I get numerous emails from Old Salvos, but very few have anything to do with the time I was at the place; 1944 to 1949. From what I can glean, it did not change much from my day of six of the best, rulers around the head, chalk scrubber thrown.
I mainly remember things like watching a doodlebug flying past while we were going in to the shelter, which was in the field behind the school. Also the cross country runs and the walk in splendid whites to Marsh Farm for cricket.
We had education in only basic subjects plus Latin. No science. However, despite being more interested in my hobbies, and often playing truant, I must have been taught well in these basics, as I never had any problems reading, writing or basic maths. All I have ever needed in my 70 years.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) my time there converted me well away from Catholicism. My mother was a convert to the faith late in life and indoctrinated me, even to being an altar boy! When I got married to a Church of England girl, my mother was told that she could not go to the church, by one of the priests. That was the final straw. She did come, but was never the same afterwards, being regularly told by the priest that she might not go to heaven.
Many years have gone by since I was a pupil at Salvatorian College; much water has flowed under the bridge! I have been back - inside - once, when I was doing some malaria research with Imperial College in 1980: it was late in the afternoon, but I was escorted (almost marched!) up to Mr. Hartin’s classroom - he was the Maths teacher then - and "announced!" My goodness! It took me back many years in time to whenever an **adult** visited, and we immediately all stood!
Much otherwise had changed from when I was there, but I remembered particularly the air raid shelters; the "window" dropped by the German planes; the clay ball-and-stick "wars" we had on the field; the ice slide in the back in winter; the occasional "canings" by Fr. Ignatius, or Fr. Brendan; the "physical torture" (I hated cross-country runs!); singing Tenebrae in the church during Holy Week; etc., etc. It was very good to remember all that - and more.
On Harrow-Weald: some of my school memories probably have no significance today, but I well remember walking to and from the train station to the College along High Street, and, one day - wonder of wonders! - finding an ice cream wagon on a side street, selling 1" x 2" cylinders of that (Lyons) treat, each nicely wrapped in wax paper. It was mobbed by Salvo pupils, as, due to war-time rationing, ice cream was almost unavailable, and a wagon was rare!
Also, on Wednesdays, at lunch time, we'd go to the back door of a pub (name?) to get some potato crisps for a silver tanner (6p). And there was a Woolworth's somewhere about a third of the way from Salvo to the station; there was a favourite fish and chips place a little further along.
And going up the other way (toward Harrow), there was a favourite winkle shop: they sold them in little brown paper bags, and provided the safety pin with which to get them out! We could also get pieces of licuorice root there as our (almost) only available sweet. Occasionally, we would find Tizer in one or another shop, but it wasn't always there.
Basically, we enjoyed what we could - and there wasn't much by today's standards!
At the time of my arrival at the Salvatorian College in September 1943 Fr Xavior Howard was HM and Mr Paddy Hartin was a recently appointed Maths teacher. Paddy Hartin at the start of one of his lessons told us that he was educated by Irish Christian Brothers and (’had the scars to prove it.’) They were the Religious SS. I liked the guy even though I got whacked from time to time. Maths was not my best subject!!!
In 1943/44 German bombs from time to time still fell upon Harrow mainly overnight.( later, V1 bombers came at any time!) The school had underground air raid shelters set underneath the grassed area of the playground / football pitch. During my time they were never used for real. The access to them was a flight of stone steps, which was blocked off (sort of).
Sometime in 47/48, along with a few others I gained entry to the underground tunnels which had 2 tier bunks standing in 12” of water. Some unspeakable things floated about. Some of us were able to circumnavigate the tunnels by keeping hold of the bunks and hoping we would not fall in the water. As for light... I had a small torch, and a few others had brought in candles. This prank was not to be recommended... but it was a bit of fun... and we did not get caught. It put me in good stead for my Pot-Holing adventures in 1948 through to the 1970’s. I introduced my three sons to the joys?
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