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!”

Editor’s note:

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.

Comments about this page

  • I go to this school. We are now owned by Brighton College under Mrs Beeby. We have many girls and have given up the cane.

    By N Lane (28/04/2004)
  • I went there from 1999 to 2002. I started in the Fifth Form and left after the Upper Fifth after getting a scholarship to Lancing… but then I went to Blatch lol. Anyway I saw the name Nimmo on the honours board and I recognise the name N. Lane – hmmm, is it Natasha Lane? It was a better school with the Saunders’ I can imagine, but its nice to see someone having a webpage who went there.

    By Matt Gregory (16/05/2004)
  • Trust Natasha Lane to make a comment! I think there really needs to be an official St. C’s site. I still miss it and that’s five years since I left.

    By Dom Ferris (29/06/2004)
  • Mr Saunders was a good headmaster and it’s sad to see the family tradition go to a completly different and soft headmistress. And I hope that nothing has changed too much. Although I wish her and the school the very best. P.S. Nimmo, does your son or brother or anything go to Hurstpierpoint (Alex Nimmo)?

    By Tom Constantine (02/07/2004)
  • What a legend Roger Saunders is! He was a quality headmaster. I was there from the Third Form to Upper Sixth and I loved it. The teachers were great too. I am now approaching my third year at Brighton College.

    By C. Foreman (03/07/2004)
  • Reference Tom Constantine (above) – no, not my son or brother, but Alex is my nephew. Both our names appeared on the St Christopher’s Honours Boards. I knew I was getting old when I saw a photo of the ten scholarship boys (including me) in a book on ‘Old Hove in pictures’!

    By Martin Nimmo (14/07/2004)
  • To all the geezas at St.C. – cheers for everything. Love you.

    By Jonno Quantick (20/10/2004)
  • Hey its Carl Smith. I came for the last 2 years and I loved it. Roger is a legend as is Bobby B.

    By Carl Smith (25/10/2004)
  • Surely these comments tell you all you need to know about this school, absolutely brilliant. It was so old fashioned and disciplined but that’s the reason for its success. Hope this new headmistress doesn’t allow that to slip. Thanks for everything, I’m in my third year at Brighton College now and I would give anything to still be at St.Cs. PS Does anyone know when the carol service for St.Cs is?

    By Doug Albon (17/12/2004)
  • You mention Maurice Standring – he was my paternal grandfather. It’s nice to see that other people have fond memories of him. He did indeed spend some time in Switzerland, in fact that is where he met and married my grandmother.

    By Ruth Standring (05/01/2005)
  • You’ll see a photograph of Mr Standring on the images page.

    By Martin Nimmo (07/01/2005)
  • Thanks for all the teachers’ loyal work to me.

    By P Taylor (11/01/2005)
  • I am a mother looking for a ‘good’ school for my son and this web page has really given a big thumbs up for St C’s. Thanks.

    By Aldington Hunt (10/02/2005)
  • I never went to St.C’s but wish I did because it is the best school I have been hearing from the quads. The best teacher was Paul Sharpe apparently so congrats to him.

    By Matt Hume (Brighton College 2002-present) (14/02/2005)
  • I am currently at Hurstpierpoint with Alex (Nimmo), we are in our last year and will be going to uni in October. Almost all I still keep in touch with from St Christophers are doing extremely well. So far I have heard that Vishal Mashru (French and Spanish), Nathaniel Harding (French and Spanish) and Charles Ellis (Theology), have gained places at Oxford University. I have gained a place to read philosophy at Cambridge. We all left in 2000. I believe St Christophers gives a fantastic start to all and I would like to thank all the staff. Specifically Roger Saunders, Dan Scott and Alex Voice. I truly hope that St Christophers continues in such fine form. Thanks.

    By Joe (15/02/2005)
  • I think the school was much much better when it was run by Mr. Saunders. The teaching is different and in my opinion not so good but it is still quite good. I’ve been there seven years and in my final year now and will soon be at Brighton. To whoever set this page up – I think it’s brilliant.

    By Jonny Lewis (18/02/2005)
  • I think this school is the best. I have been going here for 8 years and have just done my scholarships. I thank all the teachers at St Christopher’s especialy Alex Voice and Dan Scott. I will be sad to leave and I hope the school goes on for many years to come.

    By Jack Button (05/05/2005)
  • Re ‘facilities to enable the teaching of subjects almost unheard-of in 1960 – like science!’: What a strange comment. I was a pupil at Brighton Technical School from 1955/1960 where Physics was a compulsory subject!

    By David Hibberd (23/08/2005)
  • I’m up in London now at the Royal College of Music studying er… I still sing in the choir of All Saints, Hove and it’s been interesting to witness the musical talent of the school over the last few years. The year group that have just left were very strong. An outstanding clarinet player, Alex Gatton, gained a distinction in his grade 8 exam this summer. Along with Alex there were also some outstanding musicians such as Ben Fergerson, Charlotte White and Roshan Laidley. I wish them all the best at their future schools and I hope they will continue to support and have an interest in the long musical tradition of St C’s, as I did.

    By Dominic Ferris (23/09/2005)
  • I loved reading all your comments and could not help but put in a quick summary of my life in Hove and Brighton. I too attended St.Christopher’s (1976 to 1983) and was in Drake House. We lived on King’s Road, in the first building on the right of King’s Lawns when one is facing the ocean. My father owned a pizzeria on West Street called Chattanooga. I vividly remember the Saunders family. Roger was taking over most of the day to day events. I was on the rugby team and remember him coaching. I somehow managed to get into trouble all the time and accrued numerous conduct minuses (all the academic pluses in the world could not save me from being caned on a monthly basis). The discipline was supremely strict. As an example, there was no talking whatsoever during lunch – the dining hall was absolutely silent except for the occasional ‘Please pass the pepper’ which would give one about a second to try to squeeze in some school boy banter! Otherwise, silence – still so? If I recall correctly, Mrs. Saunders had a hand in our nutrition. I regret to say that I got to know the headmaster’s room, up the stairs with the pebbled glass, a little too well (still there across from the library?). I then went onto Brighton College – Ryle House and School House (1983-1986). Now I live in San Francisco- the closest thing the US has to a beach town like Brighton. Undeniably, I received outstanding education at both schools and now it is my turn to teach, which I do as an Assistant Professor of Medicine. The last time I saw Brighton was in 1986 – I miss it dearly.

    By Payam Nahid (28/09/2005)
  • St C’s was the best place for a growing kid and it gave me some of my happiest memories. I made friends there who I will keep for the rest of my life, and some of the teachers were unforgettable. Thank you Mr Saunders and the rest of the old-school teachers who made it such an incredible place to be in. It’s just a shame that so much has changed over the last few years, but the legend will live on.

    By Sam Graham (20/10/2005)
  • I too attended St.Christopher’s (1978 to 1980). Actually I have in my study room in front of me a panoramic picture of summer term 1980 with Roger and his father on it. There is no need saying that I loved this school, I was French speaking, and attended many schools in Switzerland and France, but St Christophers was indeed very special! I now live in Brasil. It is sad to know that the school does not belong any more to the Saunders family.

    By Victor Moritz (Vicky) (08/12/2005)
  • I too attended St. Christophers during the same time as Sam Graham. I grew up living in Sackville Gardens which was only a short walk from the school. I have some great memories from that place and the area of Hove. Sadly I am now living in London. St. Christophers was unique. In the final year I was there 11 boys out of 14 received scholarships to their next schools. We managed to win all of our matches at rugby and won the U XII Sussex cup, even with such a small number of boys to choose from compared to other schools. Roger was brilliant, so was Mr B. I hope that such a brilliant school doesn’t lose its credibility now it has fallen under the influence of the ever-growing wings of Brighton College.

    By Hugh Viney (24/12/2005)
  • Hey to everyone who was lucky enough to have been involved with the brilliance that was St Christophers. It certainly gave me a massive head start when I came out of there. It was a totally unique experience being at that school and I still have conversations with ex pupils about its totally out there concepts to this day. It was some of the best years of my life and I will always remember them.

    By Mike Mudie (17/01/2006)
  • It’s so hard to walk back into St Christophers now. Because the school has changed so much both in the way it’s run and in its interior design, it sort of distorts the memories from the last decade. I left in July 1999 and still recall walking in to familiar sounds of Mr Bairamian calling his ever famous nick-names and summoning Mr Voice to assist with the daily crossword. I was just reading some comments left by Hugh Viney and Mike Mudie. It’d be great to get back in touch.

    By Dominic Ferris (31/01/2006)
  • I left St. Christopher’s a couple of years ago. In my last year there, Mrs. Beebey took over. I loved every minute of my time at the school, but it did change a lot over the course of my last year, not always for the better. Teaching, well what can you say. As Hugh said, from such a small school, the number of major scholarships to top public schools tells its own story. Also, if you’ve never been to a St. C’s play at the end of the summer term in the Gardener Arts Centre, you really should go, excellent… Thank you to all my teachers, and good luck to everyone there for the future.

    By Daniel Draper (05/02/2006)
  • I was the first of 5 girls to join this school… was brilliant! I left about a term and a half ago. I still really miss it even though I’m still always there. I will always remember this school and the people in it. Thank you so much to all the teachers – you made it a great six years.

    By Charlotte White (01/03/2006)
  • I was lucky enough to attend St.C from ’77 to about ’81 when my parents moved away from Hove. I often look back and thank the Saunders family and that school for what it gave me. The discipline was strict, but also very straight forward and you knew where you stood. If you’re given the cane and you answer back, you get the cane again. Can’t get fairer than that. So many memories: Mrs Saunders checking us for clean hands and hankies as we go in for lunch. The mad white highland terrier in Remove that would be on you like a flash if you dropped a pencil and bent down to pick it up. The scarlet blazer and cap, and if you didn’t give up your seat on the bus or tip your cap to a lady, they knew the next day. Don’t ask me how, but they always knew!

    By Richard Waldy (25/04/2006)
  • I am looking for my best friend named Georgina Trickett (born 14th January 1953) and I think that she went to Brighton College 1970-75. Her last address (1968) was: 2 Hillview, Telscombe Village, Nr Lewes, Sussex. If anybody knows something about her, or her brother Kewin Trickett (1950) or sister Angela (1953), please contact me on my email: Thank you very much.

    By Dusica Petrovic Markovic (Serbia) (03/09/2006)
  • I disagree with the majority of comments made and am delighted that the school is in new hands. When I attended this institution in the late 1960s it was akin to ‘Dotheboys Hall’. A tyrannical regime that inspired fear in so many, despite the fact that bullying was cited as a cardinal sin. Thank God for enlightened times!

    By Robin Conway (11/10/2006)
  • I have some sympathy with Robin’s views. If you were in any way uncooperative or failed to make the grade, life could be difficult. But from that point of view it was not untypical of private schools of the era. That is not justification for what may at the time have seemed to be a fairly brutal régime to some, but for the majority it certainly brought results. My memories are coloured by my own experiences, which for the most part were good; I can think of some fellow pupils who may have found it more difficult to endure.

    By Martin Nimmo (02/11/2006)
  • I respect Martin’s views. That said, it was NOT just a case of not ‘cutting it’ or being uncooperative. I recall boys who were mercilessly taunted by Saunders, one simply because he was of small stature. I also have vivid recollections of parents on a number of occasions causing a scene in the school.Personally, I had good and bad times and I agree for many, Martin’s word ‘endure’ was clearly appropriate.I shall always remember cramming my pockets with uneaten food so I would not be faced with it after school at 4pm.There is a very clear distinction between strong discipline, of which I am in favour ,and what is sheer brutality.

    By Robin Conway (07/11/2006)
  • Actually one of my least favourite things about St Christopher’s was the serving of baked beans with every lunch (except on Fridays – macaroni cheese alternate weeks with cheese potato). There was one boy I remember who was physically sick some days because of those awful lunches.

    By Martin Nimmo (09/11/2006)
  • I can’t believe it’s been 4 years since I left St Christopher’s for Brighton College. I think I started in 1993 and they were difficult years. I did not speak a word of English and I didn’t fit in very well. It was in the lower school that discipline was harsh. One of my earliest memories was standing in a queue whilst we watched Mr Scott and Mrs Peterson scolding some 2nd former. It was harsh, yes, but you behaved well in the end. It was only when I reached transition that things got really better cos the discipline seemed more relaxed. I remember our first science lesson with Mr Scott and everyone was really scared cos he was the teacher, who was feared by everyone in the lower school. I agree that academic standards were very high, especially when I reached JVI, when we were doing work, that was at least a year beyond us, for the scholarships. I want to thank all who taught me, in particular, Mr Bairamian, who helped me succeed in the latin and greek scholarship papers and also Mr Sharpe for being a brilliant history teacher!

    By Raymond Li (09/12/2006)
  • This comment list has been going on for two years now, I was trying to look for the school website but it’s a bit disappointing. I joined St Christophers, I think in 3rd form, can’t remember the year, I then moved to transition. It was a very good school, and like Raymond said, the school was teaching us things that were beyond us. I realised when I was in my A-level biology class, I learnt somthing that I already knew from a lesson in UVI. It wasn’t as detailed, but still four years ahead. It was a shame when the school got brought by BC. I moved to Dubai about a year after I left, so I haven’t had the chance to go back, but I would really like to. It was a great school, good teachers and tough, playing sports in nearly all weather. Over here in Dubai there is a bit of rain and the school stops functioning sportswise.

    By Khiz Rafique (16/12/2006)
  • Under review

    By Lex Angel (formerly Alexis May) (21/12/2006)
  • I went to this school 1990-1995. It was fun and all. I remember gettin in trouble loads of times. My fav was Miss Maine. I left as I really couldn’t stand the rugby. Kinda missed all my mates though.

    By Tariq El-Mughrabi (12/01/2007)
  • I was a pupil at St Christopher’s in the 1960’s. I have nothing but happy memories of the school. Red blazers and sunny days. Rugby practice on frozen ground. The only negative and enduring memory I have is of Maurice Standring. Mathematical genius he may well have been, teacher he most certainly was not! I was terrified of handing in my maths prep which was always a lottery as I have numerical blindness he might as well have asked a deaf person to describe an opera!

    By Bernard Dutton-Briant (07/02/2007)
  • Bernard is right, I remember Maurice Standring. Does anyone remember ‘Major Forrest’? He was certainly a character and as I recall taught cricket at Glebe Villas as well as latin.

    By Robin Conway (18/02/2007)
  • I attended St Christopher’s from 1986 to 1994 after which I went to Lancing. I have mixed feelings about St. C’s. Not being the sporty type which usually led to trouble with Mr Saunders, or being made to eat and finish usually horrid lunches. Other than that I thoroughly enojoyed my time there and the teaching was excellent, especially Mr Sharpe.

    By Daniel Harrison (18/02/2007)
  • There were, over the years, a number of prep-school masters (and mistresses) employed. Latin was the subject with possibly the greatest turnover; WHB Walker, ML Yorke (for two terms), FB Marcuard (also for two terms), EHP Mallinson, me (for two terms) and Major Forrest among them in the 50s and 60s. The two-term appointments were usually ex-Brighton College boys waiting to go up to Oxford or Cambridge – some of us less competent than others (as I am sure Bernard Dutton Briant and Robin Conway could both attest!).

    By Martin Nimmo (22/02/2007)
  • Under review

    By Paul Henry (23/02/2007)
  • I also attended St.Christophers with my brother Paul. The day I left was probably one of the greatest reliefs of my young life. That sort of tyranical treatment should not be experienced at school, school days should be one of life’s happy experiences. Thank goodness the school is under different ownership and hopefully corporal punishment is a thing of the past.

    By Nick Henry (17/03/2007)
  • I left st. Christopher’s in 1999 and absolutely loved the seven years I spent there. Yes it was strict and yes sometimes you were afraid of the teachers, but these were people who genuinely cared about how you turned out and how the school did. You learned to love the unique traditions the school had, and I am still proud to say I went there. I still have a lot of close mates who are ex-pupils and we will all always remember execution tests with Mr Saunders and walking Thursdays in the week long run up to sports day.

    By Matt McGlinchey (08/04/2007)
  • The ‘mystery man’ at the back is Mr Walker who I remember well as a very kind and generous man. In essence diametrically opposed to Saunders,Standring and peer group. Mr Telford, who as Bernard states succeeded him,was indeed badly disabled. His disability did not however prevent him from being a good teacher and a decent man. I also remember you well Martin and we thoroughly enjoyed your lessons, impressed by your youth and humour!

    By Robin Conway (18/04/2007)
  • I went to St Christopher’s from 1982 to 1985 when I got a scholarship to a top independent Jewish school. I believe I was the only boy to ever go to this school from St Christopher’s (and certainly the only one on the honours board).  In my day there were two girls at the school (both Roger Saunders’ daughters).

    By Dan Weinberg (25/04/2007)
  • One has to have experienced the regime of the 60’s to comprehend the unspeakable behaviour of some people. I am still to this day haunted by the tyrannical bullying, albeit in retrospect I personally escaped relatively lightly! What excuse can there be for mercilessly teasing small children about their stature, their physical attributes or their inability to comprehend an issue. Discipline is right and proper, but there is no excuse for cruelty. My understanding is that under Roger, humanitarian basics improved, albeit many years too late.

    By Robin Conway (27/06/2007)
  • I Joined the school in JVI, under Mrs.Beeby, and it has changed a lot since then. In the first year I was just settling in but then Mrs.Beeby left and we now have a new head master, Mr.Mclyntyre. He has changed so many things it’s hard to count. He has changed the names of all the classes like 7b and 7r etc, abolished work minuses, got rid of the minus board, every class now has a small minus board in their classroom. Prefects have many more priveleges, he has made a new building with a new classroom and a new I.T lab, He has improved school lunches considerably and brought in new bits of uniform. These are just some of the changes he’s made. But overall he is a good headmaster, and a lot stricter than Mrs.Beeby.

    By A.Wilkins (27/06/2007)
  • By A. Wilkins (27/06/2007)
  • One thing that seemed very important to the school in the 1950’s was the weekly mark card. This was filled in by the form master or mistress, giving weekly positions and a summary of how many pluses and minuses (for conduct and work) you had been given. It handed out on Friday afternoon each week, and was to be signed by a parent and brought back on the following Monday. Woe betide anyone who failed to get a signature (I remember trying with some degree of success to forge my father’s indecipherable signature on the way to school on more than one occasion). And you couldn’t lose it, because you had to keep it in an envelope on which you had been made to write the school’s address: “St. Christopher’s School,
    33 New Church Road,
    Hove. 3.”

    By Martin Nimmo (05/07/2007)
  • Returning to St.Christopher’s now, I see many girls running around in their red blazers, but once upon a time I was the only girl at the School. (Thank you Paul for having fond memories of me!) I even had my hair cut like a boy at one time in order to fit in. Oh yes! I have many memories like you all – some good, some bad and some amusing – I remember especially having to stand up on front of the House (Anson) on a Friday morning house meeting and having to sing ‘Scotland the Brave’ for getting two conduct minuses! Don’t ask me what they were for – probably swapping cigarette cards during class! Maurice Standring tried very hard to teach me maths and gave me grinds before my O Levels. I failed but remained good friends with him and used to visit him and his wife ‘Pixie’ regularly. He told me once that I was his only failure but he never held it against me! I returned to the school and became a Girl Friday for my father for eleven years before moving to Ireland in 1975 where I have been living ever since. The survival skills I learned then have stood me in very good stead and I was able to encourage my sons with their Rugby and Cricket and teach them the rudiments of boxing (I also have an amazing collection of cigarette cards!)

    By Vicky Saunders-Helps (13/07/2007)
  • I remember Vicky, known by us as ‘the bird’ in her ‘shades’ and a frothy pink outfit with matching big hat at sports day.

    By Bernard Dutton-Briant (16/08/2007)
  • I only took the nostalgia route of late when remembering my school days, hence my viewing and contribution to the comments. In candour, one can only look back both in anger and in sorrow on the excesses of a brutal regime aimed at innocent and defenceless young children. There is no excuse for Saunders and his staff, perhaps some mitigation in terms of what was allowed in the late 60’s. To be factual, such treatment would today warrant prosecution.

    By Robin Conway (13/09/2007)
  • I attended St Christophers from 1991 until 2000 and have no hesitation in saying that they were incredibly happy years in which I made some great friends and was fortunate enough to recieve a fantastic all round education. I agree entirely with those who say that St Christophers gave an excellent headstart to those who went there – something most students only realise in their later school years where standards are dumbed down considerably for GCSEs. I remember the traditional routine of the school with great affection and feel that if most other schools had retained a slightly more “old school” approach to teaching then more people would leave school with the values that really do make former St Christophers students stand a head and shoulders above most others. In regards to what has been called a “brutal regime” led by Mr Saunders, I can only speak for the 90’s, but I never saw any evidence of this. It was during my time at the school that the last caning happened, and whilst corporal punishment should not be used in the school room, the strict disciplining that was common was never malicious and contributed greatly to the spirit of the pupils. The premise was simple – if you didn’t do homework or misbehaved you would be reprimanded, but fairly. If, as one contributor has claimed, St Christophers was a “brutal regime”, might I ask how he would describe Stalinist Russia or perhaps the Khymer Rouge’s rule over Cambodia? I only hope he can keep finding more adjectives to convey genuine terror and very real persecution.

    I always found St Christophers a very friendly place and the staff were, in retrospect, nothing short of wonderful. It is sad that so much has changed there now, but I and my friends from St Christophers will always remember it as a fantastic place to have gone to school.

    By Nat Harding (24/10/2007)
  • I am sorry this column has deteriorated into a debate on corporal punishment. Suffice it to say that the expected punishments of the 1950s and 1960s are neither those of today nor those of the past twenty years. I was lucky as a boy, and avoided the cane at school (though my own father kept one and administered it!). My brother was less fortunate, and like Robin Conway, was not particularly naughty. The way most of us would wish to remember St Christopher’s is as a largely friendly school which encouraged excellence in both work and sport, and the greatest legacy of the Saunders family is the very considerable body of men and women who learned both the value of hard work and the rewards to be gained, plus good behaviour and politeness – skills for life.

    By Martin Nimmo (29/10/2007)
  • I was a St.Christopher’s for six and a half years, from 1997 to 2004, until I left for secondary school. I miss my time there as I was there for so long. I was in Drake and Iremember Mr.Sharpe was head of Drake house. I have fond memorys of the place and I woudn’t mind another look round after so long.

    By Henry Smith (11/04/2008)
  • Hello all St Christophers’ alumni. Just to let you know, I and a few friends of mine are planning a reunion later this year (2008). Any ex-pupil of the school is invited whether there stayed until the end or not. Please join the St. Christophers School Facebook group. I will be posting information regarding the event on there. My email is should you have any queries. See you soon!

    By Dominic Ferris (22/04/2008)
  • What ever happened to the older students who went to St Christophers in the early days of the war, when the school was in a private house on the other side of the road?  A Mr John Hoyle was headmaster and a battle axe of a lady was in charge who smacked you over the hands with a ruler!  Miss Griffiths, I think.

    By Anthony Pain (11/11/2008)
  • Reading some of these comments brings the memories flooding back. Funnily enough I recently found two old school photos, one from 1966 and one from 1968. I hardly recognized myself, let alone anyone else. Sorry to hear that those days still haunt you Robin (do you remember me?), the discipline side of St Christopher’s was definitely tough.

    By Steven Lewis (12/01/2009)
  • I should like to invite all Old Boys and Girls to a Reunion to be held at St Christopher’s School on Thursday 25 June 2009. This will be an excellent occasion for ex-pupils to get together and meet old friends and teachers. Please e-mail hmsec@stchristophershove, for further details.

    By Ian McIntyre, Headmaster of St Christopher's School (26/01/2009)
  • To Steve Lewis, yes, of course I remember you and also your house in Dyke Road. I recall your Dad used to make fantastic model airplanes in a huge snooker room at the top! We were good friends. I am now resident in Australia and would love to hear from you . I came across this site by fluke and simply added my thoughts, perhaps at 52 one reflects. My email is Do contact me mate.

    By Robin Conway (28/01/2009)
  • I attended the school, with my twin brother between 1970 & 73. I was Rose 2, I was the younger twin. The school had a good academic standard, but yes I’m afraid a harsh discipline culture existed. This was handed out in a fairly equal way by Maurice Saunders. My brother and I boxed, we both did ok on the Rugby pitch, actually my brother was quite an all round athlete,regularly winning the 100 yards on Sports Day. I gained the impression, maybe wrongly, that if you boxed and did all right on the Rugby pitch, Mr Saunders had a bit more respect for you. I also enjoyed Maurice’s geography lessons. At that time what your Father did in the war made a difference…my father had a tough war ,and was a bit of a hero at the Battle of Monte Cassino, I guess he was a similar age to Maurice. I mention this as I always recall with interest, how respectful ,almost deferential Maurice was to my father. Not sure he was that way to all the parents.

    By Andrew Rose (02/02/2009)
  • My sister Vicky Saunders-Helps, a former pupil and member of staff at St. Christopher’s, died sadly, on the 8th Jan 2010 in Ireland where she had lived for the past 35 years. She leaves three adult children and two grandchildren. She was a very talented artist and photographer and examples of her work can be seen on her website –

    By Marylou Greenaway (27/01/2010)
  • I was very sorry to hear from Marylou Greenaway that Vicky, my contemporary at St Christopher’s, had died. She must have had quite a difficult time at school being then the only girl and the Headmaster’s daughter, though of course her elder sisters Marylou and Serina (Snooky) had gone before her. Fond memories!

    By Martin Nimmo (24/02/2010)
  • I was at St Christophers from 1965 to 1973. I remember well how brutal Mr Ezra could be. My parents complained once to be told that he (Mr Ezra)was so dedicated towards the children that he sometimes got carried away. My parents were not intervening on my behalf but for a boy who came home to our house after school and had concussion after he was thrown into a desk. I was in Howe House – a lot of the parents were scared of Mr Saunders and, woe betide if you parked where the school bus was going, he would rush out shouting “move that car”. I was sorry to hear about Vicky Saunders-Helps we had her as the art teacher and I still remember her black mini skirts well - it was the height of the 60s.

    By N. Smith (07/04/2010)
  • My dad, Maurice L. Saunders of Hertford North Carolina, Jul 25, 1931 – Dec 8, 2009, was also a beautiful man, the likes of are not made anymore. I did a 2 1/2 year military tour in England and fell in love with it. Growing up, all English classics were my favorite books. I wish I would find my distant relatives from England. My dad named me.

    By Margie Gale Saunders (30/05/2010)
  • Truly sorry to hear about Vicky. My belated sympathy and kind wishes to her family.

    By Rob Conway (19/06/2010)
  • I have only just found this “Memories” site and have been reading through the accounts of the Maurice Saunders’ years (I was there in 1956-1959) and the differing views about the toughness of the regime he imposed. Originally he ran the school with a Mr Beale, who headed the academic side, Saunders having been an RAF drill sergeant instructor in WW2 who therefore concentrated on sports. The discipline was consequently almost military and if you were not sporty by nature, which was my own fate, you got a pretty hard time. Nevertheless Mr Saunders was a fair man in the sense that he had no obvious favourites and treated everyone with equal severity! (My one “favoured” occasion, as a 12 year old, was to go out at lunchtime to the local tobacconist and buy him his regular ounce of toxic “Digger Mixture” (surely illegal now). The other teachers could be severe too, but it got results, none of us were scarred for life, and it is wrong to judge schools and behaviour of that time (Brighton College, for instance, retained beating by prefects and fagging by juniors when I was there in the 1960s) by the more relaxed standards of today. I remember Martin Nimmo and agree with much that he says of those days. The news of Vicky Helps’ death is very sad indeed. She and I were exactly the same age, to the day, and after a gap of 45 years “met” again through Friends Reunited and corresponded regularly, though we never physically met again as I live in Surrey and she emigrated to Eire to get married (but was later divorced) in the 1970s. She was very much the “tomboy” while the only girl at St Christophers and recently showed me a copy of a school report for 1959 written by her father in which he rather brutally subjected her to exactly the same criticisms as if she had just been another pupil, not his daughter. In many ways she had a difficult relationship with him and a hard life later on, but it was a privilege to know her and she was a fantastically gifted artist and photographer. I had commissioned a painting but regrettably it was never delivered, as I ceased to hear from her late in 2009. A very sad break with the past – my condolences to her children, and to Marylou, Snooky, and Roger (whom I just remember at Brighton College).

    By Philip Mitchell (27/06/2010)
  • I would like to invite alumni to visit the new school website (going live this Friday), register and post news which can be done via e-mail to  I would also like to invite all alumni to come to a reunion and drinks reception at the school to catch up with friends and touch base on December 2nd from 7pm. If you would like to come, please e-mail

    By Chris Wheeler, Headmaster, St Christopher's School (11/10/2011)
  • I lived next door to St. Christopher’s in the 1970s, in the upstairs flat of the Synagogue complex, where my dad was caretaker.

    By Jane Mcc (03/02/2012)
  • Thank you for your kind comments about my family and especially about my sister Vicky. I was the school secretary for many years, not only to my father but also to my brother, Roger. It was good to learn that most of you appreciated the discipline.

    By Marylou Greenaway (nee Saunders) (03/05/2012)
  • I lived with my grandfather in Glebe Villas so I went to school under his name Humphreys (Humpty) I was not the brightiest, but I loved the P.E and managed to get goals, Cricket I loved and spending the days with chums at the County ground was a treat, I am sorry to hear that Vicky has passed away, my sincere condolences to the family. My life changed dramatically when in 1955 I came to the school, the toughness of the regime, yes I had the cane once and once was enough and that low feeling joining your house which in my case was Nelson. I remember playing table tennis in transistion. I have children and grandchildren and I still install that discipline (without the cane). Latin, I did manage it later in life and some of it stayed in, maths was hard again but helped me later in life as it became much easier thanks to all the teachers’ hard work. I left in 1959 to go to Hove college where I progressed in sports. I visit Hove occasionally and have great fond memories but hasn’t it changed. What’s happened to the duckboards to the toilets? And that hot summer in 1957 when we were all out on the front lawn.

    By John Willis (13/02/2014)
  • Your comment has been deleted because it contains statements that may be libelous. As you are not a registered user you could not be contacted in order to ask you not to repost. 

    By John Doe (30/09/2014)
  • Sorry to hear that Vicky died in 2010. I have an original framed painting titled ”Swan Flying Over Reeds” a watercolour signed by Vicky Saunders-Helps Gullane Roscarbery. Size 725mm x 535mm. We bought it at a café in Roscarbery for £290 during one of our visits to Ireland c.2005. It was a choice between the Swan and a similar picture by Vicky of a Dragonfly resting on a reed. We fell in love with it and it has been hung in a prominent place in our home ever since. She was very talented.

    By Michael Lane (06/10/2015)
  • I was a teacher at St Christopher’s from 1976 – 1979.  I taught the 7 – 8 year olds.  This was at the time when the music teacher had to leave on health grounds so I also taught some music, ran the choir and had a few private piano pupils.  At this time Maurice G. Saunders was headmaster.  He was a legend.  I remember that if ever a boy committed the sin of not taking off his cap to a member of staff, he had to go outside and practise in front of the flagpole.  Another fond memory is the Friday afternoon singing with PT exercises. I was supposed to keep the boys co-ordinated in their singing and movements.  I failed miserably.  But everybody was so appreciative.  I was in my element at St Christopher’s, where everything mattered and everyone was valued.  Does anyone remember me from those days long ago?

    By Vivienne Hills (30/10/2015)
  • I was at St Christopher’s from 1944 to 1953, under the headmasters Mr Beale, followed by Mr Saunders, the father of Roger Saunders.

    I remember the school with great love. I always remember the rugby team we had with Tony Merryfield and Potter. We used to massacre the other schools, like 72-0 in the 7 asides. The teachers were lovely , especially Pat Cale, our cricket coach and I think, English teacher. Mr Saunders was strict but fair.

    I visited the school on many occasions, when in Hove, but note it has now moved.

    If any old boys , who remember me from that era would like to contact me, I would love to hear from them.
    I would summarize by saying that I couldn’t have had a more wonderful schooling experience as a young growing boy. We had two girls in the school, who were the children of Mr Saunders. I assume the lady Vicki above, was one of these girls.

    Happy memories

    By David Chester (15/04/2019)
  • Would be great to hear if there is a website for old boys/girls (only 2 girls in my day – Lisa and Tessa Greenaway) of St Christopher’s.
    I read the above comments with some interest; Particularly those of Mr Conway.
    I was at the school in Anson form 1970-1979.
    I still remember the figures there – Mrs Heath, Mr Powell, Pat Cale, Roger Saunders, Maurice Saunders and his wife, Mrs Judd, Mr Camp, Mr Scott – sorry if I have forgotten anyone.
    Oh and there was Mr Peter Ezra – I particularly recall him.
    Would be great to hear from anyone who was a contemporary.

    By Adam Warner (01/01/2020)
  • I’m so glad I found this page! I was also one of the first out of five girls to attend and absolutely loved the experiences I gained from the school. Performing in ‘The Rock Shop’ was particularly fun. Will always miss choir with Michael Maine and science with Danny Scott. I left in 2003 and am now a science teacher myself.

    By Maya Gibbon (09/09/2020)
  • I must be one of the oldest old boys (1946-1950). Have never forgotten Gilbert Beale’s tales of Greek mythology, and owe my handwriting to Miss Griffith. Anyone else recall the disciplinarians like Mr Hardy (ruler to the hand,) and the WW2 Czech fighter pilot Ollie Kadlek who favoured a short length of garden hose. At least all your French homework was returned signed with his initials O.K. A great school – few of its vintage have survived.

    By Robert Gladding (23/01/2021)
  • I was intrigued to come across this webpage and all the comments, having attended St C’s in the 1970s. I have fond memories in the main, particularly of some of the excellent teaching: I have in fact made my career in academia, something I attribute to the grounding I received at St Christopher’s.

    There’s no denying that it was rather old-fashioned in its culture and discipline: even a relatively well-behaved and academic boy like me notched up several grim appointments with the cane, which were definitely the worst experiences of St Christopher’s for me. Unfortunately my parents also held old-fashioned views about corporal punishment (it was the dreaded slipper at home) so I certainly couldn’t complain about it to them. Overall though I enjoyed my time there and certainly value the rigour of the academic training and the camaderie we enjoyed as boys.

    By James Turner (24/09/2021)
  • I was curious to discover this site.  I attended St Chistophers between  1962 to 64. My name is John Bartlett and I’m now in my late 60s. I have High Function Autisum and Dyslexia, ADHD and serious, chronic PTSD. 

    I understand the school may still award a cup, in my families name,  donated back in1964, possibly for music?

    Unlike other comments left by former boys, my memories of my time at St Christophers are more akin to nightmares. In the 60s I was regularly, very regularly,  thrashed by Maurice G Saunders, who appeared to believe this to be the best way of  ridding me of my ‘afflictions’.

    A side effect of my autism is that I have a very high pain tolerance. My lack of response to Mr Saunders beatings doubtless caused him some annoyance and as time went on his thrashings became increasingly severe. 

    When I was not being beaten by Mr Saunders I was forced to fight in the school boxing ring.  To this day I still hear Maurice Saunders voice telling me that it would “knock some sense into my thick skull” and can still smell the smoke from his pipe stuffed with steands of Players Digger Mix. And the sound of the older boys being marched around the playground.

    The ironic thing is, I was not thick, I was autistic with a near photographic memory for detail. I went on  to becom a professional sportsman, an electronic design engineer, a helicopter pilot and later a published author. I was far from being ‘thick’!

    The school had a duty of care to protect those children entrusted to them, particularly when it came to vulnerable children.  The only lesson I learned during my time at St Christophers was to distrust authority.  What I was subjected to between the age of 7 to 9 years of age amounted to abuse, very serious abuse!

    By John Bartlett (15/04/2022)
  • I was treated the same as John Bartlett and he has put it better than I ever could.

    By Neil sinkfield (28/06/2022)
  • I was treated the same as John Bartlett who has described it very well.

    By Neil sinkfield (28/06/2022)

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