly, before storming out of the dining room. The only time I saw him lose his temper. Of course, this was a major event for us boys to see the adults squabbling. We dined out on it for days.

    By Robin Finch (06/03/2009)
  • We are organising an informal reunion in Brighton for Old Boys who joined in the first year in 1948. The date is July 3 (the day before the formal 150th anniversary) starting at 17.00. We are not announcing the venue in open forum, so if you are interested, contact me on

    By Peter Courtney (03/04/2009)
  • I am the forementioned Adrian Elliott in Paul (Muggleston) Dean’s comment and I have only just found out about this site – I moved away from Brighton a few years ago now.  I remember all of the names listed and certainly remember sharing similar experiences in the CCF; blanco, brasso and moth repellent – what a combination. I also seem to remember a schoolboy version of The Goons, a daily activity in the lower playground (adjacent to the cloakrooms) involving Paul, myself and another boy (his name escapes me for a minute, or was it Foster?).  I never had a problem with Dick Reeves; I think he knew I was a lost cause – I seem to remember him venting his spleen on a poor unfortunate Simon Flexer; something to do with excess hair cream on a hot day and dripping onto RRR’s desk!
    BHASGS and I parted company at the end of my 5th year and I went into the big bad world with but 3 ‘O’ levels.  Suffice to say this put me in good stead with employers!
    But here I am 41 years later with PC skills and a grown up family. My thanks to the old teachers who made me what I am today – the school motto stills rings in my ears.  I still have my school photo from 1966 – neatly framed and hanging in my hallway. Most callers these days think I bought it from a market stall, but I can hold my head up and say – “No, I am that boy there!” – the surly looking one who had better things to do.  Does anyone else remember the alleged incident where one boy ran from the left of the school photo group, raced the clockwork camera and also appeared on the right side of the group – or am I dreaming?  Thanks Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar, I appreciate you more now than I did at the time!

    By Adrian Elliott (07/04/2009)
  • I was at BHSGS from 1945 (the year the School became a State School) until 1953 and have many memories like those previously expressed. I started in 2J with Mr Minton and finished in 3rd year Science 6th as a school prefect. Masher Mills taught me French and somehow I passed my O level. Masher’s comment was “Hicks, you passed, but I have no idea how you did it”. Rastus Randall taught me English in the 5th form (5A) and was both my housemaster (Smith) and formmaster. He always disliked me because I would not join his precious CCF and insisted that I would be a disaster in the army when I did my National Service so I took enormous pleasure in appearing one Friday afternoon seven months after joining the army in full 2nd Lieutenant’s uniform. I am sure I got a great deal more out of the Scouts than I ever would from the CCF. Fred Williamson was an inspiring Scout leader as well as a great History teacher. I got through A level Maths eventually, no thanks to Charlie Toll, and A level Physics despite Stooge Williams. A & S level Chemistry, however, were a doddle thanks to “The Major” Alexander who was one of the finest teachers I ever met. I, together with my brother Michael (now sadly deceased), spent a couple of years in Marshall House when it first opened after the war and got to know Dickie Dickenson and Arnold Berry pretty well as housemasters as well as Harry Brogden, who even visited me in Ottawa Canada in 1967. I think I was the only boy ever to wear house colours for two houses (Marshall & Smith) simultaneously. After my army service I went on to Imperial College London to read Metallurgy and after a couple of years in the steel industry I emigrated to Canada and had a successful career in Ottawa and Kingston as a Registered Patent Agent, finishing as Director of Intellectual property at Queens University. I am now retired in Vancouver British Columbia.

    By Richard J. Hicks (18/06/2009)
  • Very good wishes for a successful 150th. Anniversary Reunion tomorrow (4th. July). I am not able to be in Brighton but send regards to all those whom I knew, when at school and who might now still remember me. I recall the Fete in July 1959, to celebrate 100 years, when I was still in the III form. Can clearly recall the School Corps, marching to the Corps of Drums on the school field and various of the other events that day.

    By Stuart Leggett (1956-1963) (03/07/2009)
  • I am the Anthony Hollis referred to in one of the above posts for apparently shouting racing odds during prayers. In my defence I was never very religious. I was at the GS from 1948 to 1953, achieving the dubious distinction of being probably the only boy to be thrown out of the CCF (and told by Major Rastus Randall that I would never make a soldier) who subsequently went on to serve for 31 years and achieve field rank. I dont remember as much as some about school except perhaps that “aus bei mit nach von zeit zu and gegenuber all take the dative”. I bet evens that not many of my contemporaries can remember that.

    By Major (retd) Anthony Hollis CBE (03/07/2009)
  • Looking through all of these contributions once more, one can see what a pivotal role the school played in the formative years of its former pupils, and today is certainly a day to celebrate that.

    By Brian Dungate (04/07/2009)
  • One hundred and fifty years of history were celebrated at BHASVIC by more than 140 Old Boys (and some of their young ladies), together with past students of the College and guests, at a lunch held in the school hall on July 4th 2009. This was a superb event accompanied by excellent food and wine and evocative speeches by Sir Ivan Lawrence QC and Howard Blake OBE and rounded off with a stirring rendering of “Absque Labore Nihil”. The authors of this note, all in our early 70s, were at the school just post-war. Most of us were in the first intake of non-paying “scholarship” pupils. The fact that we all went on to be successful in our various careers is testimony to the standard of education we received under the aegis of Harry Brogden and his team. We want to thank Sir Ivan, Mark Gillingham, Bruce Rawlings and Christopher Bennett, as well as the current BHASVIC Principal Chris Thomson, for the work they put in to making this unique event so successful. Many thanks from Michael Robbie, Tony Gibbins, David Block, Brian Clasby, Peter Courtney and Dudley Seifert.

    By Peter Courtney (08/09/2009)
  • I was at school 1957-1963. My best mates were Chris Wellings (I think now estate agent or surveyor – retired by now), Andrew Feast – high flying physicist, Terry Wilton – actor. Such memories – not always pleasent. I was considered stupid – because I had an upbringing from the north of England. Arnold Berry – surely was a little ?? I can not say I was happy. But I had some good teachers. Jack Smithies – the best. And for me Brian Jelfs – and YES – I became a jock!

    By Dr. John Francis (13/09/2009)
  • Great to find this site and to see all the names I remember. I was at the school from 1954 to 1961 albeit with relatively poor academic achievements. Nevertheless I agree with all the really positive statements above about the way in which the staff gave us all the best start in life that we could have hoped for. Only sad that I/we weren’t always able to recognise it at the time.

    I have been trying to contact some guys I remember, hence finding this site. Does anyone know or hear from Tony Price (Anthony)?  He joined the navy in the early sixties and I lost contact with him in the seventies. Howard Blake, referred to above, used to visit my house as we had a fairly decent baby grand and he liked to play it, also Brian Dungate who may remember being instrumental in arranging for a recording of me on one side and Howard on the other. Still have a copy of that 78.

    So far I have only found one ex pupil from my year. Hopefully now I have more time than I can fill, I’ll find some more.

    By Neil Bowen (20/11/2009)
  • Is Eric F Eric Fullilove? Eric must have been at BHSGS around 1969 – 1976?

    By John Luchford (21/12/2009)
  • I was a boarder 1951-58. No good at sport. Made a name as a bit of a musician. Taught the piano by A E Chapman and later by Christine Pembridge, still living incidentally in Port Hall. Met up with her on my 70th birthday last year. Remember housemasters Dickinson and Stephen Pratt (later head of KES Stratford, now retired in Chipping Campden). Latter big influence in my musical education. Remember the House music competitions: dazzling performances by Howard Blake. Did French, German, English A levels and have memories of all the staff, especially Jack Smithies, (??)Randall, TG Bone, EB (brilliant) brain Harris. Remember his terrifying “General Knowledge Tests” (a la Eton every year?) Probably the most demoralising expereince of my life at age 12. Few if any postings seem to refer to this period. Not computer literate.

    By Peter Forshaw (13/01/2010)
  • I was at the school from 1955 to 1961, reaching the dizzy heights of library prefect and lance-bombardier in the CCF. Every Friday afternoon, I took my section to a drill hall at the top of Chuch Street (I think it’s now a Royal Mail parcel office) where we took a Howitzer apart and reassembled it. We became so proficient that one Friday, I decided that there was no point in doing it all again so I sent everyone home. I was caught and disciplined by losing my stripe – deservedly. After this incident I began to respect authority and several decades later, became deputy chairman of the Brighton and Hove magistrates.

    By Tony Harris (07/02/2010)
  • It is some time since I made my contribution to this page but I always read the comments and have noted some names that I can recall, if not the faces that would fit them. I am bemused by the fact that so many of the scribes seem to be even older than me, and that the ones around the same age have never mentioned my presence which must have been unnoticable at the time. It is interesting that many of those names, of that era were Marshall house boarders and thus as fellow inmates were remembered better by each other than us ‘day boys’ who didn’t get the full on experience of life at the Grammar. I am pleased to see that there are a few other people prepared to reveal their low achievement at the school and thus I don’t feel so bad about my relative obscurity. On my arrival in ’63, not only was I the second smallest (height-please) boy in the class but also the youngest, and due to the second factor and my inability, or willingness to learn I was relegated back to the 2nd form for a further year. My contempories in the first year that I can remember were the Malkin brothers, John and Tony. Tony, I hear, achieved the rank of Colonel in the Parachute Regt. I did meet him once when he was a 2lt in Flax St Mill, Ardoyne, Northern Ireland around about 1972. I remember a really good footballer called Alex Ramsey as well as a very fast X country runner Chris Wickens. I can also recall the cricketing Spencer brothers, one of whom (John I think) played for Sussex. There was also the Bennet brothers, Eugene ( he liked to be called Boogie, for some reason?) and Jeremy, both in Ireland house. That, I am afraid has almost exhausted my name recollection of the time and also indicates my preference for sport rather than academic studies and I did manage to play the odd game of 1st eleven football and cricket and was not a bad x country runner either. When I was backsquadded, I found myself in the company of boys younger than me, for a change, including Dave Goldman, Nigel Winner, Chris Downton, Nigel Weeks and Chris Heath. I can also remember Challis, Openshaw, Bryant (apologies for lack of first names). Not all memories of the school were happy at that time and due to outside circumstances, by the time I had reached the 4th year I was persistantly conspicuous by my absence and as a result was almost forced to leave at the end of the first term of the 5th in 1968 armed with no certificates and very little to recommend me. My Past and Present leaving entry read ‘ Clerical Post’ which was grander than reality. However all has not been lost and after a number of years in the military and the Royal Ulster Constabulary I am now I. Smith BA (Hons) in History and Politics (that would surprise a few masters) and have been, and still am working with the Foreign Office abroad in a security role for the last number of years. Incidentally my children (5) managed to get their degrees in Law, Sports Science, Computing etc, so they abviously didn’t follow my early example, thankfully. I was sorry to hear of the death of Jack Smithies but I suppose that given my age, all of the masters of my era would be either octagenarians or passed on. If anyone does remember me, please say, as I have felt rather left out. I did become well known briefly in 1965 as the namesake of the PM of Rhodesia, who was all over the news at the time. Maybe I peaked too early there with my 15 minutes of fame. I did consider returning to visit the school, but It would not be the same and Brighton and Hove Grammar as I knew it has passed into history.

    By Ian Smith (12/02/2010)
  • What a wonderful collection of memories. I was a pupil between 1970-1977, a period strangely lacking in reminiscence. Many of the teachers mentioned were still teaching during this period viz: Toby Turl, Jack Smithies, Killer Reeves, Dim Jim, Ernie Pascoe who had probably the most monotonous voice I have ever heard!, Doc Harris, Dizzy Mills, Ian McLean (a true gent), Don Anderson, Percy Blowes … some young bloods too not previously mentioned: Roger Quick [Biology], Donald ‘Biddy’ Baxter (Geography / Geology), Dave Akers (History), Dave Bunker (Sports), Dave Clark(Sports) and of course the first female teachers: Jenni Nash (R.I), Susie Boon (Maths) and Dorothy Snowden (Geography). Also does anyone else recall Spotty Leppard the R.I teacher?

    By Martin Owens (18/02/2010)
  • I remember Michael Spotty Leppard very well as he started on the same day as I did in ’65 with his own class 1L; daunting for both of us. Most of my masters have been mentioned but of course the outstanding one was Jack - form tutor for two years. Unknown to me he was probably responsible for my resurrected love of Chaucer in mid life (most men I hear get a red sports car but I don’t drive - but GC’s just as racy). To gain a copy of the ’66 photo would be excellent if any techno buffs out there could produce it. Left in ’69 and know none of the previous contributors. Would be nice to hear from some contempories

    By alan taylor (25/02/2010)
  • I have the ’66 school photo as jpeg files and am willing to email them to anyone who wants them. Contact me at au – I also have the same photos with the pupils numbered, which I will send. All you have to do is put names to the numbers where possible and email them back to me. In this way I am hoping to eventually be able to name all on the photos.

    By Robin Finch (26/02/2010)
  • Ian Smith, I remember you! Again, most other people here seem to be from an earlier era. I was in your class. There were three Smiths: AP, DF and IR, which I remember to this day. AP was smaller and thinner, DF was tall with glasses, and you were a bit chunkier, glasses too I believe. I was there 1962-70 (I think) but unless there was another I Smith in the following year, it was you. Yes, ’70 – I stayed for an extra year. I even remember you were in Chichester – I was in Pelham. I do remember some of the names you mention – Openshaw, Malkins, John Catchpole (Bill’s younger brother). I remember Don Anderson with great affection – a lovely man. Not so sure about some of the others. Killer Reeve played water polo with my father; not sure if that made life better or worse, but I suspect the latter! People not mentioned that I remember are Claude Toll (I was in the same year as his son Roger), Nobby Clark (both were Maths). I wasn’t a games person – I had asthma so couldn’t run far, and an eyesight problem that meant I had vision in only one eye when catching things! I have been in contact with Roger Toll (a schoolteacher) and John Catchpole (technlogy/IT) in the past but that’s all. Favourite teachers for me were Don Anderson and Jack Smithies (he was an ex Royal Marine and I was a Marine Cadet while at school – which didn’t excuse me from CCF, to my disgust). I did enjoy a CCF trip to Wales for a week, Snowdon and other places, camping. I became (I think) the only person to be demoted from prefect. I did badly in my A levels due to family problems (split up from parents) and Harry Brogden was mortally offended. I stayed on for another year alongside John Catchpole (who had been in a car accident and lost most/all of the sight in one eye). I did get into university to read Electronics. I am now a senior lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Kent, living near Canterbury. Enough for now.

    By Bob Eager (Robert, back then) (27/02/2010)
  • Bob Eager, I got you request for school photos, but they bounced back to me. Send me your email address again please.

    By Robin Finch (01/03/2010)
  • Bob Eager, you had my spirits up there briefly when you said you remember me but sadly your recollection of me being ‘chunky with glasses is way off the mark as I was small and slight with good eyesight and my initials are IC Smith so maybe I didn’t exist after all. Still we do remember the same people and I was in Chichester house. Robin Finch, I would be keen to get the photos and will assist with identification if possible. I tried to email you but it came back to me so if you want you can email me at

    By ian Smith (02/03/2010)
  • Bob Eager, I’m glad you’re here, because it gives me an opportunity – after over forty years – to say thank you. You made an LP record of The Mikado, in which I played Ko-Ko. I still have it, and I still listen to it from time to time. Those Christmas shows were were among the happiest experiences of my time at the school. I was deeply saddened by the death of Jack Smithies. He was the funniest, cleverest and kindest man I have ever met. I wish I’d been able to attend his funeral, but these days I live in New York City and professional commitments made it impossible. He was a great man.

    By Andrew Seear (03/03/2010)
  • Andrew! One of the people I remember well! Did you ever go into the acting business, because I always thought you were good! I was thinking about that record only yesterday; I still have it too. I did the lighting for the last two shows – The Mikado and Macbeth – in both of which you starred, as I recall. I remember climbing the gantry and cutting through a live cable – I still have the scarred and burnt wire cutters! Feel free to email – my email address is (slightly encoded so it doesn’t attract spam): (that’s right, .cx on the end). And I agree about Jack – too much to say here.

    By Bob Eager (03/03/2010)
  • I went to Brighton Grammar School from 1930 to 1936 when Mr. Baron was the headmaster. I remember the great hall and the Brangwyn frescos. Dr Chastey Hector was the music master and the piano was played every Friday morning either before or after prayers. There was an OTC and as my brother Michael volunteered so did I. At that time we wore puttees and the uniform was quite different and very uncomfortable for a boy to wear. Mr Duffey was the art master and he was very a good master indeed as was Mr Lloyd the science master. Mr Robioni taught us French although he was an Italian. Happy memories. I am now aproaching 90 and I think of those early days with affection.

    By Anthonhy Dell (04/03/2010)
  • And you lit them very well, Bob. It’s good to be in touch with you. I remember a night when we were rehearsing the Scottish play. You and Jack were trying to get the spot focused on the OP ear – one of the areas that thrust out into the audience – and Jack was kneeling and holding out his hands to see how far the pool of light extended. Max Klein came out of the darkness, sat on Jack’s knee, and the pair of them broke into a spontaneous – and rather moving – duet of “Sonny Boy”.

    By Andrew Seear (05/03/2010)
  • Yes, Andrew – I remember that! I also remember the immortal phrase during a lighting rehearsal when Jack was trying to get that pool of light correct – “Douse the glim on the near ear”! I really enjoyed doing that lighting!

    By Bob Eager (05/03/2010)
  • My name is Katharine and Brian Williams was my grandfather. Sadly I never knew him, as he died when I was only 1. I’m sitting here reading these comments with his wife, my grandma, and we wanted to say how wonderful it is to read nice things about him, and to know that he hasn’t been forgotten. My grandma, Sybil, worked in the library at the same time, and remembers most of the teachers you have mentioned.

    By Katharine (09/03/2010)
  • Hi Robin. I seem to have problems connecting to you, please try to send 66 photo to thank you.

    By Alan Taylor (10/03/2010)
  • I was at BHS from 63-68, I remember an Andy Sear who had a cousin, Mike, in the same year as me. Andy used to play the saxaphone. Some of my best friends were Steve Bourne (quite an infamous chap really – a vicar’s son) and Chris Gilbert, who was always top scorer at cricket. Charlie Wilmott was the original hippie and Bob Goody was the funny man of the year – doing quite well as a thespian …. The class system got redesignated and I remember being in 3WC (3 the year, W for Willet and C and for the class master Clark). Typical schoolboy mirth at the initials WC, so the next year the system got changed to become W4C. No doubt that Jack Sithies was the most popular teacher at the time; the funniest/most peculiar was our latin teacher Spud Murphy. We had to do double latin on a Saturday morning, he had an old brown small suitcase to keep his notes and hair brylcream, which used to melt down his head when it got hot. I remember Killer Reeves hitting Micky (I think) Stevens, school goalkeeper at the time, with a blackboard duster on the head, so gave him a swimming pass for the pools in North Road. I enjoyed maths with Dim Jim and French with Billy, but can’t remember his last name. Harry Brogden gave me six “of the best” for skiving off CCF

    By stuart james (12/05/2010)
  • Owens – I forget your face but remember the name. We weren’t mates- but you remembered the masters I knew too. I nearly forgot the lady teachers – Susie Boon. What a memory you have; you must be looking at one of those wonderful photos we had. In one, a couple of us got shot twice, once at one end, and again at the other. As soon as we got wind of this possibility we had a go, then the masters kept an eye out for this for the future. All of my photos are back in London, and I am in Australia. Never mind, I will get them next time I’m home. I wonder if there are any others out there from our years: 1970-78?

    By Alec Ellis (22/07/2010)
  • Alec Ellis .. I remember you well as you were in Marshall House along with Keith Crowhurst, George Cole, Rohan Summasandarum? and A.N. Other [Mark Leighton?]. I well remember you being at both ends of the photo and also donning an army beret and adopting your best Benny Hill face a la Fred Scuttle and appearing out of the second floor window of the boarding school for a photo in Past and Present magazine. Whilst we weren’t mates, we were in the same circles. Some names you may remember from that era – Kevin Lewis, Timmy Mack, Graham Atkins, Greg Smith and Dave Lonsdale.  I’m sure you joined us occasionally to visit the Hungry Years via the Good Companions? Good days and not so long ago. I am now residing in New Zealand, but go back ‘home’ each year

    By martin owens (04/08/2010)
  • I was a pupil from ’45 until ’51. Sadly I rather wasted my time there due to a poor attitude to school in general. I loathed Friday cadets, and once managed to lose my rifle in the long grass on the first day of camp somewhere in Kent. I am sure if he could, Sgt.Major Roper would have had me shot! I did learn to shoot though and did so with gusto when I lived in S.Africa (only wild animals though, never humans!). I had little interest in sport at school, but I was passionate about golf and fishing. I can recall many of the masters and pupils mentioned in the comments above, but I will comment on only two. I came across Harry Brogden several years later on a local golf course and I took great pleasure in knowing that I could have given him 10 shots, (which is one more than he gave me!), and walked in after 10 holes. My hero was “Killer” Reeves,I loved his subject, and he seemed to like my drawing. He caught me once, in my final year, with a handful of betting slips, I was running a book with A.N. Other.”Horses or dogs?” he enquired.”Horses Sir”. He said “I will expect a large contribution to the Treasury on Monday”. He never mentioned the subject again. When I left I went into engineering and finally found my forte. I went to S. Africa in ’56 and moved to California in ’63. I am now long retired and live in S. Ireland. Happy school days?, for me not really, but that was my fault, not the school’s.

    By Peter Solly (16/08/2010)
  • I can’t say that all the days at school were great, but looking back you remember good times and try to forget the bad ones. Good times were English summers, fully taken for granted, laying there on some part of the school fields waiting to go into bat or to start fielding again (I was a fast bowler, 20 pacer, swing and spin) awful batsman - either a 6 or out! Rugby, football, athletics, nets practice, basketball, badminton, and pirates to name a few – being in the boarding house the gym was our evening haunt, I especially remember Pirates! Iced buns from the refectory, the walk across the playground to the boarding house hoping for a letter from someone, and for me in my last two years when we turned Co-ed (what fun) being invited to try their cooked dinners after I’d had lunch! Reminiscing is not always fun because you start and don’t want to stop, but I’ve noticed how thrilling it is to sample people’s memories with your own, in moderation – too much is too much! It is so great hearing from you Martin, though Owens was probably more normal, as was Ellis, and felt as comfortable. I have the feeling that we were in the CCF together, there are faint glimmers of your appearance. I do know that except for a few crazies that people get in all years, I felt that we had a good group of kids in our year. And the two first co-ed years the school ever saw (which I was so grateful to experience) were the best years we ever had there I believe. From the boarding house: Ian King, Eddie Freeman, Philip Piper (best bowling style ever, shame about his back), Nigel Parslow, Guy Salvage (who passed away at school, was the best all-rounder: sport, academics and as a person – he was a great loss), Kevin Spiers, Dominic Mahoney. In my year: Simon Golton, Rohan ‘Sam’ Summasundaram, Paul Clarke (tallest person in the world), George Coles (was NOT really George – got that from Georgie Best cos of his eagerness in night-time football in gym). Two of my best friends at school: Fraser Kemp and Greg Smith (I met his brother Matthew teaching at BHASVIC once). Just a few masters: Killer Reeve of course, nuts but great fun, especially if you were a boarder, he asked me to make a water bomb one day, which from a large sheet of paper was huge and which eventually flew through the art room window to end up in the tennis courts below. He hated the noisy tennis players below. Glegg – Physics, English – Percy Blows, Latin – JBW, History – Dave the Rave Akers, Maths – Dim Jim, Music – J. Gardiner and Miles Wootten. And of coarse in the Boarding House (Marshall!) – Ian Maclean (Mac), Mrs Maclean (Ma Mac), Sue Maclean (Sue Mac) who we all loved! Boys! And Mr Cobb – King Kobb, the best master ever, into martial arts and getting boys to stare at a Bruegel the Elder poster in the corner of his room (as a punishment) and answering three questions about it. Martin…. I still have the Past and Present at home in England which has that photo of me in Benny Hill disguise, the walk out of the 1st floor window photo, and the line-up of students from our year will always be a reminder of “happy times” for me, thanks for remembering.

    By Alec Ellis (30/09/2010)
  • Some nice memories there Alec,as you say once you start it’s hard to stop. I too remember the relief [and from some quarters bitterness] when the school went co-ed as we were the guinea pigs in the lower sixth whilst the upper sixth remained all male. I’d forgotten about King Cobb but did recall a few other memorable techers. Chemistry was Dan Tripp, he had a lab assistant Mr Keeble whom he summoned via intercom, being a natural mimic I would request some de-ionised water wherupon the luckless Mr Keeble would appear mid lesson much to the annoyance of Tripp! Also ‘Doc’ Harris for biology who was also housemaster for Ireland ..he had an annual lecture regarding, albeit in a roundabout way the perils of catching venereal disease, some unspeakable treatment concerning, in his words “a glarss rod’ was called for ..ouch. In the stores for the C.C.F. was to be found “Jonesy ” almost like Pvte Walker from Dads’ Army, he along with Mac, Dave Akers, Jack Smithies and Joe “Nunky” Harmon would accompany us on the annual C.C.F Camps which were great fun. One bizarre recollection I had recently was that in the Refectory the school housed either in our last year, or in the following term ‘The Damned’  which was my first experience of Punk Rock ..strange but true …Also concerts in the common room where we all tried to look 18 with furtive visits to either the Good Companions or The Cobden Arms who served anyone over the age of 14 [well certainly me!]. Funnily enough I adopted the school motto in adult life ‘Without work,nothing ” so I did glean something from my education. Happy days

    By Martin Owens (11/11/2010)
  • I was at the school, I think, from 1962 onwards. My memories of the place are unhappy ones. Most of the masters were fixated on some ancient system of education that had no relevance to me. They were quite incapable of seeing the individual behind the uniform, and if you couldn’t fit in with the ethos of the place, which I couldn’t, they just abandoned you. The only exceptions were, as remembered by many old boys, Jack Smithies and, which may surprise some, Killer Reeves. Harry Brogden was one of the most awful, bigoted people I have ever met, and I blame him for the destructive nature of the so-called education I received. Any success I have had in life has been in spite of, not because of, my time there.

    By Robert Brynin (05/07/2011)
  • Well, what a site to come across by accident! I was at the school from 1971-79. Throughout my life I have considered that the school did not give me a good education particularly as I now work in education (of sorts). Also I was always considered the working class boy while all around me went skiing etc, my family couldn’t afford it and I was never allowed to forget that. Reading these posts brings back so many memories that are not so far hidden away in my mind. Remarkably I think of those days frequently: the wonderful school field, the joy of September when the football goals and nets replaced the cricket stumps; the tuck shop; Killer (I saw him throw a pair of rusty scissors at someone once – they missed and stuck into the desk instead); ABBA, Queen and Gary Glitter and, yes I do remember The Damned gig- extraordinary. I was a conscientious objector and never took part in the CCF – instead hung out up in the art room with Killer on Friday afternoons (I am now an artist!). I hated the swimming lessons, the music lessons and the French with JOA (Andrews). JOA was my 3rd form teacher (3A) and I felt he was a good person. Many of the staff probably did help form my character I’m sure and maybe the school wasn’t so bad for me. I remember Miles Wooten or was it Akers who sang us history songs? I so remember kids going from one classroom to another through the small doors at the back of the rooms on the first floor overlooking the hall during a lesson by Eyebrows (Dim Jim). I don’t think I’ll even forget Pythagoras’ equation! Lining up outside the woodwork room and the bunsen burners in Chemistry! Does anyone remember the assemblies where the pupils picked a theme and their own music to present to the school? Some small events like that I will never forget. Of course I remember the girls arriving in the school and the common room (Nick Easterbrook and I did a big mural of figures in a landscape in that common room) while listening to Dylan, Cohen and Bowie. Russell Ponting, Tony Hawksworth (now Tony Hawks of radio fame of course), Rick Kendall, Ivan – sorry I can’t remember more right now! I will check back here regularly – it would be great to see some more of my era. Oh and by the way I am also in Australia now (Melbourne) – perhaps we should have an Australian reunion?

    By Simon Spain (06/07/2011)
  • Robert Brynin’s impressions do seem to go against the general tenor of the preceding comments, don’t they? I’m not sure what he perceived the “ethos of the place” to be, or what he would have preferred it to be. We were there about the same time (1960-67 in my case), and as I saw it at the time, the Grammar was a place where you were (a) expected to stick to the rules and (b) to put some effort in, a couple of things that wouldn’t go amiss in many modern-day educational institutions. Harry Brogden was certainly an old-school (no pun intended) disciplinarian, being a magistrate as well as a headmaster, and he did have a distinctly Victorian attitude towards popular culture, but I never found him anything but fair (if hard-but-fair), and if it wasn’t for his persuading me at the last moment to apply for university against my own inclinations, my life might have turned out very differently. As for the other masters, for the most part I found them professionally and personally concerned to get the best from their pupils both individually and collectively, and on occasions caring and compassionate to me as an individual when this was warranted. Yes, I had criticisms – the sports staff didn’t care to offer a great deal of coaching to the less physically-adept boys (including me), mostly leaving us to get on with it by ourselves, and although Killer Reeves was a lovable (if scary) character, the total of what I learned from him about art over the five years it took me to barely scrape an O-Level Art pass consisted of how to do a wash, that the adult human body is usually around six “heads” high, and the dimensions of Gill Sans lettering. My unhappy episode of injustice with Mr E the Maths teacher is related in detail on an adjoining page. But on the other hand there was Barry Jelfs, who in his own time made me develop my handwriting; PR James, who took my Maths from my worst subject to my best; Iain MacLain, who personally assisted my mother at a time of family crisis. These are only the ones who I clearly remember as doing me a personal service; I certainly benefited from the work of many others as a member of a class or set.
    This was after all a different era in education to what we have today; teachers didn’t call you by your first name and treat you as an equal, and leave you to more or less teach yourself: they weren’t called “masters” for nothing. There was still a traditional “Gradgrind” element to teaching on those days, with rote learning, lesson preparation and sanctions against those who didn’t make the effort, but it got results: I can still manipulate numbers without a calculator, and produce a tract like this one without elementary spelling errors, not universal attributes by any means of today’s school leavers. As it happens my own Grammar days were NOT the happiest days of my life; a lot of unhappy stuff went on for me both at school and at home during those seven years, but I did toe the line and I did work hard, and for what I’ve made of my life since, I have to thank the Grammar in large part. If I could do it all again, I certainly wouldn’t change a lot.

    By Len Liechti (06/07/2011)
  • Nicely said Len

    By Robin Finch (17/07/2011)
  • Katharine, those of us who knew him will never forget your grandfather, JBW, as he was called. Some of us have fond memories of your grandmother, Sybil, too. I remember her very well because JBW made me a school librarian and we worked together sometimes. JBW was a fantastic teacher – I don’t know that he really enjoyed teaching Latin. On my last day at the school in 1980 he told me that he wished he had studied a science subject instead. I will never forget his pipe, his cap, and his penknife, which he occasionally took out in class to “defend” himself from his obnoxious Latin scholars! JB was such a character, and such a kind man. I never once saw him angry with any of us, despite all the things we got up to. Guy Johnson 1974-1980

    By Guy Johnson (17/07/2011)
  • Hi My name is Trevor Cobbett, I am just looking around to see if I can find out any information regarding my Grandfather (William Cobbett) who attended the school and also my Great Great Grandfather ( Horace Cobbett ) who attended the school way way back in the 19th century. I have found a Medal that was awarded to Horace Cobbett back in Christmas 1888 For good conduct. I has the school crest and motto on the front and engraved with the detail on the back of it. Horace also went on to get more medals from the school as he had a flair for growing roses too. Anyway it’s nice to see such a piece of history being kept alive by so many.

    Editor’s note: Perhaps you might like to photograph the medal – both sides – and let us have a copy. We can then publish a page for you on the site. Contact me at

    By Trevor Cobbett (01/08/2011)
  • Wow what a lot you all remember. I was at the school from 1968 to 1975, leaving at the end of the last year of the Grammar School. I was driven into searching about the school because I heard Michael Simkins talking to Nigel Lawson on front row, Wed 28th August 2011 and remember very well his thespian exploits at school and he and Paul O’Grady (or Grady) hamming around as Laurel and Hardy. When I was in the CCF and rose to the dizzy height of Cadet Coxswain, I recollect Jack Smithies holding the rank of a Major in the Army did he swap from the Navy? The Geography Teacher Mike Billingham was the lead Navy Officer; he was an RNR (Wavy Navy) Lieutenant at Shoreham. How about Baxter Geology quotes “graded grains make finer sandstone” anybody have some others in stock. He had the driest humour that I can recollect. More quotes from the Woodwork Teacher – wood doesn’t grow on trees you know, watch the board while I go through it again. Cannot remember his name. It wasn’t Joe Woolvern. Regards Simon.

    By Simon Lawson (01/10/2011)
  • Kingsley Roger-Jones earlier mentioned a 1962 school photo. Perhaps I can call on him to send me a copy as mine is struggling in the test of time. I don’t know if you remember me but we were in the Scouts as well. I was P/L of Owl Patrol for a time. Hope you have had a good career and life since the 1960’s, as I was there 1959-64 and went straight into work with GPO Telephones, later BT plc, where I am still working. I have met people from different eras, Tony Hills and Nick Ryder, one either side of me by a few years, and others who had connections. Curently it pleases me to talk to my Cadets in St John Ambulance about their entry to BHASVIC and share their views about the place compared to my days. I have commented about the “Old Masters” and still feel proud to have been there.

    By David Shelton (23/01/2012)
  • I felt I should mention that recently when I was waiting to meet someone near Dyke Park, I went into the park behind the old Grammar School field, and sat on a bench where, to my astonishment, I spotted a plaque in memory of J B Williams. He must have been our JB from school, of fond memory, and much appreciated as a form master and Latin tutor.

    By David Shelton (24/01/2012)
  • Editor’s note: Sorry Michael but your posting has been deleted. The comments facility is not the appropriate place for a very lengthy life reminiscence. I hope you understand. Thank you.

    By Michael Olive (28/03/2012)
  • Attended BH&SGS 1958-1965 and found this site having ‘googled’ Harry Brogden. He was a contemporary of Kathleen Ferrier in Blackburn and on more than one Monday morning music session (in Albert Chapman’s absence I guess) introduced us to her memorable Decca recordings. Can anyone remember the exact connection between Harry and her? Yes Jack Smithies’ lessons were a joy in stark contrast to Jelfs’ plimsoll whacks if one dared to turn up in non-pristine white attire. ‘Killer’ Reeves revenge for anyone allowing the bristles of a paintbrush to curl up in a jamjar was to later grab the offender by the ankles and dip him head-first into the chlorinated North Road Baths swimming pool. French master Mr Bone would kid us that he called his daughter ‘Norah’ so that she’d marry young! Mr Randall once ‘exploded’ on seeing the Union Jack flying upside down outside his classroom window. Unforgettable memories! At the end of my schooldays, I requested Harry Brogden to grant me leave of absence to work in Clark’s Bakery – I wanted to earn spending money for the Langridge-Brown Scholarship trip to Italy. He told me that if I took the job he would have to suspend me but, saying this, gave me an unmissable wink of his eye!

    By Alan Jackson (28/05/2012)
  • Killer Reeve: an appreciation. Picture a dull afternoon sometime about 1972. Double art, about 30 of us “greenfly” engaged in painting heaven knows what. All is silent, all desks regimentally “on their nails”, the only sound is the “tink tink” of brushes in water jars. Killer walks between the serried rows, his silver moustache bristling. He seems bored. “You’re a good lot of little boys today!” he booms, sounding almost disappointed in the fact, and disappears into his store room, which we are strictly forbidden to enter. A few seconds of rummaging, followed by more silence, then WHAAM!! Everyone leaps up in shock, water jars shattering bosh- boshh! on the floor. Chaos. “What are you doing?!” hoots Killer with glee, a shuddering Japanese Samurai sword deeply embedded in the table in front of him, and a big grin on his face. He’d woken us up finally. This little cameo seems to encapsulate the ethos that existed in the Art Room- expect the unexpected, and the unexpected always happened. Certainly Killer, RRR, or “Dick” as we came to know him in later years was a past master of stirring things up. The younger boys lived in terror of his crazy behaviour. His put- downs were as legendary as they were inventive. “Hopeless, helpless and horrrible”, “Costive owl”, “Fungus” and “Cockeyed twittering lump of cheese” are just some I can remember. Artwork could be “Anaemic”, a “whippsy load of old caboodle” or could just earn you a “Woof” (a quick backhand in the sternum, just enough to knock the wind out of you for a couple of seconds). That said, I loved him to bits. I guess I was fortunate in having some artistic ability, though I think RRR quietly despaired in getting me to loosen up my style a bit “Its constipated!” It’s still constipated. He tolerated others lack of artistic ability patiently enough, but his real ire was reserved for the disinterested and lippy. Particular stand- outs were his scissor- throwing act, stapling miscreants blazers/ hair to the desk, and a favourite, paint brushes full of soap being inserted up the nostrils of particularly disnterested/ mouthy individuals. Everyone recovered, and I bet no- one suffered any long lasting psychological damage. The ones with ability had a relatively easy ride. I remember Simon Spain, above, as a contemporary of mine, and slightly envious of him as having the greater talent. Like him, I also missed out on the skiing and foreign culture trips. Bet they were fun. Hope you’re doing well, Simon. Gill Sans lettering- another trial of endurance “Whats a B?” “Ermm… five tenths?” “Stand on your chair!” etc. but in time I came to appreciate the timeless, simplistic beauty of Gill’s creation, and look around you today- it’s everywhere! Dick’s tutor was the marvellous Norman Wilkinson, probably one of the greatest marine and poster artists this country has produced (check him out on Google images), and as this happened to coincide with two of my major interests, this influence was inevitable in building an artistic style. Dick rarely let his guard down, but when he did, it could reveal a thoughtful, sensitive man. I remember once painting a war scene, paratroops landing in ploughed fields under a grey sky, while misty, in the background, the outline of a steel arch bridge. I was rather pleased with it. Suddenly I was aware of RRR standing behind me and got ready for the put- down. He stood there a while then just said quietly “I lost my best mate at Arnhem” and was very subdued for the rest of the lesson. Dick was resolutely anti war, anti CCF, even anti the “Corps of Bums”, as he put it. I wonder what he saw out there on active service?- some pretty ropey things, I’d guess. I would cast my experiences of RRR in the same inspirational bracket as those of Jack Smithies. Both huge influences to the impressionable mind. The main difference is, with RRR it took me some years to realise it. God bless you, Dick.

    By Mark Thompson (03/06/2012)
  • Like many others, I came across this site by accident, while writing my memoirs for my daughters, who told me that they knew nothing about my youth. I have seen many names I recognised – teachers and pupils. We four Stones were at the school for a short time – Robin 1963-65, Jeremy and I 1963-66, and Oren 1963 until (I think) 1970. We had arrived from Loughborough Grammar School when our dad moved back to Brighton. I recognised all the teachers’ names from the period, so this blog will be great for the memoirs. I’ll post ore later, but as an update, Robin is still teaching English – mainly Drama – in London (he was inspired by Jack Smithies), Jeremy is still playing music and repairing pianos on the borders of NSW and Queensland, Oren lives in Southampton as a retired librarian, learning Chinese, playing music and being very active, and I am enjoying a life split between London and West Dorset (mostly), still working half-time in academia and management consulting. I hope to find time to give a longer update. One thing I can’t resist. Katharine, I went out for a short time with Clare Williams when I was at Sussex University. Was she your aunt – or your mother? Whatever, she was lucky to get away. I am on my third and last marriage.

    By Merlin Stone (09/06/2012)
  • I joined basvic the first year that it became VIth form only with the last of the grammar school chaps coming through. I remember the ccf and Lt Col Smithies (an early convert to green thinking). I joined the the RAF section with Mr Pritchard our section officer.  I met John Smithies for many years after at All Saints Church where the annual Remembrance parade. By that time I was a uniform member of the air training corps but he still recognised and remembered me from the ccf. It was a sad moment when he was no longer part of the annual event.

    By Robert Ash (10/06/2012)
  • Amazing what you come across when you should be doing something else! I loved John Critchley’s recollections 63 to 60. My era exactly. Anybody recall those annual review shows and that sixth former(?) doing animal impressions, The Randall Roarer, The Dickinson Bird (tck tck) and many hilarious others. Any chemistry scholars recall the name of the pre Tripp chemistry teacher and his Victorian experiment record keeping in decidedly non-English? And what about semi-micro analysis hearing blocks-perfect for subliming nitrogen Tri-iodide explosive round Tripp’s lab as I recall. As for Glegg’s physics, I am still laughing.

    By David Woodhead (05/07/2012)
  • I meant to leave a contact… By the way, that should have read non-smithies-English in above post. Can’t get used to smartphone email.

    By David Woodhead (05/07/2012)
  • Oh, David Woodhead. T. Stuart Alexander was the pre-Trippian head of the chemistry dep’t. He was beyond criticism and one of the best masters in the school. He ‘ruled’ all the top floor labs. A formidable presence with centre-parted grey hair, clipped moustache, often bespectacled and well dressed in an ex-military way. Stern if you didn’t know him, or vice versa, but a true and interested teacher. He lived in Kingston, nr. Lewes, drove to school in a low-slung grey Riley and prided himself on his roses. We too tried nitrogen tri-iodide augmented by a little cuprous and silver acetylides. One of Alex’s memorable comments to one of my contemporaries, Barry Brook who, having missed a day of school, appreared covered by red marks, some covered by gauze or sticking plaster, “My God, Brook! What have you done? Blown up your father’s shed?” which of course was what Barry had actually done. Red phosphorus and potassium chlorate do not exist well together.

    By Dudley Seifert (11/07/2012)
  • Thanks so much, Dudley, for that info. I heartedly endorse your views on Stuart Alexander. I missed out the word ‘wonderful’ in my post above! He stimulated a lifelong interest in chemistry. He was right up with Jack Smithies in my estimation and instilled standards in me which have done me proud over the years. An A grader in his eyes, I never saw his sterner side. UQB On the topic of NI3, a form mate of mine had a similar experience to Barry. He made half a 4oz sample jar at home and kept it under water on a book cabinet in his bedroom. It blew the cabinet off the wall! Clearly disproving the commonly held view that wet NI3 was stable! Fun times.

    By David Woodhead (13/07/2012)
  • Thanks for the back-up, David. One person who hasn’t received very much recognition in this column, was Mr. Parrish (Parish?), the long-suffering assistant who kept all the labs in good working order as well as running the school tuck shop along with “Pug” Wilkins. He never said very much but was always there to help and, looking back, he really performed a difficult and demanding task very well. ‘Alex’ treated him with respect and I never saw a pupil attempt to take advantage of him. Do you remember chaos in some Maths classes where aspiring chemists dropped calcium carbide in the ink wells and lit the acetylene? Not guilty but a definite and amused witness. These incidents were usually dismissed with the words “Don’t be silly” if the master actually bothered to look up at all. Surprisingly, the master concerned produced good maths scholars and was respected in spite of the general lack of control and his unconscious habit of picking his nose etc. which encouraged a nickname that rhymed with his name.

    By Dudley Seifert (17/07/2012)
  • Indeed, Dudley, I recall Mr Parrish but not, I confess, with any particular significance. ‘Pug’ Wilkins, however, is well remembered, not only because he was the valued dispenser of those purple complimentary bus tickets for us ‘country boys’! I can still see the white chalk patch on the seat of the trousers of the maths master you refer to, but neither his name nor nickname comes to mind. I recall the calcium carbide incident as a story from a year or so above me, I believe. Another popular master not mentioned was Dave Mayland. Both his initials and ESD’s were easily copied and, unless I dreamed about it, enabled us to access a few extra items of stationery in the lower forms!

    By David Woodhead (22/07/2012)
  • It’s come back. Charlie Toll! But his rhyming nickname??

    By David Woodhead (23/07/2012)
  • I survived 1963 – 1970. I seem to recall sitting front of Ian Smith in 1S & 2S, and his main ambition was to poke me in the back and wait for my retaliation – usually I got the blame! Memories include Mr Bone drawing tombstones in the margin when marking particularly poor French homework; hating cross country, but usually managing to avoid coming last; the School First XI being caught in Dyke Road cafe when they were supposed to be doing a cross country; Rodney Stone’s mission to rid the School of non-conforning socks; the daily commute from Hassocks, which sometimes included taking out the light bulbs through Clayton Tunnel, putting the whole carriage into darkness; the RAF section glider – it got airbourne once! Contempories included Graham Moore, Peter Churchill, Jonathan French, Peter Sabine. Mr Pattison, chemistry, was known as “Dog Face”. I managed to spend a lot of my summers skiving off to watch test cricket on the TV – could have done better!

    By Brian Tourle (22/08/2012)
  • The RAF Section glider did indeed get airborne at least once – I was the pilot! We used to “launch” her from the far end of the school field using a couple of large rubber bands. Indeed she was NOT supposed to get airborne, merely to slide along the grass for fifty metres or so on her skids, and to that end we used to fit vertical spoiler boards to the leading edges of the wings. I can’t remember how it happened, whether the boards had been omitted and/or whether we were launching into the wind rather than with it, but on this occasion with me in the seat she actually rose to a height of about one metre and glided around a hundred metres before making a smooth landing. I recall Flt Lt Mike Smith being quite concerned, but no damage was done and no sanctions were applied. Must have been around 1965 or 66. Thanks to Brian Tourle for reawakening the memory.

    By Len Liechti (26/08/2012)
  • “Charlie” Toll’s given name was actually Claude, and he did sometimes unconsciously pick his nose, and indeed roll the product between his fingers on occasion. I was never aware of his second nickname resulting from this habit. Might it have rhymed with “Claude”? Mr Toll did indeed suffer from a lack of pupil respect unusual in the school at that time, but he did guide me through three years of post-O-Level and A-Level Pure and Applied Mathematics, and my indifferent exam results at A-Level were certainly not his fault.

    By Len Liechti (26/08/2012)
  • So we’ve found the culprit of the glider incident at last Len. No, the spoilers weren’t fitted. I know because a group of five of us Marshall House boys were standing down by the groundsman’s hut near the Old Shoreham Road some 200 meters away in what we believed was a safe spot. Looking at an approaching glider head on whilst praying for it to go higher rapidly clears the mind. A change of underwear was next on the agenda, so thanks again!

    By Robin Finch (29/08/2012)
  • Interesting. It must have been Health and Safety rearing it’s ugly head because in the late 50s or 1960 we quite often took the spoilers off to get a particularly capable aspiring pilot off the ground. Maybe this practice resulted in a disaster after I left?

    By David Woodhead (11/09/2012)
  • Addressing two previous subjects …. the RAF Section glider appeared around 1954. A four foot long spiral anchor was screwed into the ground to which the back end of the glider was attached. The middle of a long elasticised rope was attached to the front end of the glider. The pilot was strapped into an open chair and able to operate the joystick and pedals while facing forward towards the intended line of flight. Two teams of eight to ten cadets symmetrically pulled the two halves of the elasticised rope outwards ahead of the glider at about 40 degrees away from the line of flight until a sufficient amount of stretch had been achieved. When ready, the pilot released the glider from the ground anchor, the glider, on a single skid, would be propelled ahead by the elastic rope and hopefully the pilot would use his controls to gain some altitude before releasing the rope and ENTER ‘upon his gliding spree’. The first, I think, successful flight resulted in the glider landing on the First Eleven Cricket pitch which did induce some expression of grief, especially from the head groundsman and from Mr. Pewtress the sportsmaster of cricketing fame. ….. The nickname was Pick Roll Flick T..l — possibly the creation of the class two or three years ahead of myself. There were some very enterprising characters in this bunch.

    By Dudley Seifert (22/09/2012)
  • Hi Brian Tourle, I have just read your post. I remember our first day at school – you turned around and introduced yourself to me. I remember you said you lived in Hassocks which may well have been on the moon to me. We were in Don Anderson’s class of 11 year olds. Those days remain a blur to me as I was a lucky kid who managed to break out of Moulsecoomb estate on the wrong side of town. Today, looking back, I can see things so much clearer but as a young lad from a very poor housing estate it was a culture shock. I am sorry that your memories of me are of me poking you in the back but at least you remembered me, which is more than most. I actually turned out okay and whilst the memories I have of the Grammar were for the most part unpleasant, I value the insight that I got of the world I had no idea existed outside of Moulsecoomb estate, and for that I am grateful. There are a few guys I met during my time there that I would love to hear from and if you read this post please say so and I will send my details. Dave Goldman, Marc Feld, if you read this, I would love to hear from you.

    By Ian Smith (15/10/2012)
  • Conspicuous by its absence in the postings to this site is any mention of, in my opinion, one of the most inspirational teachers of my time at BGS (1954-61). Does anyone else share my views of good old “Shrew”? His love of Economics was contagious (I ended up at the London School of Economics on his recommendation – a life changing experience!). His warmth and engaging style of presentation commanded respect from an otherwise pretty unruly, rebellious group of reprobates of which I was proud to play an active role! I will never forget one occasion, on a hot afternoon, sitting in his classroom on the ground floor and being challenged to climb out of the window during the class and come back in through the door whilst other members of the class distracted him. Always up for such absurd behaviour I completed the assignment and was leaving at the end of the class convinced I had got away with it when I heard Shrew requesting that I stayed behind. His words were brief and to the point “Kirkham, don’t make a habit of that”. A brilliant put down! I will always regret not having kept in touch with him once leaving the school. If any of you have similar fond memories of him please post them.

    By John Kirkham (15/11/2012)
  • I was at The Grammar from 1961-66 (Smith House) and JCCS (Shrewsbury) taught me. Can’t remember the subject but he was always calling us ‘oiks’ Gentlemen! ‘Now Gentlemen…’. I remember when the Liberals won the by-election at Orpington – Eric Lubbock was the MP I think; JCCS explained about Tories (‘Top-hats’), the Socialists (‘Cloth caps’) and now the Liberals (‘Bowler hats’). ‘Orpington Man’ became a political feature of then contemporary political comment. I cannot now, at 62, vote without JCCS’ comments ringing in my mind. Such was the power of a good teacher – only bettered by the multifarious quotes of Jack Smithies!

    By Geoffrey Mead (17/11/2012)
  • John and Geoffrey, I agree completely with your comments concerning Mr. Shrewsbury. He taught Geography in my second year 1950/51 and, maybe, a couple of terms of Economics in the Third form. Perhaps the reason for lack of mention was the fact that there was nothing to criticise. Nobody managed to etch into any perceived weakness. Absolutely competent, sincere and a quiet but a very definite presence who made no claims. My father made his acquaintance during WWII as an air raid warden and shared the same opinion as us. Apparently Jack suffered from a mild form of epilepsy but I never saw any indication of this. He was indeed another of our great schoolmasters.

    By Dudley Seifert (24/12/2012)
  • Very good site , BUT , out of approx.550 boys, for many years (I left in 1952) I would have hoped to seem many more contributors. However I have been lax myself (what’s that saying – Absque Labore Nihil) not having posted since 2008. My new resolution is to rectify that.

    By Paul Tomsett (24/12/2012)
  • Prior to progressing to the School in 1944, I attended Taunton House Prep School, before Carrisbrooke Nursery School. I recall Eric Gill, Roy Sinclair being at both and Richard Hicks at Taunton House together with Ronnie Fox. Two other events I remember frommy Taunton House days was being foistered off with relatives, whilst our house was repaired following an aerial torpedo struck the Lewes railway viaduct and bounced on a pub at the bottom of our road killing 12 people in total. Most memorable, upon returning from school, to me. was the thousands of feathers in the sky over a large area, just like a snow storm. The other event was the attempted bombing of the viaduct over London Road, close to the bottom of Stanford ( where Taunton House was located) whilst teachers and pupils cowered under the dining room tables as the bombs fell nearby. Paul Tomsett LTSD8

    By Paul Tomsett (31/12/2012)
  • I was at the school from 1969-1976. My last year we were changing to a Sixth Form College. I remember the assemblies, Mr Akers singing songs in history class, the CCF and marching around the playground, Killer Reeve, sport’s days at Withdean Stadium, assemblies, murals, swimming at North St baths, prize giving at The Dome. Some peers of mine: Ian Page, Andrew Wallace, Nicolas Huntingdon, Anthony Gubbins, David Gibbons – my memory is failing me. I live in New York now, a very different time and world!

    By John Maynard (26/01/2013)
  • What treasures you find surfing the internet! ’64-’71, first year as a Pelham day bug in Spud Murphy’s class, and then 6 years in Marshall as a boarder. In one of my first Arts classes with Killer Reeves, I smoothed my brush hairs to a fine tip with my fingers in expectation of producing a masterpiece. Unbeknownst to me, said digits ooze oil, and as the paint was water based and the two do not mix, this was clearly a flogging offence. As Reeves towered over me, and was clearly warming to the task of verbally annihilating me, he also noticed the front leg of my desk was an inch off its designated nail position! Surely it was the firing squad now, but at the time I had a broken arm in plaster, and as he didn’t want a “cripple’s blood on his hands”, I lived to see another day. Trying to picture Robin Finch, faint memories except for one instance in “A” Dorm when a group of us younger boys decided to goad Robin a bit too far, who finally leapt out of bed and unleashed a murderous roundhouse that could’ve taken us all out, but I’m pretty sure (now) it was a warning and he missed on purpose – thanks mate! We afforded him all due respect after that. I also agree with everyone’s assessment that Iain MacLean was a real gent who also helped me through many a difficult time. Sorry to see he passed last year. On a lighter note Robin, did you get the ingredients for your device from the shed next to the 6th Form Common Room? I only ask because my contraption produced a pitiful splutter, and was one of the rare disappointments of my school years. Paul ‘Pete’ Preager, “C” Dorm compatriot, who got saddled with leading the house music competition because no one else knew how to read music, or made out so. He soldiered on despite overwhelming indifference from the rest of us and produced a surprisingly good performance. Alex “Alf” Ramsey. Yes he was that good, even ‘Messi like’ the way the ball stuck to his feet. Just before he was about to join Marshall, and we were designing the house team around him, anticipating retribution for generations of slaughter by the other larger day houses, he left to try out for Glasgow Rangers. Davey Akers had a similar touch – wonderful to watch. Benji Buckman became a hero when he came in on Cup Final day and let us watch Everton beat Wednesday 3-2, because the only TV boarders ever saw was in the High St. Then there was JBW, Latin Master and CCF terror. Cap, pipe (Fez and dressing gown on occasion), and the legendary shiny corps boots. One Friday, when I thought he wasn’t looking, I put a round over the firing range wall trying to trim a tree branch (no, I don’t know why). He marched me straight to MacLean wanting to cashier me on the spot – and rightly so. Thought I was going to get my collar felt by the boys in blue, but I pleaded ignorance (easy for me back then) and somehow survived that and a second grilling Monday morning in Brogden’s study when Harry the magistrate was in full flow. I don’t remember doing anything else remotely stupid for the rest of my school days. Soon afterwards, there was a Masters v Boys bridge night in the Common Room and JB acted as if nothing had happened and promptly introduced his wife Sybil to me – class act. Then the bugger (respectfully stated) bid and made 3NT against us, and Phil Marks and I went 2 down doubled in 6H against Harry and his wife. Funny how you remember some stuff, but JB was old school at its finest, Salt of the Empire. I never had the pleasure of being taught by Jack Smithies, except when it was his turn taking my regular Saturday morning detention. We never did any work then, but the stories he told made the time fly by. Looks like I missed out there. A special mention for Dizzy Mills (Physics) who was the only Master ever to give me one on one quality time. I think he saw something in me that eventually surfaced 15 years later. “Far duller than a serpent’s tooth, it is to spend a quiet youth.” Thank you BHSGS et al. Colin Martyn, San Diego

    By Colin Martyn (05/02/2013)
  • Yes Colin, Pete Praeger got saddled with leading the choir as he hadn`t been through the choir auditions a year earlier. I learnt then that if you mucked about and pretended you couldn`t sing you got a detention. The following year I was more subtle. I really tried hitting every note but somehow no matter how much effort I made I just kept singing the same two notes a semi-tone flat. I didn’t make the choir that year. Having said which there was no way they were getting me up on a stage to sing in a high voice ” There was an old dog and he lived in a mill, and Bingo was his name Sir, B – I – N -G -O ..” I mean the shame of it. On a more serious note, the ingredients for our pyrotechnics were obtained over a number of weeks sourcing out different chemists and garden supplies in Brighton. As a result we had sufficient material for Jeremy Bushell and I  tried a few experimental rocket launches from remote areas on the Downs, the last of which left a one meter crater where the launch pad had been. Fortunately by that time we had perfected the art of remote ignition with a small car battery. Can kids today do the same experiments? If Robert H Goddard (not that I place myself alongside such Greats) had been doing his stuff today, he would have been taken away by the Anti Terrorist squad. Here in NSW Australia, a local school boy letting off a stink bomb on a school bus prompted a full scale investigation by the local police into ” discharging a noxious liquid”… Happy pyrotechnic days – 90% curiosity and 10% stupidity – or vice versa.

    By Robin Finch (12/02/2013)
  • How times have changed. Stink bombs, rocket launches (out of town at least), scrumping apples were all considered petty juvenile offences that warranted a clip round the ear from the local Bobby and a “Be off with you!”, although now even that punishment would be termed assault. The only thing I remember about Jeb Bushell is that he was a deeper sleeper than Steven Hopley of previous fame, and of an attempt to move him into the tennis court one morning while he was still sleeping in his bed. Anyway, congrats Robin and Jeb on your successful launch, it must have been quite a sight. I wish now I had stuck with my tinkering, which reminds me of the constant report card conclusion “Has the ability, could do better”. It didn’t matter whether you got a 1A or 3C in a subject, it was obviously rote by the men in gowns, but all it did was to encourage the behaviour described above.

    By Colin Martyn (21/02/2013)
  • How very entertaining this thread has been. My brother Gary Nevill was a pupil at the school in it’s first incarnation, played bugle in the CCF band and learnt Russian, Latin and subjects which were routine then but I suggest might be thought specialist today. I was one of the pioneering ladies of BHASVIC in it’s second year as a sixth form college. Whilst most contributors have recounted the scary side of ‘Killer Reeve’ I was pleased to read Mark Thompsons account revealing the softer side of the man. I heard all the tales of swords and dangling boys from the top floor window but found a thoughtful man who was mostly bored with the day to day and looked to inject a little ‘surprise’ into life from time to time. Whilst I’m still not entirely sure he fully came to terms with the female invasion of his school I think it did temper his more violent outbursts. You could never predict his mood but he was undoubtedly a talented, sensitive artist and teacher when he chose to teach. He would spend hours looking out of windows of his tower end artroom whilst we beavered away, sometimes offering only a single comment all lesson. Another day he spent an entire period discussing the arrangement of a still life with me in intricate detail. Pottery was held in a draught ridden building off the carpark and when I silently nearly froze in the winter he disappeared and and gallantly came back with an electric fire which he placed next to my chair and then silently withdrew. I remember he had a huge Kenwood food mixer resembling a vesuvial eruption in which he mixed slip and which he confided had been removed from home ‘without permission’. Endlessly he would tell us that terracotta and blue were the perfect colour combination. I was stick thin then and a bit weedy and on parents night he told them he was a bit baffled by girls and was afraid I might break like a china doll if he didn’t look after me. I remember the epic murals in the common room by Simon, there was an Arthurian legend I think, and an enterprising manufacturing of screen printed aprons for ‘Leadbelly’ restaurant then in New Road under the tutelage of a student teacher and a rash of pointillism during my artroom years. The McCleans were running the tail end years of the boarding house, whose ground floor had become Home economics, surely a stranger of the previous boys school, and where I spent a lot of time stitching. When I got an offer of a place at the RSN London, Mrs John’s, head of girls at BHASVIC and french teacher at my previous grammar, kindly helped arranged funding for me. I experienced nothing but kindness and remember my brief time at Dyke Road with great affection. I went on to become a textile artist.

    By Georgie Snuggs (02/04/2013)
  • Now that we are starting to put names to a few memorable incidents in our youth, who remembers Dizzy Mills annual osmosis experiment with pigs bladder and tube extending the height of the stairwell? Designed to show the height to which a column of liquid would be supported by osmotic pressure, we daily watched its progress to ever greater heights. More to the point does anybody now want to put their hand up (Statute of limitations applies) to sabotaging it one year, with a pinprick to the pigs bladder? Just curious

    By Robin Finch (10/04/2013)
  • I attended junior school with David Shelton, John D’Arcy, Nick Rosewarne and others from the Brighton & Hove Grammar. I live in Honolulu now, and interestingly, last night one of our classmates, Susan Muggeridge, arrived on a visit to Hawaii. My husband and I took them to dinner at our club. We reminisced about those days! Would love to hear your news.

    By Jackie Collins Buck (nee Collins) (18/04/2013)
  • I commented briefly earlier. I was one of the few boys who came away from the School at fifteen, empty handed. I was glad to leave, but at 76 I realise that even with a poor outcome (largely my own fault) a lot went in during my four years that stayed there and was of benefit. I managed to catch up later when the army gave me the 18 months I needed to complete the five parts of the CIMA exams. I started on the wrong foot, being caught by the Head Boy, Roper, scrumping the Headmaster’s apples before I had even passed the 11-plus. The strawberries became a great temptation later that must have made me seem like a Suarez character with a compulsion to bite Mr Brogden’s fruit. To be fair, my parents had no idea what an advantage I had been given. The fast track method of the Grammar School system, which, on flimsy evidence, virtually condemned a large percentage of the children to a second class education with little hope of a university place, was of second order to the issue for them of finding the cost of the uniform. No-one owned a car in 1948 let alone had even thought about university. All of which suited me down to the ground. The great sadness is that in not progressing I had deprived another boy of a chance. It didn’t affect me. I had a perfect career, where it always go better and where my last job after 40 years was the best. As was my private life, with a brilliant family including nine grandchildren. As I recover from paralysis with Guillain Barre, fusion of my back, and a major heart attack it is sobering to look back at what might have been. I am glad it worked out as it did for all the good things that happened to me would not have happened had I stayed on. But Brogden was entirely right when he showed me the door. He did it with some sensitivity, telling me that when I was ready I would understand what I had to do. Which is how it worked out. But it was an enjoyable experience for all my own deficiencies.

    By Anthony Hollis (26/04/2013)
  • I do remember the tube from the osmosis experiment, and being a natural target for juvenile delinquents I should remember the pig’s bladder, but I don’t, however I do remember a more practical experiment with Brian Ricketts. At the end of the summer term, we asked Danny Tripp if we could borrow a 5 gallon container for a chemistry experiment. That two fourth formers would show such interest in his beloved profession made him positively beam with pride, and he glady gave us one. After the holidays, Brian and I returned to boarding school and found the square plastic container was now twice its original size and as round as a ball, as the home made orange wine had been fermenting all summer, hidden in a cupboard in the music room. With faint hearts we gingerly unscrewed the cap until suddenly a high pitched whistle announced to all that something was up, and the room was filled with a ghastly yeast vapour. Fortunately nobody came knocking and leaving the window open all night retrieved the situation. Saturday morning came, and after filling two old wine bottles for a brief victory toast, we drank it like lemonade while heading down to the beach; which is where the potency hit home. The walk back uphill in the heat was longer than a triple Latin period, and more punishment than I thought my head could take. We had clearly been misled as to the joys of alcohol.

    By Colin Martyn (01/05/2013)
  • French teaching at BHASGS 1964 to 1971. Hendrie Bruce initially, with Bill Bone once a week, who would do the whole lesson in French, most unusually for that time. Then in the 3rd form Miles Wootton, a gifted man who doubled as a folk singer in local pubs at weekends, and who was also my best 6th form teacher. Bruce appeared again at that point, saying ruefully, ‘I’ve been told I have to teach you the poetry part of the syllabus — I can’t think why — I can’t stand poetry!’ But somehow I imbibed a love of the language and literature which has never left me. Bone on Moliere: ‘Gents, please, the only question they ever set is ‘ow does Moliere make yer laugh?’ (He was right.) Turl did the proses, exact but dry. There was also a French assistant, M. Cullier, who naturally Bone referred to as ‘Arsebound’. Bone I think was a great man, not mentioned much in these reminiscences. He was my form master in 6th Arts. He had a good deal of wisdom about the young, which couldn’t be said of everybody on the staff at that time. Paul Dean (1964–1971)

    By Paul Dean (28/05/2013)
  • Miles Wooton created quite a stir when he was first at the school, it would have been about 1964. Not only did he have long hair [he was a folk singer] but suede desert boots, white socks …and a pink shirt! Harry Brogden the headmaster must have had kittens every time he appeared! The start of the Sixties’ laxity at the school! I saw Miles in Western Rd not too long ago, instantly recognisable but as I was on a 46 bus unable to speak to him. I remember one of the school Shakespeare plays at Xmas when he played the guitar in a ‘lute-like’ manner to much acclaim. I was in the Killer Reeve art team producing the back drops and I recall spending hours painting in great detail the heraldic shields for one of the ‘history’ plays. Killer was most impressed that I made the roundels on a small part of one heraldic device exactly circular, they being so far away from the public’s prying eyes, which, after a period of being on the end of his scathing wit and temper…I still remember fondly.

    By Geoffrey Mead (30/05/2013)
  • Paul, thanks for your welcome comments about Bill Bone. Being a ‘scientist’ I was never exposed to Bill in the classroom however he did chaperone the Langridge Brown trip to Tours and Paris in 1956 during the Suez crisis. In Paris, we stayed in a dormitory of the Lycee Michelet. Some cynic assigned us to a dormitory housing a bunch of Egyptian students – an early demonstration of ‘Entente Cordiale’ but we never spoke to them; we kept to our own end of the very long dormitory. Bill was proud of his rugby experiences at school and at Cambridge, especially certain ‘songs’. As we ascended the Eiffel Tower, he led us with the dirge ‘Who stole the bloater? … Ebenezer Brown’. Two cases of Vouvray accompanied us to Paris and we ate at his favourite restaurant “Drouant” which is still in business. Bill had a lot of stories .. he never wore a jock strap when he played rugby because it made him swerve to the right.

    By Dudley Seifert (06/06/2013)
  • Hall, 68-75. If you remember me at all, it will be me punching the air on the way to nearly winning the 100 metres against the fleet footed (and elegant) Adam Moseley with a face like thunder, or sliding under my desk with laughter after Spot the Leopard asked if I would find a cripple walking down the road funny. I could be rendered helpless with laughter and so all the wittier ones loved my company; herein lies the anomaly…..I was a laughing fool, but, as a sensitive and thoughtful boy from countrified Hassocks, I spent my years at BHASGS scared stiff and hating my time there. In contrast my primary school did well by me, it was a look, touch and comprehend kind of place and I blossomed. Rumours of bog-washing and something called detention drove me into myself and I was determined never to fall foul of the punishment regime so, unlike my more spirited antecedents and peers, it did me harm.
    The worst that happened, happened to a contemporary; never good friends at our Windmills primary, this young chap took it badly that all his closer friends went to the Secondary Modern and got little from his days at the school, at odd times I would be detailed to “get a glass of water” or spend time with him outside lessons. One touching scene I remember was him falling asleep crying. Oh dear, really there was nothing the gentlemanly Don Anderson could do, men of that generation seemed unequal to the task and the school had only a rough and ready pastoral side. From my perspective I would describe Mr Reeves as damaged. The titbits of information I have read in these notes have shown me a side of him that I might have guessed had I not been so repelled by him. His sadistic bullying of the vulnerable were of course him expiating demons of his own, squirting water at the weakest and perhaps despising us for not having a genius amongst our ranks. Well I am no artistic genius but when years later I found my true vocation was arts not science based and that not only could I draw and paint but I could also sculpt with a facility that seemed to come out of the air, I wept myself and thought of Killer and wept even harder, he blocked me from myself and for decades led me to believe I was worthless with nowhere meaningful to go….. Arts?
    Well the whimsical and jester-like Jack Smithies knew there was something in me, asking endless questions about etymology (I was pleased I even knew what it was!) and he might have held out for me had I not spent my essay writing on the more pragmatic Mr Pascoe, who could tell I was reading Dylan Thomas and doing my best to outdo him with rhythms and cadences. Unfortunately I crashed at the exam; I had nothing Dylanesque to offer and unlike Dr Thomas Daffern (the shining star of the year above and contributor here) fell to earth so badly that I was even turfed out of my English class in the VIth form and told to do maths by….Jack Smithies, oh dear again!
    The point of me writing this is not to rain on the bright parade of other people’s memories, nor even to deride some of the school’s strengths, I just want everyone to know that Absque Labore Nihil is true but what a bloody horrible labore it was for some that it did not suit. I’m going to look again at this ‘wall’ sometime in the future and get over the sad bit and the things that were wrong (seeing disability as a handicap to be pitied), stiff upper lips where compassion was required but much too scary, and see what Mr Hall, the man, makes of it all. But why did Latin textbooks have to smell of sick?

    By Hall (21/06/2013)
  • Today, 12 July 2013, I saw in The Argus a death notice for Richard Reeves aged 97. I assume this is dear old ‘Killer’ Reeves, but have not confirmed it. The funeral is at Downs Crem, Bear Road, 18th July at 11.15. Killer taught me enough to gain ‘O’level Art and I can still remember the proportions of Gill Sans lettering. He will always be remembered by me for chucking a whole chair at a boy in the art room because he was standing in the wrong place at our first art class in 1961!

    By Geoffrey Mead (12/07/2013)
  • I too was saddened to read of the recent passing of Killer and of the event leading up to it. The Argus article was sent to me by an old friend I frequently correspond with, Richard (‘Dick’) Wheeler. Like all here I recall RRR’s ‘eccentric’ behaviour, but apart from the shocking state of my fingernails that irked him somewhat, I was never the subject of his verbal battering (poor Lambert!). I also lamented the passing of Jolly Jack Smithies who first brought to my attention (and has given me a continued admiration for) the works of Aubrey Beardsley. RIP to them both.

    By Clive Rodgers (18/07/2013)
  • I attended ‘Killer’s’ funeral, a beautifully sunny day with a cluster of old Grammarians amidst his other friends and family. I wore my Smith House colours tie and spotted another school tie being sported! But best of all the very jolly vicar greeted our ‘class’ as we entered the Downs Crem with ‘Absque Labore Nihil’…he was an Old Boy! He gave a very amusing, but also moving address, with many ‘Killer’ tales of classroom escapades. Great to see my old 1960s chums even at such a potentially sad event…which it wasn’t! And even better to see Killer’s daughter who I last saw on the school trip to Italy in 1963!

    By Geoffrey Mead (20/07/2013)
  • I can’t believe it, after a few years I am now back in England to stay (from Australia, good behaviour I think), and just took a strolling re-look at this page. Its grown!! Its the 23rd of July 2013 and I just missed the 100 years celebration of the school’s buildings (I believe). Just rang to find out if the school was open for a visit (shutting tomorrow), found out that Mr Ian ‘Mac’ Maclean had passed away only just last year and now “Killer”. Jeez! My last picture of Killer Reave was a funny one: I decided to do Art as my A level subject having passed the O with a B, wow! We had a new art teacher helping Killer, she was the spitting image of Brigitte Bardot and I was hooked. I decided to do Art A level as she was so encouraging, and amazingly I had a good relationship with Killer, being a boarder, and the previous water bomb incident where I made a huge water bomb for him which he filled with permanent blue ink and threw into the tennis courts below, followed with a storm of insults to “keeep it down!!”.) I actually passed my art A level with the highest mark in my class… an A, and Killer couldn’t believe it. As I walked out of the school on the way to the Common Room, I almost made it, when I heard a  voice bellowing from the the art room, “Ellis….. you b******d”. He was shocked (me too) at my result. I became a graphic designer (London College Printing) and have been freelancing in both the UK and Australia almost ever since. My chief passion is in the Arts all the way….. well done Mr Reeve, it was your class that set me off as a commercial artist. Oh yes – I never forgot how to draw all the letters of the alphabet, in Gill Sans style.

    By Alec Ellis (23/07/2013)
  • Gill Sans? I prefer Tahoma! Sometime in the early 60’s there was a student art teacher. I remember being inspired to try sculpture, and trekked to the south Downs to procure a lump of chalk. This I shaped into a rough approximation of a face. The student teacher (no idea of his name) seemed impressed and took it away, possibly for an exhibition, and I never saw it again. Some one mentioned John Spencer playing for Sussex. He also, I believe, played at one time for English Grammar schools. There is a story that his interviewer at French O level oral had played for England Public Schools which gave them something to talk about. I remember we both suffered from Navy section jersey discomfort – mind I still have my jersey (and a tie and a scarf – but not a cap). I’m sure I’d have got better exam results if the examiners could read my writing. It didn’t help being left-handed. I tried all sorts to improve legibility from those osmiroid curved nibs to writing unjoined-up, but still smudged quink across the page. My excuse anyway. Anyone coming in by train will remember the choice at Brighton Station – to catch a bus to school or walk and save the 2d for an extra bun from the tuck shop at break. Time was a factor here too. In the 6th form it would be amusing on occasion to stop at each pub on the trek back to the station: resulting once in being sick on the platform and being helped home by Rob Smith. The best thing about the train journey was those rare days when there was heavy snow and the trains were cancelled. Brilliant, sledging all day. Once it snowed when we were at school and a few of us hitched back home getting a lift in the back of a landrover pick up. Apart from the glider – which always seemed too heavily-built to glide anywhere – another health and safety nightmare was the zip wire at the far end of the field. I remember one friend coming off and breaking his arm. (It’s okay Nigel, I won’t say who it was). Jack Shrewsbury took me for Economics and Public Affairs. Very laid back and genial. Marginal utility has stayed with me ever since. At some point we must have done some (economic) history with him – agrarian revolution stuff. Since the Harry Potter phenomenon, it’s interesting to see a few similarities in the school set up and characters of the staff. I wonder if BH&S used a sorting hat to allocate you to a house? I think I went into Smith because my brother was there. Sorry this is a bit random. Geoffrey, you haven’t mentioned your wondrous talent at the annual general knowledge competition. Sadly, two friends I was at school with have died in the past few years, Ryan Kemp and Paul Paton. Much missed.

    By Pete H (20/09/2013)
  • I was at the school from 1952 for 3 years before moving on to Lewes Grammar. Started off in 2c with  Mr Dickenson, I was the first boy from the Barnardo home in Dyke Rd. Ave to pass the dreaded 11 plus. I lost an eye in form 3 but the idiots still put me in to the CCF but not for long as I was a marching hazard. I actually remember Dudley Seifert doing his longest dive trick at North Road Baths, bit like a large dead body slowly floating on till the breath ran out. Poor old Arnold Berry, much maligned, often hated, never understood but beneath it all a very lonely man. He was also very kind, I know as he kind of adopted me, paid for me and another boy, named Balduc I think, to go on his field trips to Scotland and Yorkshire and gave me my first bike, an old 27 inch bone shaker. He even moved up as form master from 3c to 4c I think to keep his eye on me, something that my form mates would not have been too pleased about. Others who wrongly judged his motives to be less than wholesome were partly responsible for me moving on to Lewes. I thought I should put a good word in for him. Yes he could be trying but was rather witty. I remember him once asking a boy at the back of class who he was talking to, myself he answered….that’s half an hour apiece said Berry. He also swam round the headland near Whitby in his underpants to rescue two boys looking for ammonites, he thought to be cut off by the tide, one being me. We had since claimed the cliff and saw the whole performance. Killer lasted well – 97 good on him. I remember his son who was at school at the same time as me. 72 and still fit and healthy, a great family. I live half the year in France and half in New Zealand, the best of both worlds. It was an interesting place but how lucky we are that headmasters like Mr Brogden have joined the dinosaurs.

    By Roger Johnson (23/09/2013)
  • Chris Cluett – 1960 – 1967 – Well this lot brings back memories. I was in Chichester House up to O levels then boarded for two years  McLean and his lady wife were resident in the boarding house during my A levels – and charming people they were too. Rodney Stone moved on when I left in ’67  CCF – I too was in the shooting 8 and was frequently to be found upstairs in the indoor .22 range – (got my crossed rifles badge for competing in “Country Life” competition). Lots of stories about JPW and Bisley and the day he crashed the mini bus - Jack Smithies directed several schoolplays including the “Alchemist” by Ben Johnson into which I was dragged screaming – I was sort of chair of the Motor Club for a while and parked a Riley RME next to the Volley ball court for a while and would get help to push start it and roar off around the playing fields – we also had an old Austin A30 that we used to tinker with as well as the old Morris in the Armoury building - I think I was there when the Gym was built – I do remember the old canteen down the bottom of the lane and “Doris” the dinner lady – I also remember the glider taking off and heading for the sports equipment building only to swerve aside and re-land – always stuck in my mind but can’t remember who was at the controls.  I think I rose to the heady heights of lance corp in the CCF. Ah happy days  – Ian St John and I worked together for a while in the Civil engineering business – but have not been in touch with any other of my old pals except Chris Dyer briefly many years ago.

    By Chris Cluett (11/11/2013)
  • Just come across this page and spent a most enjoyable hour reading through everyone’s memories. I was at BH&SGC from 1963-70 leaving in first year of 6th Form. The only contributors I recognise are Paul Preager and Stuart James (his brother had a TR3 or 4 from memory). I was very keen on the sports front and remember Mike Smith and Mike Yaxley fondly, MY being keen on topping up his tan.
    In my year I remember Kim Hayward (who I keep in touch with), Stuart Todd, Robert Harper, John Bentley, Dallas Chadwick, Bob Catchpole, Mike Stevens, Mike Peters, John Goodsell, Nick Hooper, Nigel Beale, Keith Fox and Ian Grey, to name a few.
    I also have good memories of some of the teachers, realising early on if one wanted good marks in Art, you went on a Killer Reeves skiing trip and the Maths teacher betting me I wouldn’t pass Maths O level (pleased to say he lost his bet).
    An everlasting memory now I am at that stage of life when one looks back, is the school’s football away trips when I used to bring a radio on board and we would sing to the likes of Old Durham Town by Roger Whittaker to pass the time! Fond memories.

    By John (Jacko) Jackson (27/04/2014)
  • Richard Jackson (‘Chichester’ 1963-70, Senior Prefect 1970). Fascinating reading – many thanks.

    By Richard Jackson (14/08/2014)
  • Many thanks to Guy Johnson for your message, and also the posts by Colin Martyn and Nick Rosewarne. I wish I had known my grandfather – JBW – as his three children and my grandmother always painted the same picture of him, intelligent, patient, kind, quietly witty. My grandma, Sybil Williams, sadly passed away in 2012, but enjoyed reading these messages. She had very fond memories of the school too and would tell me stories – such as the brilliant joy-riding one, but also more everyday tales, for example, she told me that one day in the library she kept hearing a whistling. My grandfather came in and she mentioned it to him and without looking round he just shouted a boy’s surname and ‘Out!’ – the boy in question instantly shambled out from behind the shelves. I got the impression he was pretty omniscient about lots of things that went on. If anyone has any others I would be very happy to hear them. Interesting re his comment wishing he had taught science as he certainly installed a love of Classics into his children – my mother was able to help me with my Latin homework many years after he had died because she remembered him teaching her so well. Dudley Seifert is correct about his time in the war and David Shelton, yes that plaque in his memory was put on the bench in the park by my grandmother and the rest of his family. They lived together in a house on Dyke road for many years and my grandma remained living there until her death – she used to visit that bench often. To Merlin Stone – yes Clare is my aunt! She is happily married with a daughter and two young grandchildren now. Thanks to everyone here for painting such a vivid picture of what the school was like at that time.

    By Katharine (15/10/2014)
  • I have read through the above comments with great interest, and wish that perhaps gentlemen of a previous generation would be inclined to add a comment, but then maybe there are only a few left, and those might not be computer literate. My uncle, John Brian Cother, attended BH&S grammar school late ’20s to early ’30s. I have a copy of the class school photo 1931 and easily picked out my uncle.  John Brian excelled in shot, and after his death in WWII while on active duty, my grandparents donated a silver cup in his honor to be awarded annually to the winner of this competition. Sadly the whereabouts of the silver cup are a mystery, if anyone should know of or have a story about the cup, I would be most interested.
    Last year I met with the archivist and he kindly took me on a tour of the school.  I was thrilled to see the memorial windows, and my uncle’s name included.  The mural around the great hall is most interesting.  John Brian also excelled in opera, and was often the lead “female” singer. I have read the favorable comments in the yearly Past and Present books. Since researching my uncle’s life story, I was thrilled to be put in contact with the son of another opera singer who sang frequently alongside JB and currently resides in London. There are many more stories I could relate and old photos, but only if you request them.

    By Bonny Cother (03/04/2015)
  • Greetings to Clive Rogers, Andrew Wilson and Kieran Humphrys. Just saw Clive’s comments and it bought to mind the summer we had spent working in 1968 with John Rowan (De La Salle School). If any of you still visit Brighton, do drop me a line.

    By Damien Wan (30/08/2015)
  • Colin Short – January 1972 to March 1973. I only spent a short time at BH&SG in the early seventies. We had moved down from London to Rottingdean, where our parents had bought a small fish & chip shop on the north edge of the village (just off Falmer Rd). Spent a couple of terms in First Form where I think Mr Anderson might have been our main teacher. I don’t remember too many names or faces, but to this day I can remember the first few names on the roll call that we used to have to shout out each morning; Batt, Belham, Bushell, Charman, Cooper, Dyer. Steve Standen and Lindsay Ingram are the only two people I really remember. Then into Form 2B for a further couple of terms before we emigrated as a family to Melbourne, Australia. Mum and my two brothers are still in Oz, but I moved back to the UK in 1991 and still here, living in Hampshire. I stumbled across this page by accident whilst I was looking up some history of the old Kemptown railway. What a treat it has been to read all of the stories and see some of the old teachers names that used to take some of my classes (Hoss, Killer, et al).

    By Colin Short (22/09/2015)
  • My very best wishes to those that may recall me from ’63 – ’68. Two comments remain with me to this day. “Well taken, boy!”, uttered by Harry Brogden having administered ‘six of the best’ and “Well bowled, boy!”, whispered to me by Mike Smith shortly after uprooting the off stump of an England opener at Lancing College. Better than a lottery win.

    By David Rowley (27/03/2016)
  • Absque labore nihil – without work nothing

    “Absque labore nihil, in work, in play, in life,
    In rivalry of nations or boyhood’s friendly strife,
    The race goes to the eager, the laggard falls behind 
    and ever to the bravest do fortunes’ smiles prove kind.”

    What was that song about? I have always felt it had elitist overtones and had uncomfortable parallels with ”Arbeit macht frei“.

    By Neilson Crowley (29/03/2016)
  • I was at BHSGS from 1967 to 71, arriving half way through the 3rd Year as a day pupil but then transferring into Marshall House as a boarder when my father, who was in the army, was posted away from the area. I came across this site and strand whilst idling away a few hours on a wet afternoon and just kept on reading – prompting so many pleasant recollections, thank you all.  I think I was involved in the runaway canoe trip down Montpelier Road. Reading the entries I was reminded of several names from my year: Paul Muggleston (Dean), Colin Warburton, Stephen Gilmore-Ellis, Paul Praeger, John Goodsell, Pollard, John Coote to name but a few. I would add Robert Cubbage, David Renew, David Feldman, Paul (?) Feld, Robert Housego as other friends I remember – although not sure they would remember me. There was also a Canadian guy whose name I have forgotten (Saracen?) with whom I hitched up to London one Saturday to go to see a free Rock Concert in Hyde Park, but it rained so we went to see Woodstock in Leicester Square Cinema instead. Remember the CCF hitchhike, we eventually got to Matlock in Derbyshire. David Renew and I helped with the lighting for Richard III and also for the Mikado, if I recall it was always Shakespeare one year followed by a Gilbert & Sullivan the next. I certainly remember the House Music competitions and the struggles Paul Praeger had in rounding up the ‘acts’ that followed the choral section. I ended up singing ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ in my Lower 6th and something else long forgotten in my Upper 6th. I played a lot of bridge (just restarted) and was the Secretary of the Bridge Club, and remember that a team from my year (M Sellwood, P Marks, C Martyn, M Wenble) won the Daily Mail Schools Cup in 1971. There must have been bad times during my time at BHSGS – especially around exam times – but looking back across the 45 years since I left the overall recollection I have is one of a having had a really happy time.

    By Robert Piller (15/04/2016)
  • Get it right, Short!  The 1971/72 1a register went along the lines of Batt, Bellm, Bushell, Charman, Cooper, Durham, Dyer, English, Finney, French, Hafner, Hayward, Hopkins, Ingram, Jeffries, King, McCormick, Phillips, Powell, Rogers, Simmons, Watson, Whelch, Wilcocks. I remember most quite vividly. Still see Paul Whelch at Albion away games. Jeremy Dyer became a famous tennis player and has a footballing son. Tony Hawksworth was also in our year. Fond memories of the GS and pioneers of the VIC. Happy times playing cricket for the BOGs. Proud to have been in Willett. Great schools.

    By Mark Bellm (20/04/2016)
  • Interesting comments from Damien Wan, Colin Short, David Rowley, Neilson Crowley, Robert Piller and Mark Bellm. You all seem to have good memories of the Grammar School but none of you is a member of the Old Boys (Past & Present Association)! We are having our 150th Annual Reunion in the School/College Hall on 9th July and there are still a few places left – a good opportunity to catch up with contemporaries. If you, or anybody else, are interested, my contact details can be found on the ‘Join the Past & Present Association’ page of this website. I hope to hear from you soon.

    By Bruce Rawlings (28/06/2016)
  • Colin Short- I remember you from 2S (not 2B)- it was the worst class in the whole school that year, and probably deserved its reputation – it was awful. One thing that jogged my memory – sitting in one of Dim Jim’s deadly double maths lessons – you were talking to someone, probably Steve Standen, behind you. Dim Jim goes “SHORT!- turrn rrright arround!” and you stood up, turned right around, sat down again, and earned yourself a Tuesday detention. Its funny what you remember, I suppose it appealed to my sense of humour.

    Did you ever come on one of those trips along the old Kemp Town railway with us? Steve Standen and I went through that tunnel and over the viaduct several times. I know Plug (Peter Hughes) came along once, but I cant remember if you did.

    By Mark Thompson (24/09/2016)
  • A reminder that I have electronic copies in high resolution of the 1966 school photograph for anybody wanting copies. I can be reached at In return please just name as may people in the photos as you can. I am trying to name all 657 persons present!

    By Robin Finch (30/09/2016)
  • Just stumbled across this site and so interesting to read of so many names I remember from my time at the school (62 – 69). Didn’t do that great at school but somehow managed to scrape three A levels. I remember Richard Lynn, Phil Reckless, Graham Openshaw, Ian Smith, and so many others. Great reminiscing – so many good masters and only a few demons such as Killer Reeves.

    By Kevin Lewis (09/01/2017)
  • Fascinated to hear these views on the staff of my time 1944-50.  The first I met was Pascoe who had appeared in RAF uniform at my previous school, Shoreham Grammar, during the war years. Having moved to Brighton before I did he was very kind to me in the month before I was due in U3A, getting me up to speed with Latin and telling me about the set up I would encounter.  My form master was nice Claude Toll.  Yes, he hadn’t much knack for discipline, and was known universally as ‘Tramp’. On the other hand, he ran the weekend Cycling Club and for years I joined his small groups exploring Sussex, and when in the sixth form I joined his 10-day tour of the Cotswolds, my first experience of Youth Hostelling.  Additionally, he helped me to achieve a decent Higher Cert in Maths.  Taught by ‘Stooge’ Williams, Physics became my favourite subject, and I was well brought up in Chemistry by Major Alexander.  In those days before PC he was apt to say to boys ‘Are you deaf or daft?’  He certainly knew his Chemmy, but sadly he said that by the time he retired he had become a victim of cumulative hydrogen sulphide poisoning.  I gained a love of History and Politics from Fred Williamson whose lessons were wonderful and helped me to resolve to enter the teaching profession.  I never found ‘Killer’ Reeve scary, indeed I was grateful to take part in the highly inspirational ‘Langridge-Brown’ tour of a fortnight in Germany and Austria which he organised and led at the end of my final term in 1950.  We were wonderfully received by our hosts who were only slowly recovering from the trauma of war.  Monsieur Rover taught us oral French once a week.   ‘Poof!  It stink!’, he would cry on entering the classroom, ‘Open ze windows!’.  Making some grammatical point, he said to the class ‘A man comes up to you and says, I AM… .   What would you say to him?’  Taken unawares as he suddenly pointed at me, I replied ‘So am I!’.  ’Idyat!’ He shouted, and fortunately never bothered asking me anything for two years. Then, after the School Cert results came out, he accosted me in a corridor, saying with raised eyebrows, ‘You. You. (pause) You are clever’.  Mostly we were taught French by the benevolent and thoughtful Mr. Mills.  When asked by Baumann, the class genius for languages, whether he had been OK to translate ‘postman’ as ‘garçon de cabaret’,  perplexed, Mr. Mills after a pause answered ‘Ah, in your dictionary you have looked up ‘potman’!  Rather astute.

    By Kenneth Greenwood (14/12/2017)
  • Was this school a boarding school at one time? 

    By Leigh Morgan (08/07/2018)
  • There was a block named Marshall House[after the first headmaster] where some boys boarded. When I was there in the 1960s many had parents out in The Commonwealth, mainly in Africa and the boys stayed there in Marshall for the term time.

    By Geoffrey Mead (09/07/2018)
  • To Leigh Morgan. If you look at the second photo at the top of this page you will see in the background part of the boarding house (Marshall House) the big square window of 4 panes above the policeman’s head is the washroom of the dormitory on the 1st floor. Identical one above on the second floor, and both  dormitories are mirror imaged to the left of the entrance (out of photo to left). Total 4 dormitories. Just behind the waiting nurses in the picture, became the lockable boarders bike shed, built by House Master Rodney Stone, following theft by locals of a few of our push bikes. Ground floor behind the crowd was the toilet block, shower and locker rooms and mirrored on the opposite side (left) below the 1st and 2nd floor dormitory was the common prep/ study room with pool table and piano. Always sticks in my memory was that none of the four dorms had a conventional fire escape, but had instead a large wooden locker below one window containing a rope ladder to be lowered in case of emergency! We never tried it.

    By Robin Finch (03/09/2018)
  • Hi Damian Wan – I don’t recall you at all, sorry. When were you at the school? I’m afraid that I didn’t particular enjoy my time there – in common with many that I have seen on other sites it seems. Still, life’s been kind in many ways and I’m still working at one of our best London universities. Richard Wheeler and I still meet up when we can. I live half of my time in Hove these days so maybe we could grab a coffee in one of the numerous places around here?

    By Clive Rodgers (01/12/2019)
  • Clive, I remember you. Could you email me?

    By Howard Berman (22/02/2020)
  • Well well well. Like others, I came across this website by accident, while attempting some family history research. I was reading with interest the reminiscences of the contributors, realising as I did so that I did not recognise any of their names, even those with whom I must have overlapped, until I saw the contribution from Paul Muggleston.

    Paul’s claim to fame was his ability to forge the signatures of all the teachers, thereby enabling us to fraudulently acquire additional exercise books from the stationery store. His memory of classmates’ names in 1W is better than mine. I was in 1A (Don Anderson’s class), and I remember we had two Knights and a Day, a Marks and a Spencer. With sublime schoolboy disregard for the yet-to-be-invented practise of body-shaming, we distinguished the first two as ‘skinny Knight’ and ‘fat Knight’.

    Paul refers to the English teachers Messrs Randall, Hancock and Pascoe (sounds like a firm of solicitors). Randall’s Eng. Lit. class spent time reading the plays of Shakespeare out loud. In one play, I forget which, the part being temporarily played by skinny Knight has numerous lines in which the word ‘whore’ appears. Skinny Knight, who had presumably never heard the word used before, pronounced this (not unreasonably) ‘war’ on each occasion. Randall winced visibly, but refused to correct him.

    Randall retired after about 40 years at BHSGS. ‘Hoss’ Ryder retired at about the same time after even longer – 42 years. I remember being squeezed into a classroom with about half the rest of the school at his retirement presentation.
    ’Ernie’ Pascoe’s son Martin was also in 1A along with Christopher Selsby and Richard Ryder (no relation), all of whom had ambitions to become lawyers. I don’t know if they achieved that. It always amused me that Ernie referred to his son by his surname during lessons.

    And then, much lower down the page, contributions from Colin Martyn. As Robert Piller points out later still, Colin and I were part of the team (together with Mark Sellwood and the aforementioned Philip Marks) that won the England Schools Bridge Championship (Daily Mail Cup) in 1971. As well as a large trophy, we were given engraved pewter goblets as our individual prizes; I still have mine. Over the previous few months, we had won the local heat and the regional semi-final before going to London to play the national final at the National Liberal Club. This was held over a weekend in the school holidays between the spring and summer terms. The trophy was re-presented to us at assembly by Harry Brogden at the start of the summer term and he was very proud to announce that the trophy contained the names of previous winners, “including Eton College”.

    The previous year, Dan Tripp had caught me (with, I think, the other three of us) playing bridge during a wet lunch-time. As a devout RC, he thought cards were instruments of the devil and he handed out my only major detention. The look on his face as we went up to collect our trophy was a joy to behold.

    I appreciate that 90% (or perhaps more) of contributors will not understand the following paragraph but I think it’s worth the telling. On one hand from the final, Colin and Philip bid to 7C, itself no mean achievement. At our table, on the same hand I was able to open a weak 2S, next hand overcalled 3C and Mark made the excellent barrage bid of 5S, which effectively gave our opponents absolutely no chance to reach the grand slam. Fifty years on, this remains one of the finest bids any partner of mine has ever made.

    I continued to play bridge competitively for a few years after school and university, giving it up when I got married (my wife does not play and has no interest in learning). I returned to the game in the mid-2000s and co-authored a book on bidding with former Ladies’ World Champion Sally Brock. This has not proved to be in the J.K.Rowling best-seller class, and is now available from almost no good bookstores apart from Amazon. Earlier this year, a mere half-century after my England Schools triumph, I took part in trials to represent England in the Seniors (Over-60) home internationals.

    As well as teaching French, EB Williams used to set the annual General Knowledge quiz that everyone in the school took on the morning of the final day of the Winter term. There was a prize for the top score in each year, and I won it in, I think, my second year. The other French master, Mr Bruce, had a strong Scottish accent which somewhat hindered our acquiring accurate pronunciation. He was a firm believer in a future United States of Europe so if he were still alive he would now be sadly disillusioned.

    Other random recollections: Saturday morning classes (abolished after my first year). Walking down to the Dome in an approximate crocodile for prize-giving. I concur with earlier comments about Jack Smithies. He never seemed actually to teach us anything, but he somehow educated us. A class act. As well as being a dab hand at missile-throwing, I remember Killer Reeve once stapling Philip Marks’s jacket to his desk so he couldn’t fling his arms about. Toby Turl got me through Russian O-level (my parents, in their infinite wisdom, decided that Russian would be a more useful option when I grew up than German). Charlie Toll wore the same jacket for the three years he taught me Maths. I remember Dizzy Mills’ long plastic tube full of water sellotaped to a column, though I seem to think it more to do with recording the variation in atmospheric pressure than osmosis. Jack Woolven’s comment on a school report: “tries hard, with little success”. ‘Dorothy’ Dunstall gassing the second form. He was a weedy inconsequential chap, and it was a surprise to learn that he had represented England at shooting. Mike Smith leaving to manage the Wales football team without any experience of football management. Mike Yaxley leaving soon after to coach the Albion in those Goldstone Ground days. He used to drive a sports car, much to the envy of the petrol-heads. As a short, fat kid with not much co-ordination, I was pretty hopeless at football, even worse at cricket and I hated cross-country. It would no doubt astonish my contemporaries to learn that I completed a number of marathons in my 30s, culminating in a sub-3 hour finish at the 1989 London Marathon.

    By Mike Wenble (23/06/2022)
  • I have tried to contact Robin Finch at the email address he mentions several times in comments made ( Today I received a reply saying the email address was unknown. Hopefully Robin will see this message, however, I wondered if anyone else might have any news about him?

    By Nick Lade (26/06/2022)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *