Fawcett School

Memories of the 1950s

By Ian Burchell

Lived in Coldean

I attended Fawcett School from 1955 to 1960. I lived at the time in Coldean, on the outskirts of Brighton near Stanmer Park. I was not in the immediate catchment area for the school, but for some years, I had told my Mum and Dad, that Fawcett School was the one that I wanted to attend. My mother made an application for me, and luckily, I was accepted. A friend, Michael Ray was the only other boy accepted from Coldean, and was the only pupil that I knew in the school of 700 boys.

Soon made friends

I soon made a few friends, the first being Norman Strong. As was the case with many of the boys, Norman lived in one of the streets of terraced houses, which all ran off Trafalgar Street. These streets were later demolished, and now include the residential tower block built on the site. My teacher in 1B was Mr Bill Benson. To a new pupil the school could be a little daunting, and it was essential to quickly learn to "stand up for oneself".

Click on an image to open a larger version in a new window

Photo:1958 school trip to London: golf in Hyde Park

1958 school trip to London: golf in Hyde Park

From the private collection of Ian Burchell

Photo:1958 school trip to London: lunch break

1958 school trip to London: lunch break

From the private collection of Ian Burchell

Prefects' privileges

Those of us who were prefects, enjoyed the privilege of being allowed out of the school gates at break times. We would go to the baker’s shop at the bottom of Trafalgar Street to buy penny bread rolls. The smell of the freshly baked bread was wonderful. I stayed on to the fifth year, and our form teacher was Mr Webb. My main friend was Tony Hemsley, I was also friendly with Tony Williams, whose parents had a fish & chip shop in North Road. I can clearly remember a boy with the surname of Leonard, whose parents had a shoe shop in North Street.

No sports facilities

I remember being impressed by a skiffle group, who gave a performance in the school hall. The school did not have any sports grounds, being right in the centre of town. We used to have to walk to Preston Park for cricket and athletics, and to the Dorothy Stringer School to play football. I am so glad I went to Fawcett School. I had a wonderful time, and made some great friends. 

This page was added on 02/03/2014.
Comments about this page

Hi Ian.  You might remember me, I was in the same year as yourself, and remember all the names you mention. I started in 1a with Bill Shields as teacher, I had him again in a later year and Jas Bolton in my other 2 years. I like yourself enjoyed my 4 years at Fawcett. I remember the numerous times we had to get to Bates Road to play football, and remember there were no changing rooms. We always had a good football and athletics teams, bearing in mind we had no sports ground, great memories.

By Peter Dray (08/02/2015)

I too started out with Bill Shields in 1A which must have been a motivator for me to swiftly progress to Class 1G. The skiffle group was led by Bruce Boxall on guitar with me on the tea chest base. Raymond (Dickie) Bird was, I think, on the washboard. Unfortunately he died a short while ago. Nice to see so many fond memories of Fawcett but I'm afraid I generally don't share them. It was probably just me though.

By Roy Ellyatt (19/10/2015)

I went to Fawcett from 1950 - 1952 when I moved up from Devon with Mum. After a day or two the headmaster called Mum in and said when a teacher was behind me, I could not hear him, and I was fitted with a hearing aid. I was 13 years old.

By Patrick Weir (14/03/2017)

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.