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adieu Lyndhurst House

I was saddened to hear of the closure of my prep school Lyndhurst House which I attended between 1960 and 67.

It was one of those huge, rambling houses in Hampstead with teachers that reminded me in their eccentricity of Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall.  

Overseeing it all was a northern headmaster William Warner Wilcox, always dressed in a heavy worsted suit green in colour, who beat the boys with a cane after keeping them waiting for an hour or so outside his panelled study.

Yet, for all his sadism, I was happier there than at my more subsequent educational establishments.

Last week I had lunch with two of their distinguished alumni who had made their respective fortunes in advertising and internet travel.

Others became successful in consumer electronics, wood boxing for televisions, a sweet shop anf security.

Most came from rich Jewish families in North West London.

Because it was small – as opposed to St. Paul’s and Cambridge – you always knew what was going on. One teacher we all recall with affection was Mike Chatting, an opera and football lover.

One year – I reckon it was 1964 – we had a mock election.

Louis Manches, son of a solicitor, spoke for the Tories. He made great play of Transport Secretary Barbara Castle not being able to drive.

Mike Chattin with his customary wit heckled “Mr Manches, would you expect the Minister of Housing to be a bricklayer?!

The property developer Barry East, founder of Town & City, endowed a prize “The East Prize for Endeavour”.  Brian East, his son, who sadly recently passed on, was at the school.

What’s the prize for?” asked Mike of Brian East “I should get it For endeavouring to teach you and your brother John …

Over the years I bumped into Lyndhurst Boys from my time there. There was always a freemasonic-like bond.

In circulating the news of the closure to alumni everyone commented on the beatings.

One theory  was that it toughened up those for business. Certainly neither at St. Paul’s nor Cambridge did I meet such commercial success.

Unlike St. Paul’s and my Cambridge college there does not seem to have been an appeal for funds.  Had there been, I would not have been alone in digging deep.

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About Robert Tickler

A man of financial substance, Robert has a wide range of interests and opinions to match. More Posts