Peter Hewitt's memories and pictures of my school days

Article from Peter Hewitt

Over 50 years ago I slept secure in the knowledge that the North Foreland Lighthouse would deter any sea-going vessel steaming through my dormitory window, and wondered through your excellent website if there are any other survivors around from the Whiteness Manor boarding school in George Hill Road, Kingsgate, which alas, was demolished for housing development a number of years ago. I was a pupil there around the time of Queen Elizabeth's Coronation in 1952.

Picture taken 1952-53 Lady Brabourne, daughter of the ill-fated Lord Mountbatten, opened the fete and chats to pupil Tony North.

Photo was demonstrating PE on the same day (as above).

A pageant was performed on the day about Lord Shaftesbury's work with the Ragged School Union and the photo of the boys being led before Lord Shaftesbury (played by head teacher Mr. Fortescue) and a housemaster at the rear (Mr. Allard) shows the early beginnings of the Shaftesbury Society. The boys from left to right are David Farmer, Raymond Walters, John Lea, Norman Smith, Mick James, Keith Powell and Roy Cummings.

The photo of the boys in school uniform in which I got told off for having my hair showing below my cap were: Back row Kenneth Campbell, John Martin, Myself, Brian Cole, David Finch and Denis Marshall. The two boys in front were Norman Fennell and Michael Budd.

Androcles and the lion at Margate.

Spectators are John Martin, Keith Powell, Freddie Fowler, Noman Fennell, David Book, David Finch, Leslie Matthews, Walter Peerless, Nicholas Butt, Edward Peters and Raymond Walters.

The old Victoria Home

I attended at Bournemouth (throughout World War 2) and at Margate (post war) if you are interested.

It was the old Victoria Home, which is now a guest house, opposite Branksome Dene Park, where we used to play as kids (now a private Jewish rest home) of which I took photos on a recent visit. In the street behind the home were stables where Mr. Rixon used to operate a horse-drawn cab service and was a great servant of the school, giving parties of children rides in his celluloid-windowed Morris car to the New Forest and other places of local interest. I remember him one time stopping his car to go into a shop and one of our darling little passengers let off the handbrake and the poor man, who was no spring chicken, had to chase after us. Fortunately, I am alive to tell the tale but a little time later he passed away in his sleep and in those days commemorative plaques with the benefactor's name were hung on the bed heads with a small ceremony and my bed was chosen to perpetuate Mr. Rixon's name. I also have a recent photo of the stable which is now also a guest house called the Coach House. In 1946 at the age of 7.

I was moved on to the Coney Hill School at Margate along with other pupils of my age, which is now an old people’s home (Leadbetters) and, although I have no picture of the home itself, I do have a few photos of a Maypole dance and an open day drama we performed in the school grounds of Androcles and the Lion where I played a Roman emperor, albeit a camp looking one. I was there until I was 12 and finally moved to Whiteness Manor until I was 16.

I noticed on your website a photo of Eric Butler whom I realise I knew as a housemaster in my latter days at Whiteness Manor, a very gentle and likeable chap. There was also a tall young lad called Alan Quartermain who worked as a domestic in my day, nicknamed Quatermass after a science fiction serial running at the time. I knew Roy Roberts of course who married another housemaster's sister, an Eric Patrick who was also a nice chap, but I don't recall her first name but I know they had children. Then there was Ted Day, an ex-pupil of bygone days, who became a housemaster during my time and excelled at football despite his handicap.