Monday, 17 September 2001

school "houses"

Hi Jim
 
Nobody has yet mentioned the school "houses" into which we were allocated to provide a kind of sports league table.   I think there were 4 - Symonds (exclusively for boarders; Northbrook; Kirby; and Mackenzie - of which I was a member and which always came bottom, while Symonds always came top).   I think there were inter-house competitions in soccer; cricket and athletics; possibly also in swimming.   The top-house cup was for overall performance in all the relevant sports.   There was also a "Victor Ludorum" cup for the best individual boy's performance at the school athletics meeting held every summer term on the outer field. 
 
Regards
 
Peter Smith

8 comments:

  1. Hi Peter, Yes, of course, the school houses were quite a feature of life weren't they. I suppose their aim was clear, to foster team spirit, loyalty to a group and to engender a competitive feeling. I was in Mackenzie. It does raise another point though I do not want to be political here merely to make a social or historical comment and that is the 'split' between the boarders and the day bugs. By keeping the boarders all in the same House the split was accentuated and this did not help the School. The feeling of 'difference' extended to the area of social class. Most of the boarders were from quite well-off families and the day boys were obviously local and from all stratas of society. It was a time of political change just after the war and the Butler Education Act brought in the 11+ and which was considered to be egalitarian at the time. These changes weren’t universally popular and I don’t think Doc Freeman agreed with them. On a personal note the division of the school society had a strong influence on how I viewed politics for the rest of my life. Years later when I went for an interview for a job, the interviewer was a Mike Cottell who was the County Surveyor of Northamptonshire and who I knew was an old Symondian. I had put down on my job application that I had been to Peter Symonds hoping I suppose that it might do me some good. During the interview he referred to the school and asked which 'House' I had been in. I told him, he nodded and changed the subject. I suppose he was just checking to see that I was telling the truth. regards, jim wishart, list manager  

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  2. I too had forgotten all about "houses". I was in Mackenzie and well remember our excellent standard in all sports!! As you said Jim, it perpetuated the "them and us" view of the day boys versus the boarders. One thing that was very noticable in my time was the way boarders were pressed into sports at the end of the academic day whereas day boys jumped on their bicycles and headed home for other activities. This probably helped their results considerably. Mike 

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  3. Things must have changed because by the time I was there ('72-'79 final intake) it wasn't true to say that most of the boarders came from quite well-off families. By that time most, if not all of them, like me, came from Army, Navy or Air Force families, and often lived abroad. Germany, Hong Kong, Malta, Singapore, Cyprus etc. The forces were heavily subsidising the fees of course, but then so they should. It would have been very difficult for any of us to have got a decent education any other way, being posted every couple of years. I don't recall there was any elitism or real differences with the day pupils at that time. Of course we stuck together a bit just because we were a minority, and naturally since we shared dormitories and leisure time, the bonds of friendship were probably greater than they would have been otherwise.

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  4. Hi Steve, I think you are right and things have changed a lot over the years. Attitudes regarding 'class' have become more tolerant and less entrenched. It can be seen in all walks of life, perhaps most clearly in the media, such as the BBC.   regards, jim wishart, list manager,

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  5. Hi All,
    Not only did school houses foster competition, it presented a barrier between friends.. I remember one very spectacular occasion when I was running in the Green of Northbrook house, in the final event of the inter house games, equal first with my close friend from McKenzie house. After a gruelling and exhausting run, we came to the final straight, with the whole school population in front of us. The reality of the situation had not sunk in untill that point that we were expected to compete with eachother. Rooney (Symonds House)and I made a quick pact.. and tied for first place. Northbrook lost by 1 point that year, and I was not welcomed by the oyhers in my house, but friendship and loyalty definately won.
    Cheers Peter.0

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  6. I was in Mackenzie too. We always came bottom because we always lived up (or is it down) to expectations. You could almost guarantee that on sports day on "Outer Field" Mackenzie team members would perform as befits the image eg. tripping on the long jump and falling headlong into the sandpit etc.   Peter

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  7. I was one of those in the blue shirt of Symonds but I was a boarder because my father was in the army in Belgium (NATO). There was a divsion, yes, but my main memory was that day bugs never lent us money or books or anything because they were afraid of the alien culture we belonged too. I was a right arrogant git when I left school at 16 and it took me months to become a normal human being who saw that all people are in fact just people.   Don't forget that we had occasional day bugs from Winchester College and they were distinctly posh compared to us boarders. Dave

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  8. Beech remembers sports, those Masters certainly preserved the them and us, concentrating on the boarders. Pity really. If I new then what I know now!! I didn't get where I am today by............................................................

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