Having said one 'goodbye' to Lendrick I don't want to be in the position of saying another so I'll just pitch in with a little piece entitled


In August 1965 I took up residence in the flat at the top of the Mansion House. In those days I was a bachelor and so everything was furnished sparsely - if at all. One luxury was installed for me though a big new long bath which was lovely to relax in without getting your knees cold. But it wasn't as big as the old-fashioned bath situated in what can only be described as the top floor wash-house. On one occasion 25 (or was it 24?) pupils got in or on it at the same time. It was destroyed at the end of my first year when the plumbing system of the school (and much else) was renewed. One by one the various showers and bathrooms had conked out until finally there was just this left. Immediately the pupils departed for their summer holidays it met its doom. Too big to be transported the workmen broke it up with hammers and chucked the bits out of what is now the top floor lavatory window. Sic transit gloria mundi..

In January, 1966, there arrived a French bombshell in the shape of Marie-France ("She's not a teacher, she's a phenomenon", one former pupil had informed me in confidence). Under her stimulus the flat quickly became a home. Then three children arrived in quick succession (D.T. like Gladstone - an old man in a hurry). We took over bedrooms One and Two reducing the numbers of pupils on Top Floor to 13 - perhaps a lucky number in view of the innumerable coffee sessions they had at night. Being relatively young my wife found many of the boys identified with her readily, and the girls too - one group of the latter to their discomfiture. About four ran away in the middle of the night so I had to go out and fetch them from the police station. I brought them back to the flat, as they thought for a nice cuppa with the H.M.'s wife before retiring to bed. They little knew what was to descend on them for Hell hath no fury like a Frenchwornan deprived of her night in bed with her man. one of the girls later wrote as an F.P. remembering her great kindness to her. Perhaps, but she wasn't kind that night.

Due to the relative newness of the central heating, the woodwork was still re-adjusting. At night you would hear the creaks of the timbers which in holiday time was rather eerie and in term-time confusing. At first you never quite knew whether it was wood or a pupil roving. For, as already hinted, lots of things did happen in the middle of the night, especially when the girls were in residence during the alterations to Craigard. All the top floor boys had moved down below, cram, jam. 24 Ladies took their place (or was it 25?). I remember once at that time (which lasted six months although it seemed a lot longer) being disturbed by a noise through the partition. On going to investigate I discovered a candle burning at the window of bedroom 8, the one next to our kitchen. This was to give the all clear sign for the return of a mixed group who were carousing in the Lodge. What it didn't do was to signal the arrival down there of an irate headmaster! On another occasion, long after the reinstallation of the girls in Craigard, my wife and I were sleeping peacefully only to be awakened by a banging and crashing in our bedroom from some amused helmeted fireman wanting to know where the fire was. A quick check round the building revealed nothing amiss. It was only then that I thought of the girls' house where in fact the 999 had originated from.

If this reads as only the girls being responsible for the highlights you should quickly readjust your point of view. There was the boy who retired from active school life with a supply of rations to live in the roof space above the flat. There was another boy who raided the same space where we stored only occasionally used items - later in the year I wondered why I only had one ice-skate. I could have sworn I put two away. There were the innumerable boys who must have made the descent down the main service shaft of the school to passages underneath it. And also quite a number who swam in the water tanks.

Two incidents stand out, the first connected with the boy who was the longest serving Lendrick pupil, seven years. It was an official exercise lowering a 'case' on a stretcher from the window to the ground. Stephen was splinted up and enjoying the whole thing immensely when who should arrive unannounced up the drive but his mother. On realising who it was swinging in mid air she promptly fainted!   The other incident is not generally known but perhaps I may now after all these years risk revealing the true culprit who gave such a shock to the domestic staff. One day when cleaning the Deputy Headmaster's (Jim Haig) window they discovered a somewhat disintegrated dead rat on the ledge outside. They came to me complaining about a lack of consideration of the Biology teacher (one of the many hats Jim wore) in bringing his specimens over to his room for them to clear up when he had discarded them. I hope I kept a straight face. It was very difficult. The previous night there had been a frightful smell in our kitchen situated above. Some boys from top floor had put a dead rat in a drawer to moulder- and eventually it reached the required stage of petrifaction. My wife on opening the drawer shrieked in horror and threw the corpse out of the window with the result above mentioned. So now you know.

One could ramble on for the world could not contain all the books that could be written about Lendrick. I have, however, selected this one chapter or reminiscences because, despite all the disadvantages of living on site, the family and I always regarded the flat as home to an extent that was never true of Hilarity House. It was one of life's ironies that once the children reached a certain age it seemed to us better to exchange the former for the latter.

P.S. I still can think of no better motto for a school than the one found on a bird bath outside the Art Room (Conservatory then)

                                                                                                                                DAVID THORNBER

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