OLD SPALDONIANS AND MOULTONIANS ASSOCIATION

OLD SPALDONIANS AND MOULTONIANS ASSOCIATION

1923 – 1995

By

HERBERT WALKER

Old Spaldonians & Moultonians Association — the early years

The Old Spaldonians’ Association came into being in 1923. It appears there had been an “association” of Old Boys before this but only in word, not in deed.

The first president was R. S. Donington Esq., J.P. (Agricultural Chemist). He is reputed to have been the first boy to have set his foot in the present School in 1881, having won the race from High Bridge to Priory Road arranged for boys attending classes in St. Thomas’s Chapel in the Parish Church.

Old boys who came with him described their former school room as a “little hut of a place” and were pleased to see the end of the “dark ages”.

The Association formulated a comprehensive set of rules, one stating that membership was open to Governors and School Staff. The annual subscription was fixed at 5 shillings. This included three magazines a year.

The first two secretaries were Haydn Chester, M.C., A.R.C.O. and S.E. Andrew.

The initial event was the Dinner held on January 2nd, 1925. The Red Lion, Spalding, was the venue and the cost was 5 shillings. The menu comprised Oxtail Soup, Halibut, Roast Rump Beef, Boiled Leg of Mutton, Roast Turkey, Christmas Pudding and the “usual sauces”.

M original Menu Card exists Signed by all present including one of our most distinguished Old Boys, namely Brig. General B. Hilliam, C.B., D.S.O. Reading it, one can Visualise a small rural community in which Old Boys of S.G.S. held prominent professional positions – doctors, bankers, solicitors, as well as those involved in business, local government and sport etc. S. Brice was captain of the Lincs Soccer XI, F.V. Green, an all-rounder, played for Lincs C.C. and S.E. Andrew was captain of Lincs Tennis and Badminton.

Many Old Boys were absorbed directly into local industry or returned to the area having been trained. Today, attractive opportunities exist nationally and internationally, thus causing many to leave the district.

Later, when the Association increased in numbers, the Dinner had to be moved to the White Hart and was held there in the sale room. At the first Dinner, membership was given as 80 (not all attending), by the next 110, and by the third 140. During Dinner speeches, the Association was referred to as the most important and influent1 al body in the town.

At the time, we had a lively Subscription Secretary, Stanley Brice by name, who carried in his pocket a receipt book in case he should meet a “victim”.

There was also a P.R.O./press relations member and on several occasions, with the Head’s permission, he visited School to address the leavers, firstly pressing them to join the Association and, secondly, requesting them to inform him of their future successes for publication in the Bentleian.

From the outset, the Committee had decided Old Girls could not join the Association, (they left for London Road in 1921), but they had the opportunity to participate in the Annual Reunion held in August each year. This consisted of a cricket match against the School, a mixed tennis tournament held on the Town Courts which were sited on the area where now stands the School Hall etc. with the three adjacent houses. Bowls was available on the Headmaster’s lawn at the rear of the school (however rough). This activity was followed by a Dance at School at night.

At these functions tickets were available for a Whist Drive a week later.

The whole event was so popular that after the first few occasions, two days were involved making it possible for Old Boys to participate in both cricket and tennis.

This “core” activity during August cemented the Association into a vibrant whole. As part organiser of the Dance, I did my best to adhere to the Head’s instruct1’on — “Keep them out of the Dormitories!”

In the “thirties” there were several off—shoots from the Parent Association. A Dramatic Group was formed, including ex pupils of the High School. Several one – act plays were staged at the Old Spalding Corn Exchange. Short plays were presented at Boston Arts Festival and won high commendation – one adjudicator after a “meals” scene said the actors “ate as if they were hungry”.

Also, there was the Cambridge University Old Spaldonians’ Society – a very exclusive few, who entertained the school headmaster to Dinner once a year.

The long-lasting offshoot was the 0.S.A. Cricket Club. Starting in 1932 with an offer of £10.00 from President A.W. White Esq., it went from strength to strength under the captaincies of S. Brice, N.N. Webster and R. Waite. H. Walker was Hon. Secretary for 21 years.

The high point of the season was the Cricket Week. This took place on the school field the first week in August, starting with a whole day match on August Monday, followed by an afternoon match on each of the next five days.

Meal arrangements had to be planned carefully but the games were much appreciated by many elderly members of the Association who enjoyed a cup of tea with the players. We took ground collections and had difficulty in satisfying demand for fixture cards.

After amalgamation in 1939 we invited the Old Moultonians to join us. Some did and others preferred not to. For several years, Old Spaldonians and Old Moultonians alternated as Presidents of the Association to everyone’s satisfaction.

During World War II most association activities ceased although Annual meetings took place and presidents were elected.

The Annual Dinner was revived in January 1947 when returning members of the forces were invited free as a “Welcome Home“. This dinner took place in the old-school hall which is now three form rooms.

The Cricket Club roused itself as soon as possible — a full fixture list being made for 1946. It was surprising the number of players who had played with or against each other in various parts of the world, Africa, India, Europe etc., and elsewhere. Owing to the shortage of petrol all away matches were local. The Parent Association came to our aid with financial assistance so we could travel further by bus. How wives and girl – friends enjoyed those trips after austerity! when transport became easier and more players available – especially students on vacation – the Cricket Club came into its own, playing strong club Sides in all the local counties with eminent success. I m happy to record that we had the assistance of several Old Moultonians in our endeavours.

A game which will be long remembered took place at Sandringham in May 1947. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth walked from Sandringham House across the fields to the cricket ground. They sat and chatted with us for almost two hours enquiring about our team and Spalding Grammar School in particular.

Several incidental sporting activities used to take place attracting the interest of students on vacation.

We used to have an annual rugby match against the Old Stamfordians during the Christmas holidays and in the summer a cricket match against the same club.

What has happened to the Old Boys’ Race on Sports Day? – one hundred yards with a 40 yard start for some!

The succession of events arranged annually by the committee sustained and encouraged enthusiasm for the Association.

Amalgamation of Old Spaldonians Association cricket club and the Constitutional Cricket Club took place in the late fifties to the advantage of the game in Spalding. But it had the effect of weakening many threads and contacts for old and young ex pupils which used to be apparent weekly in the Summer.

One of the Association’s outstanding successes Since the mid-eighties has been the full implementation of the Gainsborough Award. Starting with a gift of £2,000, the fund now stands at approximately £7,500. The interest from this sum provides for one or two sixth-form pupils to make adventurous journeys during the summer holidays – the recipients giving full details of the “why” and “where” of their proposed travels.

Affection for the School was apparent during the quatercentenary celebrations. Several Old Boys came from abroad to the Service held on May 19th 1988, (attended by H.R.H. Princess Anne). Spalding Parish Church was full — the seats having been allocated with the assistance of the Church Wardens-

Bernard Tyrrell (Old Moultonians) and the late Ray Matthews (Old Spaldonians).

In the evening came the Dinner held in South Holland Centre at which F. Bratley and H. Walker did splendid business in Old Spaldonian celebration ties and Bentleians.

Interest was shown in the original Charter dated 18th May 1588. It was on display in St. Thomas’s Chapel where the school spent nearly 300 years.

Attention was focused on two aspects – the concluding statement “there shall be a Grammar School in the town of Spalding for ever” and the magnificent pendant seal – 6 inches in diameter depicting Elizabeth 1 in her finery on one Side, and riding Side—saddle on the other.

Sumptuous: Hilliard’s medal of Elizabeth 1

More information about Nicholas Hilliard click HERE

The exhibition of memorabilia arranged by Dr. M.S.A. Townsend – blazers, photographs, cricket score books etc., was displayed in the School Hall and attracted two hundred visitors in one afternoon.

Since its inception, Old Spaldonians & Moultonians Association has received the unreserved support and assistance of all headmasters.

For the last four decades, the Association has been empowered to elect two foundation members to the School’s governing body.

A pupil at the School from 1921 to 1927

In order to maintain the momentum of the Association, some changes to its constitution have been considered necessary. It is proposed therefore that the Committee should be made up of the President, the Officers, ten elected members and the immediate past five Presidents and that, as a departure from tradition, the Chairman should be elected annually by the Committee.

A Social Evening for recent school leavers has been arranged in addition to an Autumn Luncheon for members and their partners.

The Annual Dinner and Ball still take place on the first and last Friday in January as usual.

 

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