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A History of Brickendon

Stratton Park School Reminiscences

We include memories of a couple of old boys here.

Peter Fender writes (2012):

I was a pupil at Stanmore Park School from 1935 and through the early part of the war, when we were amalgamated with Stratton Park School, and I left to go to Haileybury College (also in Hertfordshire) in the latter part of 1941.

Walter Raymond Wingate came with me to Haileybury, and I recall the names of others who were with me at Stanmore, not all of whom came on to Stanmore-Stratton Park at the time of the amalgamation.

Boys whom I remember include David Bott, Peter Maurice Wright, Spencer Rodney Osborne Barratt, the brothers John and Leonard Bayliss, Robin Fairey, Noel Graesser, Timothy Manderson (from Taunton), and David Romer.

Our headmaster (of Stanmore Park) was "Nipper" Holloway, who used to play cricket for Sussex before the first W.W. and who played against my father (Sussex and Surrey), who may be remembered as Percy G H Fender. No wonder I was sent to a prep school whose head was dead keen on cricket for the boys. We used to have matches with visiting elevens such as the Eton Ramblers, and the Harrow Wanderers, and jolly good sports they were too !I was sad that the old mansion that had been our school (from whose dormitory windows we watched the burning of the Crystal Palace across the roofs of London at night) was demolished, but it did become the H.Q. of Fighter Command for the war years.

Our Latin master was Mr. Edge, and our maths master was E.C. Wood, another master’s name was Watson (known as Watty), and the headmaster’s daughter was called Jean Holloway.

I hope these reminiscences will be of interest to those who have survived thus far (2012).

John Austen-Brown writes (2008):

I and my twin Peter H Austen-Brown were at Stratton Park School Brickendon from 1936 t0 1938. We both went to Wellingborough after. I (John) joined 45 Squadron RAF as a pilot and served in Malaya. Peter joined the Navy as a radar operator and then went to Cambridge where he graduated in arts.

My website is at www.hoverplanes.org and I am President of Austen-Brown Aircraft, a research company.

I recall a couple of anecdotes that might interest you. On the fifth of November 1937 (if my memory serves me) all the fireworks which the boys had collected and kept under their pillows until the great day were placed in a large pile beside the moat and the sportsmaster assigned to guard them until dark.

He was a pipe smoker and after a while knocked out the pipe against his heel. A spark flew into the pile and the fireworks went off much to his surprise and our disappointment. Mr Noble (not the sportsmaster) was our favourite teacher at the time and I remember him in the beautiful Jacobean room. Perhaps you could include him. Miss Ewen was I think our piano teacher.

We were in the rugby team and we were privileged to follow the hunt. We were allowed the hunting gingerbread but not the stirrup cup, My brother and I got lost and were brought home by a fine lady in a fine car. I wonder who.

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A few more details, first a correction Miss Macklin was the piano teacher not Miss Ewen.

My brother and I did not turn back to be in time for supper but followed the hunt to the finish, we were the only ones blooded. After getting lost on the way back and rescued by the fine lady it was six o’clock and supper was finished, however the cook gave us some milk, bread and thirteen left-over sausages. Never did sausages taste so good.

The most poignant memories are of the end of term and the refrains of Lord dismiss us with thy blessing echoing along the corridors as we waited for our parents cars.

Crofton shoud be dated the same year as us. I wish I knew how he died so early. He was Victor Ludorum in 38. I finished second to him in the 220 and we were rewarded with an invitation to play with the masters on the huge billiard table. Crofton won by flipping his ball in the pockets with his hand. When I complained I was told to be a good sport - a lesson that rules were made to be broken, one that I never forgot.

Stratton Park School was a remnant of bygone traditions and a rare privilege for us all.