AUTOBIOGRAPHY (4)

An unknown game on Crossways Beach; the apple trees are to the right.

An unknown game on Crossways Beach; the apple trees are to the right.

AUTOBIOGRAPHY (4) Kenwyn was twice as big as Crossways in terms of numbers of boarders,  although Crossways did have more ‘day-bugs” it is true. In terms of size Kenwyn was even bigger. We shared several of the facilities, including the dining hall. Crossways occupied the two tables nearest to the window and Kenwynites sat in the rest of the hall. The hall was also used for the Kenwyn House Play, a grand affair with scenery and curtains on the raised stage. Crossways had a stage as well, in Old Kenwyn, but with no  one to organise us we just messed about with the props. No plays were ever put on. Before meals we had to queue up, Crossways and Kenwyn on opposite sides of the corridor, for a hands inspection. A prefect walked along, making sure our hands were clean and our shoes were polished. Ours were polished of course, having been cleaned by Peart, the Crossways odd job man. Before lining up in the corridor for breakfast we had a little time to get to know some Kenwynites. For some reason I recall Tim Ewart with a little plastic hat on his index finger, a face drawn on the pad of his finger, and singing ‘Figaro, Figaro’. I now see Tim Ewart regularly on ITN, covering the royal family.

Elevenses were also taken in Kenwyn, but in a part of the building reserved for Crossways. We had a cloakroom, a washroom, and a largish room to gather in. There was a door through to Kenwyn proper, but it was always kept locked. Before every meal we had to wash our hands in the Crossways cloakroom in Kenwyn and then go out doors again to enter Kenwyn by the front door. These rather stand-offish arrangements were all changed after Dow Addleshaw left and ‘Mushy’ Hughes took over in 1963. Crossways even acquired central heating and lost its coke fired boiler. But I had moved on by then.

In the afternoons we had games as the whole junior school. I was not adept at games, but the great advantage of the games field was its proximity to the railway station. Early afternoon coincided with shunting at the station yard. It could have been a B12 – but never a tank engine – and it shunted the trucks in Holt station for about half an hour. The approach of the engine from Melton Constable meant the closing of the level crossing gates. This was done by the signal box keeper whose box was adjacent to the gates, at the end of the station platform. All this has disappeared under the Holt by-pass, but the signal box was bought for the preserved line, The North Norfolk Railway and now stands at Weybourne.

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

THE BLOG FOR THE HISTORY OF EAST ANGLIA

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