Ross Bellamy’s Memories

Where does one begin, well here are a few notes for you which you might like to add to your “potted history”

When I entered Woodfield as a boarder in 1944, Newton was our Housemaster, and Henniker-Gotley who lived in Woodfield, was the Headmaster.

We were introduced to tennis, a love that continues to this day, because we were allowed to use the grass court in front of the house. Later on, 2 hard courts were built at the top of the aqueduct field, so called because the Elan Valley to Birmingham water pipelines ran under the School grounds with a pumping station by the main drive.

VE Day on the 8th May 1945 was celebrated with a huge round bonfire on the top playing field above the cricket pitch. It took what seemed like weeks to build (an exciting project for schoolboys in those days) and ages to burn.

That was followed by the harshest winter in living memory. 1947 saw thick snow on the ground for 8 weeks, no rugger all term, but cross-country runs galore. I remember Rath a dayboy who cycled to school each day winning the competition mainly due to his natural fitness. We also tobogganed, using what was called “the rugger slope”. Stanley Baldwin House built a huge 8 seater for the purpose, which probably won’t be allowed in the PC times of today.

We had a great and very well respected Staff, JAR Robinson Geography and long Sunday walks; Poppa Jeffs – Maths, pulling at the lobe of his ear “well goodness me boy”, his walks were always brisk; Hutinson – History, who later became our Housemaster; Cornwall – English, who could not stand the smell of oranges which we peeled out of sight; Phillips – Physics & ?Chemistry, Stanley Baldwin’s Housemaster; Hall was the Bursar, such a kind man; Tom Sayner (late East Yorks Regt) and very much a Sgt Major was in charge of PT.
The CCF was very active with field days at Habberley Valley, and the assault course built behind the Assembly Hall (Wisdom Knowledge & Understanding inscribed on the proscenium arch). The unit was based on Bury Hall, which we went to for training sessions. It served me well, when I did my National Service; and perhaps encouraged a number to go into the Regular Army, such as Hudson, Freeman, and Lungmass.

Alan Beams was in the same year as me, and he went on to become the first Headmaster at Heathfield. Others whom I remember; Dickie Oliver who rode in the Grand National, Jones C.R and Jones D.E, identical twins, and like Poole came from local farming families, Clunas who was keen on mountaineering, and Pheby who went off whaling in the Antarctic. John Fordham, who got his Degree at Birmingham University, went off to work on the St.Lawrence Seaway project.

En route to the village church, we passed the original School with 1620 above the doorway; and Sebright itself became a Public School when it was admitted to the Headmasters Conference. At about that time Eric Knight became another boarding house, I believe as a gift to the school with its extensive grounds, making four in all.

They were happy days, not perfect, central heating was only just adequate, the tuck shop had a small stock, but then our pocket money of a £1 a term issued weekly went much further than it would today!

Others I hope will add their store of memories, to a chapter in history, which changed forever when Sebright itself closed after some 350 years in existence.

My last memory is of the little motto over the Woodfield tuck box room “READY, AYE, READY”

Best wishes

ROSS BELLAMY

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