by Edward Gorton
Well, I think it has been a couple of months since I last looked at this page! As I mentioned earlier, I had stumbled across it quite by chance, in a ‘long shot’ of an attempt to find some reference to Huyton Hill School. For a few weeks after making my first contribution, I kept looking to see if there had been any further response – but no! I then really forgot about it until today, 28th July 2010, when I suddenly had the thought to look again! There is quite a lot I’d like to add here, and to share. I’m not sure how much you can add in one go.
I am amazed and excited to see that more contributions have been posted. Doug (Douglas in HH days!) Hickman – yes, I do remember you! I think Arthur House(?) and I think both from my school memory, and also from your writing, that I must be two years older than you. In school terms that is a LOT older! It would be so lovely to be in touch though! David (? dporter@.. ?) Although you remember me, I’m so sorry but I do not remember you, neither Richard Rudkin. It also seems now that it is not me that you are standing next to in that photo! None the less, I’d be so pleased to be in contact with you!
Doug, I have read your contributions with great interest and mixed emotions… I can indeed relate to many of the wide ranging memories that you have of life at HH. For my own part though, I always like to think that life is made up of a series of experiences. Some are happy and rewarding experiences, whilst others can be challenging and sometimes unhappy ones. No matter what, the experiences that we each gain are ours to keep forever, and no one can ever take them away. In some way or other, I feel we are made all the richer for the many different experiences that have come our way. We are all different people, but I do accept that for some former pupils, the negative aspects of school life all those years ago can still be very real.
Although I did have some difficult and upsetting times myself during my stay, I am able to put those aside and to remember with great happiness and pride the very many happy times spent in such an amazing place: The school building, the gardens and grounds and the dam streams (junior and senior!) The woods and the trees: the Beech tree near the school and the ‘Giant Redwood’ with it’s soft bark, located quite close to the staff car park. Yes, and the monkey puzzle tree! There was also a tree known as ‘Red India’, but I cannot recall where! Was it perhaps where the path to the senior dam stream crossed the back drive? I also recall ‘The four sisters’, ‘out of bounds’ on the lakeside of the front drive quite close to the junction with the back drive.
I remember playing ‘Commandoes’ in Wray field. I remember ‘Estate work’, and weekly summer bike rides and ‘expeditions’… Can you imagine it: scaling Dollywagon, Helvellyn, many of the Langdale pikes and eventually Scafell Pike itself – at the age of 12 and 13, and wearing only shorts, tee shirt, ‘Lumber jacket’ and plimsolls!!In contrast, an incredible sadness for me was in my final term, Autumn 1967. At that time I was ‘Number 1’ on the ‘age order’ list, and it was during this term that following a period of illness and absence from all school life, Major Gerald Villers Butler passed away. It was for me, and for us all, an unimaginable shock. The Rev. Lindsay (of Hawkshead and Wray church, and also Common Entrance Exam Invigilator) broke the news to us all – when hurriedly and unexpectedly called to an assembly in the Crossley. It was some days before a very emotional Hubert was able to face addressing the boys.
Looking back, the void left after Gerald’s death was I feel to signal the beginning of the end for HH. I have visited Major B’s grave on a number of occasions, high up on the hill in the grave yard at the church of St Michael and All Angels, Hawkshead. Quite emotional even now, I have stood there in silence to ponder, reflect and to think of people and places of another time. In true character from one Butler brother to another, part of the inscription on Gerald’s grave is in Latin: Timor Domini Fons Vitae – The fear of The Lord is the fountain of life. Even after years of Latin at school, I confess to have had to ‘Google’ this to find the meaning, and to learn that it is from Proverbs 14:27! I have visited HH a number of times in recent years. Although ‘our school’ is now Pull Woods Luxury holiday apartments, and in my view totally out of character, to me it will always be Huyton Hill Preparatory School, Near Ambleside, Westmorland… (and No post code!)