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Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Charney Hall, Grange over Sands?

One of the things I keep coming back to is the number of memorials that have either vanished or about which very little is known. A friend of mine recently came up with one at Silverdale, just outside the borders of Cumbria. A Roll of Honour of the men of a local church had at some time in the past been used as a backing board for another more recent picture. It only came to light a few months ago when the picture required cleaning and re-framing.

Another mystery is presented by this photo postcard I recently bought on ebay for a couple of pounds.

The picture clearly shows a building described as 'Charney Hall Memorial Hall'. But where is it? Until the 1970s (I think) there was in Grange over Sands a private preparatory school called Charney Hall. Sadly the entire school complex was subsequently demolished and is now a series of residential buildings.

During the early years of the last century the school was run by George Podmore, who describes himself on the 1901 census as MA Oxon, Private Schoolmaster, with the help of assistant master, George Antrobus . There were some 20 boarders including a number of the Wordsworth family. A number of local gentry families sent their sons here to prepare them for one of the greater public schools. In due course many of these joined the forces and it is thus no suprise to find in Grange parish church a memorial to old boys killed in the Boer War. Indeed, the church also holds the battlefield cross of Hubert Podmore, one of George's four sons, who was killed around Ypres in 1917. See this posting on the Great War discussion forum for exhaustive details of Podmore's carreer.

However, there is no memorial that I am aware of to the old boys who were killed in the Great War. I find that strange and thus wonder whether the above picture is in fact the school's Great War Memorial. A contemporary OS map shows an isolated building to the north east of the main house which seems to have the same shape and plan as the photo.

I have made some rather desultory enquiries in the town but no-one seems terribly interested or to have any memories of the school prior to its demise. But surely the school had a memorial?

45 comments:

Michael the heating engineer said...

Hello, My name is Michael Shannon, I attended Charney Hall private Prep School 1968- 1969 as a "Day Boy". Boarders lived in the main school building, above the dining rooms. The building shown is indeed the Memorial Hall . It was used daily for morning assembly and private piano lessons for the boys, who attended the school up until the Common Entrance exam age of 13! It is indeed correctly identified on your map . During the summer months I recall hundreds of butterflies covering the vegetable garden used for the school kitchen next to the open air swimming pool and behind the Memorial Hall. The building to the north west of the Memorial Hall was a joinery shop also housing carbouys of pool chemicals, and where us boys built our tuck boxes to take on to our next larger boarding school, I still have mine here ! There was also in there the school rifle club armoury - very insecure - I recall it opened just with a screwdriver !! and contained at least 4 rifles and hundreds of rounds of live .22 ammunition. I spent many hours digging spent bullets from the rifle range - located south of your map - but still on the school estate, and melting them into lead ingots during chemistry lessons in the science lab- that house is seen on your picture north of and behind the Mem Hall , and still stands today. After I returned to the school in about 1973, I distinctly remember being told by a workman that the wooden Memorial Hall Boards naming the Fallen from the Wars, were being placed in the cricket Pavilion , before being moved on to St Pauls Church at Grange for safe keeping. Sadly the school was knocked down and the entire area became a then modern housing Estate.

The blog said...

Michael,
Brilliant! I have followed it up by again visiting St Paul's church. However, although there are a number of memorials (Boer, Maj Podmore, WW2) still nothing from WW1. Could you describe the wooden boards you mention in some more detail?

Anonymous said...

In the Kendal Record Office there are Building Registers for Grange which may show when the Memorial Hall was built. Ref: WSUD/G/acc1998/Register No.1 Building Plans (you may need to see the 2nd as I'm not sure what date this one goes up to). Unfortunately not everything has been recorded in the register but it's certainly worth a look.
I have asked a friend of mine, who lives near the site of the old school, whether he knows anything about the recording of old boys' names etc., but he doesn't recall anything.
Great to bump into you at the study day in Lancaster.
Ruth

The blog said...

Ruth! Thanks - I will try that next time I get to the archives. You once put me onto a memorial at Croppers! Do you still have the ref?

Anonymous said...

hello ..i live on the site of the old school [ charney court ] i to have recently bought the same memorial hall postcard for posterity and intend enlarging it

Anonymous said...

Re: War Memorial at Croppers - I found the reference in the company's archived Minute Book No. 1, date 22nd February 1922 AGM of Shareholders. The minute notes:
'A tablet recording the names of the fallen was placed on the walk of the Office of the Company last Easter'. There had been no meetings during 1921 and I have found no other reference to the war memorial.
I think I have a database with the names of the war dead - not on my computer though, I think I have it stored on an external drive. If that is of any use to you let me know.
Ruth

Anonymous said...

FROM DAVID PHELAN FURTHER TO MY LAST using os map and google earth and overlays i can confirm the memorial halls position to be partly on the road and skirting the driveway to no 3 CHARNEY COURT not a lot of help i know as its gone but its nice to know where it was in relation to the school .. my friend lives on the tennis court
i am relegated to the sports field
keep on searching

john cranna said...

My name is John Cranna. I was at Charney Hall from 1965-1971. I watched Churchills furneral on the telly (I think) but certainly also the landing on the moon which was very rare in a 1960's strict boarding school. To add to Michael accurate memories of the hall - we also used it to play table tennis. There was a large table that was placed at the top of the hall during morning assembly and two senior boys would stand each side of the table and one would read out the lesson each morning (from the bible). We also held annual plays in there and the Christmas Carol concert. We could listen to the radio in there by asking the relevant master if we could borrow it from the staff room If it was Mr Fawcett on duty and you asked for the radio he pretended not to hear you until you asked for the wireless and then his hearing was restored. Similarly if you wanted to play records then you asked for the gramaphone (not the record player). There was also a fantastic collection of butterflies and moths which all inspired us boys to go out catching, killing and setting the poor beggars. There was a vaguely polished wooden floor that was not in great condition as one boy slid along the floor and in our typical shorts got a horribly long splinter stuck into his leg.

The blog said...

Thanks to all who have left comments about Charney Memorial Hall. However, my intial problem remains unanswered. Was there a Great War Memorial in the Hall, in the form of a list of men who had served and/or died??

john cranna said...

Dear blog
I've tried to rack my brains in remebering the wooden boards that Michael Shannon saw and they do not come to mind. I don't doubt that they exisited but on a research basis I am sure you want confirmation from a number of people. I can remember that other things on the wall were heavily armed services related, ie one framed picture about all the relevants ranks in the army, navy and air force. I presume that a list of names on a wooden board did not fire the imagination of a 8-13 year old as much as other things.
John Cranna

john cranna said...

Dear Blog

I have a bit more factual info for you as I have recently picked up two books of 'Charney Hall Notes' which group three to five years together of the school years anf give a short summary of each year plus the sproting achievements. The first one is dated 1930-33 and it mentions using the Memorial Hall so this was built sometime between 1918 and 1930.

The second book covers 1952 - 57 and mentions, in 1952 the completion of a new block to the NW of the main building. This bit is the upside down L which, on the ordnance survey map of school, is just under the closeing bracket after prep school. I mention this becasue in the notes it mentions that a westmoreland slate plaque with the fallen dead from WWII was fixed to the entrance from this block to the cricket field. The cricket field is the large expanse in which the map has the words 'Charney Hall (prep school)' written. I am quite sure that this this plaque is the one on the church wall and you show a picture of it in your blog entitled 'Charney Hall World War 2'.

I have scans of the notes which shows the new block entrance, although from a distance, and the referance in the notes to the plaque. How can I send this to you?

John Cranna

The blog said...

John. You do realise that as a consequence of your interest the Charney posting is about the third most visited on the blog. Amazing!! Just behind Clifton & General Markham. I would love to see anything you have about the school's memorial. My email should be at the top of the blog. stublick(at)tiscali.co.uk

Anonymous said...

I was at Charney in the 1957-1962 - many happy memories. We had the table tennis in the hall I remember and the end of term prize giving. I remeber many names from those days Max Duncan the head and his number two a Mr Hurst - fearful character then teachers Byers, McCullough, Fawcett and a couple of ex army types Captain Carnagan(sic) and a Major Cabbage. I have now lost touchwith all my fellow pupils -but remeber my mates Charles Harris -a doctors son from St. Bees, Bruce Jowett from St. Annes, and others of course. I remember many walks in the lake district with Mr.Fawcett happily for those days I was never caned and got my common entrance pass for Denstone.

Anonymous said...

I was at Charney for 5 years until it closed. The Memorial Hall did have boards on the wall listing names, but as I recall they were of boys who received Scholarships and which schools they went on to, and not War Dead. I don't recall ever seeing a list of such names anywhere. I vaguely remember the engraved stone shown over the entrance hall in the photo had something on it but it wasn't a list of names.

I did read somewhere that one of the old boys from Charney was Lt. General William "Strafer" Gott, who was killed flying out to North Africa to take command of the Eighth Army. Some fellow named Montgomery was sent in his place.

Curiously there never was much recognition paid to the Wars when I was there, or the old boys who got caught up in them.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
My name is Roger Beaumont and I attended Charney Hall from, I think, 1959 to 1965.
Anon is right. The only board in the Hall showed who got scholarships to where. Amazing to read all these comments. Duncan, the headmaster was a frighening man, but Fawcett, Byres and McCullough were really decent human beings.

Anonymous said...

Hello again , Michael Shannon here after 18months! I think we must remember how the Memorial Hall was built specifically after the First World War , and by this very fact was dedicated to the Fallen Men who were old boys from the School. I cannot understand then how the boards were not as I seem to recall them. I am tracking down one of the workers involved in the 1970's Housing development on the site , and he may be able to help us all.
Whilst this blog may have gone slightly off tack, allsorts of people have come across the article and are very interested in it .

The blog said...

Hello boys! Great to get your comments. I take your point Michael that the Hall was the memorial it just seems really odd that there was not a list of names when there were lists for the Boer war & WW2. But I'm glad you all like the posting. Do check the other postings about Charney, under Grange in the list of places.

Louis said...

Judging by the number of hits on this posting, 148 in 4 months, this posting has turned into something quite popular with 'old boys'! Do keep up with the comments ... more the merrier!

Tilak Paul said...

Dear Blog

I have been lurking/visiting this site for a couple of years and am old boy at Charney Hall from 1967 to 1971 and do remember John Cranna and Michael Shannon well. It is astonishing that so many Charney Hall old boys have visited your site. Perhaps school days are the best days of your life after all. I wish I could help you Blog as regards your War Memorial but my mind is blank other than bad memories of doing my Common Entrance Exam in the Memorial Hall and Cinema Shows and all the other events already mentioned. It has been great to read the memories of both John and Michael and the other old boys!

John Eaton said...

I'm literally a "Johnny-come-lately" to this site, as I am s "John" (though Contemporaries at Charney Hall (1951 to 1956) knew me as "Nutty" - including Graeme Garden (who went onto fame and fortune as one of the Goodies and then the various Radio Shows "I'm sorry I'll read that again" etc)and Beamont, who Father was a nationally famous Test Pilot, and flew one of the first-ever jets. I even remember the title of his book - "Against the Sun" with which Beamont impressed all his fellow pupils!

It was only when making a reservation at the Netherwood Hotel for a Jaycees weekend next March, that I came across this site! (My parents used to stay at the Netherwood for half-term - so I have fond memories of that, too).

I vividly remember the board in the Memorial Hall, which, as has been said, included the names and subsequent destinations of school leavers. It was also used for the weekly film shows - of which the Titfield Thunderbolt was one of our favourites!

I equally remember the various teachers; W Maxwell Duncan was still the Headmaster when I was there - "fearsome" did someone say? Well, not nearly as fearsome as his Wife, who used to drive around in that battered old Ford Cortina. Mr McCullogh - fresh from Sherborne School, with his nervous tick, chain-smoking habit, and permanently nicotine-stained fingers, teaching us Latin - and Mr Fawcett, pipe-smoking, fresh from the Royal Navy. I enjoyed French with Mr Hurst - and had a particularly soft spot for old Hoppy - Mr Hopkins - who taught Latin, and must have been well into is 80s (I don't think Duncan had the heart to sack or retire him!).
And do you remember the soccer matches against Seascales (?)- the compulsory Sunday walks to Cartmel Priory, and the occasional outings to Tarn Hows, whenever anyone won a Scholarship?

Last time I was in Grange - 15 years ago - I was so sorry to see that the school had been demolished, and residential flats etc had been erected where I remember the sports grounds having been. I felt as if I had been robbed of part of my childhood!"
Happy memories!

Donald NICHOLSON-SMITH said...

Nutty Eaton is the closest contemporary of mine on your blog (except for of the Anon's). Hi Nutty! This is Donald ("Steve") Nicholson-Smith (1956-61). For the original purposes of this blog, let me add my voice to the many others who have no recollection of a list of war dead in the Memorial Hall. I remember many of the activities already mentioned, though no one mentioned the "free play" sessions when everyone ran around wildly, play-fighting and rolling in tangled heaps on the floor. Otherwise I remember the place for the books it contained (Arthur Ransome, P.G. Wodehouse, G.A. Henty), a 1911 edn of the Enclopaedia Britannica, all those butterflies in display cases and drawers, bound volumes of Punch. Singing carols and other sing-songs also occurred there. Oh, and listening on the wireless in there, not only to the Boat Race and the Grand National, which were organized events, but also to Dan Dare, Pilot of Outer Space, on Radio Luxemburg (sponsored by Horelicks: "If you wake up feeling tired even after six or seven hours of sleep, try Horelicks [etc.]."

Yes, Charney Hall's disappearance, which I learnt of from Nigel Baker-Bates, made me too feel as though I had been robbed of part of my childhood, even if it had never occurred to me to go back and visit the place.

Anyway, good luck to the blogmeisters in their memorial researches. And a shout-out to all the old boys who seem to have stumbled on this chat!

Donald Nicholson-Smith
mnr.dns@verizon.com

Anonymous said...

Searching for a photograph of school pupils in the mid to late 1930's at Charney Hall that may include Alan Wales?

In October 1939 after flying training 7hrs on a Hurricane he was posted to No 235 Squadron a Bristol Blenheim unit based at Manston, it then moved to North Coates for a brief period before moving to Bircham Newton, Norfolk to commence operations. Alan was lost on 27 June 1940 to enemy action over Holland.

This former pupil features in my forth coming book entitled "Coastal Dawn" Alan Wales was an amazing young man read about his exploits. You can Pre-Order at http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/andrew+d-+bird/coastal+dawn/7332173/

Kind Regards

Andrew Bird

john cranna said...

Dear Andrew Brid

just read your entry and although I do not have any photos, I just happen to have the Charney Hall Notes for 1930-33 (one of two I have, the other being 1952-57) which includes one Alan Roger Wales who got to be good at cricket and won the batting cup in his final year. If you give me time I can go through the book and scan each page that mentions him. My email is john.cranna@btconnect.com.

John Cranna

john cranna said...

Dear Louis/Blog

pursuant to the uncertainty of when the hall was built and if there were any actual plaques of the war dead, I came across a pdf file on the history of the schools in the Grange area on the keepandshare web site. There is no date or authorship to it but here are two extracts which you may find interesting:


"In 1924 a large memorial hall was built to commemorate the 22 ‘old boys’ who died in the First World War."

"Thus, there are boards or tablets of Honour listing the ‘old boys’ who fell in the Boar War and the First World War. The Boar War memorial lists three former pupils and was erected in 1909. The First World War memorial names 16 former pupils and it is thought to have initially been sited in the entrance to the Memorial Hall at the school, being moved later to the church."

John Crana

Anonymous said...

I was at Charney from 1962 - 1966. I also recollect the wooden boards with the names of old boys who had gone on to gain scholarships at public schools, but not a list of war dead. There was, I think, such a tablet at the church we attended in the town?
I remember Mr McCullogh as the Latin Master. I'm sure he was the only Labour voter in the place,(he always said how he voted was a matter for "me and my conscience". He had a passionate interest in trains, and I believe, had worked for British rail. Mr Fawcett I remember for his car which had the number plate PUP something or other, and I presume he had been out in India as part of the Empire, as he always referred to miscreants as "base wallahs!". Old Maxwell Duncan was a great guy. I remember his shock that I got the highest Maths exam marks in the school - it was a shock to me too! But he was the first person to suggest that I had any potential for anything, part from borstal or prison, and 50 years later I have to admit I do have a Phd in astral physics and a chair at University. But above all Charney set me up for life as a convinced socialist! A great place!

Anonymous said...

Maxwell Duncan's black Humber license plate began with OUP and he always referred to the vehicle as "OOP". Spent several nervous hours in the back of it, afraid to speak, going to various events in the area. I ran into Mr McCulloch about 10 years after Charney closed. He was working at the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway as a volunteer stationmaster. He sadly died not long after.

I was in Grange in August 2012 and went to inspect the old place. Sign up for "FriendsReunited.com" and you'll see some pictures I took. The main building itself is long gone, and Grove House is still in pretty good condition, but The Lodge has gone to hell and is quite sad to see.

Best regards to all of you! Happy days (mostly) eh? Tilak, John and Michael I remember you all well!

nigel pemberton said...

Yes they were mostly happy days in a lovely setting, but we probably did not appreciate it as we should have. I went back last year whilst staying close by and it is very sad to see so little left. I like John's photos that I have seen in recent years particularly the one with the pool inked in from the summer before I went in 1967. What I remember most about the memorial hall was climbing on the furniture at the far end looking out of the window waiting for parents to turn up to take us home or for half term. I vaguely remember boards with names on the inside of the near end wall either side of the door, but they may have been the scholorship boards. I think that was also where the cases of butterflies were. I went back in the summer of 1973 and it was possible to just wander around a derelict building and seeing the rubbish in the headmaster's study. Very sad.

TonyK said...

How wonderful to come across these memories of Charney Hall. I was there from 1952 - 1956 (roughly) and remember Nigel Pemberton and Donald Nicholson-Smith. I don't remember the war memorial but have vivid memories of watching black and white Norman Wisdom and World War 2 films in the Hall, of the butterflies, the walks across to the Beacon and of the dreadful food. Mr Fawcett and Mr McCullogh were lovely men, Max Duncan less so.
I came across this blog researching an article I'm writing about ex-soldiers teaching in postwar schools. If anyone has any memories of Major Rabbidge or Captain Carnaghan, do get in touch.
Best wishes, Tony Kirwood

TonyK said...

I was at Charney Hall from 1954 - 59. I remember watching black and white films in the Hall ("Dam Busters", Norman Wisdom etc - those were the days!)and the butterfly collection, but not the memorial. I have wonderful memories of walks across to the Beacon and of watching a school of porpoises across Morecambe Bay from the open air swimming pool in the town. I was there when Max Duncan created the four Houses: Priory, Beacon, Yewbarrow and Hospice (I think!)
I'm currently writing about some of the ex-service teachers of my childhood days - if anyone has any more memories of Major Rabbidge or Colonel Carnagan, it would be delightful to hear from you.
My email is tonykirwood@gmail.com

Richard Brown said...

I have recently been directed to this website by Michael Shannon, we recently having come across each other after some decades. I was at Charney from, I think, 1968 to 1972, leaving shortly before the school closed. As I recall there were only a dozen or fewer of us left by then. I remember some of those who have contributed. Cranna and Pemberton were rather my seniors and must have lefty shortly after I arrived, but I think Tilak (I wouldn't have known him by that name!) Paul would have been the Paul Mi. who was more or less my contemporary. Some of you may also remember my mother, Wendy Brown, who taught science at the school.
My main reason for writing is that I have a postcard showing the interior of the Hall if anyone is interested. I can scan it and send it in if someone tells me how. It does show a largish board on the wall, but unfortunately it's impossible to see what's written on it. It also shows a central table with what may be the pieces of a large jigsaw puzzle on it. There's no sign of the (later) table tennis table or the small billiards table that I recall (do you remember how badly ripped the cloth was?)!
Richard Brown (Mi)

john cranna said...

Wow Richard it would be great to see the scanned postcard. I have sent stuff to the blogger, Louis which he has then added to this post or/and you could post it on friends reunited where there is a dedicated section for Charney Hall. I, and a few others, have put a number of photos on there.

Richard Brown said...

I can't immediately see how to send anything to Louis. Could someone (John?) more computer-able please enlighten me?
Richard Brown

john cranna said...

Richard - his email address is stublick@tiscali.co.uk , John

Louis said...

Keep chatting guys!

Tony Kirwood said...

Just a memory of Charney, unrelated to the Hall: at the end of our last term, we were each given a leaving present of the Tudor edition of the collected Shakespeare, with lovely illustrations by Eric Fraser. I still have mine and I'm looking at it now.
Needless to say, I'm still a bit of a Shakespeare nut.

David Johnson said...

I stumbled across this Memorial hall blog - fond memories of " Bush Christmas " and other commonwealth character builders shown on Duncan's aged projector.

I may have had the unique experience of being a CH pupil 1955/60 so names like Baker Bates ( last met in the British Embassy in Tokyo ), Nicholson Smith and Eaton ring bells , and a CH master 1964/65 when may be Beaumont ( or Beamont ) and Pemberton ring bells.

I loved the place both as pupil and master and the opportunity to be taught by McCullogh and Fawcett as a boy and some 10 years later pub crawl with them in Cartmel on evenings off was priceless.

Maxwell D was not as ferocious as some suggest - his wife Babs, at least after a few gins could be. Hirst was a bit more remote, maybe his war experiences.

I have fond sensory memories of CH, the carpenter shop and the cricket bat shed.

After 60 years it does not go away.

Pleased to add something!

David Johnson

David Johnson said...

Correction - pupil 1950/55

Anonymous said...

I attended Charney Hall from about late 62 / early 63 up to spring 71 with a break of about 18 months whilst I was in Switzerland.
I recognise most of the stories and characterisations mentioned here and some of the boys names. My best mates were Mickey Booth whose parents had a hotel over in Settle and Steven Jevon who also had a younger brother at the school.
As to war memorials - I think there were some old sepia photgraphs on the wall either inside the dining room or just outside.
The walls inside the dining room also had framed photos of all the old boys as individual portraits in sets of four or six at dado rail height. I don't think this practice had been continued for some time by the time I was there.

Breakfast was always half a slice of thick cut white toast or fried bread with either some egg, beans or tomato on top and a mug of tea.

Immediately opposite the dining room door was a small room where we had piano lesons from white haired Mr. Hirst and on occassion were called to have our hair cut when the barber came.

I remeber the butterfly collection in the memorial hall, the battered snooker table, carol services and the black and white movies. At one stage I even got to be the projectionist. I suspect it was Mr Fawcett who impressed upon me the need for a speedy change of reel and explained the markers in the film warning when the reel was going to run out. (The films I most remember was The Tichfield Thunderbolt and The Sea of Sand.)

I don't have very fond memories of him generally as I remeber him as a disciplinarian with a violent if restrained temper who occaisionally picked up a young boy by the hair. Yes I remember the 'base-wallah' stuff as well.

Mr. McCullogh was altogether a much sweeter man - somewhere I have some old black and white photos of him and my school mates walking back up the hill to school on a Sunday morning after attending church. If I can find them I will scan and post them here.
Maxwell Duncan was not particullarly unpleasant just a bit remote and I think he rather thought the whole position he had got himself into was rather beneath him. He was - to most parents rather supercilious. I remeber he smoked Senior Service cigarettes from a flat packet of 25 that fit into his side pocket.
He used to tap the unfiltered ends before setting the cigarette into an amber holder. He went through this ritual as I stood before his desk expecting to be caned. In the event I was reprieved! All the other masters were pipe smokers!
He read to us as a group sometimes in the evening before bedtime in the first floor room above his office.
To the north of the main house was a small quadrangle - between the new and old buildings, where we used to play at break time throwing a tennis ball onto the roof valley and catching it as it came down again maybe ricocheting off the protruding gutter.
The north side of this quad was the gym where on occasion we were allowed to roller skate, on the east side was the staff common room and a small class room next to it that was for the newly attending boys.
It was in this room that Mr. McCullogh taught us ' amo, amas, amat...' with the help of a green linen bound Latin Primer.
There was an Irish lady who was the school matron. Here standard remedy for every bruise or sprain was to slap some raw lanolin on it from a big pot. This stank so bad that we would rather go untreated.
She also made shampoo by boiling down all the ends of soap in a large enamel basin.
Later she was replaced by Mair Hughes - a red headed Welsh girl with freckles and a lovely personality who drove a Triumph Herald. I remember she was especially kind and attentive to me.

Anonymous said...

I remember playing in the father's day cricket match ( maybe I was the wicket keeper?). A fast ball rose past Lambert's father's head and in trying to swap this away his hearing aid fell out and lay buzzing in the grass like a demented insect until retrieved.
Lambert's father I think made cricket bats over in Nelson, Lancs - an old family busines I think.
The bowler may have been Broadhurst who was somewhat short, but not short on character. I think he was my house captain - Hospice-ites? He had spent his early years in Nigeria and South Africa where his father was I suppose in one of those postings that persisted at the end of empire.
In geography we learnt that certain African countries became independant and changed their names from the somewhat quaint old imperial names - Bechuana Land etc.

I was a rather lazy and day dreamy pupil and spent most of my time gazing out of the window into empty skies, but every year there was a general knowledge test at which I excelled, but never quite managed to come first. I also enjoyed the fell walks, shooting on the rifle range and carpentry shop - all good skills for life.

The pool was another matter - the water was always very cold and I did not learnt to swim properly until much later. I remeber in winter Mr. Fawcett tied a long log across the pool so that should it freeze the ice would not damage the side of the pool!

Overall the school was a world where time almost stood still whilst outside everything was change change change - The Beatles, The Stones, Sixties style, psychodelia, Vietnam, landings on the moon, fantastic looking cars and fantastic looking girls to boot.
By the time I left we were into the hippy/ flower-power era of the early '70's

Nigel Bond said...

Here is an unhelpful aside! I have just picked off the bookshelf a book awarded at Charney Hall in Midsummer 1902 to J. A. C. Spencer, winner of the First Prize in Second Set (whatever that means)and signed by G. Podmore, MA. There was a J.A.C. Spencer, a 2nd Lieutenant in the West Yorkshire Regiment, who was killed in Gallipoli on 9th August 1916 aged 24. A private memorial tablet was placed by his parents in Christ Church, Lothersdale, and his name also appears among five nephews in a stained glass window in the same church.
If it was the same J.A.C. Spencer he would have been 10 when he won his First Prize at Charney Hall. His prize was "Two Kings of Uganda" by a missionary called Robert Ashe; not perhaps one's first choice for a ripping yarn, but there you go!

Louis said...

Amazing memories you guys have! And quite a few documents and photos it seems. Has anyone thought of establishing an archive somewhere? At Kendal archives?
One day, not that far off, Charney will be a blank in Grange's history unless you fill it!
Nice that this has become a point of contact for you all.

Louis said...

And thanks Nigel Bond! That was useful.

Keith Smith said...

I'm glad I found this blog-it was seeing Graeme Garden on telly this evening- I was there between 1953-58. I remember with great affection the school with its limestone buildings, the location, the giant monkey puzzle tree adjacent to the drive, the smell of cut grass, magnificent sunsets over Morecambe Bay, the tidal bore, Ruth the cook, Gilbert and Charley the gardeners, slugs and greenflies in the lettuce, picking red berries which we had with white blamanche, fried bread and sugar desert which I detested.......but I can't remember learning anything! The first master I came across was poor old Mr Hopkins, he taught me copperplate writing with first a steel nibbed dip pen and if you were good, you progressed to a brass nib, lines and lines of the same script till the end of each lesson-what was all that about? McCullogh's lessons in history consisted of learning the dates of kings and queens of England from William I which was equally pointless.

My best memories are looking for Poplar Hawk and Puss moth caterpillar eggs amonst the poplar trees adjacent to the cricket field. This pastime was only available to the keenest entomologists in the summer term. But if you climbed high enough it gave us a front seat view of the headmaster's daughters who we all had a crush on (Ester Hirst and Janet Duncan) playing tennis! Each Sunday afternoon some of the choir girls from Grange Church which we were compelled to attend in the morning, used to walk past, peering over the wall- Lorna, a blond, I remember and her brunette friend- I wonder what happened to them? There was no chance that we could progress things as we were all too shy or was it inexperienced(?) to take advantage of the situation- Fawcett and McCullogh were never far away- I am sure that they had an inkling of what was going on.

There was a rumour that someone before my time had taken a pot shot at Maxwell Duncan with one of the .22 rifles whilst he was outside the cricket pavillion. I don't think anyone found any evidence- who knows?

Timothy Hindle said...



Just come across your site. What memories it evokes. My name is Tim Hindle and I was at Charney Hall from 1954 to 1959. I know when I left because I too still have The Tudor Edition of William Shakespeare bound in red leather with the words “Charney Hall” emblazoned across the front. Inside is written “T. Hindle, Leaving Book, Summer 1959, W. Maxwell Duncan, M.A.” in the good man’s unmistakable script. I met someone just the other day who used to go climbing with Max’s son. I remember him teaching us Scottish reels.
By the way, the Irish matron’s name was Hazel Brown and she was from Enniskillen. I thought she was gorgeous – big Irish eyes, freckles and all.
I don’t remember much about the Memorial Hall I’m afraid except for all those dead butterflies and the smell of (was it?) naphthalene.
My mates were Richard Brownson, Richard Rutherford, Chris Baker-Bates (whose dad I remember had a black Rolls-Royce with his initials in gold on the side) and Peter Beckett, who died far too young. I had a wonderful life-enhancing time there and I’m glad to hear that others did too. Though today I wonder about the wisdom of allowing us to handle those .22 rifles at the age of eight!

Anonymous said...

I am researching the Preston family and came across your blogs as a result of researching Thomas Haworth Preston born 1881, of Settle.He died in the Great War in 1914.He was a pupil at Charney Hall in 1891 and I believe became a solicitor.The Headmaster Mr Podmore was 37 at the time .