by Ken Grimes, Kenton House
(Extracts from a lovingly compiled contribution entitled 'The Golden Years'. The first paragraph starts, 'After deciding on the above tide I realised that.., hundreds of Old Gayts would be angrily sayng "What rubbish, the Golden Years were.., etc. But I think on reading this they'11 have to agree...
My father, who was an estate agent, told me that he had sold a house to Randall Williams. I was then attending the Harrow High School for Boys at the Victoria Hall. I wanted to go to H C S and asked my father if he would approach Randall. I suppose I thought quite cheerfully that he would say, 'Yes, he shall have a place.' Not so! With Randall everything had to be above board, and I was later informed that I could sit the entrance Exam for Fee-Paying Pupils. This I did, and to my relief got a place - 81st out of 250 applicants, of which some 110 were accepted. I just made it!
A French test which 'Tubby' Hartland gave us in 4C. Ten of us got less than 5 out of 10. Tubby was so disgusted he called Randall in and we were told to attend at his study at Dinner Time. We lined up on the stairs and went in one by one to receive six of the best. The whackings were witnessed by the Form Captain, the younger Rooksby ·.. who was one of the ten!
Dear old Brister used to suffer from catarrh. When teaching he would sometimes clear his throat and say, 'Put that in your books.' We always wondered...
I was a 'train boy', travelling up from Northwood. Sometimes Randall would be on the train and Tubby Hartland and R R Jones often joined it at North Harrow. Going home we could just catch the 4.06 if we left School a fraction before 4.00 p.m., and sprinted along Gayton Road and down Station Approach. The train changed engines at Harrow, from electnc to steam, and we could just make it, sometimes by 'swanking on' - our expression for getting aboard whilst the train was moving. This was highly dangerous, and done with roars of rage from the Station Master.
The two great events during my years were the Pavilion Fund and Gayton Fair. Randall put a lot of thought and time into the Pavilion Fund and he made it a success in a very short time. We had the first Gayton Fair in 1922; then came the Swimming Pool Fund.
I was a 'hot dinner boy', which meant that we had our dinners in the room between the two towers. When one rose to the heights of 'Table Monitor' there was generally an extra slice of pud if you cut it up carefully!
The combination of Thorn and Randall produced in 1923 the 'School Hymnal and Service Book', for which I believe we paid 6d. I regret I lost my copy during the War, but I would very, much like to obtain one if any Old Gayt has a spare or knows where I could get hold of one.
Ken Grimes, Kenton House
From the Old Gaytonian Magazine, 1986
contributed by Colin Dickins