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Known as 'Fizzy Sherbet'

Fitzherbet School
Photo by John Leach

Great snow in 1967

I attended Fitzherbert School 1964 to 1969. I have many fond memories including the ‘Great Snow In’ in 1967 I think, when the school was cut off. Kids from Saltdean, Newhaven, Peacehaven and Seaford had to sleep in the school. Supplies of food were obtained from Ghazel’s tiny shop opposite; unfortunately there were no beds or blankets. The rest of us had to walk to and from school, over the Race Hill, down through Lower Bevendean and up over the Downs to Moulsecoomb and Coldean in snow blizzards up to our knees.

Did you attend ‘Fizzy Sherbet’? Share your memories by posting below

Waifs and strays

One day a couple of us were half an hour late and got detention, even though there was no transport and we had walked 3 miles in the snow over the Downs to school. Dickensian! I was born in the workhouse, which later became Brighton General Hospital. I was educated in the Industrial School for waifs and strays, as it used to be known originally by the locals.

Substantial history

Of course in those days, we had no idea that we were walking on top of the deepest hand dug well in the world every day, and could have fallen in. We had no knowledge of the substantial history of the school, or of the prehistoric earthworks next door on Cemetery Land which used to be an old farmstead. I would love to hear more stories from ‘Fizzy Sherbert’ please – as Fitzherbet was known by us then.

Comments about this page

  • I remember in  the early 50s having to walk home a few times from Fitzherbert when it was snowing badly. If you were lucky then maybe you would get out half an hour earlier as the buses were at a standstill having no chance of getting up the hill to the racecourse. My journey would be up to the race hill and down through Whitehawk to my home in Bennett Road. I remember one year some of us were about half way up the hill in Warren Road when Mr Liddel’s old Ford C type appeared full to the brim with teachers probably hoping to get some traction going up the hill with the extra weight. Anyway some bod had the bright idea of lobbing a snowball at the car. Then most of us joined in the, what we would call harmless, fun. The old car made it up the hill OK. The next morning at assembly the culprits were called to own up. When I was at school if you did something that was supposed to be naughty and asked to own up then you always did own up without hesitation. We got severe ear ache and a whacking from John Crowley from my class 3A as he was the best with the strap. The headmaster Mr Ivory was no good at giving the strap as his strap was a full six thong thing that gathered a lot of resistance from the air as it was so wide. Mr Crowley had a much better piece of equipment, namely a two thong thicker strap that you felt. He also used a yard stick on the palm of your hand. If you were silly enough to take your hand away then you were in line for an extra whack. Mr Goodman in class 2A had a piece of railway window strap used to pull the carriage windows up, it was really thick and hurt as he had a violent temper when roused. The girls never got the strap. They are days I remember with not always joy but, looking back, I would rather have gone to school in those days than today with all the complications.

    By Mick Peirson (13/02/2016)
  • “St John the Baptist RC School”. Which year did the name change to Fitzherbert?  Over recent years there have been so many interesting comments posted elsewhere on the MyB&H website.  However, many ex pupils continually refer to SJTB at Woodingdean in the 1950s as Fitzherbert, so maybe this is an opportunity to clarify things. According to the administrative history of the school at the Sussex Records Office, it states: “Prior to 1961 the Fitzherbert Secondary Modern School was known as the ‘St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Secondary School’”.  However, the directory for 1962 still lists the original name and it was not until the next edition in 1964 that a name change was recorded.  Speculating upon this, the name change would not have been likely during the academic year, so presumably it changed around September 1961. As directories were compiled in the year prior to publication, usually coinciding with the start of the financial year in April, the name change may have been missed and therefore not published until the next edition in 1964.  I attended this school 1954 – 1958 being one of the first intake of local Woodingdean children at that time.  I have mostly good memories of the school and of its teachers.

    By Chris Wrapson (14/02/2016)
  • I started September 1962. It was Fitzherbert then.

    By Elaine Edwards (22/01/2017)
  • Paddy Dowds was the first scholar of the Fitzherbert School to reach the National Schools boxing finals twice.
    Runner up in 1962 and 1963.
    Boxing was big in Brighton in those days with The Brighton Championship at “The Dome” followed by Sussex Champs, Southern Counties, Quarter and Semi finals then the Finals of the Nationals.
    Old pupils names from the past are: Trevor and Ralph Crowley.
    Terry Schand, Micky Timoney, Michael George, John Storey, Barry Thorpe, Micky Hamill, Andrew Kowolski, Siminski, Petronzi, Pierson. I can’t recall names of the other members of my 5th Form Year.
    Teachers’ names: Crowley, Bosanko, McIntyre, Lesser, Turner, Ivory, De Mohun, Danby and “Jock”.
    In my fifth form GCE “O”Level year Mr Crowley and pupils who needed extra help with Maths went to school in the holidays for extra tuition.
    Our whole family namely Veronica, Jim, the late Paddy, Jennifer and Sharon Dowds attended the school.
    I am 73 years old now and live with my family in New Zealand.

    A great Web site.
    Cheers, Jim Dowds.

    By Jim and Jude Dowds (09/11/2019)

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