School memories of Derek Rogers

My old friend and neighbour, Derek Hutchings, has asked me to put some items regarding Hurstpierpoint College, Brighton, on the site. Although a former nuclear scientist, he is not comfortable with the Internet! He attended the college through WW2 under the name of Derek Rogers, and his stepfather, AEW Rogers, was a master there too. In his ‘junior year list’ (1943), you can see the name: G. Van den Bogaerde. This was Dirk Bogarde’s brother, Gareth.

Memories of the end of the war
Derek recalls the end of the war, when the boys could at last take advantage of a small section of the beach at Brighton. Another memory is of delivering fresh food products to Hanningtons, courtesy of his parents, by bicycle. At the end of the school terms, ‘Carter Patterson’ vans were utilized to take the boys, and their luggage, to Hassocks Station, on their way home for the holidays. He also remembers a senior boy, and young female staff assistant, being asked to leave in haste, due to what can only be described here as, a ‘romantic liaison’!

Any old boys around?
Derek is heading towards 80 now and wonders whether any of these pictures / items will trip the memory of any ‘old boys’ still knocking around from his years?! He also has a few ‘Hurst Johnian’ year books, but they have too many pages to put online here. At any rate, he hopes all this of general interest to the My Brighton and Hove site users.

Helpful notes for the photographs
The amateur dramatics play c1942, is being performed by The Village Society, with two Hurstpierpoint masters, Mr A.E.W. Rogers and Mr Wood, on the far left of the stage. It was a J.B. Priestley play about suicide apparently.

The two Hurstpierpoint Chapel pictures were taken at the Choral Service of Seven Lessons and Carols held yearly. This was 1942, and Archbishop Temple preached a sermon. Mr A.E.W. Rogers was on the back row on the far right. He was Derek’s step-father and taught mathematics, amongst other things. Derek is in the chapel procession, probably the fifth chorister, but not really visible!

The Chapel Tower photo is probably pre-war. The tower could be seen from the railway across the fields, just before entering Hassocks Station. All the buildings were covered in knapped flint.

The magazine, ‘The Hurst Johnian’ was notable for recording casualties of OJ in the war, and also sports matches played against local schools, like Brighton College etc. The School Lists gave a record of students and masters over their years at ‘Hurst’.

This page was added on 25/01/2009.

Comments about this page

  • It’s a detail, really, but perhaps an interesting piece of social history; my mother grew up in South Shields, near Newcastle, in the depressed 1920s, and it seems that the Woodard Foundation felt a moral obligation to provide employment to young people from that area, there being a link through Kings School at Tynemouth, another Woodard school. Accordingly,  around 1928/9, my mother, her sister,  and a number of other Geordie lasses caught the steamboat down to the Thames, and the  train to Hassocks, and in the fullness of time quite a few new families were established in the local area consequent upon liaisons between the lasses and local men. So a little colony of expat Geordies took root in Hurstpierpoint. I was the result of one of those liaisons, and grew up in Hurst but ironically now live in South Shields  myself. My mother’s sister was still employed in the school tuck shop in the 1950s, which I remember as a wooden shack beside the road. My impression as a child was of very little connection between the school and the community – one rarely saw the boys in the village – do they still climb up Wolstonbury hill on Ascension day, I wonder?

    By Ian Gates (21/10/2018)

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