Old Ruthinian Association

Old Ruthinian Association - View Memory

Brian Rowlands Memories 1954 -1962

Description:Personal memory of life and Ruthin 1954-1962
I was asked to write about my recollections of my time at Ruthin a year or so ago and this is what I gave them
Obviously orientated about myself but hopefully it does provide an insight into life at Ruthin 1954-1962

Ruthin School 51 years ago was a traditional small Public School sports orientated. Being small we were always up against tough opposition in rugby against larger Schools. In cricket it didn't matter so much although clearly there was less choice. One of the advantages of this is that one had a better opportunity to play 1st XV and 1st X1 at an earlier age. I benefited from this and in rugby, in particular, between 1960 and 1962 we started as a young team and matured in to a very competitive team: it became a religion to those of us involved

In 1954 cricket was on a high with Bob Barber, Head Boy, and due to play for Lancashire as a Schoolboy and in due course England. He was supported by others and I was basically cricket mad at that age. In the summer terms I remember playing cricket everyday of the week and evening: we couldn't play with a hard ball on the back field on Sundays so we played with a tennis ball!

Retrospectively it would be considered tough in those days: dormitories with wood floors, no curtains and windows open all year round. Rugby every afternoon in winter and cricket in summer. Discipline was strict, School Prefects could slipper and the cane was the ultimate deterrent. I suppose a touch of bullying but that is only to be expected in a male only environment but it was never serious: you could always get your own back on the rugby field. You learnt to stand up for yourself! There was certainly no bullying at Trevor when I was Head of House

The School introduced the CCF which was a bit of a pain to start with as it took Thursday out of the sports routine, but we all joined in and enjoyed it: some of us going on a trips to BAOR in The Death and Glory Boys] at Paderborn. Fired 303 rifles, mortars and played around on tanks, great fun for schoolboys! No Health & Safety worries in those days!

I suppose we were sent to Ruthin to be 'educated' and become gentlemen, as it was in those days. That did not mean intensive academic pressure. Compared to nowadays it was relatively relaxed but one should remember in 1962 you did not need a degree to be a lawyer, accountant or surveyor. Most of the guys did well after school either in the professions or business, with one or two Judges from my generation, who are still around. I went to London University and, Mr Hewer, who was my last Housemaster [ I was his first Head of House!] has probably forgotten that I was a touch lucky getting the A Level required! Two guys went to Cranwell, one received the Sword of Honour [RGL Williams] and another achieved the equivalent at Sandhurst

The food gradually improved during my stay!

Restricted to School grounds except Sunday when we were all turfed out after lunch, no return before 4.30 in all weathers and restricted to where we could ramble

Smoking was popular! Started at 10 , managed to be a regular smoker, and didn't give up until 28 ; never got caught and I suppose we thought we were clever ! but the Masters knew, the smell! keeping the brown nicotine off the fingers was always a problem!

It would be easy to criticise the School at that time, I suppose some of the teachers weren't up to scratch but then some of the boys were hardly academic high flyers! But it did its job and it is good to see that it has now turned into a highly academic school although a bit sad that the sports traditions of yesteryear have suffered as a result
If you wanted to work then you would be encouraged and when I eventually decided that academics had to have some priority as I decided I wanted to go to University in March 1962 that is what I received: I had a lot of catching up to do in a short time and received all the support I needed to make the grade that summer. as they say I never looked back!

I remember that during my leaving interview with Mr Russell [Headmaster] he said to me: Brian, [probably the first time he had called me by my christian name] if you had worked hard you could have gone to Cambridge and got a Rugby Blue, bit of a shame really! I remember leaving his study and thinking, pity he didn't say that to me 2 years ago to set me a challenge! Retrospectively he probably didn't mean it and said it to illustrate that I had perhaps lost opportunities by not taking school work seriously and it was a lesson for the future! which it was
Updated:Monday 22-11-2021 12:17

Add a Comment

To be able to add a Comment you must register and be validated to use the Old Ruthinian Association site.

To register or log in, please use the "Log In" menu, above right.