Sunday, 21 April 2002

The tie of the old school

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7 comments:

  1.   Recent graduates of PSC will probably want to skip this post. It consists strictly of old-geezer reflections on how the place looked to me last Sunday, when I visited Winchester on a solitary nostalgic day trip. I was comparing it with my recollections from 1955–'63, so everything I say will be very old news indeed for anyone who's stayed in touch with the place. But it might be of interest to those who've stayed as cut off from Peter Symonds as I have over the years.   I wandered round the town first, which I've seen only fleetingly over the years. Well, guess what: some things are different after 40 years. In Southgate Street the hotel (I think it used to be called the Southgate Hotel) now calls itself the Hotel Du Vin, forsooth. I remember the window of Chaplin's the gunmaker as being filled with sports guns. Now it displays nothing more martial than Swiss army knives and Barbour jackets.   In Jewry St, there's now a Bottoms Up wine superstore where once I lusted after Hornby Dublo train sets (was it Curry's then?). In the High Street, God Begot House is now the home of a pizzeria.   In City Road there's surely some mistake with the bus stops. The signs claim that something called the 5c goes to Chandler's Ford, and there's no mention of the no. 47 that I caught every schoolday for years.   The stop is right next to the barber who must take the blame for most of the haircuts seen in school photos for decades. The shop-front doesn't seem to have been touched since I last went there. The name rings a bell: 'James H Marsh – Gentlemen's Hairdresser'.   The Theatre Royal has been revived for many years – as a theatre, not as the cinema I knew. The Odeon Cinema has vanished from North Walls, but the Reference Library that it housed is still nearby.   Back down in the town, I couldn't bear to go into the grotesque Brooks shopping centre (that campanile!). Instead I visited Debenham's. In the days when it was Sheriff and Ward's, my father was its display manager. His window-dressing skills won many prizes, including the first foreign holidays our family ever had. It's still a bit quaint, despite opening on a Sunday, but I was disappointed that cash isn't still whisked around the place by vacuum tubes.   Driving to Peter Symonds and parking in Boscobel Rd, I found that the tuck-shop had gone. ("What the hell is a tuck-shop?" Go read Bunter and Jennings... .)   I wandered around the grounds unbothered by anyone. There was some event going on in a lecture-room, and there were a couple of families with kids and dogs in the grounds, down by the old CCF hut.   Nearly every view from the old classrooms seemed to be blocked by a new building. The place is a construction site right now, with what looks like student accommodation going up, eating away at the top of the great field. I don't remember the Bronze Age burial mound right in front of the old classroom block. Perhaps all the masters (for thus we called them in those days of yore, children) were buried there

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  2. Apologies for the stray code that wandered into the previous message. I deleted my first attempt because there was one line of junk, and when I re-posted, found even more. I hope it doesn't make the whole screed even more unreadable than it would otherwise be.

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  3. brilliant posting Chris, that's what I call real nostalgia, and yet you are one of the new boys! best regards, jim wishart    

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  4. Hi Chris   Wanna read the stream of nostalgia your posting provoked in my mind? No probably not but guess what? I'm gonna write it anyway.   We used to live next door to the Hulberts. Mr. Hulbert was a buyer at Sherriff and Ward so I remember that there was a Mr. Cooper who also worked there. I also recall that most of the clothes my Mum bought me there during the war had that "Utility" label in - "CC41", I wonder if anyone else remembers that?   I also remember Chaplins gunmakers. I tried to sell them my "Webley" air pistol to raise money for bike parts but they told me it had a bent barrel.   The "Bottoms Up" used to be the "Wincchester Cycle and Motor Cycle Company " or "Cycle Co" as we used to call it. In my pre- PSSW years, I lusted after Dinky Toys which returned to the shops, along with other exotic things like bananas, after the war. The other cool place to look-and-lust was "The London Bazaar" in the High Street. The manager there was another Mr. Marsh not related to the "military" barber in City Road. That Mr. Marsh always used to give me the most severe haircuts and furthermore didn't seem to know any jokes and unlike Bob Kemp in Market Street didn't stock "Leedo", "Ona" or "Durex Washable" (whatever were they?).   Do you remember I wonder when the Brooks Shopping Centre was an archaeological "Dig" (I mean the first time around - in the fifties)? It was the most exciting dig Winchester ever had, replete with mediaeval staircases and "Swastika" Roman mosaics.   Finally, there do not currently appear to be any Sunday Lunch places in Town that I would recommend and I am, in any case, about five years out of date, but there are a few around and about and I would particularly recommend the Sunday Roast at "The Rising Sun" Colden Common.   Peter Churchill    

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  5. Thanks for confirming that the Winchester of my memories isn't a complete figment, Peter!   You know, the name Hulbert does seem familiar - but maybe I'm just thinking of Jack (?) Hulbert the old film and theatre star. My parents are both dead now, so I can't check that one.   "Leedo", "Ona" or "Durex Washable" - I was never aware of these. It seems you had your eyes open more than I did, even if you didn't know what they were!   Best,   Chris

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  6. Listen, chaps, this nostagia thing can be dangerously dating and totally ruin one's street cred, if you know what I mean.  Yes, I spent many happy hours in the Cycle Co. looking at the model railway bits, the bikes, and all that wonderful stuff.  It was a handy place to wait for the ubiquitous 47 (I used to go to Chandlers Ford, but then we moved to St Cross).  The fare from Jewry St to St Cross went up to 4d - appalling! Whilst wandering around that area, has anyone noticed if the Shahee Mahal is still in City Road?  My first experience of a Bhoona Chicken was enjoyed in that wonderful emporium.  Almost opposite was James H. Marsh barbers shop.  He was a most creative chap - could handle any style you requested, but it always came out looking like a short back and sides.  It must have been something to do with that awful music in the background! It's really refreshing to know there are others around like me, who can remember back 30-40yrs but can't remember what you had for dinner yesterday!

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  7. You're from a later and more sophisticated generation than me, Bob. I'm not sure that there even were any Indian restaurants around in my days at PS - I certainly never went into one before my undergraduate days.   The height of sophisticated eating when I was at school was attained at lunchtime on Fridays, when some of us would buy fish and chips and take them back to school. We had to eat them unobtrusively, so we did it in the cloakrooms, while sitting on the hot-water pipes that ran along just above the floor beneath the rows of coat-pegs. Am I remembering that right? It seems a strange arrangement, yet eminently sensible for drying out wet raincoats. But it was hard to sit on them when they were scalding hot in winter ...

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