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  • A Message from OH President Seb Warner

    Thu 11 Apr 2024 David Woollatt

    OH President Seb Warner recently addressed the Club with this video.

    On a visit to Forres Sandle Manor School, he talks about the importance of the Old Honitonians Club, its exciting future and how you can get involved and interact with fellow OHs.

     

     

    Do keep an eye out on our website for all OH Club events. Thank you. 

    David Woollatt (Honorary Secretary).

     

  • High to low: Marks for Rousdon’s buildings by George Hayter

    Mon 01 Apr 2024 George Hayter

    If you are anything like me you can clearly recall Rousdon’s mixed bag of varied architecture, some of it in detail.

        Most OHs will agree that the best building exterior was on the mansion itself, designed by Victorian mansion-specialist Ernest George. I award the rambling flint-and-tile jumble of styles 10 out of 10 for architectural entertainment. I have looked up several other big houses designed by Ernest George and I reckon Rousdon is his masterpiece. It’s poetic and powerful. Completed in 1878, it was the first mansion that the young George had designed and, despite it being his first, it remains, as far as I can make out, his biggest.

        I also give 10 out of 10 to a lowly room beneath the huge mansion. “The Grott” was the name given to a humble sub-basement, apparently built as a boiler room and coal store but transformed during the school’s tenancy into an intimate rehearsal and performance space for jazz and, later, rock music. Mystically reachable only by ladder.

        Full marks for architecture also go to the chemistry and physics labs, a sensitive and smart substantial two-storey extension to Ernest George’s former stables. The science library attached to the labs formed a bridge which was a particularly exciting feature.

        One more place has to have full marks, in my opinion. That’s the art school, whose four rooms, nestling in farmyard rafters and hefty beams, were always a delight to draw and paint in.

        Almost as good, with 9 points, is the handsome clock tower. Of Allhallows, you might say, the clock tower was a striking symbol.

        More controversially, the interior of boring Venning scores 9. A lot of people knock this early 1960s boarding house because of its admittedly boring suburban exterior, but the inside was exciting. The theatrical double-storey top-lit central hall and stairs led up to dormitories under shallow-pitch exposed timber roofs. An exhilarating structure to see overhead from bed.

        Next, an excursion to award 9 points to Lyme Regis, whose seaside architecture and cobb combine with beach and steep high street to create one of Britain’s loveliest holiday towns, and a pleasant escape for boarders too.

        The school hall gets 8 for its splendour, its soaring height and its medieval make-believe.

        Ernest George’s design in not perfect. Chapel quad is spoilt by being dark and dingy. The quad’s smallness and the three storeys of masonry towering above it together stop much daylight reaching down to it. In my time the south cloister, across the dingy quad from the chapel, led to the one place where even a lowly pleb could get what he wanted. Because it led to the tuckshop, that dingy cloister on the south side of chapel quad gets a generous 8 from me. Surprising architectural pleasure can come from a place’s cheerful association with tuck.

        Scoring 7 are Rousdon’s magnificent gates with their gigantic neo-Romanesque stone gate posts, and the lawn-fringed half-mile drive.

        Ramps are a great novelty for exploiting the third dimension, so the two at Rousdon earn 6. One led from the red post box (itself an architectural embellishment) down to the deliveries yard. The other pleasing ramp was outside the former Baker study in the billiards wing of the mansion.

        I give the stuffed birds 5. I didn’t like them much. Appeared decaying. But I appreciate that for naturalist Sir John Lister-Kaye OH, and probably other biology enthusiasts, those glass cases contained treasure.

        Scoring lower still is the cricket pavilion, with 4. Built in the impoverished post-war years, and a missed opportunity. It’s just a bungalow. No cricket sizzle. It needed, say, widespread glazing, a soaring canopy or perhaps even a giant bat (the willow kind).

        Also getting 4 is the white marble staircase. A lot of OHs are fond of it but to me it’s a sore thumb. And the lavish material isn’t sustained. At the first floor it turns to mere wood.

        Nearing rock bottom now. Just 2 points for the Lillies building, the utilitarian study block and later junior school built outside the library windows in the late 1960s. An eyesore next to a palace.

        Floors in the mansion’s corridors also get just 2. Mosaics leave me cold. Particularly dull when their colour is restricted to dark grey and brown.

        During my time at school new construction plumbed an aesthetic abys with the disappointing Bruce biology labs. I remember little of that eyesore’s appearance, fortunately.

        Absolute zero in the 1960s with 0 is the basement room of baths nearest chapel quad. Dismal and depressing. Thank goodness I never had to have a bath there.

     

    This is the final instalment of 12 monthly essays written for the OH website by George Hayter (V 65-70)

  • OH Raising Money for Ukraine Aid

    Thu 28 Mar 2024 David Woollatt

    You may have heard about the remarkable efforts of Richard Anderson (M. 66-71) and Patrick Musters (St. 65-70) in delivering aid to Ukraine in 2022.

     

    Patrick has shared an update with the club regarding ongoing fundraising efforts for the region here with a drive to raise £3000 to fund the purchase and delivery of generators medical & vet aid and supplies after Putin's recent bombardment of power infrastructure - https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/patrick-musters-1

     

    If you're able to contribute, it would be truly appreciated. Thank you.

     

  • Breaking News - Mr Blooman To Join West Country Lunch Guests

    Wed 13 Mar 2024

    We are pleased to announce that Mr Blooman will be joining us at the Westcountry Lunch on May 11th at The Victoria Hotel in Sidmouth. He is very much looking forward to meeting all the OHs who will be attending.

     

     

     

     

    To reserve your place at this fantastic event, please email OH Victoria Berry at torberryconsultancy@gmail.com.

     

    You can see the menu option and more details about the event here - https://www.oldhonitonians.com/events-2/

     

    We look forward to seeing you there.

     

     

  • Sports results in the final three decades

    Sun 03 Mar 2024 George Hayter

    Sports results in the final three decades

    by George Hayter

     

    Last month I revealed that in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s Allhallows was usually the underdog in matches against other schools.

        That February article, still available here on the website, showed that in First XI and First XV fixtures during those 30 years, we lost 430 matches and won just 315.

        Did our losing habit continue? To find out, I have analysed hundreds more match results to learn how we fared against other schools in the 1970s, 1980s and – as far as is known – in the 1990s.

        I will reveal which of the three major sports we were best at in the school’s last three decades, and in which periods we were usually winners, and periods when victory was generally illusive.

        My disappointing conclusion is that our long-term tendency to lose in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s continued through the ’70s and ’80s. And it looks as though we didn’t do any better in the ’90s, though we can’t be sure because school mags weren’t produced in the school’s last few years, so most ’90s sports results are lost, probably forever.

        Draws are neutral so I have ignored them. Instead, I have analysed only wins and losses – what I call “result matches”.

        Of the 887 known result matches in its final three decades, Allhallows suffered 508 losses and savoured just 379 wins. In other words, when it wasn’t a draw, we lost 57% of the time. I prefer the more cheerful view: 43% of the time we won. That was a slight improvement on the ’40s-to-’60s period when we won 42%.

        I admit a flaw in my methodology. By ignoring draws I have exaggerated our losing tendency – even disastrous seasons often included at least one draw to provide relief.

        Our best sport? In the final three decades that continued to be rugby, with 50% of matches won, the same as in the earlier period. Our rugby winning ways of the late ’60s continued into the ’70s. The effect was that every year for 13 years we won more matches than we lost, with the exception of two years. In other words we had 11 years out of 13 when we won more than we lost.  Particularly glorious among those 13 years were the impressive ’70, ’74 and ’78 seasons, when rugby victories were so numerous that they became routine. The number of victories in each of those three outstanding rugby seasons was at least 14. But after 1980 Allhallows rugby declined. As far as any record exists, there would be only three more rugby seasons when we won more than lost.

        Less successful than rugby was cricket, with 40% of result matches won. Cricket enjoyed what might be called a silver age from ’77 to ’81, when we won at least as much as we lost, with ’78 and’79 almost totally triumphant.

        Least successful in the last three decades of Allhallows was hockey, with 36% of result matches won. There was no return to hockey’s all-conquering heydays of the ’40s and early ’50s. However, ’78 to ’83 did see six almost unbroken years of winning at least as many hockey matches as we lost.

        In all sports, the odds of victory depended on our opponents as much as us, and I understand that opposing schools usually had a numerical advantage over us. Most opposing schools were bigger than Allhallows and so had a larger field of talent to select teams from. However, sometimes that effect was cancelled, when our first team was pitted against an opponent’s second team.

        Where we failed to shine in hockey, cricket and rugby, we more than made up for it by positively dazzling in shooting. In the 20 years from 1951, Allhallows was only four times out of the top nine in the Ashburton Shield rifle shooting contest with 80 other schools. We were a national wonder when our little school actually won the shield – and that happened six times.

        Former team members in the three major sports need not be dismayed by reading of the school’s losing tendency. On the contrary, players can look back on their success with added pride, knowing that their victories were against the odds.

        This is all just maths. Scores and descriptions of particular seasons and even individual matches await you in the pages of school magazines, available in the Archive section of the OH website.

     

  • It's always lovely when the club receives correspondence from Mr Blooman

    Sat 02 Mar 2024 David Woollatt

    It's always lovely when the club receives correspondence from Mr Blooman, especially when they are written on cards featuring his brother's beautiful artwork. Here, is Michael Blooman's Linocut of 'Jurassic Cliffs, Pinhay Bay, Lyme Regis'.

     

    Mr Blooman was inquiring on behalf of Shirley Ambrose, the Girl's Housemistress, about how to contact OH Kate Young who led the dancers at the opening of the Sports Hall in 1987. If anyone remembers or knows Kate, it would be wonderful if they or Kate could contact the club as Shirley would love to get in touch. Thank you so much.

     

    Email: honsecretary@oldhonitonians.online

  • OH Events Update

    Mon 19 Feb 2024 David Woollatt

    Dear OHs,

     

    We have a number of events coming up which we are really looking forward to. Here is our Hon. Secretary with some details.

     

     

    Our Wonderful OH Family Fun Day and Midlands Meet Up is on 23rd March in Monks Kirby at The Denbigh Arms, Monks Kirby

     

    The Westcountry Lunch is on 11th May. You can see the menu here - https://www.oldhonitonians.com/events-2/ and book your place by contacting OH Victoria Berry at torberryconsultancy@gmail.com

     

    OH Questionnaire - Huge thank you to all those who have filled in the questionnaire so far; here is the link to it - https://forms.gle/1q8539UkcgLKcTsj7

     

    For all the latest, keep checking back to our events page here - https://www.oldhonitonians.com/events-2/

     

     

  • 1960 Gloster Meteor Incident Witnessed By Pupils at the Front of Allhallows

    Tue 13 Feb 2024 David Woollatt

       OH Dudley Hopkins (1959 - 1964) recently recounted an experience involving a plane incident "while I and others were assembling in our platoon on corps day in the forecourt of the school."

       Further details emerged from Dudley. He shared that it was a Meteor T7 from Boscombe Down, the Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment research facility, on November 11, 1960—a Friday, which coincided with their CCF/corps day.

       This revelation sparked a captivating morning of investigation at the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection. The aircraft in question was identified as a Meteor T7 with registration number WF766, piloted by Flight Lieutenant John Stewart Duncan AFC. The official record states:

     

       "Seventeen minutes after take-off, the aircraft disintegrated in flight over Axminster, Devon, tragically claiming the life of the pilot. Wreckage scattered over an area three miles North West of Lyme Regis, Dorset."

     

       You can see the full incident report here.

     

    Our journey of inquiry continues as we seek to locate the memorial for this incident. We hope the full write-up will be in the next OH Magazine.

     

    Please note the Meteor pictured is the much later T14 but is used as a guide for the type of aircraft involved.

  • Download the OH 2023 Magazine

    Mon 12 Feb 2024

    Dear OHs,

     

    We are thrilled to present to you the much-anticipated 2023 OH Newsletter! Packed with updates from members, highlights of past events, and exciting announcements, this edition promises to be an engaging read for all.

     

    You can click here to download your copy now.

     

  • Important OH Club Questionnaire

    Wed 31 Jan 2024 Seb Warner

    Dear Old Honitonian,

     

    It is over 25 years since Allhallows closed and it is quite an incredible achievement to have kept the OH Club going throughout this time!

     

    We have achieved so much over the years and the various OH committees have continually provided their invaluable voluntary support, which has meant that we have survived for as long as we have.

     

    However, as time slips by, the number of OHs decline, or become less active, and therefore we need to ensure that we have a clear direction for the future, which has the backing of the Club. Therefore, I would ask you all to provide answers and feedback to the questionnaire HERE which will determine how the Club moves forward.

     

    We will conduct this review over the next two months and provide a full update thereafter.

     

    All the very best,

     

    Seb Warner – President

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