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Some thoughts on schools)

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Posted by Owen Roberts on January 03, 2017 at 16:42:30 user OwenRoberts.

In Reply to: Re: The Blacketts school (& Dick) posted by Allan_Lang on January 03, 2017 at 15:19:06:

Even in the 1930’s some public schools had an entry age of eleven. The school I attended did so and someone else kindly confirmed that Shrewsbury did so in the 1930’s.
Not so sure about Chemistry, I did start at prep school at 9 years old. Also my father ran his own chemical laboratory at a major utility so I had plenty of background. When I first read WH, at age of 10, I did not think that chemical analysis was unusual. However my public school had brand new chemical laboratories, replacing those demolished by a V1 in WW2, and may well have been enthusiastic about everyone having a good grounding in Science. However many schools left Science until later.
This does raise the age old question – where did they go to school? We know that Titty and Roger had a long railway journey that day according to Dorothea. As the D’s lived in London this could mean beyond London. It is quite possible that Titty and Roger went to a co-educational preparatory school in the south maybe near one of the main naval bases of Chatham or Portsmouth (Plymouth would probably be too far for a day’s travel, as the journey would be about 5 hours to Paddington) and then to travel through London to catch a train at Euston. It is probable that they would have been booked on a through train from Euston to Rio (Windermere) so that they would not have to change during the journey, possibly the “Lakes Express” which started to split into portions at Strickland Junction (Oxenholme).
We know John and Susan’s schools were not so far and they had been together on the previous train when they released the first pigeon. This could indicate that they had met on the way to Strickland Junction perhaps at Rugby or Crewe. They may also have changed at Strickland Junction as there were not many through trains to Rio.
Possibly Susan went to the Royal Naval School for the daughters of officers at Haslemere in Surrey. This school still exists as the Royal School with the Princess Royal as its President.
The only school were can be sure that John did not attend was Rugby (AR’s old school) otherwise he would have surely recognised Jim Brading in WD – who was educated there. He was probably not at Dartmouth otherwise is very unlikely that he could be present for all the Swallows adventures. More likely he was at a public school intending to be a “Special Entry” naval cadet at age 18. These special entry cadets formed half the officers in the Royal Navy and were called “Pubs” from their public school or grammar school background whilst those who had come through Dartmouth were named “Darts”.
Most schools, especially boarding schools) were concerned about pupils bringing back contagious diseases. We must remember that there were no antibiotics available in the 1930’s to control infections. Even in the 1950’s, I had to receive smallpox & diphtheria boosters before I was allowed to go to public school. Once at school everyone had to receive Salk polio jabs when these became available.

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