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   John Nicholson


John Nicholson

Nickname: Nick
House: Scott
Years: Sept 1948 - Dec 1953

My father worked in Uganda so I was a boarder and travelled to school by train. Most of the boys from Uganda got on the train at Kampala but myself and J J Woods (Hawke) and his younger brother didn’t get on until Tororo. The Kampala boys included John Williams (Scott), Jim Watson (Scott), Peter Overton (Scott) and George ‘Squeaky’ Mowat (Grigg). In the early days before the rail track was re-routed it used to pass by the school before getting to Nairobi station so the train used to stop opposite the school to let us off.

Scott House was formed in 1948 with Mr E M Cobb as Housemaster and Mr Fyfe as his assistant. Mr Fyfe was later made Housemaster at Clive and ‘Stalkey’ Chadwick took his place. Whilst on leave in the UK, Mr Cobb managed to obtain a plate and 2 photographs from the Robert Falcon Scott Antarctic expedition and these were hung on the wall of the main common room.

The original house colour for Scott House was Cambridge blue but after a few visits to the dhobi the sports strips faded so much that they were indistinguishable from Clive’s (white) so it was decided to change the house colour to maroon and to retain the Cambridge Blue in the maroon and blue hooped stockings worn by the 1st team. Also at about this time it was decided to have a House mascot (a teddy bear dressed in House sports kit) and this mascot attended all 1st team matches often to much jeering from the opponents!

Prefects were responsible for much of the discipline in the school, in fact apart from the Headmaster (P 'Flakey' Fletcher in my time) the only persons allowed to carry out corporal punishment were House captains. 'Cuts', as they were called, usually took the form of 6 whacks on the rear whilst bending over holding the ends of a rugby ball. Inspections were held daily (except Sunday) and after breakfast everyone stood at the ends of their beds to be examined by the duty prefect, beds had to be perfectly made or they were ripped apart, lockers contents had to tidy and you had to be clean and smartly dressed, you wore slippers and your highly polished shoes (not to be worn in the dormitory) were beside you. It just wasn’t worth the hassle of failing inspections so everyone got into the routine quickly.

‘Lights out’ in the dormitories varied from 8.00pm to 9.00pm depending on age group and no talking was allowed after this, most people had crystal sets though and as the Nairobi Radio station was just outside the school boundary reception was usually good. A handful of boys had ‘state of the art’ valve sets.

There were some great blokes at school but I suppose my best pals were Ted Berridge, Pete Manger, Johnny Yolland and 'Titch' Corroyer (all Scott); any news of any of them? Ron Bullock was also an exact contemporary of mine and appears to have been a great contributor to your web site, pity I missed him on his 2004 visit to UK.

Since Leaving School:
  • 1954-1958     At Newcastle University studying Civil Engineering
  • 1958-1962     Civil Engineer with National Coal Board in N.E.England
  • 1962-1965     Civil Engineer with Air Ministry in Malta
  • 1965-1986     Manager with George Wimpey on construction projects in UK, Middle East, Trinidad, Tanzania and Iran.
  • 1986-2004     Retired to the Lake District and ran a small Bed & Breakfast business until 2001
  • Nov 2004       Moved to Northumberland

    (Registered - 9th Jan 2005)

  • If anyone wishes to contact John, please e-mail webmaster@oldcambrians.com to obtain his contact details