Lovely to see an Old Pastonians web site. I am Canon Peter Nicholson OBE MA of Uxbridge and I was at Paston from 1935-42 (Nelson House)
I remember well the dedication of the organ donated by Revd Willis Feast and I remember well Ken Lown’s solo. I am almost 89 and a former governor of the school during Colonel Marshall’s headship. I was vicar of Wroxham and Hoveton at the time and was nominated by the Bishop of Norwich.
Mr Grantham Hill tried hard to teach me maths but it was all very much beyond me. N S Lachlan taught Latin and went on to Radley College. P J Pearce was a superb science teacher and, when he was called up into the Royal Navy, his wife carried on in the lab. Of course, I remember the days of “Rod” Hare in the lab and how he would administer the cane in front of a class if a misbehaving boy was sent to him. I was once present at one of these occurrences. Captain Brown taught woodwork and metalwork. I remember making an egg stand. Emma Lumb taught art and English Literature (Julius Caesar, Pride and Prejudice and all that) George Couper taught history and Geography and P T. P C Birkinshaw taught us English Grammar very well
David Manwaring’s father taught us French. He would sometimes doze off but when awake he was very accurate with the board rubber! Major Pickford taught religion on Saturday mornings. Ivor Nicholson taught maths in my early days. He came from Australia and when he returned to Britain he would hire a caravan and come and take root in our various gardens (Norfolk, Lyme Regis etc.) Crushers Hare taught geography and history to the seniors. There was a page at the back of our report books which said “Achievements while at the school” My page on leaving said “corporal in the cadet corps” When I was stationed in Deolali in India I heard a familiar voice shouting orders at a squad. It was Wilkin, at school with me. I called out “Halt and his squad obeyed instantly. He looked round and was astonished to see me standing there. Small world!
During the war senior boys acted as fire watchers, sitting by rote in the staff room (and sneaking a look at the mark books to see how we were doing) One night a farmer’s son brought some eggs and we stole down into the lab to fry them over a bunsen burner. Little did we know that the headmaster’s wife was still up and about. She came down to the lab and ordered us back to our task. We thought we would be caned but she obviously did not tell Major Pickford (head master) When I became precentor of Peterborough Cathedral a party from North Walsham came to visit and I was deputed to show them round. The last person through the door was Mrs Pickford. She said “Ah! Nicholson! I bet they don’t let you fry eggs in here”
I was in the same form as Ivor Kiddle, Bobby Cotton, David Manwaring and others. The “Singing Postman” was a boy at the school. Without his glasses he was as blind as a bat! David went on to be a top statistician in the Government.
I spent my last thirteen working years as administrator of the Church’s hospital in Fitzroy Square, London – a very happy time. Ivor came and called on me there one day.
How I wish I could travel up to the Dinner but having had two knee joint replacements I just cannot manage it. I was President of the OP for a year and, when I was in Norfolk, I attended the annual events and lustily sang the school song (from memory!)
Happy, Happy days. Good cadet corps band. During the war when bells were not allowed to be rung, a boy called Rawlings sounded a bugle call to mark the end of lessons. Of course, the old M & G N was running in those days and we caught the 4.24 home
Congratulations and best wishes for the web site. (I still have five blazer buttons)
I think Revd Willis Feast gave the organ to the school because he bought it for Booton church and then the parishioners would not pay for it. Norman (Kiffy) Cutting played the organ and taught Teddy Bygraves and Mike Colman to play it. Kiffy came from Stalham where his father was a doctor. He was so mad on playing for so long each day as a boy that his parents had to lock up the piano. He had the early forms in the assembly hall on a FrIday afternoon (last lesson) where he taught us all the old patriotic songs like “Up with the Jolly Roger Boys”
I forgot to say that when I first went to Paston, Teddy Drakes took swimming. He put me in a cradle and took me down to the deep end. I was scared out of life and that stopped me from learning to swim until I was in the army. I then thought I ought to learn as I might find myself at sea in a convoy and we might be torpedoed. So I learned to swim in the pool at Sandes Home in Catterick where I was in training for the Royal Corps of Signals. I was in a convoy in the Atlantic for about five days and we lost a destroyer! The East Lancashire Regiment used to use the school quad for morning drill and we had a good time watching them. Parmiter’s School from London were evacuated to N W for a short time and, when we had a huge snowstorm, we had a pitched battle with them with snowballs. Unfortunately the headmaster came into the back gate and caught one of them so snowballing was stopped there and then.
When we had a frost there was a gigantic slide down the middle of the quad and, of course, water was poured on it to freeze during the night so the slide was even longer in the morning. There came a time when “willies” were all the go! These were knotted pieces of cord and almost everyone had one. You would suddenly get a fling of one across your backside and that was very painful. So, one morning at the end of assembly, the headmaster said “I now want you to pass by this door and leave your willies on the stage” There was an almighty pile of them I can tell you. I believe that someone said there were no school dinners in the assembly hall. Well, I remember the first school dinners there and they were cooked by the assistant groundsman’s wife. Miss Lumb came and sat at my table and, one day, when I mistakenly passed the first plate down the table instead of serving her first, she said “Haven’t you forgotten something, Nicholson?”
George Ward was the caretaker and he cleaned the classrooms after school as well as taking his vast motor mower all over the playing field. Because it was wartime, we dug up quite a big area of the lower field to plant potatoes. The head would come down at lunchtime and dig with us. Because it was wartime too, we made “Molotov cocktails” in the lab for use in an invasion.
They were made with petrol and oil with a rag sticking out of the neck of the bottle.Of course, we tried one or two out on the field before handing them over to the Home Guard. I have fantastic memories of school. One of my proudest moments was being invited to preach on Founder’s Day when my son, Timothy, who was a boy at the school and in Nelson House too, carried the processional cross in front of the choir.
Happy, happy days. I loved every minute of it.