It needs to be stated that apart from a couple of occasions*, the time (aged 11-15) spend at the Mount of 'orrids was, without doubt, the unhappiest of my teenage years. On quite a few occasions travelling in to the bus station, near North Station, on the No 9 bus, I was physically sick (with the anticipation of arriving at school) and had to visit the toilets below the bus station in order to clean myself up... that would be a familiar start of my day.

Beginning in form two with Butch and someone called Moon (whatever happened to him!!?) started the reign of terror for the rest of that day with the other brutes. Each and every day was similar and the laying on with that strap was the fearful outcome of an apparent lack of communication skill from those teachers to the pupils. If they thought they would knock some knowledge into this pupil they were only half correct. They knocked it in alright and continued so to do until it came out the other side. There was no point in trying to learn as the fear of punishment prevented the remembering skill.

So it continued up the school into the third form with Jessie Ring who hovered about one like a threatening vampire bat and was not averse to giving the boys a quick grope. He also had a less than social accepted habit of sucking up his nasal contents to the back of his throat, bringing them up to his mouth and, after a good tasting, swallowing it it all. Not a good way to demonstrate social graces... I suppose it would have saved on laundry!!. Then on up to the fifth with Beattie, a bald headed individual who, on occasions, sat alongside me and after asking me to decline 'mensa' commenced to fiddle with my fly buttons. I thought at the time that this behaviour had little to do with Latin declensions. I was a day boy, goodness knows how the boarders fared.

The brethren were not the only ones to take abusive advantage of their positions. A lay physics teacher named Paddy Magee (...whose arrival was greeted by the boys with..."Backs to the wall. Here comes Paddy"). He would stand behind the boy and pull him backwards to make contact.... confusing and frightening for a twelve year old.

So it continued.. in the Gym ..Alf Pope's predecessor. Lynch(?) was very handy, (if one (me) could not vault the box or/and the horse), with a gym slipper on the bum covered only with a thin pair of shorts.... Fortunately I don't remember the showers, if there were any. This negative type of communication(?) did little for me but only made me more determined to escape, which I did in the early part of '50/'51. I went AWOL and for the next three/four months until spring and the official time for me to go. Nobody at the school bothered to make contact during this time.. as Wellington described it ... "a damn close run thing!!"

*The only couple of times I felt O.K. at Joes was after I was elected to play parts in school concerts/plays which were presented in the Jubilee Theatre on the top of the Co-op building in the town. Here the school did As You Like It (where I played Rosalind ..followed the next year by Twelfth Night where I played Sir Toby Belch, and Paul Thorpe was Olivia and very good from what I remember). Previously I had been heavily criticized for appearing, for four years running, in the Blackpool Children's Pantomime produced at the Palace theatre (now Lewis's I think) and at the Grand, one year ('46-'49).... but when the teachers required someone who could remember lines and do a bit of acting, they quickly reversed their complaints.

The abuse both psychological and physical has been something, which during the past years the people at work with whom I have briefly recounted my experiences, have found them almost incomprehensible, with the exception of two, who are sadly no longer with us, Dave Allen who experienced it with the I.C.B.s in Ireland and whose anger was demonstrated by his humour, and also by Nigel Hawthorne who grew up and was educated, again by I.C.B.s in South Africa, but sadly was unable to talk about about his experiences. The scars are not always visible. I was glad to read the teachers' names in the least they can do no more harm...

One of the saddest outcomes involving all the news from this school is that parents handed over their children into the hands of these twisted men with no thought of their safety, (not relevant), only to have their trust usurped at this college where the children should have been safe. I would have enjoyed being present when the bulldozers came and knocked down the place. Pity some of the evil men were absent. Still if there is any retribution (which I doubt) they should be burning to a crisp but I wouldn't pour water on any of them.

May their God forgive them for I never can.

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