No. 203

OSB Logo The Old St Beghian
  July 2023


C. A. (Charles) Hedley (FN 57-64) has contributed the following item.

‘The King of all Japes’– an alternative account.

“I was very interested in the article ‘The King of all Japes’ written by George Robson (FN 57–64) in the July 2022 Bulletin. It brought back memories from the distant past as I was one of the Foundation prefects he mentioned who climbed up
onto the roofs of the old physics labs and chapel one dark night.

I have kept a diary for many years (from my school days onwards) and in it I recorded the events of that escapade. Not surprisingly, considering the passage of time, there are a number of anomalies between George’s account and my own recollections, and I hope he won’t be too offended by what I am about to reveal here.

It all happened on the evening of October 28th 1963 after lights out. The rest of the house were in bed when four or five of us (recently created prefects) thought it would be a good idea to have a bit of fun. Prefects never went to bed until later, and so it was not unusual for them to be around at that time.

We left Foundation and walked the short distance along School House Lane, collecting some lumps of coke along the way, and climbed up onto the roof of the old physics lab.

Lying in wait, and hidden behind the low parapet of the library, we knew that the duty prefect would be along soon to lock up the labs, the chapel and lastly the library. When he came in sight, we lobbed a couple of bits of coke towards him but they missed and therefore had no effect at all. Then, to make life a bit more interesting, we threw a duffle coat which landed much nearer to the target. The duty prefect was none other than the hapless George, and he must have got a bit of a fright because he fled the scene and rushed off to report the events of the night to higher powers. It did not take Daryl Farrant (assistant housemaster) long to identify who the culprits were….

The next day we were hauled up before the housemasters (Peter Croft and Ron Johnson) and read the riot act. The punishment meted out was that we had to be in bed before 10.15 for a week. We probably appeared suitably contrite at the time, but it must have been very annoying and disappointing for the housemasters to be obliged to discipline a group of prefects who were themselves meant to be setting a good example of behaviour to the rest of the house.

We just thought it was a bit of harmless fun!

Needless to say, we behaved very properly for the rest of our time on Foundation.

I don’t think George suffered any lasting damage from his experience, but he probably took a torch with him the next time!

I can only remember the name of one other prefect involved, but if there are any of you out there who do remember this escapade, and who can supply any more information, then I would be very interested to hear from you!”



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