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School photograph 1950

St Christopher's School:click to open in new window; click again to further enlarge
From the private collection of Roger Wilson

No masters in shot

I entered St Christopher’s in 1949 aged five and the photograph was taken the following summer. My father very astutely sent me to school on photo day with a white handkerchief in my top pocket so he could easily find me in the serried ranks of boys in the resulting photograph. So, there I am, easily spotted today in the front row; but who is that beside me with two big red bows in the plaits wrapped around the head? Yes, it’s Sarina Saunders. We ended up in the same class for my three years at the school. The school photo is unusual in that there are no masters in the picture. Were they all smoking in the staff room? Or were they standing behind the photographer, daring any of us to so much as twitch a muscle?

Unsupervised adventure outings

Somewhere in the photograph should be Peter Sexton who was my best friend at that time in my three years there. We shared many adventures, aged six, seven and eight, in Hove Park, still with air raid shelters in, the Three Cornered Copse and the old Dyke Railway ground where Hangleton Library now is. Often, it seems, our outings were without adult supervision in those innocent days. I can recall the school being lined up on the pavement of New Church Road to cheer Princess Elizabeth as she passed in a gleaming limousine in May 1951, following her visit to Brighton.

House colours for sports?

We had Sports Days at the school field in Glebe Villas. My P.E. shorts had a red ribbon stripe sewn down the sides. Was this my school house Howe colour, or was it just the school colour?  I remember going to John Cobbold’s Gymnasium in the basement of 38 Holland Road, just round the corner from Palmeira Square. I never could spring up to the full size box or horse. I have a confused memory of going along the road to a big house/hotel for lunches, or was it just on one occasion?

Comments about this page

  • Roger, I cannot thank you enough for uploading this quality photo as it contains my Father, aged about 11. He cannot remember it being taken but apparently it contains him (Rodney ) and a Malcolm Paris and others he can recognize but not name. Given it was taken 66 years ago, it’s not surprising. Thanks again


    By Mark Dearling (23/01/2016)
  • Hello Mark Dearling, your father may find the following of interest, culled from the school magazine. His final class in the autumn of 1950 was “Transition” and had these boys: Jarvis, Potter, Paris, Davidson, Robins,Simmons 1, Lee 2, and some others. If you had 1 after your  name you would be the oldest in the school with that surname, but 2 would not necessarily be a younger brother, just a boy with the same surname. [ I started life as Wilson 3 but was not related to either of the other Wilsons. We all moved up one when the eldest Wilson left, so, I became Wilson 2.  I left before reaching the dizzy heights of being Wilson 1. ( note numbers would be in Roman Numerals—- this was a Prep School, after all ! ) In the “Valete”( more prep school, so Latin here for “farewell” ) list of boys leaving, the magazine has your father as being in Nelson house and a member of the P.T. team.  The  P.T. team was the pride and joy of Maurice Saunders, joint headmaster at the time. Below are some tongue in cheek notes written by the editor of the magazine after one display. ”The P.T. display drew unmixed praise from the spectators. Once again the months of painstaking work on the part of Mr. Saunders bore fruit in an impressive display of marching, singing and exercises with coloured flags. The boys’ timings were exemplary, and the fact that one boy was sick ( possibly with excitement ) did not detract from  the merits of a highly-drilled and well coordinated tableau.” Your father may well remember the “French” play that Transition performed at the Christmas concert of 1950 when he was leaving. Again the magazine editor has a humorous account of it. ”Transition essayed the ambitious undertaking of doing a play entirely in French, a language spoken in France and in the middle forms of preparatory schools. The dialogue achieved many notable variations on the time-honoured theme of “Ou est la plume de ma tante?”  At one point the ignorant and therefore embittered author of these notes distinctly thought he heard “Ou est le doh-ray-mi?”  But that must be wrong!”

    By Roger Wilson (20/02/2016)
  • I would have been in this photo, as I joined the school in 48, at age 8.

    If anyone, who knew me, would like to make contact, I would be delighted to correspond with him.

    I loved the school and still miss it. I remember some of the boys Roger Wilson mentioned above. Potter was a great rugby player. I was in the school team with him.

    I am very sad to learn that Vicky died. I remember her and her sister Snooky. They were the first girls to be educated at St. C.

    Great memories.

    You can obtain my email from the school

    By David Chester (15/04/2019)
  • Does anyone recall Peter Goldman from this time? He is my father and I cannot spot him in this picture. If anyone has fond memories, or can spot him, please let me know. Oddly I have no photo of him before he was 30!

    By Joel Goldman (23/09/2019)

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