We have, perhaps, become blasé to the College’s regular coverage in the British media but recent reports in Le Monde, The China Morning Post, The Sydney Morning Herald and on CNN, the BBC World Service and Chinese national television have helped the College to gain an international reputation for excellence and innovation. The College remains a British school with an international outlook rather than an international school in the UK and offers places to only the brightest and most promising overseas students, many of whom remain in contact with the College in later life through the OBA.
Well it’s certainly all change here. It wasn’t enough to be appointed the new Development Director for Brighton College, I then went and got myself selected to stand for Parliament in Eltham, a key marginal constituency in South East London, for the Conservative Party. But fear not. As much as the OBA Administrator was hoping I’d have rather less time to find things to add to her list of tasks, it simply means I get up earlier and go to bed later!
In November 1942 an appointment had been made by my parents for me to be interviewed by the then Headmaster, Walter Hett. A daunting prospect for a 12 year old. We lived on the other side of Hove so Kemp Town was unknown to me but I did manage to get off the bus at the bottom of College Road. My first contact at the College was the then porter, Smart. On hearing that my appointment was at 11 o’clock he looked at the hall clock; it was ten past eleven! I can still see the look on Smart’s face. I don’t remember ever being late at school again in all of my 5½ years there.
I have just come across the article by Martin Buss regarding his memories of the old Junior School on the south side of Eastern Road. He asks what became of the handbell that used to be rung. As far as I know it was still in use in the "next generation" Junior School in the old Convent of the Blessed Sacrament in Walpole Road up until the time my father retired from teaching in the early 1980's.
I read with much enjoyment Pat Lyford’s affectionate recollections of his masters’ nicknames and mannerisms in issue 18 of the Pelican. I fully endorse Pat’s comment that he was very fortunate to have had the masters that he mentions. I would like to add my own very minor contribution to his list.
In March 2006, I had the pleasure to attend the 100th Anniversary Dinner of the founding of Durnford House. While at the College, I made a quick visit to the Junior School (JS) now long since situated where St. Mary’s Hall used to be some fifty years ago. I was profoundly shocked and saddened to realize from what turned out to be a very short visit that the JS that my brother, Brian, and I used to know, had totally ceased to exist.
The new Headmaster of Brighton College has certainly made his presence felt, what with making Mandarin Chinese compulsory for all students and teaching History to the Fourth Form! With his worldwide search for a young lad to benefit from the Peyton Scholarship, he has also enjoyed considerable media exposure.
If anyone thought the departure of Dr Seldon would also signal the departure of the camera crews and hacks we’ve grown used to seeing around the College they were wrong. After what seemed like only a few minutes in the job, Richard Cairns marked the Chinese New Year by making Mandarin Chinese (Puotonghuà as it is called in Chinese) compulsory for all new pupils at the College and instantly he was the lead item on national news broadcasts across Asia – and CNN, the BBC, most of Europe... Hits to the College website reached their monthly average in one day, calls from diplomats and government departments, not to mention prospective parents, from across the world flooded the College switchboard.
This has been a year of innovation for the Association, especially in the way we communicate with our members and the College community. The Association website, which is now updated almost daily, has been totally revamped with the addition of a community notice board, photo gallery, and an expanded OB Hall of Fame. We are registering an average of more than 150 hits a day on the website and many OBs are emerging from the woodwork to provide us with news. Going forwards, we are developing a new membership page, and looking for greater expansion of the Directory of OB Businesses and Services. My thanks go to our web designer, Alex Bremer (R. 1979-83) for all his hard work and constant enthusiasm which goes well beyond the call of duty.
The Service of Remembrance at the College is essentially based around music and readings, including personal accounts of those whose lives were affected by war on and off the fighting fields. It is a demanding occasion for the College and Prep School Choirs and other musicians, but it is also an opportunity for deep reflection for the congregation which, as always, was made up of current pupils, parents, current and former staff and Old Brightonians. This year, the Chapel was bursting at the seams and it was fitting in this, the 60th anniversary of Armistice Day but also the 160th anniversary of the founding of Brighton College and Dr Seldon’s final term.
This is proving to be a tremendous year for the Old Brightonians. As reported elsewhere on this website our social events have been proving more popular than ever and reunions are taking place across the generations. It is especially pleasing to see so many young members getting involved, though our sports teams still need players, so please contact John Aiken if you’re interested (talented or not!).
The Annual Dinner in November has sold out but we have made additional space by booking the Blackshaw Room as well as the Dining Hall, so some tickets are still available. There are a number of reunions taking place that evening including a 1980 Silver Reunion, and a gathering of the 1949 PT Team, while the OB Lodge will be hosting two tables. We are also offering all post-1997 leavers discounted tickets as this will be Dr Seldon’s last formal engagement with the OBA as Headmaster. There are already over 120 guests confirmed, and many more who have reserved tickets, so if you would like to join us, please contact us without delay.
“I am he that came out of the army.” (I Samuel 4. 16)
posted - 17th June 2005
Many Old Brightonians I have met during my retirement have memories about their experiences in the CCF and I thought this third – and final – instalment of reminiscences over the last fifty years should deal with the Corps and why I became involved.
As Brighton College celebrates its 160th anniversary, in spite of several near misses, it is good to see the place continuing to evolve, experiment, and adapt. I am sure that just as Anthony Seldon will be missed when he leaves us at the end of December, so the newly appointed Headmaster, Richard Cairns, will make his own mark and make his own changes. Sometimes we will approve of those changes, other times not, but he will be aware that to retain the College’s position as a school of excellence, standing still is not an option.
Not just Old Boys! - Anyone who believed the Old Brightonian Association was just a bunch of old men would be surprised these days. For one thing, we’re not all men – girls have been educated at Brighton College for more than two decades now and I am pleased to see that more and more of them are returning to OB events such as the London Drinks (next one 10 May!).
This year we celebrate 160 years of Brighton College and it is a delight to see the place in such good shape - consistent successes in sports locally and nationally, (and even internationally!), star performances in Drama, Dance, Public Speaking, Art, Music; the creation of a new charity to help communities affected by the Tsunami disaster in Sri Lanka in addition to the College’s many other charitable involvements, the continued strength of the Cadet Force, the strength of the Chapel, the roll-out of new facilities and new buildings – there has never been a time to be more proud to count ourselves as Old Brightonians.
“I have been young, and now I am old.” (Psalms XXXVII; 25)
posted - 28th January 2005
In the last issue of the Pelican I wrote about the Remembrance Service in November 2004 and the changes since my first in 1954. I had been appointed in January of that year to help with the four members of the Sixth Form who were taking Latin at A Level. Norman Frith, a Classical Exhibitioner at Corpus Christi, Cambridge, had started the course but found it too much of a commitment in addition to his duties as Head of the History Department.
Prior to a recent show in London, Pablo Picasso’s “Le Train Bleu” curtain was last seen at Brighton College as part of the Brighton Festival of 1982. The 10.3 x 11.7m curtain formed the centrepiece of The Burstow Gallery’s “Picasso and The Theatre” exhibition organised by Gavin Henderson (Le.1960-65) and later overall Director of The Festival) and assisted by my father, Nick Bremer (Director of Art 1969-2000). The show attracted 7,200 visitors to the College – “The publicity is beyond price” Headmaster Bill Blackshaw proudly told the Council.
Hello Old Brightonians wherever you may be in the world. I would like to get more of you involved on an international basis - maybe a representative from each country or continent? Please could you email Fiona Aiken in the OB office (address below) if you are interested in sending in news from say the USA, Australiasia, Asia or a mainland European country and we will arrange a page on our website for you. I was working in Pakistan a few years back and whilst waiting in the Mott MacDonald office in Karachi I bumped into Andrew Gubbin, who had been there for sometime. It was lovely to see him and to catch up - it also proved what a small world it is out there. When I was in New Zealand 18months ago I wrote to all the recorded OBs there - they all got together for an evening and are hopefully still in touch. It is a great resource if you do happen to go travelling or working overseas, particularly for the school leavers/gap year students, to know that there is an emergency contact available. So please use the resource it is there for us all to use.
Having reported to 17th Training Regiment Royal Artillery, Park Hall Camp, Oswestry I joined Royal Artillery Intake 6018 as 23811086 Gunner Johnson DH. Like 2.2 million other young men from every walk of life and every corner of the UK, I completed Basic Training, and went on to qualify as a TARA (Technical Assistant Royal Artillery).
We had a good year last year in relation to the OBA, there was an especially successful reunion dinner to celebrate the 30 years of co-education in the College. The Association is still working to foster a partnership relationship with the College which is going well so far, we had a successful Old Brightonians Day in September which was the first of many we hope, since the College has now adopted Commemoration Day for its speech day and graduation ceremony, so we will see how the OB day works in the next few years. We would like to stress that all OBs are still welcome to attend the St Peter's Day service on commemoration day, despite the day not being dedicated in the same way to Old Brightonians. Any feedback on events would be appreciated.
This is just a note in my new capacity as President of the Association to say hello, and thank you to Richard for all his hard work over the past two years; he is a hard act to follow. I am pleased to be the first woman president particularly in the run up to celebrating 30 years of girls at the College.