Above is an arial photo of my old prep' school (6 to 14). The school is now closed, but in it's hey-day was a pretty classic school of its type. Set amongst the beautiful Sussex weald, it even boasted a magnificent cricket pitch, that had been specially laid down for the visiting South African test teams.
These schools were found all over southern England and elsewhere, but especially in Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire. The word 'Preparitory' meaning that pupils were 'prepared' for both the rigours of the dreaded 'Common Entrance' exam, that hopefully gave access to one's upper school, and also to the extremely tough life ahead, under the liberal use of canes by sadistic Flashman-style 'prefects'.
I was beaten rather a lot at The Abbey. School rules, as silly as they may seem to outsiders, were to be broken at peril, and beating was the normal punishment for even the slightest infringement. Whacker-in-chief was a Mr FRITH; joint owner of the school. He was also my classics teacher, and, I must say, a very good one.
At the age of about 24 I met up again with my old tormentor, by chance, whilst I was temporarily teaching at a Sussex Preparitory School (just before my leaving for France). The Abbey, by this time, had closed down, and FRITH had returned to being just an ordinary teacher (no different to me) at another prep' school. He had accompanied his school Cricket team to play against the one where I was teaching.
I spoke to him all too briefly, and couldn't help noticing that he was extremely uncomfortable in my presence. He looked as if he was expecting me to punch him on the nose at any moment, and he scampered away looking very sheepish. I suppose the moral to this tale is that one should never do things that one would be ashamed of in later life. Strangely, I felt rather sorry for poor old FRITH; his world had fallen apart, and the likes of me had finally become his equal. No wonder he scuttled off so quickly with his tail between his legs.