Make your own free website on Tripod.com

OLD WESTBROOKIANS

History
Home
Members Corner
Ongoing research
OWS News
Nigel on the MOVE
Archives of WH
Guest Book
History
Photo's ONE
Photo'sTWO
Photo's Three
Anecdotes
Memorabilia
Member details
Member Links
Westbrook House 2007
Old Dovorians
OWS database!

whslogo.jpg

WESTBROOK HOUSE
Founder (1947) and Headmaster
K.N.G. FOSTER

kng1956.jpg
KNG. FOSTER

Scout hut - former playroom at WHS 

Our old playroom (which has deeply nostalgic connotations for most OWS. Here are photos of the said building, which later became a part of the scouting movement. 
Special thanks to Craig craig@11thfolkestonescouts.org.uk
Here are a few notes:
Hi Nigel and David,
I came across the attached document which I believe was written
between 1985-1987 which details the arrival of the building in 1976.
It was written to help with the funding applications for our current
building which replaced the old wooden hut in 1991/2 – hope it is
useful!

Thanks

Craig

Here is the link to the photo's: Click on this.

Fozzie, Sex and the Ladies!
By Simon Walters
Date: Jun 28, 2007 12:48 PM
simon.jpg
Simon Walters went to Westbrook House when it opened it's doors in 1947

Once again I must declare my period as that between September 1947 and December 1954. Because of severe family circumstances Fozzie allowed me to stay on for a term longer than I should have. The reason, let it be clearly said to the several whose experiences, by their strange reminiscences, seem to have been of a very different school than the one I attended, was because all concerned knew that I was happier and more secure at Westbrook House than in any other part of my young life.
Now to the matter.
Fozzie was a confirmed bachelor. In those far off days, innocent days, it was perfectly possible for a man to be such without any implications of sexual deviance. No doubt there were gays, homosexuals, lesbians and all the rest around then. But it was perfectly possible for a man to be bachelor in nature preferring the company of other men, often a clean, detached and controllable relationship, to the messy intimacies, not just sexual, of a closer relationship with a closer partner, male or female. I believe Fozzie was such a man and indeed I can certainly recall him indicating himself as such to a group of us thirteen year olds who, at that time would probably not have a clue of what, deep down, he was talking. In a sense he was a bit old fashioned Greek about such matters. From his reminiscences to us he was obviously close to his Mother. I understand he lost an elder, hero, brother in the First World War. I was recently told that when he died his ashes were spread on his brother's, the Group Captain Derek's, grave. This accords with my forming view that Fozzie's ventures into serious relationships were of the motherly or brotherly kind without any sullying intimacies. All speculation, of course, but it satisfies me and I'm certainly not in the business of implying 21st century calumnies, fifty years later, to a man who after all was much of the nineteenth century.
Fozzie was, I believe, at least according to my mother, my sisters, and my step mother, extremely attractive to women. He was a strong, straight forward man, with impeccable manners and with heavy, sort of Bulldog Drummond , good looks. He had a huge smile which he used on the ladies, and I can remember wondering aged six, why my mother wasn't taking as much interest in me as I wanted her to, when she met Mr. Foster for the first time. I think he probably charmed all the parents in this way, particularly the mothers.
In 1953 there was a film actress called Dinah Sheridan whose film, "Genevieve", had just been released. She became a star although she had only recently married Sir John Davis, Chairman of J. Arthur Rank Organization. They lived near Folkestone and Fozzie often told us of visiting her and parties where he teased her by calling her Genevieve all the time. He didn't speak about women in any personal way to us (except to exclaim "Dreadful woman that!" to us when Miss Sinclair, Head Teacher of Brampton Down School passed us in the street with her crocodile of giggling girls). But he did talk in very friendly terms about his visits to Dinah Sheridan's house. Many years later I read that her marriage to Davis was very uncomfortable for her, including cruelty and in particular his demand that she did no more acting in films or theatre from the moment he married her. Obviously she had been very unhappy around the time that Fozzie was talking about her. I wondered whether perhaps his shoulder had been a strong and sympathetic one to cry on. Not that he would have become physically intimate with her - everything I know about him, and what we know of her, suggests otherwise. But who knows? She was certainly the only woman apart from his mother I recall him speaking fondly of.
Also there was a new young assistant matron, Miss Macdonald, an Anglo Argentinian, who was energetic and bright (up front we would say now) who surprised us all by being heavily made up, busty and thrusting if you know what I mean, and tactile and cuddly with everyone. Her bedroom was across the hall from our dormitory and more significantly almost next to Fozzie's bedroom. She stayed for two terms I believe but left very suddenly in the middle of the third term no one knew why. I wondered often in later life whether she had chanced her pulchritude a bedroom too far! But who knows?
As to sex, well it didn't exist for us in those days. Many of us were, like all little boys of that age, curious about strange things that were beginning to happen to our bodies. From time to time some of us would meet by appointment at night in the toilet area to compare notes. Fozzie found out about these meetings somehow and called a group of us together and, without mentioning any actual physical details, tore us off a terrible strip certainly making me feel so ashamed it must have put back my sexual development by years. But after that everything was all forgotten and life continued as if sex did not exist. For Fozzie, I don't believe it did, and if it ever raised its head (forgive the unintended parallel) it was something to be dealt with firmly. That was the only time I can recall him referring to the matter - no cold showers, no hard boied eggs or anything. At the end of their time at Westbrook House Fozzie would arrange for all the leavers to stay up late and have a special dinner with him. I guess it was at this time he probably gave them a 'facts of life' talk. Though all I remember them saying about the evening was how many sweets they had won playing with his large bagatelle table or hunting the matchbox or whatever other games he had arranged for the evening. They would all club together, with the assistance of their parents, and present him with a leavers present. Usually this was a new engine for the train set up, or carriages, or something like that. Because I was the only leaver, leaving at the end of the Christmas term, and because I was sick with chicken pox at the time, I never got the leavers dinner (that I had looked forward to so much). I also missed the sex talk and it took me till late middle age to catch up. With the assistance of Humphrey Household, and some money from my father, I bought him a new pipe as a leaving present. But I was collected from school on Fozzie's Friday off so I had to leave it with Matron to give it to him on my behalf. I never saw him or heard from him again. Maybe it was a mistake to give him a man's gift rather than that for a boy.
A large part of the man was a small boy with his train set, his teasing us all, his pulling of funny faces, his pillow fights in the dormitory. Modern parents (and education authorities) would be horrified to hear of a head master who slipped into the dormitory at night and sat telling stories, tickling his special favorites, and then pillowfighting against the whole 8 of 10 boys in the dormitory at once. I was not one of his favorites - Timmy Mount and Anthony Ashdown occupied this privileged position in my time - but we did not feel any resentment about it at the time. Totally unacceptable behavior nowadays. I can remember Matron bursting in a fury into the dormitory full of screaming boys and flying pillows only to find the head master, her boss, in the middle of it all.
Well, I've said quite enough but I hope it reveals, tempered I guess with a fair amount of more mature reflection, some aspects of the man that I remember. Suffice it to say that often I wished that he had been my Dad in place of the one I got!
Best wishes
Simon
 

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

ADH Foster Wedding

Submitted by Peter Mellor April 15th 2006
Westbrook House School
“The Finest Preparatory School for Boys in Folkestone”
The school in 1951 consisted of two buildings in Shorncliffe Road, Folkestone, both likely built in the 1880’s as private residences.
The westerly building (The Senior School) was an attractive semi-detached turreted building knocked into one by KNG. It had a coach house accessed down the west side.

The west turret was part of the library and the east turret part of the sanitorium.


The Junior School was two doors east down the road. This had an old gymnasium at the rear which was part of Athelstan School next door (derelict from V1 “Doodlebug” blast damage in 1944). This was known as “The Bombed House” – very strictly out of bounds. It was finally pulled down about 1956. Us boys were assembled on the playing field and we all cheered as the final chimney was pulled down in a cloud of dust. The once lovely late Victorian house was replaced by blocks of ugly flats – Cliffestone Court.



The Junior School had accommodation for two masters on the second floor , with their smart bathroom on the first floor. (Messrs Paxton and Campbell in my day). It also had a basement used as a changing room with exit to the rear garden and gym. The rear garden (grass) lead onto the large 3 acre playing field.

This large playing field was in use prior to WW2 and was likely used by private schools in the immediate area.

The Senior School had a gravel play area to the rear and a large prefabricated “Playroom”
playroom.jpg
Playroom



This playroom had a fine Hornby “oo” gauge electric railway at the far end built by KNGF and the boys. These locos were very expensive and ran on the then oo gauge three rail track. The billiard table cloth was always getting ripped and splashed with cocoa, and the table tennis balls were frequently fried (what a pong!) on the coke-fired “Turtle Stove” just out of view in the right hand side foreground. This got extremely hot – to touch would cause a nasty burn – but it was only enclosed in a mesh guard in later years.

School assembly and hymns were sung here in the morning, and KNG’s pep talks – generally on good manners etc



The whole school was assembled here on the morning of Wednesday February 6th 1952 when KNG announced the death of King George V1th. We were then allowed to go home for the rest of the day. I can recall my father collecting me in our green 1939 Morris 10.

For boarders, early in the morning before school assembly, there was a lavatory roster book with a master in charge asking “Have you beeeeen today ?”. We always said “yes” - even though we hadn’t ! KNG was very keen on boys having regular bowel movements.

Hot cocoa and bread and dripping were served around tea time during the week – and much looked forward to in cold weather.

Films were also shown to boarders, and I recall KNG stopping one film when scantily clad women appeared on screen !

Near the playroom entrance was the “Games Board”. Each boy had small wooden tag with his surname on. This would be placed on a nail board laid out into football teams by the duty master. Boys could then see which team and what position they would play in. A brilliant idea. Those not playing would be placed on “The Walks” section.



I entered the Junior School in Sept 1951 aged nearly 7 and was put into Miss Miss Hinch's class. She was a tall thin kindly soul who I believe died young of some illness. There was milk at break time in one third pint bottles with cardboard tops. The top was pierced by a drinking straw. Breaks were taken out on the grass at the back. I recall

I recall a Miss Dunn- a small but shapely dark-hairedpart-time teacher often dressed in red, who could become very angry, and would beat the palms of our hand with a ruler. Also a Miss Lee ? who took us for music who could also become very irate.

Masters included Jim Metcalfe, ex-navy, who taught geography. He did not suffer fools gladly. Like many teachers and parents of that time he smoked, and I recall owned a black Morris 8 series E.
Humphrey Household, who taught English, and was an expert on canals. He also read us Sherlock Holmes stories- "The Speckled Band" comes to mind. This had us all enthralled.

Richard Campbell taught us French. Poor chap- his eyesight was very poor even via thick pebbled glasses. He lived in a room at the top of the Junior School. I can see him now cycling down Shorncliffe Road with one hand on his forehead trying to see clearly ahead. He had a temper if he felt he was being taken advantage of in class.

"Guppy" Paxton taught Latin. A tall man with a strong kick at football. He was allergic to chalk dust. Could be quite amusing in class and would often have his favorites to sit next to him at his desk.

KNG was good at teaching maths and could become stern and threaten Stripes if answers were incorrect.

Ted Foster taught French and lived down by the Lower Sandgate Road. I never was in his good books after my father helped me with a French prep. If there was a knock at the classroom door during French he would yell "Entrée!".
He did blot his copybook with his au-pair and vanished from the school, but I cannot recall exactly when.

Group-Captain Foster never taught to my knowledge. He had an MG TC, or it might have been a TA or TB. Grey in colour with the 19 inch narrow wire-wheels. He later, I believe, brought a black MGA.

The PT instructor was a splendid chap- Ex-Royal-Marine Professor Mallard.
We all admired and respected him. He was kind - but would stand no nonsense.
He always looked immaculate; white singlet, dark blue trousers and wide blue canvas belt, and spotless white plimsoles. White trousers were worn on special occasions e.g. sports day.
I got to know him well - being in the School Fencing Team.
What became of him?
I wish I had a good photo of him as well as many of the other masters.
Major Woodgate was another great character. Used to do some teaching and take us on walks during the afternoon. He always wore a tweed cap when outside and used a walking stick as he had a slight limp. He used to tell us about his First-World-War exploits and show us the shrapnel in his hand. He had piercing brown eyes and would stand no tomfoolery. I recall Grover hiding in a classroom cupboard upstairs in the Junior School. Half-way through the Major's class he accidentally made a noise. Major Woodgate stormed over to the cupboard, opened the door, and removed Grover by the ear, and threw him out of the classroom door.

The senior art teacher was called Eveleigh and I once rode pillion passenger on his Vespa scooter down to the Folkestone Art School to help collect some papers during school hours. I hung on like grim death. No helmets etc in those days. I recall Fossie not being amused when he heard of this.

The local curate who used to visit Westbrook had an old battered green convertible Austin 7; tiny engine, tyres, brake drums,tiny everything!

Parents cars calling at the school were always a source of interest. David Ewer's father had a light green Ford V8 Pilot, Nigel Harland's father a black Austin Atlantic followed later by a splendid Amstrong-Sidley Sapphire. Richard Tittle's father always had the latest large 6-cylinder Ford from Peacocks of Folkestone.
Swimming in the 50's was once a week in the Summer Term. Locally hired single-decker coaches took us down to the open-air public swimming pool down on the Lower Sandgate Road next to the Rotunda amusement arcade.

I recall the coach passing "The Boiling Kettle" café in Tontine Street where some poor devil had recently been battered to death with a hammer, and large The Royal Pavilion Hotel down by the harbour. This had ceased as a hotel and was to let. A massive blue and white painted hoarding advertised the hotel to let and some wag had carefully inserted an "I"; between the "To" and "Let". So the hoarding then read "This Whole Building ToILet". The things one remembers!

Swimming was fun on hot days but rather grim on cold wet days. The pool seemed massive to us youngsters. It had a sort of fountain at the west end where the pumped water was exposed to sunlight, and at the east end were the big diving boards and all the changing cabins. Brylcreem machines were much in evidence. Do any boy dare use some?

I was never very good at swimming and could just manage a width of the pool- in the shallow end up near the fountain. Some boys were good, could do a length and dive and pick up a brick from the pool bottom.

clipimage002.jpg
This aerial photo shows the outdoor pool in the early 1950's

This aerial photo shows the outdoor pool in the early 1950's with the Rotunda towards the harbour.
Sam Rocket, a dark thick-set muscular chap and the ex cross-channel swimmer, gave lessons here and also in indoor
Remnants of sea end of The Victoria Pier survived at this time down on the nearby foreshore. The building at this end of the pier was set on fire at the end of the war by soldiers I believe. There was a photograph of the burning building in my dentist's waiting room in Earl's Avenue Folkestone. The dentist was elderly and his hand used to shake as the drill approached. A kindly man called Alfred Pain !
School walks frequently took us down to the beach via the zig-zag paths from the Leas. The funnels of the cross-channel steamers in the harbour when viewed from The Leas always looked as if they were made of cardboard.
On one afternoon returning from the beach on a usual crocodile walk we passed the blue police telephone box a real Tardis ! just behind the Hotel Metropole bus stop shelter.
I failed to notice there was a policeman's bike nearby and rattled the handle on the door. A surly looking constable opened the door and frostily inquired which boy was responsible. The tardis on this site sadly disappeared long ago.
This Metropole bus stop/shelter was well used by Westbrook boys being at the Sandgate Road end of Grimstone Gardens. Those living at Hythe/Saltwood including myself caught the 103, 103a that went to Hythe or the 10 that went on further to Ashford/Maidstone. It cost 4 old pence for the single journey from the Metropole to the Light Railway Station at Hythe.
Lugging heavy books etc home was unusual. We just had leather satchels or small cases often just containing the homework for that evening.
We frequently used to stop off in Sandgate at "The Swiss Miss" to stock up on sweets etc.
One Westbrook boy whose name escapes me had a packet of "The Biggest Stink" since Hitler's stink bombs, containing three glass phials of H2S liquid or something equally foul. These were scrunched into the lower deck floor on a crowded bus. Much hilarity from some and disgust from others ensued.
The East Kent buses of that period were proper hop-on/hop-off buses in maroon/cream and were Leylands or Guy's "Arabs". They frequently boiled whilst coming up Sandgate Hill in the mornings - heavily laden with adults and school children.
clipimage002dfh.jpg

The above picture shows a model of a Guy "Arab" in the colours of the period. This is a Canterbury route one- but they were all similar. How old-fashioned it looks now.

Westbrook pupils since 1961 have sadly missed out on the steam train era. The afternoon Golden Arrow & continental express from London Victoria to Dover often had to stop at a red signal right at the bottom of the playing fields.

The Brunswick-green engines- particularly the Britannia Class & "William Shakespeare" and & "Iron Duke" all with polished paintwork, brass and copper, union flag and French tricolor on the front buffer beam was a sight to behold in conjunction with a long rake of equally smart Pullman carriages. This engine has a particular melodious whistle that was directed at the signalman if held up for more than a few minutes.
Golden Arrow- Iron Duke
dukea.jpg
Britannia Class introduced in 1951.

Britannia Class introduced in 1951. Nos 70004 William Shakespeare and 70014 Iron Duke.
Both were allocated to work the Golden Arrow.
These fine locomotives with pullman coaches passed along the bottom of the playing field at Westbrook House School from 1951 until June 1958.
The flags, incidentally, were changed daily.

I always stopped playing football or whatever just to admire this mid-afternoon sight on the raised embankment. Even the most disinterested in railways could not fail to be impressed.

If playing with a model boat on the boating pond or tending the small garden plots at the bottom of the playing field, the view was even better.
petermellor080805.jpg
Peter Mellor

From the Office/Oldwestbrookians

And, here's what I've found out about Westbrook House:
In 1913 number 54 was occupied by Ada Mary Smith and number 56 by Ewe Tylden-Wright, JP, CC.
In 1915 number 56 was empty.
In 1916 number 54 was occupied by Mrs Curzon Smith who named it 'Curzon Lodge'.
Number 56 was occupied by Canadian troops!
In 1924, 48 - 50 Shorncliffe Road was occupied by 'The Misses, Ladies' School' and named "Athelstan".
In 1933, 54 was occupied by Walter Standring, while 56 was occupied by Percy Fleming.

By 1936 number 56 had been taken over by the 'Folkestone Trained Nurses' Institute' run by a Miss E W Taylor. It remain in her hands until 1940.

The 1947 edtion of Kellys Directory says that Westbrook House Preparatory School for Boys was situated at 54 (Curzon Lodge) & 56 (Tudor Lodge) Shorncliffe Road and was headed by K N G Foster, FRGS and could be reached on telephone number 4541.

In 1960 WH occupied 52 Shorncliffe Road, while 54 & 56 was now called Westbrook Junior House.

In 1968 R H S Rattenbury, MA, took over. The telephone number also changed to 54541.

In 1969 KNGF took over as Hon Sec of the Radnor Club (136 Sandgate Road), a position he retained until at least 1974 while living at 50 Shorncliffe Road.

In 1970 WH begins to disappear as Dover College takes over the site. Number 50 becomes WH Junior House, number 52 becomes WH Junior School & Dover College Junior School, and 52A & 52B becomes the Annexe.

By 1971 it is listed as Dover College Junior School, Westbrook House.

I found this in Hythe Library, I've yet to visit Folkestone Library, but I'm sure there'll be more suprises to discover there. I'll keep you posted.

From the Office/Oldwestbrookians
whslogo.jpg

Submitted by Michael Frost Jun.30.2006:
I went to Westbrook in the early 1950's, and although it takes some believing, I actually recall my first day. It was warm, allowing one to explore the whole place and at the boating pond I met a fellow called Peter Mansfield. He was evidently also new, but seemed immensely well informed: so I followed him around all day. We later both went on to Cranbrook School: I suspect he joined the Navy, his father being an Admiral. Are you around out there in the ether?

I enjoyed the memories already recorded, but while I concur with much that has been said, I will try to correct a few things that I think not quite accurate.

KNG was in my day called Foz; if this later was transformed into Fossie, it must have been in the mid-fifties. I recall him with some respect, but in some ways he was a strange man. His life was the school, and he only left it on Fridays when he went down to the Club, where he played billiards and, as far as we could tell, spent all his time talking to Admiral Stevens.



He obviously revered his Mother, to whom he referred constantly, but I remember only once him mentioning his Father: as was his wont, he spoke most personally to the top seven or eight Club Captains at the Head Table (I do believe that this was his "family"). One day he disappeared into his study and came back with a spool of linen thread, which he demonstrated to be extremely strong. It launched him into the tale of how his Father had on one evening come home and announced to the family that they were ruined and that this spool was one of the only mementoes left of the business. We gleaned from that comment that he had been through some hard times, but that "character" had pulled him through. In fact, this "character" was the core of his belief that most of the boys that went through the school and were destined to rule the Empire, if not the World, could only do so by the force of their moral strength. I think that he deplored the way that the world was going because things were happening that he believed inherently "bad”: Unions and the decline of the Yorkshire cricket team are but two examples. Additionally he could not comprehend how we had won the war for Russia and that these ingrates would not now step aside and allow the British to run things. He also told us of the impossibility of space travel because jet engines pushed against the air, and because there was no air up there, rockets would simply fall out of the sky. He knew this because he had been a science master at Winchester School!

But his strangest vision was the need for the morning bowel movement. Each morning, before prayers, one had to report that one had "gone" to the duty master, who solemnly marked that fact in a big ledger. This cockamamie idea arose because of his extraordinary ideas of human physiology ; periodically he gave us talks after prayers, and one of his favourites was a lecture on the need for us to clear out our tubes so that the air that we breathed out would not "smell"; the body itself was quite incapable of managing its own affairs. What any of the Masters thought about this is unrecorded, but I suspect that he ran a pretty tight ship with respect to his teachers and alternative ideas were not particularly welcome.



But, in the final analysis, he was an excellent influence upon his charges. He seemed happy to share with us the execrable food with which we were faced (in retrospect that abominable gristle and swede stew may have been warranted - my father was a sweetshop owner and had to continuously deal with the horrible rationing system ), he encouraged sharing (birthdays were celebrated by sharing one's food parcel with the whole dormitory), he would ask one on the playing field to do only what he would do himself, he was always constructing something of a practical nature (of course, we were the cheap labour, but we certainly learned a lot) and he seemed to me a fair disciplinarian. He was also an excellent teacher, both of maths and of divinity: I had no mathematical abilities at all, but when I went to sea and had to assimilate spherical trigonometry, I soon discovered the firmness of my mathematical foundation. As for Scripture, I assume that this was necessary for the Common Entrance exam, but I was never really clear as to whether he actually believed the stuff that he was presenting.

The rest of the teachers were however a very mixed lot.

When I joined the Junior School, I seem to remember three ladies, one of whom is completely gone from my mind. The Head teacher was Miss Hinch (Hinchley?), a rather distinguished presence who ensured that before the year was out I knew the capital of every country in the world. This skill, invaluable for the world's bores, is one that I have since maintained; I have merely learned that not everybody, for some reason, is much interested. Her number two was Miss O'Neill, a formidable lady who had been born without a sense of humour. She seemed to dislike everyone, but other than KNG, she played the piano rather well: this gave her a special place in the hierarchy.

Living in the Junior School were two interesting characters: Messrs Campbell and Paxton. The former taught French and, goodness knows how, refereed football (he has been well described in another memoir). He was very small, had had an authorityectomy, and was very frequently badly out of sorts - he couldn't get any respect! (Unfortunately myopia is something of which boys can make much cruel fun). Mr. Paxton taught Latin. A shambles of a man, he called everyone "my dear" and was a quintessential valetudinarian: at the first sight of any boy with a cold, he brought to class with him a large can of odiferous eucalyptus. This was presumably designed to kill all noxious germs, but I don't think that it did the front rows much good either. He was actually a nice man (probably just out of Teachers' training) but I remember the worst afternoons being double latin: I never much caught on to the reason for being able to say that "the boys attacked the Gauls" in a language that nobody spoke. He actually was fairly new when I arrived: his predecessor was Mr Forte, a man right out of the Carry On films. He - Forte - left in a bit of a hurry after, resting in the staff common room, his shoes caught fire because he was so close to the electric fire: apparently there was a pretty good flame going before he noticed. And there was another Latin teacher (a bit hazy here) called Major Woodgate. With a game leg, he wasn't much for refereeing (which all the teachers seemed to have to do, like it or not) and only seemed to teach the more gifted Latin (and Greek!) students. (There was a story circulating one morning that on the previous evening these two unlikely characters - Campbell and Paxton - had had a punch-up. It was a good tale, but I wonder if anyone out there can expand on the idea.)

Of the others, I remember Mr Metcalfe - the MTB man - teaching geography and carpentry. He wasn't much good at either. I assume that because he had commanded a boat, he was the only one with "foreign" experience. (I was however still pretty hot stuff with the capitals.) Mr Ted Foster taught French. His father, the Group Captain, lived above the workshop and took no part in school life at all - his spaniel was better known he was himself.

The remaining two, however, were probably the best teachers (bar one at Cranbrook) that it was my privilege to experience. Mr Mallard took over the PT role after the retirement of the rather enigmatic Mr Teague (not sure of the spelling). The latter was a fencing expert, probably the reason for Mr Mallard taking over from him. The school thereafter enjoyed a standard of PT that I believe to be unequalled. Mr Mallard made us think that almost any gymnastics could be mastered with the right attitude and good training. I didn't think too much about this until I moved on: at Cranbrook, Merchant Navy Training School and at Outward Bound I found that I was able to do everything that was thrown at me, and with ease. I also enjoyed boxing and at this too he was as good a teacher as at fencing, at which I too believe he was a "professor" - whatever that was. KNG, I might add, was very supportive of all sports, and I am sure that that was reflected in the confidence with which Mr Mallard treated us. He was in my view a gentleman of the first order.

The excellent Mr Household I leave as the last of the teachers because I see that other correspondents have been more equivocal.

The de facto No.2 in the school - Mr. Household looked after English, History and the library. He taught with a good deal of flair and I believe that most boys picked up an enlightened idea of how to write interestingly. The library was central to his vision and the school had the good idea of, every term, each class putting some money together and selecting a few new books for purchase. This scheme not only expanded the collection but made sure that everybody had an interest in it. (I wonder now from where the core of the library came: there were for example some excellent and fairly ancient books on military history, and from which I gained a lifelong interest in the subject. And, apropos this subject, does anyone know anything about the school pictures, especially that of the Battle of Mukden that dominated the main stairway?) In fact I think that it was Mr Household's enthusiasm for books (along with much parental support, of course) that directed me to so much enjoy the language and made easier my later transition into becoming a lawyer (I now practice as a barrister in Victoria, British Columbia) after seven sybaritic years at sea going around the world on passenger ships. I particularly remember that at the end of one year he personally thanked my parents for sending my brother and me to the school. Who knows how genuine the statement was - but it was a gracious gesture.

One should not forget the support staff. First and foremost was Matron, a craggy old lady under whose gruff exterior there apparently beat a craggy heart (she probably wasn't that old but she seemed to me to have experienced well over a hundred summers). One didn't get ones nails cut by her, I recall, because she cut them painfully short. Supporting her was a young dark-haired young lady whose name I forget, and then there was the beauteous Miss Carr - whom we believed to be heiress to the Carr biscuits business. Does anyone know anything more about this vision of perfection? Then, in the kitchen was the very important but faceless cook. She had perfected the art of boiling cabbage for hours on end so that it was completely inedible but went a long way, she craftily threw a few whole eggs into a big vat of powdered egg - which fooled nobody: it was like eating a very smooth cement - and she was apparently instructed only to serve day-old bread, lest anybody like the taste of the fresh stuff.

I cannot finish without mentioning the Playroom and the railway (it was Trix, inferior, I thought, to my own Hornby 00) and the vast cauldron that heated the place. This was different from the dorms, where in the winter the inside of the windows seemed always to be ice-encrusted. Saturday afternoons were spent with elderly films, but at the first sight of a female leg the projector was shut down and some Laurel and Hardy films that had been seen many times before were substituted. And the Car. This was a Rover that KNG purchased while I was there. This was of course one of the finest cars in the world (no foreign vehicle could even approach its quality) and we rode to Church in it on Sundays (at least, four or five other Club Captains did). When I left, our parting gift to Foz was a reversing light, which with Mr Ted's assistance we surreptitiously fitted; we were all a bit taken aback when Foz was very disparaging about our choice. "You should have bought something for the School" he rather brusquely told us. Maybe he was right, but the deed had by then been done.

On balance I now think the school to have been quite excellent, and this was very largely the work of KNG. He inculcated obsolescent but unquestionably decent values and, all things being taken into account, was a teacher - of the broadest sort - of the first rank. I feel privileged to have been to Westbrook.

It is my hope that my brother and I can find some photos. He was Head Boy two years after I left and because of that I feel sure that there are some of the usual Sports Day pictures in our Mothers' collection. But in those days the Brownie camera was state of the art and I do not think that they can reflect anything but the haziest recollections.

And I must finally apologize as to my own haze. It is half a century since I left the school, and some of the foregoing will doubtless conflict with other recollections. But I still have a very clear mental image of the leading actors - I am sure that they have gone to better places.

wseniorschool.jpg


From: Sarah Craig
Date: 06-Nov-2006 20:09
Subject: Re: Old Westbrookians' Society (OWS) & 'Westbrook Days'
I started at Dover College Prep School in January 1976. I was the Gamma Form Teacher. This was the first class in Pre-Prep, a group of 4/5 year olds. Gretel Eveleigh was the Delta teacher and Eileen Addenbrook taught Alpha and was Head of Pre-Prep. Our rooms were on the Ground floor of what was called Old Fosters, with Form1 2 and 3 on the first floor and the Art Department on the very top, up some rather uneven stairs. This was said to have been caused by the crash of an airplane into building next door. The children believed that the ghost of the airman, who was killed in this crash, haunted Old Fosters. I worked in the building for about 12 years, and was often there after everyone else had gone, but never saw or heard any ghosts!
After 6 years ih the Pre-Prep, I applied for and was given the job of teaching Year 1, or what we would now call Year 4. I did this, with great enjoyment for about 6 years. By this time I had become very interested in the causes of reading failure and more specifically in Dyslexia. The school helped to finance a year's training with the Dyslexia Institute, attending lectures and gaining practical experience, one day a week at the Tonbridge Branch of the DI. Having got my qualification to teach dyslexics, Nick Broderick, the HM at the time, decided to make use of them, by setting up a small class for children with literacy difficulties. This was housed initially in the room to the left of the arched entrance by the kitchen and latterly upstairs in what we used to call Lawford, the boarder girls' quarters. We finished up in the small room at the foot of the stairs in Compton. The class was known as Shell and we kept numbers to about 12. They children were from Years 3 to 8 and would be released to attend some classes with their own year group. It was a most rewarding experience but lasted only about 4 years as it was too costly to maintain. After that I continued to withdraw pupils for tuition either on a one-to-one basis, or individually and act as Year 5 Form Teacher, to whom I taught most subjects except Science, maths, PE, Art and Music.
All the time we were a prep school any extra tuition provided by me was part of the fees; there was no extra charge. I felt proud that we did this and was deeply disappointed when the Governors decided to make a charge for lessons. My feeling was that having taken children into our school for a set fee, we could not then tell parents that they would have to pay extra as their child had a specific learning difficulty and was struggling with literacy as a result. It seemed to me that learning to read and write was a basic provision which a school should make and every child's right.
When we amalgamated with St Mary's, I joined the Dyslexia Unit run by Betty Hill, assisted by Janet Writer, both Dyslexia Institute trained. After I left in 2000, it was decided to run the Department down, making it into a more general provision for skills development. Now, in the present Prep School, there is no provision at all! Perhaps when the school picks up again, as I sincerely hope it will, it will be considered again that a good school should make provision for pupils with dyslexia, particularly those who are highly intelligent. Such children have a tremendous contribution to make to any school.

Please don't hesitate to contact me/ask questions and I will try to answer them.
Sarah Craig
 

David

I believe I may have one or two answers for you. I knew Ken Foster through
various channels, he was a sides man at Holy Trinity, where my family
worships, I was Chairman of the Radnor Club at its demise and we looked
after Lady Carey, the racing companion, at St. Olaves after she left her
house in Chichester Road. My brother went to Felton Fleet under Mr. Neary
before the war, during which it was bombed. I can remember walking home
from WH and noticing shrapnel marks on the wall opposite. Perhaps we should
meet up, as there are more OWS out there locally than you may realize. I was
only there from 1951-2 but am still in touch with some of them.

Paul Seward

From Peter Mellor June.25.2006:

petermellor080805.jpg
Peter Mellor June.24.06

Dear David-Michael and David,
Attached is a 1930's photo of St Athelstan School.
I believe this was the building immediately to the east of the Westbrook House Junior School that was v.badly damaged by the V1 blast in 1944.
Known as "The Bombed House" by us boys and eventually pulled down about 1956.
This fine late Victorian building was replaced by the ghastly architecture of Cliffestone Court.
The gym of this school was the original Westbrook's gym.
Best wishes
Peter Mellor

Submitted by Peter Mellor
athelstanschool.jpg
1930's photo of St Athelstan School

westbrookhouse.jpg

David-Michael asks two questions to Stewart Fincham.

DM.Hello Stewart, you were head boy in the 1957/58 academic year. Being head boy of Westbrook House really was something to be proud of as just not anyone was selected. What were your duties as Head boy?

Stewart Fincham: I can't fully recall - we are talking 49 years ago! You will have seen the picture sent in by Peter Mellor of myself and Geoffrey Scott talking to Mr. Ted (Foster) outside the Playroom. This must have been in 1957 Winter Term or 1958 Easter term judging by the long trousers. Geoffrey was an important person, being Vice-Captain of Cricket as well as Captain of 'E' Club and a Workshop Keeper. Doubtless Mr. Ted was talking to us about some administrative matter that needed to be addressed by important(!) people like ourselves. The only things I can recall as specific duties were compiling a list of clearing-up duties which was posted in the dining room, and leading a round of 'three cheers for Mr. Foster and Mr. Ted' also in the dining room after the giving of form prizes at the end of the summer term. It may be that others have other memories of daily life in the fifties and sixties at Westbrook House. One thing is certain: it was, for most of us, a very happy establishment.

DM: Were you allowed out of the school on your own after becoming head boy?

SF: I was at Westbrook House from Easter Term 1954 to Summer Term 1958, when I went to Sevenoaks School. I never recall being allowed out on my own, but my parents did not live locally. I remember the school walks and recall last year retracing the steps on one of these from the school to the front and then down the winding path to the beach: it was all very familiar- after 48 years!

Yes, there was much more freedom at public school, where one could (at the appropriate time) go out for walks on one's own or with others, or Sunday bike rides all day with a packed lunch. The first year I remember in the summer putting my bike on the train and going back to Westbrook House on a number of occasions.

Stewart would be delighted to answer questions about his school days at Westbrook House. Sent your questions to: oldwestbrookians@gmail.com

Submitted by John Stammers:

Hi David-Michael,
I must have been at Westbrook for five years - 1955 to the end of the spring term 1960.
I lived at Elvington Lane, Hawkinge then and because the bus left the Central Station at 5.40 I was allowed to leave class at 5.20 instead of 5.30 pm. (which upset my class mates!!) Owing to the late finish, school always seemed to finish in the dark. The fare home was 5d (and a packet of fruit polo's was 2d.)
I can't say that I knew Mr Foster well, I think we were all in awe of him. He gave me a Bible when leaving school, in which he wrote the quote "Be strong and of good courage."I still have the Bible and as I am now a Churchwarden of Lyminge Parish Church, it must have benefited me!!Of course everybody at school was envious of his train set!! Also he used to do film shows and I can remember the cartoons. That's all folks....As this was pre TV days.

All my best wishes
John Stammers

Submitted by Peter Mellor:

Dear David-Michael,

Fossie retired to the civilised but aging Radnor Club - later to be re-vamped in the 70's as "The Executive Club" - quite ghastly name ! I believe he died in somewhat lonely circumstances - and if this is true - shame on all of us. As life goes on one realises what a great person and headmaster he was - who helped to shape all of our lives in all that is decent and good.

Kind regards,

Peter Mellor

WESTBROOK HOUSE
Founder (1947) and Headmaster
K.N.G. FOSTER
 

 

 

 


History: Westbrook House

 

 

 

Submitted by Simon Walters

I, Simon Walters, seem to find myself as the earliest Westbrook House boy to register so I thought I would add from time to time notes to the history gleaned from countless meals sitting close to Fossie on the senior table from Autumn 1947.
Kenneth Nigel Goring Foster climbed through a broken window of the empty and semi derelict building in the Autumn of 1946. He was accompanied by his brother, retired Group Captain A.D.H. Foster who, after the repairs, modernization, alteration to the buildings, continued to live at the school in a large room over the then Woodwork Shop with his much loved spaniel, Lugi. The school took its first boys in April 1947 and I joined as a boarder aged 6 (!) in the October term. At that time the school comprised the double building between the two turrets on Shorncliffe Road with a large graveled area behind down to the workshop mentioned above. A new "playroom" building, a sort of prefabricated unit, stood there and became the home of the magnificent model railway which Fossie and countless boys built up over the years.
Behind that area was a path through to the huge playing fields which later accommodated four football/rugby pitches, a fine orchard of apple trees which gave tummy aches to many of us (although strictly out of bounds) and a large boat pond also built by Fossie and the boys. He was a great believer in "do-it-yourself" decades before the phrase itself had been commercialized. Finally, there was the railway embankment upon which the good old steam trains ran between London and Folkestone/Dover. The Golden Arrow, the Battle of Britain class, the Brittania class ......
As I recall, and recollection over nearly sixty years may well be a bit muddled, the staff included Fossie's nephew and the Group Captain's son, Ted Foster, who later went to a French University, to get his degree and then returned to teach at Westbrook House for many years. Also Humphrey Household who introduced me to Kipling and who was the brother of a well known novelist at the time, Geoffrey Household. Also Matron, Miss Horsefield, ex Winchester College where, she constantly reminded us, the school motto was "Manners Maketh Man" and her two assistants, Felicity and Anne Gladstone.

Founded in about 1947 under the Headmastership of Kenneth Foster as a boys only preparatory school (Ages 7 -13).
Masters included Ted Foster, Humphrey Household, Messrs Campbell, Metcalfe, Paxto n,  Blee, Major Woodgate, Professor Mallard (Ex Royal Marine PTI). Miss Hinch, Mrs Dunn and others in the Junior School.
Dark blue blazers and caps with light blue Tudor rose on pocket and cap. Cap also had light blue stripes.
Light blue aertex shirts in summer with grey shorts. Light blue cotton belts with snake fastener.
The best boys prep school in Folkestone.
St Margaret’s, Brampton Down, and St Mary's Convent the best private girls schools.
Was Dover College Junior School for some years - 1970’s?
Amalgamated with the nearby St Marist Convent School for girls in late 1990's and is now called St Mary's Westbrook.


More from Simon (March 27th 2006)

 

Message From: Simon Walters

 

 

 

As to Fossie, well I'm afraid very little was known to me at the time.  I started at WH in its second term in 1947.  I do remember pretty clearly my time there - unlike what happened last week! - and I was under the impression that he was born in Peterborough (or thereabouts) in around 1904.  I remember very well his tale about his mother pointing out a tall chimney which became known in his family thereafter as "Baby's Chim".  (Strange the things one remembers) He was very loyal to being a Yorkshire man when it came to cricket.  A bit more hazy is my recollection that we thought he had played rugby for the Harlequins at one time but I enquired recently at the club.  Their man who kept their very old records was away so I never really know whether he received my enquiry or not.  Anyway I never heard from him.  Must try again.  But certainly even in my time he taught us rugby and could still kick a mean old penalty from two or three yards inside touchline.

Fossie's brother, Derek, who lived at the school though not on the staff, was a then recently retired Group Captain A.D.H Foster and no doubt has extensive records through the R.A.F.  But Fossie never at any time spoke of any war time experiences or, come to that, of where he was or what he was doing during the war.  He would have been around 35 at outbreak.  Nor can I recollect him mentioning any school where he had previously taught.  (Wait a minute - is Marlborough ringing a bell.)

I do know that although his special subject was Maths (Later on I got a good G.C.E in Maths although I had not learnt any more Maths than he had taught me at prep school level!), actually he got his degree in Geography and was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

I could go on at great length about Fossie and WH in those early years - and no doubt will in due course - but what is missing for me is what happened to him later in his life.  I cannot think that he is still with us.  If so he would be over a hundred.  Maybe you can help me here?

Best wishes

Simon Walters

 

Submitted by Graham Walmsley March 27th 2006

 

 

I have read Simon’s history of Westbrook House and it jogs memories.  Fossie was as I recall a senior Master at Eastbourne College who left to set up his own Prep School in 1947.It took boarders & day boys. I attended from age 6 in 1949. I was a boarder one of the ‘ Londoners’ so nicknamed because we travelled down on the train from London.

 

The original school building was a pair of semi-detached late Victorian buildings which had been joined into one.  The ground floor on the right hand side contained Fossie’s study, his lounge, the school office and behind that part of the dining room and all of the kitchen.  The other side was given up to classrooms and part of the dormitory complex which extended across the upper two storeys of both sides of the building. Mr Metcalfe I think it may have been married one of the assistants although which one I can’t remember.  Fossie sat at the head table with the senior boys and Matron sat at the table with the junior boys.  The food was indescribably horrible as I recall. The cook was a dreadful, no doubt aided and abetted by the strict rationing that was still on at the time. Many the time as a small boy I would be made to stay behind by Matron until I had eaten my kipper.

  My recollection is that at some time shortly after I first attended the school Fossie bought another building facing onto Shorncliffe Road that also  backed onto the sports field and turned it into classrooms.  There was a block of flats between that new building and the main school and my recollection is that Mr Household had a flat there as may well other Masters. 

 

The swimming pool must have been built much later on.  It was certainly not there when I left.  We used to attend the public baths at Folkestone where we were given lessons by an ex cross channel swimmer called Sam Rocket.

 

On Sunday mornings we attended Church although we always left before the Sermon! And on Sunday afternoons one of the Masters would take us for a walk in crocodile file. I remember roaming around on Caesar’s Camp and trudging across the shingled beaches.

 
Submitted by Graham Nunn  March 29th 2006
 (I asked Graham who was on staff in 1947).
 
  As far as the staff goes, I'm a bit rusty, but as far as I can recall, apart from Fossie, there was Mr Ted, taught French I think. He also married a girl called Nan? whilst I was there.
Pa Forty who taught Latin and spoke french fluently, a real character.
Mr Household, English.
Mr Metcalfe, was it Religion and Geography.
Monsieur D'Acquernelle, think I spelt this wrong, he helped out for while teaching French.
Miss Thompsom, who I think was Scots, worked in the Infants side of things.
Miss Horsfield, Matron,
The Misses Gladstone. Felicity and Anne. Asstnt Matrons.
This is about all I can recall, and possibly some may be doubtful but I have to say, that all of them played an important part in my development and are fondly remembered.
All the best,
Graham Nunn
 
 

 
oldwestbrookians    wrote:  More options   Mar 29 (4 days ago)
The discipline at Westbrook was unique from other schools. When I was there in 1963-1967 there was a stripe and G system. for a stripe you stayed in for an hour I think after regular school was done. Four G's made a star and a stripe wiped out the star.
If you received 50 stars you had a prize waiting for you at the last day of term.Was it like that when you were there?

 
   
 
Stephen Wassell  answered:
 More options   Mar 30 (3 days ago)
Hi David,   (David-Michael Dunbar)
 
Good day from a sunny but rather windy Norfolk!  I don't remember much about the discipline side of the school I'm afraid - not because I was a swot or goody goody but simply because I'm getting old and my memory ain't what it used to be!  I do seem to recall that there was some system involving stripes but beyond that there is no light.  Sorry. 
So far as I know we had no reward system of the type you mention.  For sports we got colours which was a very proud moment.  I can remember (because I see it every day) is receiving a book at the end of my last term inscribed by Kenny Foster and "Mr Ted" (his son who allegedly ran off for a while with a scandinavian au pair but that might just have been schoolboy rumour).  It was "The Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins and every boy got one (different titles of course). 
 
Hope you're keeping well
Best wishes
Stephen
 
JC Answered:
 
Dear David
 
Yes - we had exactly the same system when I was there (1949-1953) and very motivational it was - plus, one of the ways of scoring a  'G' was as follows: 
 
KNG (Fossie) would pin the front page of the Daily Telegraph to the notice-board in the "Play room" every morning - during breaks and before lunch we were encouraged to study this front page, and at the end of lunch Fossie would stand up and announce the day's question, based on the newspaper's front page - we would write the answer on a slip and they would be collected - with a 'G' awarded for each correct answer.
 
I always read the newspapers thouroughly, to this day, and for some years favoured the Daily Telegraph crossword above all else!
 
Al the Best
JC
Graham Walmsley answered:
 
Yes there was a board on the staircase in the left side of the building that showed your score as I recall. I also believe stripes were given out in a chitty & you had to hand them in within a certain time. The prize system didn't operate in my time.
Was Fossie still head in your days ? Didn't his nephew take over eventually as head.
Did they have end of term feasts in your day? We used to get sausage egg & beans lemonade made from lemonade powder the colour of pee & jelly & blancmange  all served by the masters - given the usual food it really was a feast!!

 

 

Before the School swimming pool was installed.
swimmingpool1948.jpg
The students had to walk to the Folkestone pool. Which is no longer there. Photo Taken in 1948.

Submitted by David O'Clee   

 

 

Yes, the stars and stripes were the same from the beginning.  Mr. Foster took that - and many other aspects of Westbrook's systems from the school where he taught before he started Westbrook.  The school was called Beachborough and was just outside Folkestone on the way to Lyminge. He talked a lot about the respect he had for the headmaster of this school whose name I believe was Mr. Chapple.

The things I remember about him were his kindness, his love for Yorkshire, his sadness about one of his brothers being killed in the war (which had something to do with the Italians changing sides - confirming his suspicion of all foreigners), his father losing his fortune before the war (I think he had had a cotton mill or something).  Also I remember him starting many addresses to the school with " I personally myself, quite frankly....." I also have curious memories of his other brother Group Captain Foster who had an old MG sports car and a cocker spaniel called David and a grace and favour flat above the carpentry shed. Groupie always cheered on the first eleven and first fifteen with a jokey "Come along St. Margaret's!" His eldest son Ted, Fossie's nephew, was also a teacher and was destined to inherit the headmastership - unfortunately he blotted his copybook by having an affair and his wife divorced him.  Groupie's other son Hugh was my best friend both at Westbrook and later at King's Canterbury - he did a degree in agricultural chemistry at Cambridge and emigrated to Malaysia.

Fossie himself had a small flat in Grimston Gardens after he retired.  He continued to love going to the races and patronising 'The Radnor Club" until it closed. Whenever he met any of his old boys, he loved to remenisce about the good old days.

 

Yours ever

David O'Clee    1954

Alanna Fraser wrote:

I saw your message in the Property Matters magazine that dropped through our door last weekend. I believe you may have known my (late) grandfather, Tony Jones, at Saga some years ago, as well as my aunt, Geraldine Westcob?
I was at Dover College Junior (and from its name change latterly to Prep) School from 1983-91, during the Rottenbury and Nick Broderick eras. Whilst there, I went to Rome to sing for the Pope (an event of which I have lots of photos - including those of us meeting the Pope) and sang at the Queen Mother's 90th Birthday Parade at Horse guards, as one of the only school choirs involved. At this time Roger Lewis was Deputy Head. We also had a visit from Olympic gold medal winner, Sally Gunnell, who came to coach us for an afternoon. I can remember various other events: I was the lead in two school plays - Alice in Wonderland (1989) and HMS Pinafore (1990) - and we also staged Oliver, Salad Days and Peter Pan, all under the direction of Richard Wood.

My great-grandfather, John Benbow, was also headmaster of the school at some point: I'm ont entirely sure of the dates, but one of the 4 intra-school houses was named after him. I remember being captain of benbow in my last year and feeling enormous family pride at winning the cup at the end of the year for the leading house across all the sports events of the year. I fear this may have been something to do with the swimming gala having been cancelled that year, which was never our strongest suit, rather than multi-disciplinary sporting excellence!

There are plenty of staff who came and went during those times, which I can happily fill you in on, if you are interested.

I hope this helps a bit with the epic jigsaw puzzle you are trying to create!

Best wishes,

Alanna Fraser

 From the Office/Oldwestbrookians

Dear Alanna,

What a blast from the past - Yes, Tony Jones was my boss and he wrote the foreword to the first of my books on the German decoration - the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross - in fact I quote it on the front page of my website( www.ritterresearch.co.uk ). He was a great bloke to work for, a laugh, but also very professional. Geraldine I remember too, she had a flat in Sandgate, but I haven't seen her for ages. Perhaps you can pass on my best.

What a tonic you are, I've been trying to find information/pictures of the school choir visit to Rome and now you ping into my inbox and say you've got both! Jan Richardson provided me with lots of leads but not much substance, similarly Charles Whitney skimmed over Westbrook's history in his epic tome of the history of Dover College. I'm trying to write the definitive history of Westbrook House ('Westbrook Days') and its founder Ken Foster. I'm
covering the period 1947 to 2005, so your input will be immensely valuable
to the 1980s-1990s section about which I have very little. Perhaps we can continue to correspond or even better meet if you're local.

I must say I haven't come across Mr Benbow in any of the stuff that's been thrust upon me or I have dug out of dusty cupboards or dragged off the internet. Perhaps you could give me a bit more info on that and Sally Gunnell's visit, that too I knew nothing about. I knew about John Ryan, the Captain Pugwash creator who lives in Rye, and Tony Hart, both of whom came to the school, to impart their talents. Have you perused the website, the creation of my alter ego in fair Canada. He's a bit too enthusiastic, but his heart's in the right place! You'll see some of what we've discovered in the "Ongoing Research" section.

And talking of Saga - Roger De Haan is the Chairman of Westbrook House and I was with him and another ex-Sagaite (the cook at Enbrook House!), Janet Andrews, the Folkestone Mayor, at the Grand Opening of the Senior Department by Michael Howard on Friday. If you don't mind I'll mention your name in the next episode of the Property Matters article which I'm putting together, I think that opening will be mentioned in it too.

Once again, thank you so much for getting in touch. Please keep digging and see what you can find, everything is useful.

Best regards, 

Office/Oldwestbrookians

On 29/09/06, Alanna Fraser wrote:


I'm glad you remember all my family! My aunt is now living in a flat at the
top of Sandgate Hill; I'm sure she'd love to catch up with you.

I'm a teacher at Benenden at the moment so I can very easily meet up. I
don't work on Fridays so that is probably best - or half-term, of course
(15-30 Oct).

My great-grandfather, John Benbow, was Master of Juniors at Westbrook from
1924 - 1933 (going back a bit). I think that was the technical term, back
then, for Head Master. He is mentioned a couple of times in Charles
Whitney's book on the school.

I have plenty of photos from the Rome trip we went on, including a nice,
iconic one of John Paul II blessing a couple of people (sadly not me, but
I've become a Religious Studies teacher, nonetheless!).

I'm sure I, and a number of my contemporaries, with whom I'm still in touch,
would love to come to the anniversary next year. I will pass around the
details.

Do let me know if I can be of any further help.

Best wishes,

Alanna

Dear Alanna,

Things became clearer after your reply to my enthusiastic mail. Your great-grandfather must have been Master of Juniors at Dover College not Westbrook House, the two schools did not merge until 1968! That explains why he was not known to me as I'm studying only Westbrook House Preparatory School in all its incarnations on the Shorncliffe Road site from 1947 to 2005. Charles Whitney really covered the history of Dover College and only mentioned Westbrook House (WH) in a single part-chapter. We are righting that by concentrating only on WH.

According to Jan Richardson's accounts of life at Dover College Junior School (WH), the Rome trip was in sometime in 1984. I'd be interested in all the nitty-gritty details of the visit, who went, where you stayed, what the itinerary was for the trip. In fact, any detailed information you can provide on your experiences at the school would be of interest and will be 'threaded into' our ever-growing tapestry. Any documents (certificates, leave chits, school books, prizes, press cuttings etc) and/or photographs you can scan (high resolution) or loan to me to scan, would also help us see how life was in your era.

To qualify for membership of the Old Westbrookians' Society, you and your contemporaries must have attended Westbrook House Preparatory School 1947-1968, Dover College Junior School (WH) 1968-1994, St Mary's Westbrook 1994-2005 and Westbrook House Prep School 2005-Present on the Shorncliffe Road/Ravenlea Road sites. I would be interested to know when DCJS became DCPS and also dates of any/all events that you recall will be immensely useful for the forthcoming 'Westbrook Days'.

Please let me have the names and contact details of many of your friends as you can as I have to increase the membership significantly before next year to ensure a good showing at the 60th anniversary event.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Best regards,

Office/Oldwestbrookians