1961 John Christophers
Half of Cranbrook’s pupils were us day boys, who had passed the 11+. We came in daily by public transport, bicycle, or on foot. The boarders called us ‘day bugs’ because we only appeared at daytime and were in their eyes some sort of low life. When we went home in the evening we sometimes encountered local kids who had failed the 11+ and went to the notoriously rough Secondary Modern School called Homewood. They would call us ‘grammar gogs’. Looking from across the road at the headmaster’s house there was a tarmacked drive on the left, and an old building. On the ground oor was the tuck shop, where you could buy sweets, buns and zzy drinks, during breaks and lunchtime. This was run by ‘Tug’ Wilson, a retired Navy man who also helped out with the Combined Cadet Force (CCF). ‘Tug’ lived in a council house opposite the main sports ground. He died in the late fties and was greatly missed by us all; he was a great character. Behind the headmaster’s house was a large tarmacked yard on a slope and our cloakrooms and bathhouse. There were pegs to hang our mackintoshes and bags and high up on the wall adjoining the bathhouse was a huge silver-painted hot water tank. Although dangerous, it was possible to climb up on top of the tank. It was a practice of some bad-attitude individuals to practise rugby kicks with other people’s plimsolls. If you lost a plimsoll you hadtoclimbupontopofthetankandseeifitwas there. Bad rugby kicks sometimes produced some amusing results; the changing room was always very dusty and sometimes a plimsoll hit the ceiling leaving a footprint where no one could possibly have stepped.