Being an Old Brutonian who left the school in 1970 and having recently retired, my wife Jenny and I thought it would be a great idea to visit King's again. We were present at the wonderful 500th
celebrations in June last year but we particularly wanted to see what school life is like during term time, in comparison to what it was like 50 years ago.
Perhaps the biggest difference between then and now is that the school is totally co-ed. I understand the ratio is 55% boys and 45% girls. I now realise that I was at King's during a very important part of its history, because in my final year the girls from Hall School joined the 6th
form for the first time. It was wonderful to see how the school has evolved and we were left with an overriding impression of a vibrant friendly place and how fortunate the pupils are to attend King's.
There have been many building/structural changes in the school during these years, however there are two that made a big impression on me. I have vivid memories of the original dining hall being a temporary hut structure. Now the school boasts a purpose built dining hall and during our visit we were fortunate enough to have lunch with pupils and staff. The culinary selection on offer is amazing. Back in my day when we used to dine “in the hut” there was no such thing as a choice of menu. I blame King's for my tendency to eat far too fast when I was younger, which I put down to always wanting to be head of the queue for any seconds on offer!
The other building that made a very big impression was the amazingly designed and equipped The Queen Elizabeth Music School. I was an Old House pupil and remember kicking a football around in the yard outside the dayroom as often as I could. Sometimes I would play Fives in the purpose built courts and would also brave the very cold water of the swimming pool. That has all changed now with the Music School being located there and the yard being landscaped.
Another “must see” for any OB, is to visit the History of King's Exhibition located in the John Davie Room in the Memorial Hall. This has been put together so studiously by Andrew Leach and it was extremely interesting to see how many renowned and brave pupils have passed through the school throughout its history. When I left King's, I embarked on a 30 year career in the Metropolitan Police. During the last 4 years of my service, I was a Detective Inspector on the National Crime Squad so I was particularly interested to see that a former pupil (aka Lt-Col Sir Edmund Henderson) was the Commissioner of the Met in 1869 and was responsible for forming the Criminal Investigation Department.
I was 14 years old when Andrew Leach started teaching at King's. Andrew was later to become Old House tutor and in my final year as Head of House we often worked together as a team and have remained in contact ever since. During our visit to the school it was wonderful to spend time with Andrew who had arranged a surprise meet up with John Norton, my former maths teacher. Amazingly he remembered me well, perhaps it was because I was useless at maths!!
How fortunate are we to have such lasting friendships and memories of such a wonderful school.
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