Memories of Harrison House – 2, David Green 1946-52
Being isolated from their family was a downside to boarding school life but this was compensated by various privileges bestowed by Bugs, Nej and some masters. The Army Training Corps (A.T.C.), forerunner of the C.C.F., was joined by most boys on reaching the minimum age. Boys had their own boots but proper uniforms were issued, together with belt, gaiters and front pouches, which were “bulled”and blancoed to perfection. We were drilled like Army recruits, equipped with a.303 rifle. An important A.T.C. parade was held in 1948, when several Harrison House boys were issued with bugles. We were shown how to respond to various commands but ordered not on any account to try and play them! However, across the road from H.H. was a triangular piece of ground known as Parker’s Piece, which had a small pavilion in the corner. One of the day-boys had a part-time job playing trumpet in a dance band and taught us the bugle. All went well and when the dress rehearsal was held, the bandmaster was stunned to hear three extra buglers – playing! and then recruited into the band. A few boys were allowed at weekends to clean rifles in the armoury, happily pulling “four by two” through and oiling them. The yearly “Field Day” was held at the Altcar Range, when we were marched to Crosby Station and from Hightown to the ranges, where we fired live .303 rounds at targets 50, 100 and 200 yards away.
Sport figured large, with most boys playing rugby and cricket.
Wednesday and Saturday afternoons saw a procession of boys heading for the Endbutt Lane playing field whilst some, unable to take part, had to attend as spectators. During the summer months we were allowed to go, after prep, to Bootle Baths or the plunge pool at Southport for a half-hour swim.
H.H. boys were allowed to leave the house during daylight hours and were officially ‘bounded’ by St. John’s Road and Coronation Road, but this was sometimes exceeded, notably when a rubber warehouse caught fire at Seaforth Docks, seen from the Overhead Railway station, and when the Aircraft Carrier “Ark Royal” was launched in 1950, watched from the New Brighton Ferry.
For several months a few of us published “Harrison House Times”, a single quarto page produced after prep and sold for 1d a time. The master page was written with purple hectographic ink, which was then laid on a bed of gelatine in a biscuit tin lid and it was possible to take fifteen copies before they became illegible. It would be interesting to know if any boy took up journalism!
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