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WATERFALL AT THE MILL

No story of Forest Green would be complete without reference to the "Mill Boys." In 1792, the Philological School was founded in London, and was known by that name until 1908, when it became known as Marylebone Grammar School. Early in the 1930s this school acquired the Mill at Forest Green, where, during the summer term, boys could come down, enjoying nature in all her changing moods. Many a boy's life was enhanced by observations of birds, cattle, the meadows and proximity to natural life.

The boys dug out the swimming pool, damming the adjoining stream (The Oke Brook) where trout were flourishing. In the grounds is to be found a delightfully paved garden, still tended and cared for, bearing two bronze plaques. "This Garden was made in remembrance of those Old Boys of St. Marylebone Grammar School who gave their lives for our freedom, 1939-1945. And their friend and master, Peter Maclean, Captain, Grenadier Guards, who loved this place as they did, and enriched it with his care." Nearby is a drinking fountain: "In memory of Philip A. Wayne, Headmaster 1924-1954."

Marylebone Grammar School is no longer in existence, and the facilities have been updated and are regularly used by the students of the William Ellis School, Camden.

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The Memorial Garden 

 

 

 

                                                                          The Waterfall

 

 

 
 
 

The millpond had been completely drained and was the site of the boys tentfield. A row of old style canvas tents was set up at the beginning of each summer season and boys slept six to a tent each on his personal ex-army cape groundsheet and a straw-filled hessian pailliase. A very basic latrine in the northwestern corner of the field consisted of a hessian screen around a long wooden bench providing a row of holes over large galvanised buckets. A small fatigue detail emptied the buckets daily into trenches dug across the field.

 

                                                    School camp; Tent field - Form 1H in 1956 photo David Ball

                                      

 

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                               School camp; Tent field - Keith Vigon and Ramon Kathwaroon playing chess

 

In the northeastern corner of the grounds the old millstream dam provided a continuous flow of unfiltered but normally clear, very cold water to a rough concrete swimming pool about 25 metres by 5 metres that had been built by schoolboys in earlier years. The water flowed into the pool at one end and out the other. In rainy weather mud was washed into the pool which acted as a settling pond. One year the pool was drained completely and 600 to 900 mm of mud was bucketed out that had collected in the bottom. The boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves covered head to toe in mud. One of the events during camp every year was a cross country race around the locality. This always included a swim across the width of the pool which was not so bad when you were hot and muddy. The boys were allowed to swim whenever they wanted but in 1953 Dr. Derry telling Ball went swimming nude in the pool and was told to put on a costume. The following year under Mr. Llewellyn Smith the boys all swam naked.

   

 

 

The Swimming Pool.jpg   The Swimming Pool 

 

 

Colin Bosely, George Hartshorne, Basil Blakeway and his Morris Minor behind him; Mr Manning (a French teacher of maths) and 'Bill' Bailey.photo R.Beaton

 

  

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    Outdoor Acivities

The Mill and boys.jpg 

 

 

One of the main activities each year was a hike through the charming english rural settings of  Leith Hill, Holmbury Hill and Coldharbour. The boys were introduced to Mares Tails, Liver wort, Coppicing and Pollarding. It must have been pretty trying for the masters to maintain control over a boisterous group of boys who were not really interested in walking around the countryside

 

                                                                                               

Stern on Holmbury Hill during the 1954 school camp.
photo - Doug Burns  

 

The masters had their own tent field behind a hedge on the other side of the courtyard in front of the mill. They had the use of a rather dodgy flush toilet in the mill building. Joe Brook wrote from Canada that he and David Rose, "along with a few other malcontents, had participated in the glorious unplugging of the only (Masters) flush toilet. Not a pretty sight. The boys lifted a manhole cover and inserted a chimney-sweeps brush with multiple, screw-on bamboo sections. They successfully released large quantities of large turds and toilet paper into the manhole. All without the use of gloves. Hence the near punch-up when they were permitted to clean up with cold water in enamel bowls and a very small, half empty, bottle of disinfectant."

 

  

Arty Leatham, Messrs. Spiers (head of Maths), Bosely and McNeil (Maths and French) at Forest Green July 1962.  photo R.Beaton

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