Memories of the 1950s and 1960s
“I was unusual as a boy in the 1950’s and 1960’s, even in the relatively prosperous suburbs of Brighton and Hove, in having all my education in the private sector. My first school was St Michael’s in Knoyle Road, Preston Park, and when I had, at the age of nine, outgrown that, I was sent to the western edge of Hove, to St Christopher’s in New Church Road. I ended up at Brighton College, in Kemp Town, aged 13, where I spent my teenage years!
Scarlet blazer and cap
St Christopher’s, where I spent the years 1957-60, was (and still is) a highly successful day preparatory school. It had about 120 boys and one girl (one of the Headmaster’s daughters, Vicky) at the time, and had a high-visibility school uniform, which included a bright scarlet blazer and cap.
Very tight discipline
The teaching in those days was traditional and discipline was very tight under Mr Maurice G Saunders, whose son, Roger, now runs the school. Despite all this, it was a friendly school with superb morale. The school motto “Altiora Peto” means “I seek higher things“, and from year to year we did just that, adding to the Honours Boards with scholarships and exhibitions to public schools, and beating many of our opponent prep schools on the rugby and cricket fields.
Four school ‘houses’
There were four “houses” – Drake (red), Nelson (green), Howe (blue) and Anson (yellow) – to which the pupils were allocated. Pluses for good work and conduct were given by the teachers, as were minuses – three conduct minuses in a week usually resulted in the cane on Friday! The house colours came into their own on Sports Day, held at Glebe Villas Field on the first Saturday in July – “I shall regard any absence from Sports Day, except on the count of illness, with the greatest disfavour”, wrote the Headmaster each year. Nobody ever dared to absent themselves (not even the parents)!
Maurice Standing the maths wizard
Maurice Standring was the Sixth Form master, who taught maths and French. At some point in his life he had lived in Switzerland, though in the 1960’s he lived in Florence Road (off Stanford Avenue). He was a maths wizard, and in my year some of the candidates (not me!) for the Brighton College Scholarship exam gained 100% in their maths paper. Pat Cale taught English and History, as well as cricket, and was especially popular. Mr Saunders taught Geography, English and Rugby football. Other teachers included Mr WHB Walker (Latin and Scripture).
Still going strong
The school has subsequently continued to grow both in numbers and success, and despite the remarkably cramped site has managed to build new classrooms and facilities to enable the teaching of subjects almost unheard-of in 1960 – like science!”
Martin Nimmo who has contributed so much to these pages and to other ones on the My Brighton site died on 31st May 2013.His obituary can be found on Brighton College’s own website.