Bedford School, Bedford


Baghdad, Iraq 1973-75

Saudi Arabia 1977-80

Bedford School 1979-81

UMIST 1981- 84

Palawan, Philippines  1983

1984 - 1989

1990 to Latest




Bedford School Gates, 1980


I was lucky enough to be given an Olympus OM1 camera for by birthday in 1980 and duly set about learning the mechanics and art of photography and documenting my life.

Flitwick Railway Line - 1980                                                                                                    Jackie Pratt


Sister 4/4                                                                                                                             Sister 4/4 and 1/4


Bedford School 1979-1981

At this time I was at  one of the top English boarding schools, Bedford School, where I spent my sixth form studying A' Level physics, chemistry and biology before going to university.  Bedford School believed that an education was much more than academic results and wanted to deliver rounded students into adult life by educating them mentally, physically and spiritually. We were therefore tutored in extra-curricular subjects such as English, maths, world affairs, art appreciation, music appreciation, religious education and general studies.  We had school on Saturdays, games three afternoons per week and Chapel most weekday mornings and on Sundays.  I learned an appreciation of sport, music and art from this school as well as getting the required science grades for university.

Wednesday afternoon was spent on "Projects, Pursuits and Courses" or PPC.  You could do a almost any hobby (such as photography, build a canoe or make a stereo amplifier), take driving lessons, join the Combined Cadet Force (army cadets)  or rewire a boarding house (under supervision).  If it was deemed "constructive" the school generally had the facilities to let you do it. 

In retrospect this school was a superb opportunity, but one which I only began to fully appreciate after the age of 35!  Of all the places I've been this is where I made and kept the most friends.  It was a very busy and enjoyable time and I was more than ready to leave at the end of it.



The main sports were cricket, rugby and rowing.              Spot the teachers: "Queenie" Carter, "Burpy" Thorpe, "Gut" Rawlinson, "Pixie" Armstrong




Having won the prize for highest O' Levels at my previous boarding school it was a shock to come here and find myself fairly average against some very talented and hard working competition.  Teaching standards were exceptional as were the academic results.  Our facilities were "privileged", bordering on "spoilt", with a superb gym, swimming pool, squash courts, fives courts, climbing wall, new theatre, rifle range..........the biology department had its own country house and grounds at Ickwell Bury, complete with a nature reserve and ornamental lake.  The Chemistry department had its own infra-red spectrometer.

LVIth Physics:   Mike Pead                                        John Dunkley                                                     John Fielden


Steve Partridge and Keith Badley                                                                                  Steve Parker-Eaton


UVIth Physics


PAY Young's UVIth Chemistry 1981  (PAY Young was possibly the world's best chemistry teacher)


Boarding at Sandersons 1979 - 1981

Chris Evans looks out of Sandersons 1980                                                             Sandersons Boarding House


Bedford School had six boarding houses.  I was at Sandersons boarding house with 40 or so other boys with ages ranging from 13 to 18.  Sandersons had the advantage of being a ten minute walk from the school campus which gave us a bit more independence. We were under the watchful eye of housemaster Alan Thorpe and his lovely wife Pam (who objected to being called "housemistress!").  They created a vibrant and extremely friendly community.  Boys were very supportive of each other and we thrived in a happy, homely atmosphere.  I certainly had more freedom here than I would have done at home.


Housemaster: Alan Thorpe                                                                                                        The Wonderful Pam Thorpe


Sandersons At Play

Jon Frazer - House Fete                                                                    Rolling the Tennis Court


Rupert Smith in CCF Kit                                                                                        Me


Keith Hargreaves                                                                                                                       Sean Scott


Mike Bavvingtom,  Josh Galvin                                               Colin Hutchinson, Rupert Smith                          Keith Hargreaves


Chris Evans playing Tennis                                                                     "Abbo" Smart and Paul Bavington sunbathe on the roof


Adam Jones                                                   Adam Jones                                                                                                 Rupert Smith


House Christmas Dinner List - 1980 (with some omissions)                                               UVI Timetable



Adam Jones                                                                                      Rupert Smith                        Me


School generally finished at 4.40pm with tea served at 5.30pm.  Prep was each weeknight from 6.30pm until 9.00pm.  There was a number of common rooms with various games (snooker, table tennis, table football) and a house bar or "beer room" where we could drink beer or cider from the age of 16,  although usually only at the weekend.  We were also allowed to local pubs after the age of 18, although most of us started sooner. 


Bedford River


River Ouse at Bedford.


School Life

Adam and I shared a study bedroom  in UVIth                       Study Bedroom                                                   Colin Hutchinson



Me, Paul Bavington                                                               Pete Simpson                                                               Squirrel outside our study window


The school also ran many clubs or "societies"  - anything form chess and bridge to photography, debating to electronics, drama to computing.  There was even a wine a beer making society.



Despite being a boys' school there were a number of girls' schools nearby.  Consequently this was not really single sex education as the only time we didn't see girls was in the classroom.  We would meet them regularly in the parks, coffee shops, pubs, parties and by the river and could invite them into the boarding house study bedrooms and house bar or "beer room".


Paula, Sally, Katrina                                                                                   Gaynor 


Lis Pugh                                                                                                                                               Ann



Sarah Clarkson                                              Anne Gardner                                                                                 Karen Davies


Ann & Sarah                                                                                                                        Sarah


 Jane Bygraves                                                                                                           Jane


Upper VI Study Bedroom                                                                                      Julia Salisbury


Katrina                                                                                         Celia                                                           Paula


Sandersons House Photograph 1981

Mike Bavington                                                                                       Alex Tsitsis                           Adam Jones


Sensible House Photo - 1981


Silly House Photo - 1981

With some inaccuracies: 1. Adam Jones, 2. "Bob" Fulham, 3. Josh Galvin, 4. James Chan, 5. Martin Falcon-Green, 6. Mike Bavington, 7. Pete Simpson, 8. Alex Tsitsis, 9. Nigel Simpson?, 10. Nick Huddlestone, 11. William Rose, 12. Colin Hutchinson, 13. Simon Barnet?, 14. Nial McCracken, 15. Andrew Sabey?, 16. Jason Woodwood, 17. Chris Barnet (House Tutor), 18. Martin Manley, 19. Andrew Davidson, 20. Alan Thorpe (House Master), 21. Jonathon Thorpe, 22. Bob Barett, 23.?, 24. Mark Grimshaw, 25. Christoph Lohner, 26. James Cartwright, 27. Hugh O'Brian, 28. Keith Hargreaves, 29. Tom Stanbach, 30. Rohit Bhagat, 31. Richard Ambler, 32. ?, 33. Bill Birch, 34. Ben Pugh, 35. Neil Birch, 36. Jason Falcon-Green, 37. James Shrive,  38. Erik Castenskiold, 39. William Saxby, 40. Martin Webb, 41. William Saxby, 42. Rupert Smith, 43. Avanash Schuckler


Rupert Smith                                                                                                           Me


Adam Jones                                                                                                          Charlie Whiting


Dick Knight                                                    Jeremy Toyn                                                                       Martin Ball & Linda Sabey



Keith Hargreaves, Me, Colin Hutchinson                                                                    Warren


It is easy to get rosy eyed about school days.  There were certainly times when the fullness of the curriculum and studies and the pressure of exams used to tell.  Also, as we got older, the school rules and regime could grate.  However the final complement to the school is, as it prepared us for adult life, it also helped us leave school life behind.  I had fun, learned a huge amount and made many life-long friends, but was more than happy to leave and move on.


Summer 1981

A decadent weekend at Henley Rowing regatta started the summer holidays in some style.  This new sense of freedom with little money could have been inconvenient had one of my closest friends not come into a small inheritance.  He was more than happy to share his fortune and 2CV with me and we went for a couple of wonderful weeks camping in the English Lake District.  Here I met the very lovely Allyson and spent much of the summer with her and with friends in various pubs and clubs.

Pete's 2CV                                                                                                              Paul Smith, Me, Pete Simpson


Pete & Me Ashford-in-the-Water                                                                        Me, Lake district


Allyson                                                     George and Dragon, Bedford Summer 1981                     George and Dragon


Rupert Smith, Me. Cross Keys, Bedford                                                Mike Pead,  Helen Cass,  Pete Simpson,  Colin Hutchinson        




Castle Donnington

The summer was rounded off with a visit to London and then Castle Donnington rock festival before heading to the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) to study Biochemistry and Applied Molecular Biology.

Castle Donnington Rock Festival                              Camping at Donnington Festival                       Blue Oyster Cult




Bedford School

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