Jeff Ridgway spurs memories of life at Walhampton over 50 years ago...
Jeff Ridgway (W 1958-1962) kindly sent through some photos of the late 1950s/early 1960s at Walhampton along with the following detail, which others have contributed to:
The live oaks by my recollection were on the south side of the path leading to the lakes just down from the Orangery. They were wonderful trees especially with the rope sets, etc!
Pool...was there I believe when I arrived? Having been raised in Rhodesia I never learned to swim until at Walhampton and distinctly remember learning to swim in the little pond out by the terrace - (where we roller skated).
The cart horse...not certain why it was in the background as this was a Cowboys and Indians party....I remember riding on an Australian drovers saddle very comfortable! The treks in summer break I distinctly remember quite a few different gypsy caravans and a number of carthorses pulling them and there was a group who rode the school ponies we rode/trekked out to Hatchets Pond. Don’t remember Sway trip ...but I had an uncle (Lesley Woodman) in Sway who had quite a lot of land I wonder if they broke out of his property!?
We would circle the caravans and hobble the horses of a night and have a big fire in the middle of the circled wagons! That’s how I remember it!
Mr Hill (1968-present) recalls a story told to him by Margo Kemp (Brown):
Margo Kemp took a pony/gypsy caravan trek into the New Forest in the late 1950s/early1960s with a shire horse called Bob. They stopped at Sway, possibly the Knight’s farm, and put Bob and the ponies in a field there for the night. In the morning all of the horses were missing as Bob had tramped down a fence to escape. Margo called the school to let them know what had happened and they said that the horses were back in the field at Walhampton - they’d walked themselves home!!
I remember sitting next to Dr Richard Leakey as he showed us how early man made flint tools and rope from willow bark....also remember Gerald Durrell coming to school with a large snake!!
Canterbury Tales being read to us by JB by the fireplace in the entrance hall on a Sunday evening! What an extraordinary time!
Cub scouts, Boy scouts learning to cook on an open fire, hah...something else!
Sadly, (the horses photo is) too blurred to recognise anyone, but Nigel Roberts was very likely there, with Graham Francis and some others...