The best years of my life

Mile Oak Approved School
Photo by Bernard Langrish

I [will] never forget my youth as they really were ‘the good old days’.

I was never fond of school and played truant often, so I was packed off to Mile Oak Approved school in October 1946 at the age of 10 and I can honestly say those were the best years of my life. Discipline was the order of the day which made it easy for me in later years when I signed up as a regular in the Army. I always remember Mr Beale, the head of the school. He was such a kind man but very firm. I also remember many of the masters – names such as Mr Wilkes, Mr Yates, Mr Wilshaw, Mr Messer, Mr Wilson, Mr Lewis, Mr Shaw, Mr Richards – and others that I forget (although I’m all there in mind, the body weakens).

The road to manhood
I was cycling backwards and forwards up until 1953, three years after I left this grand school. You could say it was like Tom Brown’s school days. We had parades in the grounds of the school 8 to 10 times a day before and after meals and after school. That school made a man of me when I could have gone off the rails.

I know many of the boys from those wonderful years have died, but how wonderful it would be to hear or read about any who are still around.

My nick-name was ‘Pick lock’ and also ‘Jap’. I’m almost 70 now and live in Stoke Newington, London. Trevor Whitworth – that’s me!

Comments about this page

  • I too attended this school from 1953-56. It was lovely to see those staff member names again since these all contributed to making a decent member of the public again. Do you remember Mr Pilcher, Mr Wilkinson, Mr Wilson, Mr Montgomery, Mr ‘Bony’ Inwood, Mr Stevens deputy head and not forgetting Matron Iodine Aggie. Mr Shaw was a fun teacher. On one occasion, prior to a snap inspection of boys’ hands for nicotine stains, Mr Shaw collected as many boys as he could together and painted the fingers with tincture of Iodine to look for nicotine stain. Imagine the headmaster’s annoyance to find he had about about 60% of the boys to one side for punishment; he gave up. It was lovely to read your memories. We crammed a lot in over the three year stay.

    By Peter Little (10/06/2006)
  • Great stuff! I too was there but not untill 1970-72. I do recall good old Mr Yates. He was an old boy then and took us for pottery classes…..used to go around singing (when he was in a good mood) “eye eyeyi yi like you v-e-r-y much, eyei eyeyi yi yi think youre grand”..hahahaha. Those were the days!

    By Steve Howat (26/06/2006)
  • I was a teacher at the school from 1971 until the closure in 1977 and have very fond memories of that wonderful building and the surrounding grounds. I regularly used the Stags Head as a watering hole and played darts for them. Ted, Chris and Maureen being the regular workforce there. Other regulars being Wally and Bubbles, Dave Shields, Phil and his brother, Maurice French and Ken Rixom. I revisited the site of the school and found where the old gym and swimming pool were, some of the old tiles were still visible, and I walked the old cross country course, sure to bring back memories for old pupils.

    By Steve Redhead (05/07/2006)
  • I remember well the ‘naughty boy’s school’ as the Approved School was known to those living in Mile Oak. If it was a deterrant for the local boys not to get into trouble I don’t know. My mother worked there, around the early 50s. She would walk to the school from Mile Oak, whatever the weather. I don’t think I appreciated her dedication, being her youngest. I remember one boy called Tony Hutton, we would talk if ever he happened to be on the bus. Another time I tossed a stick out of an apple tree at one of the boys, when we were scrumping apples from Mrs. Painter’s orchard. I accidently hit the boy’s eye, oh, my gosh, I was scared for him. I remember the Stag’s Head and Judy Stringer, whose parents owned the pub I believe. I remember the Mile Oak pub being built, and Bobby the owner, and iceskater……..whose son was also Bobby. Also as mentioned in Steve Redhead’s note 5/07/06….Dave Shields was an old friend of years ago, I attended school with his sister. This is a fun web site, thank you to all involved.

    By Bonny Cother -Veronica Bentley (13/07/2006)
  • I would like to hear from any of the boys who were at Mile Oak School from 1945 to 1950; they were the best years of my life. My nicknames were Picklock and Jap. Surely there must be some of the boys who were there who are still alive. But sad to say, many of the boys have passed on. I’m 70 now and how I like to reminisce. My email address is

    By Trevor Whitworth (28/08/2006)
  • Dave Shields worked for many years at Le Carbone in Portslade old village and certainly spent a lot of time in The Stag. Unfortunately he passed away a few years ago.

    By Neil Underhill (03/01/2007)
  • We were there from 1954 until 1958, it was very strict. I remember Monty, Mr Wilkes, Mr Wilson, Mr Yates, Boney Inwood, Mr Shaw, Matron Harvey and Archey Comber. If you did something wrong, you got bashed up. But the discipline made you a better person. We were sent there after our father died; I stole a torch from a school and they considered us beyond control. The experience made us hard and grow up quick. The building was like a collage. What a waste to demolish it. I went back a few years ago and only the gym and pool were left. The idea in those days was discipline. I did OK though and now about to retire at 62 years of age.

    By Ronnie and Ted Westfallen (12/02/2007)
  • Hello Terry - I read your comments about being one of the old boys at Mile Oak school for boys. We must have crossed paths during the short time you were there from 1949. I left the grand old school at Easter 1950 at the age of 13. I was 14 in the following October. But all the old teachers were still there for years to come. Mr Beale was the Head and Matron was his wife. In those days there were four Houses; Alenby, Haig, Beatty and my old house Jellico. The first two were Army, Beatty and Jellico were called Navy. Of course we were friendly enemies in sports in which I took part often, like boxing for the school and swimming. I also loved playing football on the back field and cricket on the field off The Drive, coming through the gate where Mr Wilks lived. Just up on the right was Mr Yate’s bungalow. I’m sure you can remember all the other teachers. Of course I would have been one of the old boys by the time you arrived. But even then I was a nipper in size. But because I was in the boxing team and took part in most sports, I was not bullied after a couple of years. I was there three and a half years in all. Did you ever come across Mr Sanderson the probation officer.  I’m sure he still had boys under his wing many years after, and of course there was Mr Wooton. He was a very tall man who liked to watch the boys swimming in the old swim pool at the back of the school. So what House were you in Terry? Get back to me my friend, and let me know, as you are the only one so far who was at the school at the same time as me. My email is

    By Trevor Whitworth (25/02/2007)
  • I lived in Portland Road, Hove 1941/2 till the war ended, opposite the Cathalic church above a shop. I think that my father Mr Philip Solomon Kenwick taught at your school. I would appreciate any one contacting me with any memories or information that they may have.

    By Vivienne Allen (10/05/2007)
  • I lived in Mr Yeates’ house (he was one of the schoolmasters) which I bought from his son. The Old School Cottage as it is now known. Next door to me lived the music teacher and his wife. I have some bits and pieces still left which I found in the loft of the house including an old map of the school though sadly no photos. I would love to know more about them, and the school.

    By Jay Brewerton (20/06/2007)
  • Is there anyone out there who was at Mile Oak Approved School for Boys between 1946 to 1950, the time I spent there. My nicknames were ‘Jap’ and ‘Picklock’.

    By Trevor Whitworth (28/06/2007)
  • Re: Notes from Jay Brewerton.
    I would be pleased to help with you with queries about the school, as I worked there until the closure. I would be interested to know more about the map of the school, as I could possibly help to unravel any questions. I visited the site recently, and enjoyed a nostalgic walk in the vicinity, including a pint at the Stag’s Head down the hill in the village, a trip I enjoyed on many occasions in the early 70s.

    By Steve Redhead (23/07/2007)
  • Mr and Mrs Beale were dear friends of my grandmother Mrs Coggings. They had an adopted daughter Vera who was rescued from the Nazis. I lived in Mile Oak Road and Nan would sometimes take me to tea with Mrs Beale, I was about 4 or 5.

    By Elizabeth Edwards (13/01/2008)
  • Hello Elizabeth Edwards. I read your artical about Mr and Mrs Beale of Mile Oak Approved School For Boys. You were saying your mother and father were frequent guests to the Beales and you say they adopted a daughter from the Nazis. Yes now, I think I remember something of a daughter. But I did not know of such adoptions them days. I was too young to really know such things. All I remember was they had a son in his 20s, I think. But as you may have read, I was there from October 10th 1946, four days before my tenth birthday. You say you were about four or five years younger. What year was this? Do you know if Mr Beale was Jewish? As you may have read, my article is enquiring if any boys are alive now, who were there between 1946 to 1950. As yet only one, who came in 1949, but I cannot recall his name and he has made no futher comments.

    By Trevor Whitworth (15/01/2008)
  • Mr and Mrs Beale were I believe Plymouth Bretheren, Velia was Jewish she came off a plane with a baby strapped to her back. I believe they were the last children to come out of Poland but I could be wrong. Mrs Beale told me the story. I was born in Mile Oak Road in 1944. So the naughty boys school was part of my childhood. It has been lovely reading all the stories pertaining to Portslade and Mile Oak.

    By Elizabeth Edwards nee Carole Newell (15/01/2008)
  • Hello Elizabeth, thank you for your reply, about Mr and Mrs Beale. They were such wonderful people. I think he treated me very special as I was below average size for my age, when I was taken under their wing. Yes I mistook your comments about your parents visiting the Beales. It was your grandmother, that was their guest. You say you were born 1944 being eight years after me and you no doubt, have spent most of you life in Sussex? Those were wonderfull years gone by. We appreciated what came our way after the war years, as I remember the war very well and if I could go back in time, how I would pick those days. Are you still abode in Mile Oak? As for me, at present I am in Thailand. Retired of course, but live in North London but spend a few months of the year in Thailand. I know all the teachers have passed on from that school. But would you know, if the son is alive or the daughter. Apart from that, I’m still waiting for replies from old school chums that attended Mile Oak Approved School. Best wishes to all on this page.

    By Trevor Whitworth (16/01/2008)
  • Hello Trevor, I left England in 1956 to live in Australia but came back as Mile Oak had such a pull! No I married and English man. My children were born and although the marraige finished, I was invited back to Oz but married another English man and now live about 5 miles from Mile Oak. My daughter is in Thailand at present. I dont know if the Beale’s son is around but hopefully like all of us, he may read this page one day. I have seen other sites, try under Mile Oak there are quite a few old boys.

    By Elizabeth Edwards (17/01/2008)
  • Best years of my life;
    hello Mr Redhead, how are you doing?

    By Lee Mack (10/02/2008)
  • Lee Mack, if you follow the links in this site to areas, then Mile Oak, you will come across other memories of the school, and names I am sure you will recognise. There are also photos which will hit those nostalgic areas of the memory.

    By Steve Redhead (12/02/2008)
  • I saw some names but no pictures though.

    By Lee Mack (15/02/2008)
  • I was at Mile Oak around 1946- 47. I got ring worm and was sent to a hospital in london. A number of us were sent there. I was good at running and won the Crystal Palace 100 yards race. Does any one remember the boy who had two of his fingers cut off on the farm. I remember boys getting 6 stokes of the cane on their back sides in front of the whole school. I live at Eastbourne now and am 70 yrs of age.

    By harry simmons (25/02/2008)
  • I was at Mile Oak from 1968-1970 and I left on my 15th birthday. I was a bad boy there, always in trouble. One of the things I dis was to push a big oil tank down the hill which smashed into Mr Yates tin garage and crushed his son’s car. Mr Yates was a good old boy which made me feel bad about it. When I was there, my house master was Mr Inwood (Bones), then it was Mr Steel – I think he married the then matron. My mates there were Mikey Ashford (Died) Barry Green, the two black boys Dennise and Victor Salione. At the time I did not want to be there but I now know it helped shaped me into who I am today. I went back a number of times, the last time to find that it had been knocked down. I must say it was a sad day as it is today at 53 looking at the photos of the old school being demolished.

    By Charlie Knight (11/06/2008)
  • My uncle, William Mayes was a master at Mile Oak Approved School, although I am not quite sure of the dates. Definitely before 1950 though. When we moved into his former house in Holmes Avenue, we used to go to Bishop Hannington church, and the “naughty boys” would all sit in the front downstairs. I think they walked from the school.

    By Liz Adley (30/06/2008)
  • I am so sad to see the school has gone. I would like to point out that I was there in 1966-1969 and there were three houses witch where called South house, East house and West house; I was in West house. I remember the old green bus, early morning cleaning, which was sweeping the playground or cleaning the changing rooms. Boys names that I remember are Iven Stevens, Bentley Foley, John Fisher. Bentley I believe past away, and there was Johnson, two brothers called Callan and Michel and also William Turnball. I think he now reeds the news in the monings. I remember the walks to the church and the trips to all the cathedrals stone rubbing. Who was the guy that come in on Sundays and walked us to devil dike and back, that was a long walk? I remember fishing off the pier with hand lines. if anyone would like to contact from the good old days please do – my email is

    By Brian Burns (29/08/2008)
  • I was here from 1950 to 54.I had 6 of the best from Mr bealanybody. Remember Royston Wigley or Wrigley. My memories are not too fond of that school. New to e mail so forgive the grammar.

    By n e king (08/09/2008)
  • Hi Jay-Can you tell me if the music teacher still lives there, I was one of the boys there in 1966-69 and I visited the school 4-5 times over the years. On the last visit in August 2007 I spoke to a bloke in the gate house on the left hand side, to see if there was any body around still. But he said not a lot. If you could email me on ( or phone me on 07988299851 would be most grateful, and all the best.

    By Brian Burns (08/09/2008)
  • Hello I am back again, still searching for any of the guys
    who were at Mile Oak approved school between 1945 to 1950. Although I have chatted with lads who were attending Mile Oak years after I left. Allemby. Haig. Beatty, and Jellico, the four Houses, but were changed in later years. I’m sure many of the Lads do not know about this page. {My Brighton} My House was Jellico. My school number was 119. The jap & picklock
    was my nick names. I am now 72 and hanging on but surely there are other old boys still alive and kicking out
    there. But always keen to chat with others, after my time
    or even before. But that would be rather difficult. But interesting if they are around. Hello Brian Burns. Thought I
    would say Hello, while I am on the page. also to the Rileys
    Whites. Johnson. Rice. Lomey. Masters. Ducket. Ashman.
    Ginger Bennet. Regards Pick lock. or Jap. email

    By Trevor Whitworth (13/09/2008)
  • Hello, I’m very interested in the history of Portslade. Can anyone tell me where the approved school was?

    By Tara Malenczak Portslade (19/09/2008)
  • Hi, I was at the school from December 1952-summer 1956. Does anyone remember the school song? “Mile oak school is a very nice school, but I don’t think it’s true. For once you get inside it you’ll have some work to do. Up and down the corridors with a dustpan in your hand. For once you get in MileOakSchool you’ll never be a man. So beware boys, the matron’s coming, she likes to see the dormitories nice and clean. So do I, have a try, how would you like to be me – stuck in the LCC. A lump of dust and that’s enough, carbolic for tea. Its six o’clock in the morning and you hear old Wilks shout ‘get out of bed, get out of bed before you get
    a clout.
    ” Have I remembered it correctly, and are there any more verses. Happy memories of the camping trips to Walton on the Naze and Devils Dyke.

    By Ray Kennedy (26/09/2008)
  • Hello Ray Kennedy, it’s nice to hear from some one who was at the school near my time. As you may have read, I left Easter 1950, so yes all the masters I new were still there when you went. But I do not think Mr Beale was the head when you arrived, and if he was, then it as soon after he was dismissed. Yes, I sang those songs on our way home on leave to Victoria station. This would have been after our camping holiday at Walton-on-the-Naze (or nose as we called it). Ok there is another song, you may, or may not know. As with the other songs we sang on our way home: “We are the London boys, we are the London boys, we knew our manners, we spend our tanners, where ever we go, we go marching down the old Kent Road, doors & windows open wide, if we saw a copper come, smack him in the eye & run, we are the London boys“. Actually in those days it was a Mr. Messer who at 6 o’clock in the morning you would hear him shout “Get out of bed. Get out of bed, before you get a clout”. But I think he died before you came. My number was 119, my house was Jellico (which was navy, Allenby & Haig were army). My nickname was pick-lock as you may know what that meant. Nice to hear from you, my email address is

    By Trevor Whitworth (01/10/2008)
  • Ray Kennedy was your nickname ‘bomber’? I think we were all ways at logger heads, my number was 67.  Can you remember the terrible twins hope to hear from you or others 1949 – 1954? Mobile no 07970221031

    By N.E. King (01/10/2008)
  • Yes Liz Adley – I was one of the boys made to go to the Mile Oak School in 1946 to 1950 and church on Sunday mornings I remember too well. There used to be a boy called Rice who sang solo in the chiuch. Yes and we walked to the church which was good exercise, as it was down hill going and so pleased to walk back after being bored for an hour or two in the dismal church. And when the weather was bad, as in those days there was plenty snow, we had Assembly in the school. I am 72 now so you must be growing older gracefully. Regards from Trevor Whitworth – also a good kid, but played wag from school in London.

    By Trevor Whitworth (in Thaliand) (16/10/2008)
  • I was there from 1963 to 1969. I was Marty. Like many of you I have fond memories of the school. I took my wife to visit the school and got a shock to see a housing estate. I will never forget the walks on the Downs with Mr Yates, ‘hill and dale’ as he called it, with our packed lunches. I loved the lovely sausages and steak and kidney pies. I haven’t forgotten ‘Bernie the Bolt’, Pete Hale, the Goldsmith brothers and many more.

    By Monger Miah (19/10/2008)
  • I’m sure there are still a lot of old boys out there who attended the good old school: Mile Oak ‘for good boys’.  But then maybe they do not know of such a page. Oh well,
    keep hoping. As there are still loads of stories to be told from 1945 onwards. Regards to all.

    By Trevor Whitworth (10/11/2008)
  • I was at Mile Oak school 1949-1952 but sorry I can’t remember people’s names. My number was 100. I remember Mr Yates, Mr Wilson the music teacher, Mr Messer (get out of bed!) and Mr Wilks who loved football. I played right back and when it was windy someone would kick the ball high and it would end up in the cabbage patch on the farm. My brother Roy was also there before me. I have only just found this site. Regards

    By Lew Lewis (16/12/2008)
  • I was at Mile Oak from 1973 until 1977. I remember Mr Redhead the pe teacher- he was one of the best there, him and Mr ambrose although when I left there I ended up in borstal and a few prisons. I’m now completely straight and honest, thank god.

    By Barry Rogers (19/12/2008)
  • I forgot to mention my three brothers were there before me. Their names were Roy Rogers 1950-early 60s, Derrick Rogers 1960s and Kenny Rogers late 1960s- early 1970s. All fine and well now. I was a bit gutted when I saw the pictures of it being demolished as it was like a part of my childhood being destroyed.

    By Barry Rogers (20/12/2008)
  • Hello Lew Lewis. You must have been in the same house as me -Jellico navy side. As I said before I went there 1946 and left Easter 1950. I was 13, and an old boy by the time you came. What month did you come in 1949. As we must have crossed paths and you must have been younger than me. I would say you were no older than 10. and you must remember the bullies, the Riley brothers Jimmy and his younger brother with a big head in size who came later. I forget his first name. But I’m sure they were both in our house. But as it was so long ago, their are only some names I remember. But teachers names I do remember. But I take it, you must have been in Jellico. My nick name was Jap & Pick Lock.

    By Trevor Whitworth (23/12/2008)
  • I attended Mile Oak twice in the early fifties, but lived a big house outside the school. We had to walk every day to the main school. I remember some of the school songs, and camping at Walton on the Naze. While camping at Devils Dyke, we used to get in the middle of old car tyres and go down the hill, and at night we would sit and watch glow worms. I remember a boy called Peel, and another called Hawkey(sp?) and one called Hickman. Apart from those people I cannot remember anyone else.

    By Michael Wright (24/12/2008)
  • My name is John Payne, I was at the school 1941-44. I had many good memories of the place, and was saddened to hear that it’s been torn down. I hoped I could get some pics of the old place, so if anybody knows where to get some, please let me know, thank you. If anyone wants to get in touch with me, here’s my e-mail:

    By John Payne (16/02/2009)
  • Hello Barry Rogers, I would like you to contact me, I have some info that might interest you,

    By John Payne (17/02/2009)
  • Dear Mr Steve Redhead. I was at Mile Oak 1973/74 to Oct 76. I would like to hear from you. If you go to Friends Reunited reunion page for Mile Oak Approved School for Boys you will findmeon the list.

    By Daryl Oddy (20/02/2009)
  • Dear Mr Steve Redhead. This is another posting that might bring back a few memories. When I was there 73/74, in Oct 76 I was in Pevensey House, and here are just a few pupils’ names I’d like to mention: Steven Spencer, Steven Fields, Desmond Tullock, Bruce Gillard, Eric Payne, Malcolm Rainbow, Terry Drinkworld, Austin Thomas, “The mansel twins”, Peter Weatherspoon, Tony Wheatland. These are just some of the boys I can recall at this time, If any of you recognise any names or can name anymore please post a message.

    Barry Rogers, you ring a bell with me.

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me via Email:

    Thanks – Daryl

    By Daryl Oddy (20/02/2009)
  • Trevor Whitworth, you seem so very eager to hear more from your Alma mater. May I suggest you advertise wider? Most boys would be Londoners, so if you put a line in the small ads south, north, west, east London press within the M25, you would have a great catch. Just ask them to Google Mile Oak Boys School.

    By Eager Reader (05/03/2009)
  • Hi Trevor, and any ex pupils of Mile Oak School for naughty boys. Although now when you’re naughty, it’s just a slap on the wrist, not three years away from home. I was there from 1951-1953 and my number was 52. My name is Michael Moss and I was 11 years old when I went there. I also remember the Mile Oak song, I used to sing it to my children when they were little and can remember all the words, I remember a lot of the teachers’ names mentioned and the only boys names I can remember are the Bartley brothers or twins and they came from Tunbridge Wells Kent. I came from Hainult near Barkingside. I would love to hear from anyone who wants to chat about the old days my phone number is 01268 456851 or you could email my daughter at and she will pass it on.

    By Michael Moss (28/03/2009)
  • Hi,

    My father was headmaster there from about 1957 till about 1975 – I was brought up there and spent a lot of time with the boys when I was growing up. I have a few old pictures of the place somewhere and will try to dig them out – I remember especially having one of a long-haired Steve Redhead with a bunch of boys on a trip to France (I think). I am travelling now, but will see what I can post when I get back home in a couple of weeks.

    All my best,

    Stephen Kane (“Little Stick” – son of “Big Stick”)

    By Stephen Kane (14/05/2009)
  • Hello Elizabeth Edwards. You mention in your article that your grandmother visited the Beales at Mile Oak School for tea. As I was there from 1946 to 1950, I only knew Mr Beale by his surname, not that any of the boys called him by his Christian name. Would you happen to know his Christian name?

    By Trevor Whitworth (14/05/2009)
  • Hi, my dad (Charlie Wilson) was at the school, but he can not remember the exact years, possibly between 1946 to 1949. He was a London boy sent there for his sins. He remembers a lot of the teachers mentioned on this website, in particular Mr Beales and his wife, also Mr Messer and Mr Wooton who used to teach my dad swimming. My Dad also said that after spending quite some time at Mile Oak he was sent to stay at the annex of the school a bit further down the road called ‘Loxdale’ where the pupils had to march up the road each day to join the main school pupils. Does anyone remember this place ‘ Loxdale’, I have looked on the internet and the building is still in Portslade and is used as an adult learning facility? Would be nice to hear from anyone who perhaps remembers my Dad! He will be 75 this year and lives in Essex.

    By Steve Wilson (26/05/2009)
  • Hello Stephen Kane.  I remember you well. What a privilege it was to work for your father, a true gentleman, (although I would imagine a number of pupils, upon receiving ‘the stick’ would disagree). The likes of Messrs. Kane, Fordham, Yeats and Steer were a rare breed, along with numerous others who worked at the school.  I arrived at the school straight from teacher training college, but they did not train you for the places like Mile Oak. You had to learn on your feet, but the support of the staff was tremendous.  We could do with similar establishments now.

    By Steve Redhead (03/06/2009)
  • Hello Steve Wilson. Yes I was at Mile Oak Approved in 1946 and left Easter 1950. Yes I have asked on this page, or may have been on email to contact a couple of lads near my time, but as yet no luck. Yes I remember Loxdale very well as it was a nursery compared to the big school. It was tucked away behind trees on the left going down to the wreck Portslade where the railway crossings stood. As I often thought why I cannot have such luck to be there. Anyway about your Dad, it sounds like he left a couple of years before me, although I went there October 1946. As you say he is 75 this year and I am 73 this year, so obviously he left around 1948 but the name Wilson is familiar to me at that school. Would he know what house he was in? Allenby? Haig? These were the Army houses named after Generals. Also Beatty and Jellico on the navy side. Does your Dad remember his house or number? Apart from that, I have yet to hear from any of the lads who were there in the time I attended. Trevor Whitworth number 119. You will see my email address further up the page – as I call it my page being, it seems, I started the page. Cheers

    By Trevor Whitworth (25/06/2009)
  • Hi. l was at Mile Oak between 1968 to 1972. l was in Lewes House and at the moment l am on holiday. It’s July 1st and l have just been up to Mile Oak and l am so upset by the recent destruction of Lewes House. l have been back before and have seen the main building destroyed but this visit has left me feeling very tearful. l miss my friends very much. Our housemaster were Mr Lewis and Mr Linacker and our housemistresses were Miss Warick and Miss Curtiss. l am at Brighton Central Library so when get back to Norfolk I will revisit the site

    By Barry Watson (01/07/2009)
  • Hi. As l promised on my return to Norfolk that l would make contact again and it is now July 8th. l went back again to Mile Oak on Monday and had a long walk around the grounds that are now covered with houses. And took that long walk across the Downs which Mr Yates had often taken us on and remembering him calling me a horrible little boy, as he often jokingly called some boys, or throwing his bunch of keys at you, but never really intending to hit you. The lodge houses at the start of the drive are still there and l chatted to a lady in the left hand one and she told me over the years many former boys had turned up looking for their former school. l have begun to realise how important Lewes House was, and still is, to me and also the rest of the school. After assessment at Beachfield near Copthorne in Sussex and Redhill in Surrey, l was sent on to Mile Oak and though at the time l was not to realise it, l look back and think it was the only real home l had. All the many friends l had and House masters and teachers who all showed kindness and concern for us. l am trying to find two friends - Phillip Peters of St. Leonards, Hastings and Colin Crossby of Bromley in Kent. They are like long lost brothers to me. So much time has gone by and when l think of Miss Curtiss who took me down to Hove to watch Dr Zhivago a Russian film, though at that time l had not a clue what it was all about. But today l know it is one of the great films of cinema history and am grateful for that introduction and would be very honoured to meet any of my former teachers. l can be contacted by Email:

    By Barry Watson (08/07/2009)
  • Hi, Steve Wilson - any chance your father can remember what House he was in and his number? Either Allenby, Hiag or Beaty or Jellico. As I said Wilson rings a bell. Also I remember Loxdale very well on the way down to Portslade wreck. Ok, give your Pa my regards if you read this again. Trevor Whitworth in Jellico number 119

    By Trevor Whitworth (25/08/2009)
  • Although I was never a member of the Mile Oak Old Boys, I did however visit with a shipmate of mine whilst on leave from the merchant navy. His name was Terry Buckland from Bromley in Kent. He was in Beaty I believe around the 1949 period. He was very much taken back by the change in the regime in 1965 when we visited it. Terry is dead now.

    By Tony Lee (18/09/2009)
  • Terrific site. I am an old boy of 1966/68, dormed in South house. Arrived in December 66 and left in October 68. I had the best two years of my childhood at Mile Oak, the family life I never had at home. I hope all you old boys out there are well and happy. Long live Mile Oak. Regards from Bill Summers.

    By William Summers (16/12/2009)
  • Hi Trevor – Well done for creating this page. I hope you have had some luck with contacts. You were right, it was Mr Messer (with me it must be the mind that weakens).  Wilks was our P.T master (I think) with the large plimsolls among other things. It’s funny that you should live in Stoke Newington now, as it was there that I lived on the Woodbury Down Estate next to the reservoir 57 years ago when I was sent to Mile Oak aged 10 years via Stamford House, Shepherds Bush. I now live near Eastbourne. Didn’t any of you ‘old boys’ keep any of the photographs that Monty used to take of us and charged 2d or 4d each for? I have about 10 pics, one in the playground with four of us sitting on a large wooden scooter called “The Thing” with (info for Mr King) the twins sitting on the front steering with me behind them, being pushed by three other boys, the background of this photo is almost identical to the 6th demolition pic. Another pic is outside the window end of the swimming pool with a dozen lads in, a good one with the old school bus with about 20 boys. Does anyone remember being in a school play? We were all dressed in period costume, perhaps Richard III! I have three of these pics with 10 lads including a King and Queen. One of me coming off the front cricket field in my whites and pads after being out, and one of the front of the school that I took myself c1959 with a little A35 car parked in front, its only a small picture but it shows all the plant life growing up it and that lovely front entrance (sadly we didn’t see that view very much) and its a better pic than the demolition photo of the front of the building. Well I suppose I better stop jabbering on. A Merry Xmas and a Happy, Prosperous New Year to all, particularly you Trevor.

    By Ray Kennedy (21/12/09) (21/12/2009)
  • Hi Ray Kennedy. Just read your latest letter on my page as I have not been on it for some time. Been busy on internet email. So you lived in Stoke Newington and Woodbury Down estate near Stamford Hill. Well I am still there in Brooke Rd off Stoke Newington High St. I also went to Stamford House, Shepherds Bush for a short while before being shipped off to Mile Oak school in 1946. Very glad to get out of Stamford House. I am going to ask - I think its Nobby King - if he has your number, as I think I have spoken to him before. But memory evades me at 73. But Eastbourne is not so far away from jolly old Brighton rock. I was there at the time they were making that movie, when my Dad came to visit me for the day & we went to Brighton and saw them doing a shoot about 1948 or 49 with Richard Attenbough & William Hartnell, who was the first Doctor who on T.V. Do you remember? All the best to you & all my readers. Trevor Whitworth, original Mile Oak scoundrel of the 40s

    By Trevor whitworth (29/01/2010)
  • Hello Nobby King. I take it N is for Nobby? I think we spoke before. Well I took your number down as above. but I’m afraid it does not exist now. I was going to ask you if you had Ray Kennedy’s number or email, as he lived in my part of London. If you happen to get back on to this site, drop me a email, or a bell if you are local. I get back to London in a few months but I left my answer machine on. I will get your message. Regards Trevor Whitworth. phone 0207 502 3285 land line

    By Trevor Whitworth (30/01/2010)
  • Hi there. I was there from 1960 untill 1964. I had a couple of good mates there with me, Charlie Fisher and Ian Fox. I was in East House which was run by Mr Inward and Mrs Ludgrove. The music teacher when I was there was named Clark and he was a stupid prat but all the other teachers were okay. It was like a holiday camp, if you behaved yourself. I am 60 years old and I still think the goverment should bring these schools back.

    By David Victor Bailey (09/02/2010)
  • Hi to Ray Kennedy, Loved reading your little piece dated 21/12/09. I well remember the play put on by the boys, I was Sir Michael DeLaPole and I’m the one in the photograph on the right with a long black coat on, one hand on my hip. Those costumes which were hired from a London theatre shop  were very comfortable to wear. Roy Smith was our Queen and Brian? Stokes was the king. The small page boy sitting in the front of the group is “Titch” Taylor. I must say I cannot find the photograph now, my sister has it. I would like to have copies of yours if you can email them to me. I enjoy reading the comments of others reviving old memories, like the Sunday walk to Hannington Church, since the group was divided in two it meant we only walked in one direction as the “Out or Return” trip was made on an old Matilda  bus.

    By Peter C Little (10/02/2010)
  • When I was there in the early sixties, the teachers I remember were Mr Wilks (Gabby); my teacher Mr Hughes (Wiggy); Science teacher Mr Fordham; wood and metalwork teacher Mr Yeates; art Jasper ie. Jasper Knock ;. Wilson and Clark Music; Mr. Kane headmaster ( Fat guts). The housemaster of South house and Mr. Fordham were known has Fred and Barney because of the colour of their hair and their size. Also we used to have a Mr. Bailey (no relation as far as I know) come in evening times to takes some of us for activities. We used to go fishing at ShorehamHarbour off the wooden jetty, and freshwater fishing at two places. One place was Wynham and the other was Shermanbury. Some of us went on holiday to Newton Poppleford and Bere Ferres. If we behaved ourselves we used to get a bit of pocket money. We used to haves different grades for pocket money which were A B C D, A and Bs were allowed to go out on Saturday. Cs stayed in doing activities, Ds were the the real bad boys and they stayed in and did cleaning and such things. Saturday evenings we used have a film show. I was a member of the Brighton 2nd Battalion of Scouts and once a month we had to march all the way to church and hand the vicar our colours, and stand in front of the choir all through the service. I also remember Mr. Bert Brundle the pig farmer. We used get our worms for fishing from him. He used to have a gigantic blind pig which we called Charlie after one of my mates. He used to have the freedom to roam anywhere and he always came home he never got lost. In East House we used have earphones beside our beds so that we could listen to the radio before we went to sleep. Some of us used make our own Crystal sets. It was like a home away from home.

    By David Victor Bailey (11/02/2010)
  • Hello. I was at the school for approx five years in the late 50s. Names I remember: Mr Kane (never got the cane but remember trembling outside his office), Miss Purdy, scottish (I seem to remember having a crush on her), the Matron: Mollie Harvey (I think that was her last name). although certainly I would not call her Molly. I went to TS Indefatigable in 1961. Then onto Merchant Navy. I have surperb and happy memories of Mile Oak.

    By Barry (Spike) Milligan (11/02/2010)
  • Not the David Baily, the photo man. Anyway I have just read your comments. But unfortunetly we were not there in Mile Oak at the same time. You mentioned marks for behaver. A.B.C & D It seems that all the bad guys were D. Actualy when I was there it was A.B.C.D.E.& F. Mind you the D was not so bad. No privleges. But E did the scrubbing with a normal scrubbing brush. But F was poor F scrubbing doors with a tooth brush as much. I do hear things got kindi garden after the latish 50s. But it was tough in the 40s- about 10 parades a day before school before showers morning, after showers morning. after morning school, before Dinner, after dinner, before school, after school, play for an hour, parade before tea, after tea then whatever- games, woodwork, stamp- collecting. Then parade in the gym, crosed legs and fed a jam butty or fish paste- a crust if you are lucky. Then another last parade then bed. and a boot thrown from some one in the dark. Me unlucky on occasions. But after all that. Good old days Well we were young was we not. Hello to all the boys anyway. we are still young at heart. P.S In Thailand at the present away from the freeze up in london.

    By Trevor Whitworth (12/02/2010)
  • Rams working overtime! Things I remember… Old truck that we used to play on and in (health & safety would go mad now!). Growing my own, taller than me, sunflower. In the early days ‘running away’ a couple of times (dont know why!). Got caught in the village near Devils Dyke having walked all the way (what was I doing?!). Was sent to an outward bound school by Lake Ullswater. A definite character changing place. You either stayed and survived or went back early. Remember freezing cold showers to start the day. Bad start but eventually loved the place. Remember hols at Hindhead (by Devils Punch Bowl). I remember while at Hindhead we had some sort of ‘strike’. I think it was over one of the teachers. When I first joined the Merchant Navy I was even allowed to stay at the school after each trip.

    By Barry (Spike) Milligan (17/02/2010)
  • Hi everyone. My wife just come across this site by accident; I was at the school 1972 to 1975, it’s bringing back some good and some bad memories: I remember the Mansell twins, I was in Bramber house and the motorbikes. I remember going home at the weekends and hiding my lovely school jacket in the hedge then picking it up on Sunday when I came back.

    By Kevin Hale (19/02/2010)
  • A few more things I remember are: The old truck was taken away when I was at Mile Oak. Open and sports day when your parents were allowed to visit you and have a look around the school. I remember all the parades. Mr. Fordham used take some of us for aeroplane modelling in the evenings for activities. Also when we were 14 years old he used to take us for dancing, when the young ladies from Brighton teacher training college used to come to the school to teach us how to do various dances old and modern. My favourite was doing the Waltz to the song Tammy. There are a lot more things that come to mind but I am not an author or a photographer, I am just an old grey haired fart that likes to remember the REAL good old days. Thank you for allowing me to pass this info on - I hope you all have a good and happy life. My nickname was Egghead or Bombhead when I was at Mile Oak LCC School For Boys.Thankyou again. Bye for now. David.

    By David Victor Bailey (25/02/2010)
  • My Dad was at Mile Oak School from 1936 to 1940 – he also says it was a good part of his life – disciplined – but he says he needed it. His name is George Dickson – he is 84 years old (in 2010) and lives in South Australia where he has lived since 1961. It was good for him to see the pictures – it brought back a lot of memories for him.

    By David (07/03/2010)
  • More memories…. I believe I bought a record for one of the teachers’ daughters (can’t remember his name). He used to have a house on the drive up to the school and then I think he moved to Worthing. The record was ‘Sweet little Sheila’ by Tommy Roe. So I assume her name was Sheila. I also remember the girls coming from the college for the dancing. Really looked forward to that for some reason. I also became an Aston Villa fan while there. They beat Man Utd 2-1 in the FA Cup Final in 1957. One of the teachers used to take us fishing. Was quite good at cross country and the student teachers used to lay a paper trail over the Downs. I can’t remember the house name but my dorm was the one to the left (2nd Floor)if you were looking from Mr Kane’s tennis court. Does anybody on here know what it was called?

    By Barry (spike) Milligan (08/03/2010)
  • I was in East House and Mr Inwood was the house master and he used to take us fishing in an old green Bedford van with bench seats in the back. Sometimes we would go freshwater fishing at Wynam or Shermanbury and sea fishing off the wooden jetty at Shoreham Harbour. I hope this helps Barry.

    By David V Bailey (11/03/2010)
  • Hello David. If you were in East House then I’m assuming I was in West House because the building was roughly facing south. Therefore East House would be to the right looking from Mr Kane’s tennis court. Mr Inwood does ring a bell, but he was not my Housemaster. I think a Mr Weeks (not sure of spelling) was my Housemaster and also Miss Purdy (can’t remember what her title would have been). I left to go to TS Indefatigable in 1961. I’m sure I remember a boy called McCarthy going there just before me.

    By Barry Milligan (15/03/2010)
  • Hello to all the old lags of Mile Oak school for good boys. Them days to the death no way. It was a stand up fist to fist scrap in the dorms supposedly after lights out. OK a few lost teeth. But being young, one grew them back again. Unfortunetly I have been unable to contact boys between 1945 to 1950 when I left. What boys were there did not leave an email address and that was only one or two lads. It would be nice to get in touch with one of them – Trevor Whitworth, 119 Jellico House. Nick named Jap, or pick lock. Being an expert getting  into the boiler house for a light of my toilet paper roll up of dog ends dropped by Messer or Wilks. Regret it now. Owing to heart bypass and chronic varicose veins all through smoking 51 years. Soon to see God at 74. my email address.

    By Trevor Whitworth (27/04/2010)
  • When my dad John Lomey attended he remembers Jimmy and Terry Riley, John Allar, Refules Leverton, Newgi Roberts, Lesley Vigors. He was in Haigh house - they won the league cup and had an English schools game. But his first love was boxing and he was runner up at Brighton and went on to win Sussex School boy champion. He was really pleased when I showed him your web site. He now lives in Hampstead in London age 75.

    By Kim Mcfarland (06/05/2010)
  • My dad has just informed me that sadly Dennis Ashman passed away several years ago.

    By Kim McFarland (07/05/2010)
  • Hello Kim McFarland. Your Dad’s name John Lomey sounds familiar to me. What years did he attend the school?

    By Lew Lewis (07/05/2010)
  • Hi Lew Lewis. My dad John Lomey was at the school between 1947 /1950

    By kim mcfarland (10/05/2010)
  • Hi again Kim Mcfarland, I was at the school 1949/1952 so would have overlapped some of the time with your Dad. I’m afraid I can’t remember the names of the boys although as I said your Dad’s name seems familiar. The teachers’ names I remember were Mr Yates, Mr Wilson, Mr Messer, and Mr Wilks who taught football. I used to play football and played ‘right back’. My number at the school was 100 and I was in the dormitory immediately above the dining hall. My brother Roy Lewis (sadly now deceased ) was at the school before me so may have known your Dad

    By lew lewis (10/05/2010)
  • My dad was also in the same dormitory as you. Mr Messers flat was at the end of the dormitory; his number was 44. If Mr Messer heard him making noise he would come down and they would get punished. He played centre forward - when they won the league they went to Hove Town Hall where we were presented with medals and the cup. He can remember a Lewis but can’t remember the first name but knew he was in the cup winning team. He also remembers Cox, Rowntree, Smith who played in goal and they all played for Brighton boys. The Lewis he remembers also had a trial for Brighton boys. l hope this helps also my dad is of mixed race.

    By kim mcfarland (11/05/2010)
  • Hi Kim, Yes I’m pretty certain I am the Lewis your Dad remembers, my first name is Anthony (Tony) but always known at school as Lew. I did have a trial for Brighton Boys, three of us went but I felt from the start they didn’t really want us there. As I said before my brother Roy was at the school before me but I don’t know much about what happened to him there, he was older than me and passed away some years ago. I am now 72 and live in Twickenham although I spend much of my time in Herne Bay with my partner. I lost my wife in 2004 and have 5 children who have all flown the nest. I know it is definitely your Dad that I remember as I thought he was of mixed race but didn’t want to mention it before. Regards Tony (Lew)

    By lew lewis (14/05/2010)
  • Hello Kim, yes it must have been on the other page what I wrote, although I thought it was my page. Yes I remember a boy ‘lomey’. I could not remember the first name. Yes, a coloured boy was in the boxing team as I was also with Jimmy Riley, bully of the school, also Masters and Chitty and another boy who always got in front of me at my weight and took my place many times. But I can’t remember his name. Maybe your dad does not remember me. I was such a nipper, very tiny. Tell him I remember a boy who played goal for Brighton Boys. I think his name was Fields but am not sure. But I did race the mile against him on Sports Day- he was very tall. I did well for my size and Mr Wooten gave me five shillings for my efforts. I do remember your dad’s boxing rounds at Chelsea Barracks. My nick name was jap and pick lock, Jellico 119. But do ask him if he remembers me. Tell him I remember Ashman of Allenby and boy Ducket and Bennet, a big ginger kid. I remember now it was Mr Wilson who took us to Chelsea Barracks boxing.

    By Trevor Whitworth (17/05/2010)
  • Hi all. I was at the school in the 70s. Steve Redhead was the PE teacher and I remember Mr Yates, Mr Clements and Mr Fordham. My best mate was Lenny Hewitt. There were some bad times but mainly good, I won’t forget the things we got up to – they needed to keep me on a long lead! Mile Oak put me on the straight and narrow, never been in trouble since. Apologies to all the staff. Would love to hear from any one who remembers me. Thanks.

    By Billy Major (31/05/2010)
  • Hello Kim Mcfarland. Is there any chance your Pop is on email as it would be nice to chat with him of 60 years ago? I remember him well. Whitworth is my name as it’s mentioned on the page with my email address. I’m in Thailand at the moment and will return September at the latest. I live in Stoke Newington. In case you read this page again. I would like to get in touch with Dad. It seems he has his faculties about him as I do at 74 – but not good bodywise. Again my email address London number 0207-502-3285. But as I said I’m away until September but have an answer machine.

    By Trevor Whitworth (02/06/2010)
  • Good to see your name Billy Major. You were one of my first pupils, you little rascal. Mile Oak was a place we need now. Antiquated but effective. Some very good memories.

    By Steve Redhead (18/08/2010)
  • HELLO TO ANY OF THE BOYS ALIVE TODAY who was at the Mile Oak Approved school from 1946 to 1950. As I have not made any contact with anyone of those years since emailing on this page. So I must give up the ghost as I have left all my details, but no response. Regards to all the readers. Trevor Whitworth of House Jellico 119

    By TREVOR WHITWORTH (15/09/2010)
  • Does anyone know anything about Mr Steer?

    By Charlie Knight (12/10/2010)
  • My name was Ronnie Westfallen. I can’t believe how many posts this site has had since I last wrote. I was there from about 1954 to 1958, along with my brother Ted. When we were there the houses were called 1 and 2 on the west side and 3 and 4 on the east. I was in dorm 2, the Housemaster was Mr Montgomery. When he left a certain Mr Weeks took over. He was nasty. I was supper boy and we were given apples, Weeks had the hump over something and ordered no talking, I flicked a pip at someone but it went sideways and caught Weeks in the eye. He screamed, demanding who flicked it or we all would be punished. I heard after I left that he had been arrested and dismissed for abusing a boy, that’s the best way I can describe it. Apart from that the best teacher there was Gilbert Wilkes, he was the P E teacher as well. The others were Archie Comber who was the boiler room attendant but stood in part time as he would call it (I’m an officer) in his Cornwall accent. There was Mr Shaw, a great old man with his stories. Mr Wilson (Chike) music, Mr Yeats (Jasper) Mr Stevens (Lippy], Mr Fordham (Woody), Mr Inwood (Boney) and Matron Harvey (Molly). The head master was Mr Kane, always sucking on his false front teeth. I remember the green Bedford bus took half of us to church every Sunday, the other half walked and then got picked up along the way. I remember the allotments where we grew carrots, spuds and onions, the couple of rabbit hutches, the covered air raid shelters, football on the back field, cricket on the front field. Archie made a 4 boy scooter to ride around the yard. The dancing with the teacher training women, and the Devil’s Dyke trips. As Trevor said it was a good time looking back. Shame it’s gone. Good luck to all who were there.

    By Ron Onsloe (26/10/2010)
  • You say your name was Ronnie Westfallen but surely it’s only a woman who changes her name when married. Anyway most of the teachers you mentioned were there when I left in Easter 1950 but not your Head. It was a Mr Beale. It seems the teacher who was bashing you was not there when I left. Mr Yates was my favourite master. The days I was there it was Army and Navy. I was in Jellico, that’s navy. There was also Beatty. Allenby and Haig  were army, they were over the dining room and some of the kitchen but as you may have read I have not really made contact with any of the lads who were there with me although John Lomey was in the same boxing team as I. His daughter has been talking about hm and I did get in touch with the admin to ask him or his daughter if he would get in touch with me either on my e mail or on my phone as I left it on this page but alas no luck. The other guy who was there with me did not get back to the page but I have contacted Michael Moss who went there in 1951 but I had left but we keep in touch. For three years after I left I cycled there from London where I’m still living. Oh well never to late to hear.

    By Trevor Whitworth (27/10/2010)
  • I have read all the comments. They are superb and brought back memories of there between 1960/63. I would love to be put in touch with anybody from that time. My teachers were Mr Kane, Mr Inwood, Mr Wilson, Mr Yates, Mr Fordham. To the kids, D.Bailey, P Saywell, Sid Draper, Ronnie Tricke,and anybody that might have good memories, thanks

    By Dennis Williams (10/11/2010)
  • To Dennis Williams and anyone else who remembers him. My late father, Maurice Wilson, returned to his native island of Guernsey in 1966 where he continued teaching till his retiremement in 1978. Those of you who knew his gardening skills won’t be surprised to learn that he grew many vegetables and successfully entered classes in the local Horticultural show. He died in 1986 at only 73 years of age from complications arising from Parkinson’s Disease. This was before I married and had a son and a daughter. His grandson is now at university which would’ve greatly pleased my father whose family couldn’t afford for him to take up a scholarship to Oxford. BTW, my father said his nickname among “the boys” was “Tchike”, being short for Tchaikovsky. Best Wishes to you all

    By Elizabeth (nee Wilson) (11/11/2010)
  • Dear Elisabeth, great pleasure to hear from you. I didn’t expect to hear at all. I knew your dad very well, had some great times there and I am sorry to hear he passed away. Very pleased to hear your son made it. Good luck to you and your family. Dennis Williams and family.

    By Dennis Williams (22/11/2010)
  • To David Bailly. Hello David, I was at Mile Oak the same time as you. I remember Charlie Fisher, Ronnie Tricket, Peter Saywell, also all the teachers. First I was in East House with Boney Inwood, then I was put in South House with Mr Hardinge. Couple of years ago, I met Ian McNeil who used to play for Brighton and Hove Albion. I would like to hear from you. Take care, Dennis.

    By Dennis Williams (22/11/2010)
  • Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year to you all. I hope you all have many more of them. Love Egghead.

    By David Bailey (24/12/2010)
  • Hello Teddy and Ronnie Westfallen. I remember both of you well. Plus Ray Kennedy, Micky Wright, Bob Oakley, Weems, Smithy, Miles Hickman and many more. Ted – do you remember Vera Williams, my penpal, you got me? All the very best to all of you. Charlie Groom, No. 59

    By Charlie Groom (13/01/2011)
  • Hi to all of the old lags of Mile Oak School whether you were there before me, or after 1946. I wish you all a prosperous new year, and if any of you win a lottery give me a ring! Regards to all, Tevor Whitworth 1946 to 1950, Jellico 119 – that would be dorm 4 to those after I left.

    By Trevor Whitworth (13/01/2011)
  • Hi to Elizabeth, nee Wilson. I was in your father’s class at Mile Oak in the hut at the top of the Drive. I was captain of the cricket team he ran. I am very sorry to hear of his death. He was a good teacher and a nice man. Regards

    By Charlie Groom (17/01/2011)
  • Hello there to you all. Trevor I think I remember you, I was there the same time. I was not liked by many though.

    By John Sadler (14/03/2011)
  • Hello John Sadler. I’m glad to hear from some one who was at the old school between 1946 to Easter 1950. It’s so difficult to remember names even faces after 65 years. How time flies. I must have been one of the smallest lads in the school but ran a mile on the cricket field on Sports Day against the big lads and came 3rd and Mr Wooten and a LCC guy who used to come to the school from London to watch the boys swimming in the pool gave me 5 shillings for coming 3rd. That was a lot of money for those days. Anyway you must remember the Riley brothers Jimmy Riley who was in the boxing team with me and his younger brother Terry. But they were real bullies. I can recall some names like White, Rice, Murry, big ugly Johnson, Masters, Chitty and of coutse John Lomey. Nice to know some one may have known my nick name ‘Pick Lock & Jap.  I’m sure it can’t be true to say no one liked you.

    By Trevor Whitworth (20/03/2011)
  • I was at the school 1965-1968, I remember Mr Kane, Head, Mr Howells, Deputy Head and ‘Gubby’ Wilkes, ‘Jumper’ Cross, ‘Bony’ Edwards as Housemasters. Mr Thomas came in as a PT instructor. Don’t remember too many of the boys names, Sam Hall, Ron Messanger were two.

    By Mick Stevens (28/03/2011)
  • Mr. Pilcher was a teacher at the LCC school and lived with his daughters in one of the row of houses next to the gate houses. I went to school with Janet the eldest daughter, she would have been born in 1944, and as we attended St. Nicholas Junior CofE school through to 1955, I think that would be when he was teaching you all. Don’t know his expertise. What of the slippery pole events on your sports days. My mum who worked for Matron when I was young, used to take me to watch your sports days, I thought the slippery pole a cruel sport.

    By Bonny Cother (31/03/2011)
  • Hi Trevor, John Lomey’s daughter here. I hope you’re in good health. My dad has asked me to give you his number for a chat. You’ll have to excuse him though, he’s a bit mutton 02077945730. Take care x

    By Kim Mcfarland (18/05/2011)
  • Well well. after many years of trying to contact a boy from the 40s at Mile Oak School, at last success. Hello Kim, glad to get Dad’s number. I have called him but he was not at home. It’s over 60 years since I left and will be nice to meet up again as I said I live in Stoke Newington not too far for me to go see your dad if he would like that. I did leave a message on the phone. Thanks for the Message. regards 

    By Trevor Whitworth (26/06/2011)
  • Well, well Mr Redhead. That name brought back lots of good memories. I hope you are well Steve shame about the old place. I did go back myself a few years ago, but nothing there now, as you know. Also to see my good friend, and sharer Steve Howatt posting on here are you still in Brighton Steve? Not to forget Bill Major glad to see your still about mate. As for Mr Cane, he was a true gentlemen I remember the time he caught me with a bottle of gin. He confiscated it, and promptly gave me the money I paid for it. Not forgetting Freddie Fordham who could smell your cigarette out from a hundred metres. Good times

    By Pete Moppett (24/07/2011)
  • Yes, I have made contact at Mile Oak School from 47 to 50 and left at Xmas. I left at Easter 1950 although we did not recognise at first sight but memories came flooding back once we got chatting and now I make regular visits to his home and there is always something to chat about. He mentioned names like Rowntree and Roberts who were in the boxing team with John and I- also Masters and Chitty and Jimmy Riley. These are the names I do remember, but faces I can’t. Never the less it’s been enjoyable writing on this page and of course another year has past. It makes one wonder how many years we have left. With good health to all. 

    By Trevor Whitworth (30/07/2011)
  • I have recently heard from Jimmy Riley. Maybe he remembered me, well my name anyway. Things are beginning to move. Do any of you fellows remember a boy by the name of Bob Maynard who I do believe came to the school in the very early 1950s just before I left. I’m sure he does not remember me but that is one boy I do not forget. A boy also I would like to make contact with for old times sake is Rowntree who I think  played for Brighton Boys football team. Also a boy named Roberts who also was in the boxing team. Anyway thanks to Jim Riley for the message. Nick name Pick lock and Jap. 

    By Trevor Whitworth (31/07/2011)
  • In the message two above, I failed to mention the guys name I met after 62 years. it was John Lomey who left Xmas 1950. I left Easter 1950 after spending 3 years 6 months there in Mile Oak school for good boys. Thought I would mention it as I did not on the previous message. 

    By Trevor Whitworth (31/07/2011)
  • I see you have not added my comment yet – are you afraid?

    Editor’s response: We have no intention of publishing comments which use such rude and abusive language.

    By John Burnett (10/08/2011)
  • To the editor. I noticed your comment saying some one was using abusive and rude language behind my last comment. I was wondering if these comments were referring to me. that is all I want to know. But does not matter about his name.

    Editor’s note: The fact that the comment came after yours is not specifically significant Trevor. The comment we deleted referred to this thread in general. I hope you continue to enjoy keeping in contact with old associates.

    By Trevor Whitworth (14/08/2011)
  • I was at Mile Oak approved school from 1955-1959. Remember the Westfallen brothers, one arrived later than the other if I recall. I also remember Anthony Roberts; I used to get him mixed up with Tony Unwin when I was a new boy. I stayed there right untill I was of working age and had to help Fred and Mr Minter at the boiler house. Lots more to tell.

    By D P Featherbe (13/09/2011)
  • Hi I’m John Edwards. I was at Mile Oak between 1957-61. I was in South House. It was dad that gave Mr Inwood the nickname bornes. My mates were Peter Saywell, Dinnis Morgan, Charlie Fisher, Sid Draper. I remember the long walk to church every other week. Some may remember that me and Peter Saywell got into Molly matron’s store and took a load of suits to Brighton market.They were the good old days. It brings back some great memories.

    By John Edwards (25/09/2011)
  • Re:- John Edwards. I was there from 1960-1964. I was in East House and one of my mates was Charlie Fisher. My other mate was Ian Fox and he was in South House.

    By David Bailey (01/10/2011)
  • Hello Pete Moppett, good to hear you are on this site. Still in Sussex, what about you? The old place holds so many good memories for me despite some of the rogues I encountered. There is still a place for similar establishments nowadays, with the right people in charge. They don’t make Kanes’. Fordhams and Yeats nowadays, it’s all political correctness. Shame. Keep on posting on this site.

    By Steve Redhead (18/10/2011)
  • I came to Mile Oak, May 1948. Me and a lad called Arthur Selby came together. I was no. 23 Allenby. Some of the boys I remember – Lomey, Vigers, Bennet, Cox, and Roundtree. Some other lads were recommited in 1949 and we mostly were sent to Mayford in Surrey. Me, McGilloway, Norton, Hemmings and a couple of others.

    By Peter Wigfall (23/11/2011)
  • When I wrote my comments on 23/11/11 I wrote a lot more than was posted. I wonder why? There was nothing abusive in it – I am curious?

    Editor’s note: Peter: your comment was edited, as most comments are. Very few comments are posted as they are submitted as they need to be checked for spelling, grammar, sense etc.
    Your comment needed to be edited because as it stood, it was difficult to understand. Can we suggest that if you are submitting more than a couple of lines in a comment, that it is a good idea to type it out in Word first. It is difficult to compose a larger comment in the small box you have here on the site; it is much easier when you can see all you have written without having to roll the dialogue box. Any questions: email me –

    By Peter Wigfall (24/11/2011)
  • Pleased to see a comment from Peter Moppett. He was a lad who was easy to talk to sensibly. I still have the copy of the book “Campbell’s Kingdom” which he gave me when I left in 73. “I didn’t pinch it sir” he said, “Honest!” I believed him- and still do.

    By Clements (20/12/2011)
  • Mr Redhead and Mr Clements: please contact me at  Thank you

    By Pete Moppett (08/02/2012)
  • My name was Wilfred Ricketts. I was there from about 1954 to 1958. When I was there the houses were called 1 and 2 on the west side and 3 and 4 on the east. I was in dorm 2, the Housemaster was Mr Montgomery. Apart from that the best teacher there was Gilbert Wilkes; he was the P E teacher as well. There was Mr Shaw; he was the science teacher, a great old man with his stories. Mr Wilson music, Mr Stevens (Lippy], Mr Fordham (Woody), Mr Inwood (Bony) and Matron Harvey (Molly). The head master was Mr Kane, always sucking on his false front teeth. I remember the green Bedford bus took half of us to church every Sunday; the other half walked and then got picked up along the way. I remember the allotments where we grew carrots, spuds and onions, the couple of rabbit hutches, the covered air raid shelters, football on the back field, and cricket on the front field. The dancing with the teacher training women, and the Devil’s Dyke trips and the trips to Wynham fishing. Any one that was there at that time especially Trevor Williams please try to contact me at Shame it’s gone. Good luck to all who were there.

    By Fred Ricketts (28/02/2012)
  • What is my earliest recollection of school life in Brighton? Well I remember leaving Stamford House in Sheppards Bush and arriving at Victoria station in the company of a social worker, carrying a small parcel waiting to board a train for Brighton. Before long we were travelling south through the countryside enjoying the ride on a cloudy but bright day looking at all the new scenery of Surrey and Sussex. An hour later we were pulling into Brighton Station alongside a platform where a steam train was making ready to leave for parts unknown in the South East. It and two others were making the place pretty smoky. We disembarked and went out to the station concourse and waited under the clock, now I’m getting a bit nervous about what was to happen next. I was soon to find out. We were met by a staff member with his car from the school and there I parted company from the social worker and started the drive to Mile Oak. Now I’m beginning to relax and enjoy the drive since this is among my first rides in a car. With Brighton station behind us we headed into Hove and then towards Portslade, over the gated level crossing, pass the bus workshops and turned right at the recreation grounds up to Mile Oak village, now I’m getting anxious again because I realize I’m near my destination, up the hill turn right on Mile Oak road. The No 19 bus stop was close to the school entrance. In the row of semi detached houses are two red brick columns supporting two wrought iron gates seized in the open position leading along a tar sealed drive. I remember the long ‘S’ curved drive up to the main building with its high box hedge on the right and the footpath all backing onto the staff houses. Mr Stanley, the gardener, at the time was trimming the hedge and had got about half way along as we passed. On the left was a lower privet hedge with the large playing field behind, all nicely manicured and complete with a cricket pavilion. Ten seconds later we are outside the main entrance, getting out of the car. Now I’m worried, I’ve arrived. Mr Beal was the one who greeted me and quickly put me at ease, He led me into the school office on the left just inside the main entrance. I never saw my parcel again, It probably had my old clothes in it and was sent back home to mum. I was asked a lot of questions and filled up forms, given a registration number and taken along to what became known to me as the Still Room. I was completely re-kitted out with new brown cotton shorts, shirts, white underwear, 2 handkerchiefs, a pair of roman sandals, suit [long trousers] a rain coat, black leather shoes, white shirt, socks and the tie, a horrible parallel thing with black/yellow horizontal strips. Then I was taken upstairs to be shown my bed in dormitory 3 on the first floor just above where I had collected my gear downstairs. I hung my suit and coat up in the wardrobe with the other boys’ clothes; no chance of mixing them up, we all had a registration number to identify our property; I was number 7. The rest was put away in the little single draw locker along side the bed. That was pretty much it for the first day – I was in! The school secretary then introduced me to Mr Desmond Wilkinson who was to become my teacher for the next three years. Class was finished for the day by this time and the rest of the lads were gathering in the yard for a while just before tea. I was shown to one of those temporary classrooms between the main building and the market garden field, in the room closest to the main drive up. Mr Wilkinson was to be my teacher. Mr Wilkinson showed me the way I would have to go to get to the play ground and as we were going through the corridor three others were loitering around and I was introduced to them and they were told to show me around. These became my friends for the next three years. Tony Hills ‘Bumpy’ (no 16) Royston Wiggly ‘Wiggles’ (no 8) and Brian Gale ‘Windy’ (no 6) I don’t remember anything else for the rest of the day. It was probably the same as those days that were to become routine for the next three years. Peter. (no 7)

    By Peter Little (24/03/2012)
  • Hi, Does anyone remember Reggie Partleton – a wicked fast bowler who used to always bowl me out when my school (the local Grammar) played my Dad’s (Mile Oak LCC School)? 

    By Stephen (Little Stick) Kane (19/04/2012)
  • Hello Stephen (Little Stick) Kane. I don’t know about the fast bowler, but I would like to say what a fine man your father was. He was one of the fairest men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting [along with Mr Yates ]. They don’t make them like those two anymore. Lee Mack

    By lee mack (20/04/2012)
  • I don’t think Mr. Kane was very fair when he caned me for something I did not do and when he caught the person who did what he accused me of doing, I did not even get an apology. As for Mr. Yeates, we used call him Jasper Knock and he was our art master and any paintings we done that was any good he used to spoil them by drawing the rear view of cows all over them.

    By David Bailey (22/04/2012)
  • Fred Ricketts: Have you copied most of my text? Reads almost identical. Still your name rings a bell. Hope you are well. Hello Charley Groom, how are you mate, just read your mail, what a surprise. Told Ted, he said great to hear from you, sends best wishes. He is not very good on the computer and I am still learning so I hope this comes out OK. What a thing Trevor Whitworth has started here. Must be the grub we got, not forgetting the cocoa, that’s keeping us all going – ugh! Ted lives in a nice house in Gants Hill, and I’ve got a nice place near Maldon. My son is a pilot and my daughter a soprano singer. Not bad, eh? After Mile Oak I got detention center, then Portland Borstal, came out and changed my name. Started a business with Ted, and sold up 5 years ago, so now retired. Without Mile Oak who knows what would have happened. Take care and all the best. PS Gerald Weeks – I would love to meet you for old time’s sake. We could share an apple.

    By Ronnie Westfallen (31/05/2012)
  • Hello Ronnie Westfallen. You do not mention what years you were at Mile Oak. Must have been after me as I left 1950. Anyway you should be so lucky to have cocoa. When I was there no-one knew what cocoa was let alone drinking it. Our supper was on a slice of stale bread some times scrapings of fish paste or stale jam. I do not think we ever met as I only met one old lad from 66 years ago. That was or is John Lomey. You state what I have started here or was it meant to be stated here.

    By Trevor Whitworth (21/07/2012)
  • I was a Mile Oak boy from 1959 to 1963 and was in West house. Mr Theaker was our house master and Miss Purdy was our house mother. I also remember all the staff mentioned and the hill and dales, the bike rides to Shoreham, holidays at Marchants hill, Sailing at Shoreham, camping by the river Adur, photography club, smoking in the old lorry on the back field, six of the best from Mr Kane for running away on several occasions etc etc. I didn’t know it at the time but I was blessed to have been there and will never forget all the staff of Mile Oak School For Boys. Michael (Mick) Carter.

    By Michael (Mick) Carter (18/09/2012)
  • My father taught briefly at the school after the war – resident assistant Master (Physical training and sports) from 1 Mar 1946 to 18 November 1946, before emigrating to Northern Rhodesia. I would appreciate it if anyone remembers him, letting me know some details.

    By Chris (08/11/2012)
  • Duh, senior moment – I hit send before adding his name. He was Godfrey (Goff or Geoff) Lloyd.

    By Chris (08/11/2012)
  • Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all Mile Oak LCC School for NAUGHTY Boys.

    By David Bailey (24/12/2012)
  • Hello my name is Brian Townsend. I went to Mile Oak school in 1955-1959. I’ve been reading some of the comments and recognise some your names mentioned. Does anyone remember me? I remember when Mr Weeks took over and I was in the dormitory when the pip hit him in the eye and we all got punished for it. I remember Mr Yates, Mr Shaw, Mr Kane, Mr Montgomery, Mr Wilkes, Mr Wilson, Mr Inwood and Matron Harvey as well. When I first went to Mile Oak, I was in Mr Montgomery’s wing for the first year and a half. Then I was transferred to Mr Inwoods wing. I remember the Westfallen’s and things that happened. I remember a few other people who went there. I remember Maxy Tool, Johny Newman an, I think David Moore. When I went back to visit about 2 -3 years after leaving, David Moore was still there he was the older one there. A few more names to mention: Swaisland, who cut his leg open under his knee, Eggy Roberts, O’connor –  can go on and on but I thought I would mention a few. When I first when there aged 11 the top boy there was R. Smith, he was a good boxer. I hope someone remembers me, and I hope everyone is doing well. I now live in Bedfordshire and still working .

    By Brain Townsend (09/02/2013)
  • Hi, my mum, Joyce, worked in the kitchens at the school (not sure of the dates) but she worked with Bonnie, Matron Harvey and Peggy. Hi to Barry (Spike) Milligan – long time no hear x

    By Sandra King (nee Parsons) (15/02/2013)
  • We were little children, in the school, but not pupils at it. I and my two sisters were the children of Deputy Head, Mr Maurice William Stephenson, living in a staff house at 121 Mile Oak Road. I remember Mr Shaw and Mr Wilkinson. Mr Wilkinson, if I remember correctly, later followed my father to become his deputy head at Bredinghurst School for maladjusted boys in Peckham, South East London. After my father retired, Mr Wilkinson, in turn, became head of Bredinghurst. My father died in 1998 at the age of 87. We all left Mile Oak in 1958 to move to London and after one year at a school for delicate children in Battersea, my father became head of Bredinghurst in 1959. I wish I could remember the name of the woodwork master. He made a beautiful dolls house for my sisters, which my own daughter now plays with. I also remember Mr and Mrs Wilkes. I used to play with their daughter Helen Wilkes, who must have been almost exactly my age.

    By Chris Stephenson (24/02/2013)
  • Chris, I think the wood work teachers name was Archie. Mr Wilkes was the Physical Education teacher. Mr Inwood was the housemaster who lived on site above the dormitories one side. Mr Montgomery was the dormitory master on the other side. When you were younger you would live on Mr Montgomery’s side. Once you reached a certain age you would be transferred across to Mr Inwood’s dormitory. I was there when Ricketts was there and a nicknamed boy called Eggy Roberts. Antony Gobel is another name that springs to mind but I could go on all night. Every week or month we were graded on our behaviour- A, B, C or D. A and B you were given more pocket money and trusted to leave and come back off your own accord. C you were allowed to go and walk over the South Downs with the masters. D you were forbidden to leave and would be made to complete and do all of the chores. I remember at the end when we would go for home leave we used to sing this song on the train home to London. ‘There is a mouldy dump down mallow way. Where we get bread and scraps three times a day. Eggs and bacon we don’t see. We get saw dust in our tea. That’s why we’re gradually fading away, fading away, fading away.‘ I remember once every month in the good weather trainee nurses or teachers would come to the home and teach us to dance. Anyway that’s enough for tonight. Keep in touch.

    By Brian Townsend (05/03/2013)
  • I was an inmate from 61-65. Anyone about?

    By Clift (08/03/2013)
  • Hello boys, I was an inmate from 61-66. At the end I was called the old boy and a big alright mate to Mick Carter. Good to see you’re still kicking.

    By Monty Clift (09/03/2013)
  • Hello everybody. So sad to find nobody was at the school while I was there (1941-44); I hope somebody answers.

    By john payne (02/05/2013)
  • I have just been reading your site and am very interested as I was at a pupil at this school roughly between 1970-1977. I recognize some of the names especially Mr Redhead. I would like to hear from anyone I went to school with- my nickname was “Ash” and I was in Bramber House or maybe Lewis. I can remember Mr Yates, the art teacher who we used to follow around and pick up his cigarette buts to make fags out from, and Mr Dennis Shields. Mr Kane was the headmaster when I was there, and the infamous Mr Duncan.

    Editor’s Note: we no longer publish requests for information on third parties as the sharing of information without their permission breaches their privacy.

    By Alan Baker (08/05/2013)
  • Hello Peter Little. I read your lines on Mile Oak. Quite a long story and that is how I saw it going to Mile Oak with my welfare officer Mr Sanderson. He drove me all the way to Portslade from Brooke House where I had been for a couple of months and then we drove to Mile Oak 10th October 1946, all for not attending school, but then I was in hospital from the age of 15 months until the age of 7 or 8 years of age. I was in Jelilco House over the showers. So yes it was rough. But a lot better in those days to what they are today. Anyway, Peter, you did not mention the date you were admitted into Mile Oak School?

    By Trevor Whitworth (20/05/2013)
  • Hi Ash, you was Alan Eshbaker first, if I remember, then you changed your name. I was in Bramber with you too, also we were both in the school football team. You were a great goalie, whilst I was top goal scorer.

    By Barry Rogers (22/07/2013)
  • Hi Stephen Kane. Yes, I remember bowling you out on several occasions and your father was a good and very fair man. Would be good to hear from you.

    By Reggie Partleton (02/09/2013)
  • I was there for a year in 1976, I remember Ash and his sister Viv Peters. I checked on you guys when I came back from Nigeria in 1991. All seems a long time ago. Times have changed.

    By Steve (02/09/2013)
  • I was there between 56 and 58 and remember most of the names of the teacher and house masters what memory’s they bring back. Charlie Keeble.

    By Charlie Keeble (14/09/2013)
  • I am trying to send some photo’s of boys at the school when I was there at that time.

    Editor’s note: Hello Charlie – sorry but we would not publish photos as there may be some boys who do not wish to be identified.

    By Charlie Keeble (15/09/2013)
  • Hello, I was at  Mile Oak from 1973/4 to summer of 1976/7  when it closed. I was in Bramber House, if I’m right our house master was Mr Ambrose ? If I remember correctly we got moved from Bramber House to Lewis House,  till one of the boys set fire to the linen cupboard. Who remembers that night? It was a Thursday as we were watching Top of the Pops. I can remember the Mansell twins, and Alan Ash Baker who then changed his name to Alan Baker. Fond memories but I didn’t like it at the time!  That was the best school I have ever gone to. It will be great to hear from anyone who remembers me. I wish everyone the best. Take care.

    By Alan Dembinski (30/05/2014)
  • Hi everyone, I have just found out that my grandfather, Ronald Craft, was at Mile Oaks from 1941 until around 1944. He passed away in 1991, but my dad (his eldest son) and myself would like to hear from anyone that may have known him, or was at least at the school around the same time so that we can get an idea of what it was like. John Payne… I have seen your previous posts and I have sent you an email. Thanks in advance.

    By Jo Ruberto (nee Craft) (03/07/2014)
  • Hi anyone out there that went to Mayford approve school 1970/1971?

    By Orville (03/10/2014)
  • Hi, I was at Mile Oak from 1959 to 1962. I remember the place very well. I’ve been back in 2004, sad to see that the school has now gone. I remember a lot about the place. email me if you can remember me.

    By Brian Baxter (05/10/2014)
  • My wife just gave this page to me. Reading all the comments I got a rush of emotions – some good, some bad – then I saw Mr S. Redhead’s name. I don’t know if you remember me, Robert Nichol, if my memory is right me and you spent Christmas of 74 alone in the school?  I hope you are well and hope to hear from you soon.  Bob Nichol
    PS Is Mike Ambrose still about?

    By Robert Nichol (08/12/2014)
  • I was at Mile Oak from 1956 to 1959. I remember Ronnie Westallen when he was in dormitory 2. Some of the other boys in the dormitory were Brian Gee, Derek Chapman, Alan Wells, Graham Stevens and David Swan. I was nicknamed Moonie. Mr Montgomery was our housemaster who was ok, also there was Mr Wilson, Mr Wlkes, Mr Comer, Mr Yates and Mr Wilkes. I remember the church Sundays and I carrying the scouts flag, and the camping at Devils Dyke and the film shows on Saturdays nights in the 1/2 common room. Even though it was for naughty boys, you were treated ready to be let on licence.

    By John Hayward (14/01/2015)
  • If anyone remembers me or was in dormitory 2 during 1956 to 1959 and want chat about old times, feel free to email me

    By John Hayward (14/01/2015)
  • To Chris Stephenson. I went to Bredinghurst in the early 70s and the woodwork master then was Mr Kendall (Ken). It must have done me some good since I’m (relatively) successful now!

    By Ian James (17/02/2015)
  • Hello Alan Dembinski, I remember your name,just can’t place you. I remember that night, I was the one who found the fire. I ran to Mr Yates to tell him and he gave me a clip around the ear because he thought I was lying! It was one of the Johnson brothers who started the fire. Good days.

    By Lee Mack (04/05/2015)
  • Hello Rob Nichol -were you called  Paddy at the time?

    By Lee Mack (04/05/2015)
  • Hi Jo Ruberto (nee Craft), the email that you sent a letter to is not used anymore. The new one is If you see this, can you please send me a photo of your dad when he was young. I usually never forget a face, thank you.

    By John Payne (14/05/2015)
  • Hello Lee Mack – yes that was me, I had forgotten about that. I am sorry mate, I do not remember you but you know me so I must know you. I remember Avery, the Mansell twins, David Lewis, Mark Coles, Martin Milner, Alan O’Marney, Andrew Pavlin and Alen Ashbaker (in Pevensey house, I think). Do you know if Mr Redhead is still with us? Still have not heard from him. You can contact me on Bye for now. 

    By Bob Nichol (03/07/2015)
  • Hello Robert Nichol (Paddy), I remember you well. We were good friends in Mile Oak. We were in Bramber together until they closed the house down and we moved into Pevensey until we left. I left in November 76. We used to hang about with David Lewid, also I think it was me, you and David who were the only ones there for one Christmas too. We had a great time as I recall. I’m sure me and you caddied for Mr Ambrose and Mr Readhead played golf and they took us to the clubhouse afterwards and bought us shandy and food. They were the best two staff there. Diane Gaye was nice too and also the French one – I think her name was Marina or something like that.

    By Barry Rogers (09/07/2015)
  • Dear John Payne, I’ve only just read your new estate (May 2015). I have just emailed you on the new address you provided. Hope to hear from you soon. Jo

    By Jo Ruberto (nee Craft) (09/08/2015)
  • Hi Lee, I can’t put the name to a face either. I was very quiet there and kept myself to myself most of the time. I can remember most people at the time I was there.  Mr Ambrose was our house master at the time. Diane was very kind to me and Marina too.  If anyone wishes to catch up, please email me at

    By Alan D (22/08/2015)
  • Hello lads from Mile Oak School. I wish to make a correction. I was saying that I was transported or sent to Mile Oak Approved School when I was 10 years old. Well actually I was only 9 and the smallest kid in that school for years. But what wonderful years they were. All English in those days and English was the only language spoken. But now its rarely heard?  Whitworth 119 Jellico House

    By Trevor Whitworth (19/10/2015)
  • I was at Mile Oak School in 72/73 and remember Mr Yate taking us for walks on the downs. Great times and very sorry to see the building has gone. Like most people I have very fond memories of my time at the school.

    By John Merritt (20/10/2015)
  • Hi to Jo Roberto. I’m sorry I didn’t get your email so maybe you will try again with this email:  Thanks

    By John Payne (13/02/2016)
  • I was at Mile Oak from June 74 until October 75. I used to be in Lewes House. I used to box for Brighton & Hove ABC whilst I was at the school. I used to go with a black guy called Bruce Gillard. I remember Andrew Pavlin, he was my good mate. Happy days!

    By Bruce Hill (09/03/2016)
  • Hi my names Marvin Drake I can remember good times there. I was a naughty boy but had a great time. I wondered if anyone got photos of us at school.

    By Marvin Drake (03/04/2016)
  • Hi, Jo. Tell me the name to look for when you send an email. I get so many every day, its hard to look at them all, but if I can recognize your name it will make it easier. Thanks.

    By John Payne (25/07/2016)
  • Hi, my dad went to this school from 1943/50. He doesn’t recall any names on here. His name is Stanley Duncombe.

    By Nadine Bell (23/08/2016)
  • Hi Bruce Hill I remember Bruce Gillard well. The last time I saw him was in Rochester Borstal in 1979, also Marvin Drake I remember you too.

    By Barry Rogers (14/09/2016)
  • Hi Jo, when you send me an e-mail,put the caption Mile Oak, then it will ring a bell, thank you.

    By John Payne (21/09/2016)
  • Yes I was at Mile Oak, getting on for about two years from 1959/60, Mr Inwood’s (Bony) house – he was the main bus driver, everyone was given ear phones so we could listen to the radio from his room. I think my stay was at the time of the Cuban missile crisis.
    Yes, we were graded “A” one shilling & sixpence, “B” shilling, ”C” sixpence, “D” nothing, had to stay in and do chores. When I was moved across the way to Dorm 2 East, still Bony House, my bed was by the fire escape. It was at the time Peter Saywell borrowed my knife and stabbed a snitch, but I still took a liking to Peter. We talked a lot when he was the boiler man, keeping the boiler running.
    One day a few of us decided to abscond, we had big ideas, nick a boat and go to France, got as far as the garage down the road. It was broken into and we got the blame for it, got taken back to face Mr Kane, you can guess the rest. As to the farm, we would hide in one of the lofts and the farmer would give us all sticky cakes.
    I remember the girls from Brighton College coming to the school every Monday to teach us dancing. We had chess, woodworking, swimming, fishing and various club nights. Fags – we would turn the butts that we collected when we were out and about into cigs using toilet paper. When one of the house masters came near us who were smoking, we’d drop the cigarette in the turn-up of our shorts.
    Good and bad memories. Like one Christmas the masters would give us weed to smoke to keep us sedated so they could have a Christmas holiday with their families. Sounds like I’m acting my age – 70 years young – hope I have brought some memories back for someone.

    By Julian (Jules) Williams (18/10/2016)
  • Hi everyone, back again trying to jog some more memories. Swimming competition at Crystal Palace with my mate at the time, name Rogers. We went to his house after Crystal Palace, my memory is shot away now, but I think he lived in Croydon. He seemed to be always singled out by Wilkes. I also remember Weeks, house master west dormitories. Mr Inwood – we used to take the p..s because he controlled his boys by sign language “thumb up, stand up”, “thumb down, sit down”. I wonder who remembers the times in Inwood’s house, dormitory number one, eastern side, when a couple of inmates would go round the dorm during the night and urinate in boys’ mouths or ears while the boy was sleeping. I should know because I was a victim.
    I also remember Iain McNeil who played inside right for Brighton & Hove Albion, thought he could teach us so-called footballers ball control, that was a laugh, we must have tested his sanity. He spent more time kicking the ball at us to get our attention, did that hurt or what?
    Does anyone remember the tuck shop? That was a life saver.
    Perhaps someone remembers the boy that was always in trouble for having a fight with the music teacher, Mr Wilson, who couldn’t see a lot (his glasses were like 3/4″ thick) and nobody paid attention to his opera tunes either. We just made an uproar.
    But I must say this, even though you always fell out with someone, maybe have a punch up, at my time of stay we always had our problems, but we had a great bunch of lads. Good wishes to all those who are alive and still kicking.

    By Julian (Jules) Williams (22/10/2016)
  • Hello Stephen Kane (little stick?) and Chris Stephenson, I remember you both well – some of the teachers too – also Elizabeth nee Wilson, though none of the boys, as I was not allowed to mix with them! Did see the sports days, Guy Fawkes celebrations  and a New Years Party. Was amazed at the good comments about my father though – it just goes to show what different perceptions of reality we humans have.

    By Helen nee Wilkes (16/05/2017)
  • Mr. Wilkes was my teacher when I was at Mile Oak LCC School for Boys and a better teacher you could not have. If you had any problems he would help sort them out. He nearly caught me smoking and ask me if I had been smoking and said yes sir. He then told me to go get ready for an interview for an apprentice chefs job in London. He was a very fair teacher, if you done something wrong you knew about it but if you behaved yourself he was brilliant. I was there in the early sixties. Have a happy life.

    By David Victor Bailey (18/05/2017)
  • Hi Lads & Staff from Mile Oak,

    I worked there as one of the younger care staff in Bramber House from 1974 to 1975, with Diane Gaye and Mike Ambrose, Steve Redhead, Mr. Kane, Martine De La Ruelle & others. I remember some of the lads too, Paddy Nichol, the Mansell boys (the one that always climbed on the roof, nearly gave me a heart attack!);Barry Rogers, David Lewis, Alan O’Marney, Lee Mack. I remember Martine & I ran an after school activity boat making, but they all sank in the pond when we tried sailing them! I remember making tons of french toast for breakfast (sorry about that, my cooking was probably awful). I remember Martine & I agreeing that it was important for someone to say good night to lads who were away from home and let them know someone cared, that was when we had some of our best chats with each of you. I went on to become a social worker and ended up running a programme in Sussex for moving kids from residential care back into the community – with a support network, work experience placements and group weekend activities. Now I live in the USA and no longer work in social work. My best wishes to all the Mile Oak lads and staff.

    Sue Mckeown 1974/75

    By Sue McKeown Kallaugher (08/08/2017)
  • I had a relative who was a teacher at the school in 1953.

    By Blanaid Cook (27/08/2017)
  • l used to spend school holidays at Mile Oak staying with a relative who was a teacher at the school. It always struck me that the boys were very happy there despite the discipline. We used to go to Walton on the Naze with the boys camping. Great fun building sea walls. I remember ‘ Smokey boy’ and ‘ Toothbrush’ In the winter we had snowman building competitions with the lads. They used to put on playing all the parts including women’s roles. I was there in 1953/54

    By Blanaid Cook (27/08/2017)
  • Hi all ex Mile Oak boys.

    By Monger Miah (01/11/2017)
  • Hi, Helen, nee Wilkes – so good to see you’re alive and kicking. I well remember those happy, heady days. Keep well

    By Stephen Kane (08/04/2018)
  • Hi every one from Mile Oak. I’m not good on remembering dates, but it must have been about 1959/60 when I was staying at Mile Oak Hotel for boys, but I have a lot of fond memories – dance night, chess night, swimming, woodwork, even football training with Ian McNeil the inside right from Brighton & Hove Albion, grading pocket money A,B,C,D in the dormitory on Friday nights. It was a good place to be, even if being sent for the reasons some of us shouldn’t have got up to, wish you all well, those that are alive and kicking. 

    By Julian (22/05/2018)
  • Hi Jo Ribeiro, you can still email me, I will be watching for you. Thanks. 

    By John Payne (13/08/2018)
  • Hi John Payne, I’ve only just seen your new email address. I’m about to email you now and will write Mile Oak in the subject. 

    By Jo ruberto (26/09/2018)
  • Hi Helen Wilkes and Steve Kane.
    I remember you both well.I was friends with Dave Wilkes and Doug Yates, and Steve was a friend of my brother Pete.
    Our mother Norah Dale of 222 Mile Oak Road died this summer, and Peter Benger who you will remember was at the funeral in September..
    My 70 year association with Mile Oak has come to an end but I will remember it with affection. It has changed beyond recognition.

    By Roger Dale (17/12/2019)
  • I was there in the mid fiftys and remember some of the names of boys and staff it brings back memories that I will never forget for the rest of my life.It did make me a responsible person and to appreciate everything I have worked for.

    By charlie keeble (07/02/2020)
  • My dad attended mile from about the age of 11 so it would of been 1946/1947 he remembers the finger nails being painted lol his name is Kenny Wise from London.

    By Michelle wise (07/05/2020)
  • I’ve just dug up in Portslade a spoon that says Oruba on the back and L.C.C on the front!

    By Lynsdale (19/07/2020)
  • You may be interested in a book by Ron Piper, titled ‘Take him away’ (published by Queenspark). This paints a less rosy picture of his time at the school, possibly towards the end of WW2 though he doesn’t give exact dates. He doesn’t mention staff by name, but refers to the headmaster by the nickname ‘Olive Oil’, describing him as a large man with a squeaky voice who used to punish boys with six strokes of the cane (for ordinary offences) or twelve (for absconding). He was never reformed.

    By Nicholas T (04/02/2021)
  • I was put in mileoak from 68/74 with my brother he was only there a short while because he was older than me I remember getting volunteered for most things by Mr Kane, have to say he was a really nice guy most if my holidays were spent there because of family matters and I remember Mr Kane and myself playing tennis on his court and believe me he made me run around that court lol great times and having to help Bruce Gillette with the motor bikes, Mr Kane put me out of the school 2 weeks before my 16 birthday was all cool though as I’d a job waiting for me as a motorcycle mechanic, good times there I often wonder what happened to my good friend Donald Rodney from London we had some good times.

    By Martyn phillips (25/11/2021)
  • I don’t remember exactly when I was there – it was a daze – I was made a ward of the court, in Hastings, at around mid-day, by late afternoon, I was assigned a number and a resident at Mile Oak. I was about twelve so must’ve been around 1970. I stayed for about three months before being shipped off to Redhill. I remember Jonah – a black kid who ran the yard. Discipline was strict I wanted to abscond and disappear into the downs.

    By Tom (12/12/2021)
  • Hey Tom, I think you might be thinking of Peter Jones he was the only (black kid) in the yard I was after some trouble in Mr Clements class made the office boy have to say it was a good job as Mr Fordham taught me a lot of things handyman wise and has stuck with me all through the years on how to fix and repair things on my own especially with 6 kids lol the little cherubs lol don’t know if you’d remember Bib Mattally? He was from your neck of the woods and stayed with me and Bruce a couple times in the holidays.

    By Martyn Phillips (12/12/2021)
  • Hi Steve Redhead. I was there in 71-72 you were a good man. I don’t know if you remember me. I used to run off all the time. I finally ended up In Ashford and was facing charges when I escaped from the nick in Dartford and hopped on a plane to the U.S.A. I eventually straightened myself out. Lol I have a son now who is 30 and still live in the U.S. I do have fond memories of the school and was shocked to learn that it was demolished. What a waste of a beautiful building. Please send me an email at I never forgot you or your kindness to me.

    By Frank J Surgis (23/12/2021)

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