An entrance can make all the difference to a garden, one's home, or even a Football ground. No matter where it's found, it gives you advance warning of what is to come.
At age 13 I saw the above 'entrance' (The Porta) for the first time, and frankly it filled me with serious foreboding. I can remember that moment even today.
I was making that great leap from Prep' school to Senior school, and had been summoned to meet my new prospective headmaster prior to sitting the dreaded 'Common Entrance' exams, but seeing that austere building made me wonder if I'd chosen the right place. Even Dartmoor (below) had a more friendly appearance; not that I've visited it.
At my current school I'd been a senior boy, partly in charge of my juniors; but here, once inside this great arch I suddenly became a mere quivering junior again, with the senior boys looking more like grown men or angry prison warders than fellow pupils. It was a shock for which I wasn't prepared.
Luckily I passed my exams and was offered a place; surprisingly complete with a very small Latin Scholarship bursary. The ancient buildings all soon became familiar, and I quickly forgot the feelings of doom that had originally beset me.
The Porta is actually a much younger building that the others that surround it. Built between 1396 and 1417 it was originally the entrance to the monastery where fellow 'old boy' Edward the Confessor had learned his ABC. Later it became the location of a 'Bishop's Court', and even contained a small prison. Personally I remember it mostly as a venue for theatre and music events; it's where my thespian talents were discovered and honed! My interpretation of 'Mortimer' in Arsenic and old Lace was legendary..... legendary darling!
All I can think of is Whacko and Jimmy Edwards. Daft really.ReplyDelete
Plenty of whacking too!Delete
It is rarely mentioned but it a terrible shock when going on to secondary school from primary. From the top of the heap to very bottom, all in a short time.ReplyDelete
Gosh, I remember it so well, and in my day we had to become 'slaves' for the senior boys (running errands, cooking toast, cleaning shoes, etc). Such fagging doesn't exist these days, but it probably taught us a lot.Delete
Kerb appeal is very important .... I remember our teacher in the last year of Junior school telling us that, when we went up to Senior school, we were but a small fish in a big pond ! .... soon got used to it all though. XXXXReplyDelete
Frightening for the first week or so. No-one prepared us for it.Delete
Having taught for my whole career in Comprehensive schools I know only too well the apprehension with which children arrive on that first day.ReplyDelete
Usually most children would know each other, or have something in common, because they come from the same catchment area, but that wasn't the case with me.Delete
The best thing about school transition was wearing long trousers. Everything else was terrible.ReplyDelete
Yes, it wasn't much fun. Everything was strange; the people, the rules, the buildings, etc. It was a nightmare for a few days.Delete
I'm listening to Keith Richards' autobiography for the second time through. His experience was the exact opposite of yours, he and his mates saw their inevitable journey to service, to the war, to a factory job. He did wind up in an art curriculum for a short time, and learned a bit of drawing and drafting, but, then, boom, there was no more national service, and he took his guitar and headed out.ReplyDelete
I too was born too late for National Service (thank goodness), but I did do a short Officer Training course; which I quite enjoyed. No guitar for me!Delete