18 December 2003

wyke lodge boarding

Hi my name is Anna and I came across this website by chance! I have recently boarded at Wyke Lodge (2001-2003) and was so surprised to see all the old photos of the house - it was difficult when we were there to find out exactly what the house used to be like!
I dont know if many people are aware but the house is actually closing down this year and Symonds is just going to use the other two boarding houses instead. I would love to hear stories of what was life was like in the house in the past!
If anyone has boarded there then pls get in touch!


  1. Hi Anna ... aka littlemissditsey1   Glad you made it here ...   I was not a boarder, but was interested to see your comment about the pending closure of Wyke Lodge and Symonds just using the 'other two' !!! ... during my time at PSSW (1944 - 1950) there were 4 Boarding Houses I thought ... School House, Wyke Lodge, Kelso and the other one (the last one to be added during my time) was, I think, called Varley's ... if, when Wyke closes, that only leaves two, there is another one missing ... what happened to that, and which one was it ? ...   Seasons Greetings from Western Australia ...   Doug Clews    

  2. Anna,


    I was at Kelso House/Barton Seagrave between 1962 and
    1970, so I never lived at Wyke Lodge, but I can tell you that it was rumoured
    that Wyke Lodge had the best food out of all of the Boarding Houses.  At
    that time the third Boarding House was School House/Varley Lodge.  We all
    used to live quite separate lives: we had different Prefects, different housekeeping
    rules and different prep (homework) times.  There was a swimming pool at
    the school then, and we even had different times at which we were allowed to go
    swimming.  All of the Boarders belonged to Symonds House, who all wore
    blue shirts (the other houses were Kirby (Red), Northbrook (Yellow) and another who had green shirts).


    There was a programme on the TV recently in which kids
    from 2002 schools were taken back and placed in conditions of simulated schools
    of the 1950's.  Yes, I recognised the beds, the 'hospital corner'
    requirements, much of the furniture and the discipline regime!  Did I like
    it - no!  Were they the finest days of my life - no!  Did I hate
    Cross Countries - yes!


    Kind regards,


    Andy Brown (then known as Joe Brown)

  3. Hi   Yeah Wyke Lodge and School House are still the main boarding houses at Symonds but Kelso is now used as the music depatement for the Hampshire Specialist course. I have been in there a few times and thought it was quite similar to Wyke but I think they found more use for it as practice rooms. I'm not too sure about Varley, unless you mean Varley Lodge? That's quite a small building and it now consists of a few classrooms. Varley cottage is quite similar and looks like a small house but as far as I know that is used mainnly for the staff as offices.   The third boarding house is a new building known as Falkland Lodge. It's a modern style house in which all the rooms are en suite. Because of the new regulations, I dont think they're allowed to have more than two people per room and because of the size of Wyke, they felt they'd lose out profit-wise. I think Wyke is going to be converted in to staff accommodation, which is a shame as I know the house holds so many memories! Have u been back to see the houses since you left boarding? Hope you have a good christmas! Anna x

  4. Hi littlemissditsey1 ... aka Anna !!!
    Thank you so much for replying ... you realise, of course, you have confused me even further, with reference to Varley Lodge and Varley Cottage ... I am only aware of 'Varley' ... whether Lodge or Cottage, I confess, I know not ... as I mentioned, I was not a boarder, just a mere 'day boy' ... as for Falkland Lodge ... well, I must confess, I do not recollect that appearing anywhere in the postings so far, but maybe I missed something along the line ... no doubt there are boarders who will remember more than I who will be happy to contribute in order to sort out this slight confusion ...
    In answer to your question about returning Anna, yes and no ...yes, I played hockey against the School several times after leaving, in my capacity as left-wing for The Adastrians (Southampton) in the late 1950's and into the mid 1960's ... yes, I visited the School in the mid to late 1950's for School Concerts ... No ... I left Chandler's Ford for Western Australia in 1966 and I have not been back to the U/K since ... I am hopeful of a visit, perhaps next year (2004), to catch up with a few friends, a few memories and a bit of Family History ...
    I hope some of the ex boarders make contact with you ... there are several out there who are members of this group ...
    Take care and thanks for your Christmas wishes ...
    Doug Clews (Glen Forrest, Western Australia) 

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  5. I guess I meant Varley Lodge - it has been a long time
    since I retrieved this information from my memory, and some of the details have
    failed me, leaving only the impressions!  I seem to remember that Varley
    Lodge was an adjunct to School House, as Barton Seagrave was to Kelso, leaving
    only Wyke Lodge as an independent Boarding House (with the better food,
    allegedly).  I note that all has changed, which is inevitable, consistent
    with the development of Peter Symonds into a Sixth Form College.  It
    seemed odd to meet a girl (Called Laura Gill) visiting our Church recently, who
    was now at the University of Cheltenham and Gloucester, who had gone to Peter
    Symonds to do her A Levels!  Her good taste in choosing establishments of
    a high standard was confirmed when she decided to make our Church her "home"!


    I haven't been back to PS since I left, except for a
    brief solo visit in about 1997, when I discovered that Barton Seagrave had been
    re-converted into a private house, and someone had built classrooms all over
    the "inner field"!


    Andy (AKA Joe) Brown

  6. Andy (Joe)   Reading your message about the PS "houses" got me thinking - I was in the Green "house" and I'm sure that was Northbrook.  The Blue and Red you've got spot on, but the Yellow, was that not Mackenzie?  It's amazing what you're brain does to you when you get older, but this has been bugging me for about 2 weeks now!   regards Rolf Bachelor (1964 intake, but left in '67)

  7. Hi Rolf ...
    You are right, I am sure ... I also was in Northbrook (THE House of course) ...
    The others, which were undoubtedly less significant, were Kirby, McKenzie and Symonds (which consisted only of Boarders) ... I must admit that my 1944 - 1950 memory prevents me from remembering the colours, but what you suggest sounds good to me !!! ...
    Cheers and a Happy New Year to all from Western Australia ...
    Doug Clews

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    - New people, new possibilities. FREE for a limited time!

  8. Rolf,


    You are probably right!  Sorry!



  9. Hi Anna (and Doug who is just 20 klms up in the hills from me ) - there are several ex crims from Wyke Lodge who have related previous memories on this site about things other than the boarding house - and I am surprised that no-one who actually 'did time' in W.L. has written in. Too many ghosts maybe.
    I was a boarder there from '64 to '71 and and I think that the best 'charitable' description that I could muster would be to describe it as character building.
    Much of the first few years there - starting out as a 'sprog' or 'scrot' in first year were spent in fear of being caught doing something or other seemingly innocent but clearly contrary to the 'House Rules' by a Prefect and suffering a dose of the 'cosh' ( a well worn gym shoe that had the name 'Zeke' written in blue biro on the soul and used to hang inside the head prefect's shoe cupboard) by a sadistic 18 year old prefect.
    I remember being in awe at one unfortunate who was in my brothers year - two years above me - in the first term that I was there had received over 90 stokes by the Christmas break.
    There used to be all sorts of activities to catch out the lower ranks, and one particular 'sport' was shoe inspections. At the end of breakfast the Head Prefect used to announce that such an activity was to take place imediately after breakfast - the House Rule being that two pairs of shoes had be clean and polished and available for used each school day (as if we really had 4 feet). Any one who failed to present two pairs got beaten. Needless to say there were those with enough nowse to work the system - (i) borrow a pair of shoes from someone else (ii) keep an old but permanently polished pair of shoes in the locker (iii) keep a Kiwi Paddawax in the shoe locker and try and get a quick shine in the time it took to walk from the shoe locker in the toilets , down the passage, out of the back door, round the the side of the house by the fire escape and to the front common room window , which would be open with two prefects ticking off the names as the shoes were placed on the window sill for inspection.
    So there's you first anecdote . . . I'll wait and see if other stories come out of the wood work . . . . I am sure that Bill Berridge or Richard Adams could bring something up from their own seven years inside.

    Very glad to hear that it has clearly changed substantially for the better since our time!
    Cheers from Perth in Oz
    Mark S

  10. Ah, the memories of " The Lodge". I'm not sure if it was the sadness atthat hearing of the "closing" that crashed my hard drive, but I have to blame something.
    Mr. Adams would definitly have some stories.
    I just used to clean his shoes, and mine. Oh the joys of being a 'scrot'.
    There were two 'coshes' in my time. Zeke had a friend called Zak.
    One left bruises, the other would sting, or so we were told. We were always given a choice.
    It may seem that the upper Sixth were bastards, but only if the situation is taken out of context. They did stop us from getting in a lot more trouble that we did.
    Ripping up the floorboards to store beer under them.... taking off enmass to the girls school at 2am, just to mention a few.
    It must have been hard for Mrs Renton to handle all of us, after the passing of her husband. I' m sure the upper years were a great support for her.
    It was the 'Old rules' that gave the school character. I am glad that I had the opportunity to live the life for real, instead of just reading about it.

  11. I've just "re-discovered" this site after a long absence.....  I'm dashing at the moment, so unable to regale too many stories....   Hi again to Mark and Quentin... after sooo many years.... (and I also remember a Joe Brown" during my time at Wyke Lodge.     Yes, the food was purported to be the best..... apart of course from the Saturday morning sausages - many of which found their way under the loose floorboard at the northeast corner of the dining room - and they're probably still there - since they were almost mummified back in the 70's they shouldn't have de-composed much further     Now, Mark, I'm really surprised you haven't resurrected in this thread the memory of "SMT"  (those three letters will never meaning anything else to Wyke Lodgers than "Saturday Morning Treatment") - I'm wondering if the tradition continued when the girls moved in !!!!!!    Here's a few more from another thread.....Reunion   Wonder what happened to old zeke ??   Another curiosity was the number of brothers at Wyke Lodge - more so in percentage terms I think than the other boarding houses.... why was that ???   During my time I recall sets of Brentons, Stuparts, Denisons, Sharrocks, Prices, Elliotts, and of course "Rentons" - any missing ???       richard adams (wyke lodge '67 - '74)    

  12. Hi Richard
    - Yes I had made obscure reference to the dreaded SMT in my message under “Reunion” on the 17/09/03 - but I thought that "good taste" regaled me from providing too much information . Bit like the stories of the "golden rivet" on naval ships that I had heard about on ‘Field Days’ as a schoolboy naval cadet.

    Hi Anna - memoire No 2
    - I am interested to know if the fire place with the old carved dark timber surround still existed in the Wyke Lodge Common Room - (the common room being the large ground floor room at the front of the house next to the front door).

    One of our duties as first year 'fags' was to get up 20 mins earlier than everyone else (no central heating in those days) and make up and light the old stove in the Common Room. Fire Duties included going out through the Kitchen back door, filling up the coal bucket and lugging it back to the Common Room.

    Fire lighting was always a bit of a stressful experience particularly if the kindling was a bit wet, since whatever happened, the fire HAD to be blazing by the time the first prefects came down, other wise one was called to ‘account’ and summonsed to ‘see’ one prefect or other after breakfast. Those with better self-preservation that others learnt the trick of going outside the night before and collecting a few pine cones and keeping them dry in one's shoe locker. They made the very best type of kindling and 100% success every time.

    I can also remember on several occasions when for some un-explicable reason the wind would be blowing in the wrong direction and the Common Room would instantly fill with smoke. The consequential panic of a stressed out 11 year old running around opening the windows and madly waving arms around to try clear the air before anyone came in.

    There used to be an old bent poker for the stove which if left in the coals for a minute or two and retrieved glowing red hot could be inserted into several of the 'burn' holes in the timber surround and causing smoke to issue out of adjacent holes. Little things that amuse little minds . . . .

    One "exeat" (a weekend when most boarders escaped to home and those who stayed had free reign through the boarding house with a complete relaxation of the House Rules) - an inmate called Eddie,' a few years my senior, decided to undertake some serious pyrotechnic sculptor of the timber fire surround. This included writing his name with letters made up a series of burnt ‘dots’ – (how incriminating was that) and explains why (if the timber surround still existed in your day) it was peppered with holes and other scars from the schoolboy artist’s poker.

  13. I'm always amazed how good other peoples' memories are when it comes to events that happened years ago. I don't remember as much as I would like to about my days at PSS/PSC. I was in the last intake year of the grammar school in 1972, so we got used to always being the most junior. It also meant we got moved around as the boarding requirements changed. We started in the Lodge from 1972 to 1973, moved to Wyke Lodge for 1973 to 1975, and finally to School House from 1975 to 1979. I do however remember the infamous SMT, and hiding things under the floarboards, and close aqcuaintance with the gym shoe for experimentation with matches and lighter fuel involving some wooden racking at the squash courts. I remember Mrs. Renton and the notoriety that her sons had earned for allegedly being inside furry Wombles costumes on TOTP with Mike Batt at the time. I don't remember the seniority order that had to be learnt at Wyke Lodge, but from reading this topic I dare say it must have had Thwaites and Adams in it. After we moved to School House, Wyke Lodge was full of sixth form girls, which I can tell you was pretty exciting at the time! Before that, it was necessary to walk to County High to go to discos etc to actually meet any girls. Not to mention the early fumblings on the nearby golf course..

  14. Symonds house wore BLUE (I started, September 1968, in Kelso House, dorm five in the roof, with Barry Shinn, Gary Claydon, malcom reed, Nigel Megson and Phil Bromley. We moved to Kelso Dorm 2 for our second year (1969-1970) and thence to Barton Seagrave next door where Charlie Ramble joined us.   I became a day-boy in April 1971 when my parents moved to Winchester (John Ashurst was NOT happy about the move!) and I tranefsrred to Mackenzie house (YELLOW shirts).   In the summer of 2003, I met up with Tim Lavender and Mark (Ted) Wastie; we spent a pleasant few hours exploring the old site. At lunchtime, we were joined in the Jolley Farmer by Nigel Megson and, in the evening, Phil Bromley and Charlie Ramble travelled down to Winchester and we had an enjoyable evenign in the White Horse in Otterbourne.   Mike Hindson-Evans (Mike Evans) PSS, 1968-1975.

  15. hello sorry it has been a long time since I have been on this site but it's been really interesting to read everyone's comments on what boarding used to be like! Unfortunately Wyke no longer has the fire place that u mentioned (I think it's electrical) but the common room is still in the same place as it was before! I can't say we had any bad experiences of SMT - in fact we didn't really have many duties besides cleaning the kitchen and our rooms - I think they were more relaxed than any other boarding school I've heard of! No uniforms either! Where abouts was the dining room at the time>? I know they are planning to close it down this summer although im not altogether sure if it is being pulled down or simply being turned into staff accommodation - it would be interesting to see what's under the floorboards though! How many people used to be in a room at the time. Did the room (huge one) above the common room with the 'balcony' used to be a bedroom too? Was it Anne parry who was head of boarding when the girls arrived in the sixth form? take care Anna x

  16. There was Wyke Lodge, Kelso House, School House and Barton Seagrave.

  17. Hi Anna – more Wyke lodge memoires . . . . .
    The bedrooms as you kindly call them were known as 'Dorms' with up to 6 or 7 beds in some of them.
    Heading up the main staircase, past the Rentons bedroom – (they always slept with the door open to listen for any miscreants in action) - there was a small room at the top on the left with two beds in - this was the 'sick bay'. Straight ahead up another couple of steps, was the first year 'dorm' which had a creaky step outside – useful for giving away a prefect loitering outside the door trying to listen and catch those inside the ‘dorm’ talking after lights out.

    Walking inside the first year dorm there was a wall hatch leading into the room off to the right hand side (second year’s dorm). Many 'raids' were made by the 2nd yr boys on the juniors through that hatch.
    The status of seniority was all that mattered - and that was solely determined by ones birthday ; the lower ones status then the more often one had to endure the more menial tasks. I was lucky with my birthday in Nov - ie close to the start of the school year and consequently I was the 2nd senior in my year. However those with birthdays in June / July were definitely down at the bottom of the pile. As an example - the more senior boys in the year got the better bed position (ie: next to a window ) - if a chore had to be undertaken requiring two boys then naturally the senior boy chose to do the easy bit (like make up the fire) whilst the junior would have lug the full coal bucket all the way form the kitchen yard to the Common room. Bummer.

    As for the 'Dorms' - each boy's defensible space consisted of a single steel tube framed bed and hair filled mattress which usually sagged like a hammock in the middle through age. Next to the bed was a chair which created a gap approx 700mm wide between the beds - and that was ones sole piece of territory occupying a total floor space approx 1800mm long by 1500mm wide. There was an un-written rule that no-one came into 'your' space unless invited – and of course it meant that you always got into bed from ‘your’ side.
    The Dorm senior (who may have just been one day older than the others in the Dorm) had a degree of implied authority in the Dorm – entitled to tell others to shut up, tidy things up etc. and undertake a bit of sporting bullying if he so chose.

    The beds had their own peculiar rituals – a single clean sheet was issued every Saturday and the previous top sheet was demoted to the bottom sheet - the old bottom sheet being sent off to the laundry. The beds usually had two thin blankets and had to be fully stripped each day before breakfast. They were then remade after breakfast with full on 'hospital-corners' (the technique involved using one hand to carefully fold the bed linen over the flat palm of the other hand - crossing arms in the middle of the process before tucking the blankets in to leave a perfect diagonal fold - a sort of blanket origami). Prefects used to delight in having bed inspections to ensure that the corners were just so with the 'usual dire consequences' for those who beds weren't. At the end of the bed one was allowed to have a ’travelling blanket’ – generally a tartan woollen rectangle affair with tassels at the ends – which had to be neatly folded at the foot when not in use. In the winters before the central heating was installed in the late ‘60’s, the dorms used to be absolutely freezing and the trick was to insert the folded travel blanket inside the bed between the ice cold sheets and slide inside the blanket to try and get warm.

    The bed side chair was not generally used for sitting on but for hanging up ones clothes for the next day. We used to get one grey shirt issued on Sunday which lasted us all week and one pair of trousers which lasted all term!
    The only other furniture in the room was a communal chest of drawers at the end of t


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