Inter-school rivalries

Fawcett School
©Ian Brook

Large number of students

In the early 1960s and perhaps earlier, the were often large-scale fights between students from Fawcett School and those from Brighton Technical College. Both schools were virtually opposite to each other, with The Level in between them. The fights took place on the Level and for their duration, the lower part of it became a virtual no-go area. The fights did not happen often but were ferocious when they did. A large number of students, on both sides, were involved. 

Do you remember these altercations? Did other schools do something similar? Please post a comment

How were they organised?

I would have thought that these fights were organised to fit, neatly, into both school’s lunch hours. But how were they organised?  Was there a particular day on which they occurred? Was there some sort of communication between leaders of these gangs and a date agreed? Why did they happen, at all?  How were they broken up?  Did teachers and/or police arrive, in numbers, to sort it all out?  

Watching fearfully

I can only remember standing well back from any violence that was occurring. A lot of students, on both sides, weren’t really cut out for fighting. I do remember watching the fights from as far away as possible, fearing, perhaps, that I would be rounded up and thrown into the melee. 

Comments about this page

  • Staged fights were common between rival school pupils. My elder sister and brother both attended Moulsecoomb School. There were regular organised fights between Moulsecoomb and Stanmer. Both boys and girls organised their own scraps. In the 80s Patcham Fawcett and Dorothy Stringer held similar brawls. In the early 70s a pupil from Westlaine was hospitalised after being ambushed by Stanmer boys. Stanmer’s day finished at 3.50 which allowed them to wait for the grammar school pupils who finished at four. Uniform rules at Westlaine meant that their pupils had to wear caps to and from school. So Stanmer rivals would grab their caps etc. and hurl them onto the railway embankment.

    By Richard J. Szypulski (10/09/2016)
  • I started at Fawcett School in 1954 and I can state that the utter hatred between the Building School, as it was known as, had been going on for decades,. It got so out hand at one time that there was almost a riot. The Headteacher was that angry that he called a special assembly and read the riot act to us. Not that it made any difference – the battles still went on! We must have been an unruly lot as I can remember on one occasion a Building School boy had his blazer and cap taken from him and then the more unruly boys filled it fireworks and set light to it.

    By John Wignall (11/09/2016)

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