Contents List Our Memories School Uniform & Appearance
Odds & Ends
(from an idea by Steve Grant)
Please add to the collection. The grottier the better!
School tie in Durham colours
Lion tie awarded for sports
The first College Tie, combining Technical School (yellow) and Grammar School (silver/white) colours
Probably less frayed than most, especially when they doubled as whips! Can you better this specimen?
Oi! - no doctoring after the event!
" The tie with the blue lions on it came from Cavell - I think I actually pinched it from lost property in the sports hall changing room as a souvenir, hence its A1 condition.
The other rather grotty looking tie - with the green lions - is my own from my days in Kett Hall. Opposite small pointed end was cut off and sewn up so as to provide an alternative to the large 'kipper' end that you see here. This meant that the tie could be worn upside down as was the trend at the time!
As I recall, the other tie colours were; yellow for Fry and red for New, with a couple of sixth form ties which were phased out during the early 80's. I believe these were orange for Lincoln and light blue for Peel, but I'm not sure. I think there was also a very limited edition white lion tie for sports licks - this was because most 'away' sports trips involved wearing uniform and the mass of tie colours projected a scruffy and confusing image of Wymondham to the outsider."
1953-1961 1961-1971 1971 onwards North Red York Red Worcester Red Lincoln Red South Blue Gloucester Blue Winchester Blue Cavell Light blue East Yellow Salisbury Yellow Wells Yellow Fry Yellow West Green Canterbury Green Westminster Green Kett Green Durham Maroon Wakefield Maroon New Maroon Norwich Black Washington Black Peel Orange
I thought the original Norwich/Washington Houses and therefore Peel Hall used black. There was no orange that I can remember. Or did that get changed sometime?
Apparently, Mrs McBeath didn't want her girls wearing black, so they had to switch to orange. Salisbury amalgamated with Wells and took Yellow to Fry.
Morag Ward (Muir)
Anyone remember the time Kett had a special meal when absolutely all of their food was green? And not just because they ate mouldy food - it was some celebration or other. Probably of green food, I suppose ...
Iain 'Sid' Sidey
Green food was first served at a Canterbury House Senior Party (known as The Green Party) in about 1963 If I remember rightly. The young women from Winchester House were invited and I was banned from going 'cos I didn't have enough pocket money to pay! You see my black market in Peter Stuyvesant and Menthol ciggies had been discovered amongst my pants and I had been banned from making money to bolster my weekly five shillings ... after 'Nelly" had administered six of the slipper!
I remember Green Food day very well...it was to celebrate the end of the era of the House consisting of 1st to 7th years before the creation of the sixth form Houses...the worst or least unappetising green food was the green rolls with the brown crusty look ... you had to be there!!!!
The reorganisation of Houses in 1978 was met with some suspicion by us in New Hall - rumours were rife that we were going to lose our identity to the point of being renamed Nelson Hall. While that never came to pass, we did lose our house colour of maroon in favour of the red of Lincoln which didn't go down well with some of us. As normal supplies of maroon ties petered out, several of us improvised by colouring in the red lions on the post-78 ties with blue ballpoint pen, leading to a rather more pleasing combination. Maroon rugby shirts were rather easier to obtain though, some of these seeing service into the 1980s.
As far as I can recall, Cavell (light blue), Fry (yellow) and Kett (green) all retained their colours in the 1978 shuffle. No idea whether Peel and Lincoln had colours of their own after becoming sixth form houses.
These are the cap and jacket badges issued to Wymondham College Technical School students in 1951 - contributed by Dave Turner. The badges comprise a single letter 'W' in yellow.
Wymondham College (article from the 1956 College Magazine)
Graver Browne Coat-Of-Arms,
William De Albeni Coat-Of-Arms,
A new badge has been devised by Mr. Freeman, our art master, to symbolise our unity. It is worn by all pupils, in place of the ' Old English W ,' on a sable ground, which was 'or' for pupils of the Technical School and 'argent' for those of the Grammar School. In the new design, Mr. Freeman has used two heraldic devices with local associations - the escallops from the Graver Browne coat of arms from Morley Hall, and the lion rampant from the William de Albeni coat of arms which can be seen on the altar screen of Wymondham Abbey. These devices appear argent and or respectively on a sable ground with a bordure or.
Escallops, or cockle-shells, were the emblem of St. James, patron saint of pilgrims, who wore the shells as their badge. The lion in heraldry denotes courage, and when rampant is considered to be on guard against danger. Thus our new badge is a symbol of watchful and hopeful travellers, who have, too, a new motto: Floreat Sapientia - Let Wisdom Flourish.
FELICITY NEWTON; JUDITH HOYES
Jacket badge from the early 1970s
supplied by Alan (Jimmy) James
John Elflett's cap badge (1960s)
Did anyone else ink out strategic letters of the school motto on their badge, so that instead of 'Floreat Sapientia' it read 'Flo eats pie'? Or did that only occur to the strange minds of myself and my friends (Helen Brundish, Melanie Jay etc.)?
Click to enlarge
Paul Rutter sets his boater at a jaunty angle - 1965
This very public-school headgear was introduced around 1963, as an option. Within a short time, the few who dared (and could afford) had managed to adapt the basic shape to their own tastes, to the dismay of the staff. The variety of 'styles' were illustrated admirably in the 1964 College Magazine.
Click to enlarge
Drawn by Linda Barnett, Judith Chambers, Steven Leeder
A recollection: Boaters were considered pretty wet, especially for boys. The stiff boy's ones made great frisbees though, and ended up all chipped around the rim. Own up Stevo Farthing! You were one of the few boys to actually have one. Not that I am accusing you of being wet or anything Stevo. What's that? You want to see me behind the bike sheds for a 'chat' ?
The girls soft boaters were much more acceptable and perhaps much cheaper, as the boys' ones were definitely extremely expensive. Lots of girlies had them and they definitely looked sexier wearing them than berets.
Re Boaters & Ties, I still have mine (sad isn't it) in mint condition but the tie well worn from flicking, I believe there may be a blazer and cap still hanging around somewhere. Noting Ian Gomeche's comments on boaters, there was only one instance of me being regarded as "wet" for wearing it and a certain tormentor of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd years in Norwich house consequently lost two front teeth. Frank Laughton (Ping), after searching the shrubbery, on hands and knees, for the missing teeth called me into his office and told me that he considered my reaction so serious that he would have to punish me and he gave me lines, yes one whole side of foolscap. I know that there was not much sympathy for the other party; Ping more or less said he had it coming. The lack of sympathy also showed when we both reported to sick bay and the Boston Strangler was on duty and I received her undivided care (yes care!!!!) and attention to the two cuts on my knuckles whilst the other party had to sit and wait in pain and spitting blood.
I recall the haircut guy. He had a very pale round face and was rather greasy looking. Chain smoked Senior Service or Players, always drooping out of his mouth and ash falling everywhere. It was easy to have a quick smoke when he was cutting hair because his room was like an opium den. He once scalped me. I was so upset and embarrassed at having my hair even shorter than the regulatory 2" above the eyebrows at the front and 2" above the collar at the back I complained to Mr. Davitte. He told me he would arrange for me to have a free trim next time the guy came. Thanks a lot.
Sitting, as is the indulgence of the balding middle aged male in these enlightened times, in front of a mirror watching M. Alain Gravelle, hair artiste extraordinaire, doing his utmost to make something out of nothing, I suddenly realised just what horror it was that had lain dormant for the past 37 years when I occasionally indulged in fond reminisces of those days gone by when I was incarcerated with some 900 other young souls in some nissen huts in the middle of the Norfolk countryside.
It was the bloody haircuts and that appalling barber who had, when the trichorian skills were handed out, been very much absent from the queue. He (and his name refuses to come forward from the memory banks such was the horror of a visit), did actually have one great talent. He was the only person I have ever met who could smoke an entire cigarette without once removing it from between his lips and without dropping any of the ash! What he couldn't do was cut hair properly; flattery, bribery even tears were useless, he had no more idea of styling than I had of chatting up girls!
The worst aspect of all however was that we were not only forced to go to Sweeney Todd but we had to pay the bugger a shilling for the privilege! Now what was his name and where did he live and does he have children I could torment ...............?
When I was at WyColl between 63 and 70 we had TWO barbarous school barbers who would practise their 'art' in one of the staff shacks just outside Lincoln Hall.
Sweeny Todd the First used mechanical clippers which would yank your hair out in a pretty painful way and Sweeny Number Two had an electric shearer. Not that electrification made any difference; both were just as ghastly. I am sure that is why everyone I knew grew their hair down to their ankles when they went to university, even the non druggie ones.
I remember going back into prep and covering the dining table with hair clippings every time. In my early years Brylcreem was the big thing but I can't remember whether Sweeney One offered any as part of the 'service.' What he certainly did not say was 'regarding that cute little third former you are seeing, would you like something for the weekend sir?'
I can only remember one barber, he used to have a shop in Wymondham just down from the Queens Head. As to where he butchered hair at Wymondham, I remember that it was one of the "staff shacks" on the far side of Wilkinson, very close to Salisbury house.
I recall that one of the hairdressers was a farm labourer. However, one was warned never to ask him what his job was ... if you wanted a good haircut! I recall him talking about having a go in a fast sports car, and nearly driving it off the road on the first bend! I also recollect that there was a strict rota, with 5mins(?) per person: it's a little wonder that some people had some interesting haircuts with that sort of schedule! I always thought that we used the building opposite Kett Hall's main entrance on the Salisbury House side.
A contributor brought up the question of 1960's haircuts and asked if anyone could remember the name of the barber or butcher responsible. I believe the culprit's name was Mr Chatteris and in the unlikely event of him still being alive, he should be dragged before the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague for his 'crimes against humanity' Isn't it a sad indictment of WC during the Sixties that someone can still remember the name of such an insignificant person in their life almost 40 years later? But being dragged before the ' Butcher of Botolph' every three weeks was particularly degrading during those heady days of the Beatles, Rolling Stones and the Swinging Sixties.
The whole process had a certain air of inevitability about it. It would start on a Monday evening during prep in Canterbury when that 'arch agent of humiliation' Charlie Parker would come round with a list of names. Your name would be on that list merely by the facts that: 1. You had survived College food and extended your life by a further three weeks 2. There may have been a remote chance that your hair had survived its most recent assault by Mr Chatteris and there was a chance you were beginning to look slightly human.
Just in case you were about to slip through the net, Charlie would proceed to move around the dining room armed with a pencil. This would be thrust through between your hairline and collar and flicked to see if any offending hair had reached the collar. It would matter not a jot that you had been dragged before the said Mr Chatteris the week before, you were tried and found guilty with no recourse to justice. I have often wondered if Bob Norton and Charlie were in fact in on a scam and were getting a kickback from the Shilling we were forced to pay the Butcher of Botolph. Charlie was probably getting a free haircut.
The appointment with Mr Chatteris would come the following evening in one of the red wooden huts, which had redolent overtones of a German POW Camp. Whether you were 12 or 18, the results were the same; a short back and sides, executed within the customary two minutes. Mr Chatteris revelled in this position of power and authority. He was a classic 'chain smoker. ' His fag never left his mouth; his hands were otherwise occupied. His right hand wielded a pair of hand clippers. Although there was electricity in the Hut, he preferred the hand option as it created a higher degree of unevenness. His left hand was used to force your head onto your chest so that he could get a good clean sweep from nape to forehead. The fag ash was removed from the fag end by regular exhalations of his laboured breath. This created further humiliation as it often appeared that you had developed a serious case of dandruff during the whole process.
Mr Chatteris was a man of few words but it was perceived by his more vain victims that everyone had ' their price.' Two ploys were developed. Firstly, he was plied him with Cocoa and sandwiches from the Form One's supper. If this failed, a more direct approach was tried .... we bribed him. Instead of paying the obligatory shilling, we would pay him two shillings from our precious pocket money which left precious little for the obligatory ciggies. This approach appealed to Mr Chatteris, but not to his sense of fair play, because it was still extremely likely that you ended up two shillings poorer and still looking like an inmate of Stalag 15. Is it hardly surprising therefore that many of us spent our later student years looking like Frank Zappa or Ginger Baker? I was however slightly bemused a couple of years ago to see David Beckham and his 300 pound haircut, it had a strange familiarity about it, perhaps the Butcher was still alive and well, living in Manchester after all.
Before I was "volunteered" for WyCol I had a choice of there or Gresham's, and I wanted Gresham's because there were no girls. My Dad overruled that decision fearing it might lead me to turn out "a bit peculiar," and within a couple of years I greatly appreciated his wisdom. Before I joined the school my parents and I attended an open day, at which I was appalled by the rusty, dilapidated state of the buildings and openly said so. Mr. Worrall was present at the time and I don't think he forgot my insolence. My Mum, having noticed how short the boys' hair was, asked Mr. Worrall what arrangements were in place for having haircuts, and to my dismay he told her that short hair was compulsory and I would be told when to have a haircut, usually once every three weeks. He smiled when he said it, which didn't bode well.
The Saturday before my first day at WyCol, my Mum marched me down to the local hairdressers to get a haircut suitable for the new school and I was mercilessly treated to the shortest haircut I had had for many years; what Mum called a "pudding basin" cut because it looked like I'd had a small bowl placed on my head and all visible hair hacked off. My sisters teased me relentlessly.
The next day I was seen off onto the bus, and after an interminable journey through the wilds of Norfolk arrived at Durham House and was instructed by the terrifying matron (Mrs. Rackham, who actually turned out to be very nice) to unpack, then go downstairs. As soon as Mr. Worrall saw me he remembered my name and called me over for a hair inspection, and pronounced that I was to go directly to the barber's room. The barber had apparently been called in specially to give all the new arrivals emergency haircuts. I was devastated, and despite shedding tears, was sent across to be introduced to the clippers for the first time. Five minutes later I was well and truly shorn, and with a bleeding nick on my ear to boot. A very traumatic experience which I resent to this day. Thankfully, by the time I was interested in being attractive to girls, we had a new headmaster who allowed long hair and trendy hairstyles.
"Shot and Javelin" - Misses Edwards and Wilson - were so called because one was short and round, and the other was tall and thin. Not sure if it is mentioned in connection with the Demon Barber, but one of them would always be there (hut 16) to tick off the names each week. The two of them shared hut 23 on High Street, with Muz and Mrs 'Muz' next door in hut 6.
Former Inmate (1950s)
[These particular huts, 16, 23 and 6, are referred to by the original US Military numbers; see the Hospital map on the Maps & Plans page - Ed.]
I remember the rolling-up of the waistband thing. We didn't seem to mind having a bulky waist as long as our skirts barely covered our knickers. How funny we were. There was a regulation length for the skirts - so many inches above the knee - talk about controlling.
Also, Mrs MacBeth wouldn't let me get my pocket money out until I had removed my purple mascara. Brown mascara was OK but purple wasn't!
Odds & Ends
September 1968 - New introductions were a new mackintosh design for boys, capes for 6th Form girls and umbrellas for Upper 6th boys.
Has anyone still got their cap/hat? It was an old custom to heave one's headgear out of the bus window when crossing Cringleford bridge for the last time, but as the A47 now takes a different route I guess that's no longer the case ....
Wymondham College Remembered