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The Old Honitonians Club

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For most of my five years at Allhallows I was discontent and sometimes I still wish I had gone to another school. 

    In my opinion the standard of teaching was low and most facilities below standard. 

    I was considered a bright pupil at prep school but by the time I left Allhallows my academic ranking had dropped. 

    Like everybody else in the 1965 intake to Venning, I was bullied, beaten, humiliated and discouraged. 

    And like Sir Francis Peek himself, I found parts of the actual location depressing, with its forbidding flint walls, its ghostly mansion and its dispiriting fog. 

    My housemaster wasn’t my type and, as an uncompetitive coward, I resented Saturday afternoons having to cheer others at play. 

    Allhallows was all boys until the first girls were introduced in my last year but oh dear I didn’t really get a look in. There were only six of them. 

    Too much of the teaching was boring and one master’s lessons were frightening, although Mr Blooman and Mr Christian were among staff who inspired me. 

    Some admirable OHs took a more positive view. They loved everything about Allhallows. Apparently they didn’t even notice the violence, the harsh conditions and the chaos. They thought the teaching was brilliant, they weren’t bullied and they didn’t even mind being beaten. They gloried in Rousdon’s isolation and they weren’t forced to watch the boring XV because they were in it. 

    These go-ahead people who shone in the examination hall and triumphed at sport are often to be heard at OH events. 

    And you might think that sceptics like me, who squandered their schooldays joking and sneering at swots and goody goodies, would be attracted to an OH gathering as they would be attracted to a minefield. 

    Yet I am an Allhallows doubter who is active in the club. And I’m not alone. Some of the most troublesome retrogrades you knew at school are these days regularly in the midst of happy chat at OH gatherings. Sports heroes and maths geniuses do not monopolise the attendance. Neither are prefects and heads of school the only ones there. There are loads of rogues like you and me. 

    The Allhallows grateful and ungrateful mix together better than the milk and powder in school custard. I should know. At school I was a cigarette-smoking wastrel who one year trampled his housemaster’s prized tomato plants, yet at OH events I have immensely enjoyed talking to the school’s former sporting and academic elite, not to mention swapping memories with former enforcers of school discipline. 

    Everybody is after a good time at club events. Come and have a good time with other old boys and girls this year, even if you’re among those of us who didn’t have much of a good time at Rousdon. 

Club events in 2023 include lunch, remembrance and drinks. 

Respectively in Sidmouth, Honiton and London. 

September 16th, October 28th and November 16th. Details: OH website. 


  •  Next website offering by monthly contributor George Hayter: 1st September