Robert Makins (FS 56-61) remembers two incidents
from his schooldays.
“Some times, two of us went fishing (with
the necessary local licence) on the river Ehen by cycling to Braystones
on ¾ days (you had to go by bike or other means at least ‘x’
miles from school for the day), leaving our bikes in Braystones by
the bridge that goes over the Ehen and fishing down stream from there.
On one occasion there had been heavy rain and the river was swollen
and muddy and we got bored. So we went down stream with our bikes
to just before Sellafield, where the railway line crosses the river,
and saw on the bridge some sleepers beside the track, ready to replace
the old ones.
Seeing what a splash they might cause seemed like a good idea, so
we hauled them near to the centre of the bridge and managed to roll
over three sleepers, greatly appreciating the effect! Unfortunately
we did not notice an old gentleman walking his dog along the path!
The man obviously recognized our ‘sax blue’ socks and
navy blue uniform (you had to wear the complete uniform even on ¾
days) and walked past our drop - handle bikes having a good look!
We immediately realized that we would be in for trouble!
Once back on Foundation, a prefect advised us that a gentleman had
phoned the Headmaster (J.C. Wykes) to report our activities and that
his description of the cycles agreed with ours! “Be prepared”,
said the prefect!
Sure enough, we were called to the Headmaster’s study in School
House and were given the expected telling off, about disgracing the
school name etc. But we were just anxious to get the caning over and
To our amazement he said, “I know you are expecting six of the
best, but I shall not cane you. You are going back to that bridge
on as many Saturdays as necessary and you will fish the three sleepers
out of the river, and this will be supervised by my daughter”.
We thought the world had come to an end...supervised by his daughter!
I cannot recall her name, but she was about our age or older and was
on holiday from her school. So we went on various Saturdays with a
rope, towel and trunks until we got them back onto the bridge and
all supervised by a girl, Miss Wykes! Looking back, I raise my hat
to the memory of our Headmaster.
On another occasion, two of us (in a fifth form of 59 pupils) had
the happy idea
one evening to smoke half a Woodbine each (we could obtain them illegally,
as they were sold as ‘single units’ in pubs in the Lake
District) between two battlements by the War Memorial on the edge
of the Crease. We would have a good view of the ‘law enforcers’
from either the Library or Foundation directions. After a few puffs
on our valuable Woodbine, we heard a cough coming from the middle
of the Crease. This was unbelievable, so we hurriedly put the fag
out by rubbing it against the sandstone battlement. What a fireworks
display it caused! We then rushed back to Foundation. A house prefect,
who was kissing a village lass on the Crease, had seen us! We did
not escape the standard prefects’ beating of four strokes of
the cane, which followed after evening prayers. And this despite a
law forbidding prefects’ trespassing on the Crease! We respected
the unwritten law of not ‘telling tales’ and just gritted
our teeth, thinking that one day we might be on the other side!”