The Royal Hospital School
In 1976 after a beautiful summer that I had spent most of running around outside in our back garden, regularly running through the sprinkler on the lawn to cool myself down. I had what was probably the best suntan of my life.
As the summer came to an end. I went by train with my mother from Brighton crossing London from Victoria to Liverpool Street and then on to Manningtree in Essex before boarding a coach to my new secondary school and home for the next five years the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook, near Ipswich.
Within hours of arriving at the school and being directed to our relevant boarding houses, it became clear that this place was nothing like any school or home that any of us had experienced so far. At the tender age of 11. I remember clearly one boy in my boardinghouse who made the grave mistake of turning the television on. Whilst we were stood in the day room waiting for someone to come and tell us what to do where we should be going being balled at and reduced tears for turning the television on. This was just a small taste of the barbaric behaviour and discipline that was the norm of the school in this era and over the five years that I was there,
I was lucky not to be personally subjected to much of the bullying and abuse that went on, but I did witness some of the worst cruelty from both boys between the ages of 16 and 18 and from teachers towards younger pupils. No one could fault this academic standard of education within the school. But as for the concept of loco Parentice, words fail me as to how one human being can subject another to such deliberate misery. One thing I can say is the brutality of that school certainly prepared you for anything else that you will come across in life that was going to challenge you.