login continuous email location arrow-point-to-right phone calendar translate search facebook

Welcome To

The Old Honitonians Club

Call Us Email Us Find Us

High hopes or gullible dopes? by George Hayter

Most Allhallows boys weren’t much affected by the hippie craze but I really got into it. 

When the 1967 summer of love was revolutionising youth in America, I was at an impressionable age. Just turned 15 with no girlfriend and not getting on with my parents, this new prospect of universal free love was a very attractive idea for me. 

A new laid-back lifestyle based on doing nothing much more than being tolerant – count me in, I said to myself. I was looking forward to a bright new future of peace and happiness. 

It was in June of 1967 that the Beatles convinced me that Flower Power was right for me and for everybody. That month the group appeared on TV screens around the globe live. Britain’s contribution to the unprecedented Our World global broadcast showed the group in EMI’s Abbey Road studios, recording their next single. All You Need Is Love disseminated hippie anti-materialist philosophy to the world – including Allhallows. The recording session looked like a love-in, with participants in floral kaftans sitting on the floor or promenading with placards proclaiming love in different languages. We in Venning house were allowed to watch the pioneering global hook-up, and I think it was also seen by pupils elsewhere in the school. Me and many of my friends were impressed. We felt the Beatles’ appearance heralded exciting social change. 

However, large numbers of our more conservative fellow-pupils were not drawn to Flower Power. Me and my hippie-inclined colleagues could not understand why. Conservative pupils, who we might have referred to as “squares”, weren’t even very interested in growing their hair a rebellious length. How boring squares were, we thought. And how foolish and old-fashioned to put their energy into getting good marks and doing well at sport! Poor squares seemed blind to important change that hippie counterculture was bringing to the world. Some of us enlightened rebels talked of dropping out, but the squares still wanted careers. 

While squares were practising their forward defence or revising irregular verbs, hippie types like me were larking about or listening to Frank Zappa records. I took Flower Power further than most, by investing in the brightest blue, pink and purple floral shirt ever worn at Allhallows. 

Being in a traditional male English public school most of the year kept me and other hippie sympathisers largely isolated from the outside world, where Flower Power was bursting into bloom. Within the school, the dominant square culture, based on the Eton model, was still one of sporting heroism, punishment and prefect-led feudalism. 

How wrong I was about Flower Power. To my dismay, it went into rapid decline after 1967. The ascendancy of hippies and love-ins had lasted just a year! San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood, the epicentre of hippie culture, was rapidly overcome by overcrowding, homelessness and drug problems. The world’s youth followed the mood downturn. Idealism faded at Allhallows, and I stopped wearing my shirt. The Beatles abandoned their kaftans and fell into bickering amongst themselves. The world carried on as if Flower Power had been just a dream. Which I suppose it was. 


A reply to High hopes or gullible dopes? by George Hayter by Dudley Hopkins OH 


I did smile and chuckle at George Hayter’s 1965-1970 descriptive and colourful article on the effects that the said Movement had upon him while he was serving time at the School.....A lad with a rebellious nature!....
I Dudley Hopkins1959- 1964 left before the Movement which had its roots in the American opposition to their involvement in the Vietnam War had gathered pace but sure enough there were plenty of souls indeed who with the same rebellious nature were always pushing the boundaries on school dress, hairstyles and interpretation of the vast raft of school rules which were ALL encapsulated in the last one namely.....A breach of Common Sense was a breach of the school rules..Until the departure of the Head VAL Hill In 1965 after many years the rules were strictly applied in a somewhat Dickensian environment which in fairness was indeed common throughout the public school systems.I did however along with others sample the delights of the Beatles in concert in a master’s room adjacent to the balcony of the Great Hall....Upon leaving
While at Guildford Law School I entered into the spirit of the Movement by purchasing inter alia 2 Pairs of colourful hipster trousers in vogue from a trendy boutique in Quarry Street Guildford but there was no scope for wearing them back in the office while I completed my training before qualifying in June 1972
Long gone are the days when either George or myself could wear a flower in our hair if we had so chosen BUT we can still go to SAN Francisco if we so wish ( Scott McKenzie 1967 )......
Dudley Hopkins.....I felt compelled to say a few words on the topic !!