Readers share memories of former junior school in Worthing

Graham Kew’s article about Seaford College Junior School, when it was once in Mill Road, Worthing, brought back a lot of memories for readers.

Seaford College Junior School, Worthing
Seaford College Junior School, Worthing

• Jon Meachin wrote in to share what he remembers from his time at the school.

Jon said: “I spent just over a year at Seaford College from late 1961 to late 1962.

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“I remember the house names being Smuts, Roosevelt and Churchill. I was in Churchill house.

“The teachers I remember from the photograph in the Herald were Mrs Shadbolt, Mr Gooding and Mr Cook, who was the headmaster.

“I also remember Mrs Lavoie teaching Maths, I think. I remember playing football and cricket in the playing fields.

“Although mainly a day boy I did spend three weeks boarding once because I needed the experience of staying in school, and on the other occasion when my parents were moving house – to get me out of the way, I suppose.

“In the article it mentioned the African boys coming over, which I remember one called Harrison Williams and another called Awad.

“The names I remember from my era were David Morphew, Peter Hoskins and John Vaughan.Others, without knowing their Christian names, were Goodman, Dunhill, Shepherd, Brown and Faulkner.

“Also I remember the tuck shop during the times I was boarding at the school.

“One silly thing I remember by looking at the chapel was the blue and red hymn books.

“Eighteen months after I left the school they began knocking it down to the move to Petworth, which was a shame.”

• Tom Sparks also wrote in to share his memories.

He said: “I was a day boy for about three years, leaving in 1959 to go to HMS Worcester Naval College, at Greenhithe.

“I used to stay at the school after lessons to have tea with the boarders and to complete my homework before going home early evening.

“My parents owned the Clare Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, and found it difficult to manage my schooling and run the hotel as well.

“I had a great friend, also a day boy, who lived in The Spaniard Hotel, and we used to have a paper round to do before coming to school.

“At the same time, we had David Purley in our class, his father I think owned LEC Refrigerators, and we were all invited to a tour of the factory in Bognor Regis and had masses of food laid on afterwards.

“I had to pass a very strict exam to get into the Naval College and remember swotting away trying to get the hang of Latin and French, which gave me more than one migraine.

“If anyone has any other information that they can share I would really like to know more.”

• Another former pupil at the school, Peter Cole, said: “I was a day boy pupil at Seaford College during the war. This must have been shortly after the school had to leave Seaford.

“The school initially took over buildings in Wykeham Road, which had been an educational establishment, but I do not know its former name.

“The then-head master’s name was Land, a clergyman, and related, as far as I remember, to another Reverend Land, minister at the Tabernacle, in Chapel Road.

“I can recall wartime ‘dog-fights’ in the sky above our playground, probably at the time when St Mary’s school nearby was strafed by enemy planes.

“Before moving to Downview Road the ownership of the school changed and the new head was another cleric, the Reverend Johnson, who ran the school first at Downview Road, and then at Lavington Park.

“The move to a former school in Downview Road must have been after the war ended as the buildings appeared to have been used by the military, and some classrooms were in Nissen Huts.

“Before the war, the school was known as St Ronans, before evacuating to the west country.

“The chapel, as I first remember it, had stained glass windows and memorial boards of past St Ronans’ pupils.

“It was a disappointment at the beginning of one term to find that St Ronans had removed their stained glass windows and the boards, leaving the chapel bare, as illustrated in your Herald article.

“The deputy head in my time was Mr Cook, presumably the Theo Cook you mention.

“He was known as ‘Sniff’ by the boys, but affectionately.

“When Mr Johnson moved with the senior boys to Lavington Park, Mr Cook became headmaster at Worthing.

“This must have been in or before 1947, when I left the school. I also remember Mrs Cook taking an active part in school life.

“The school was divided into houses at that time called Normans, Romans and Saxons, which I imagine survived the move from Seaford.

“There was also a school song from Seaford days starting: ‘By the sea and the rolling downs, in the lash of the channel spray...’

“I am still in contact with two fellow pupils, David Rose and Jeremy Clark.

“Among other names I recall are Anton Skillman, Ian Mackie, and Geoffery Bull.

“One of the teachers, much respected by the boys, was a Miss Dudney, who married Mr Johnson and moved to Lavington.”

• Judge Ronald Kammann, from San Francisco, California, also emailed in: “Amazingly, I saw thearticle on Seaford College Junior School in the online Worthing Herald.

“My brother and I attended Seaford in the mid-1950s.

“Our family was living in Hamburg, Germany, at the time, and our parents decided to send us to school in England.

“We were two of only three Americans at the school at the time.

“I was assigned to Smuts, which I believe had the most uncomfortable dorm mattresses I have ever experienced. I believe my older brother was in Roosevelt.

“Saturday night was bath night for the students, whether you needed one or not.

“The four/five tubs were filled a quarter full with tepid water, and the older boys bathed first. At 11, I bathed well down the list – and no change of water.

“The then-headmaster’s last name was Morgan. I remember that because I was caned by him a couple of times; once for climbing over the wall of his garden with a pal and swiping some cherries from his tree - heck, we were hungry. He lived next to the school.

“The treks around town and to the local church on Sunday, that you describe, were much the same when I attended. I ran track and remember well the sports day events.”

• If you have any memories or photos from your own schooldays, which you would like to share, please get in touch. Send your memories and photos to James Connaughton, via email to [email protected], send them by post or pop into Cannon House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN11 1NA. Telephone 01903 282351.