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News > Heritage > A New Boy, 1946

A New Boy, 1946

From the Bradfield Chronicle
7 Sep 2023
B House, 1946
B House, 1946

The beginning of the academic year brings back memories of the unforgettable experience of the first day at a new school.  In 1946, an Old Bradfieldian under the pseudonym ‘Hibernian’ wrote this humorous account, perhaps semi-autobiographical, of the arrival of a new pupil at college:     

His hat was too big for him - it fell over his ears. From underneath its brim peered two questioning eyes. They were like those of a frightened rabbit - yet more bewildered than afraid. His face shone with the good scrubbing his mother had given it before he left home. He had allowed her to commit this crime on his manhood because he knew it made them both feel better. In the breast pocket of the overcoat which had cost so many coupons was a large piece of chocolate unopened as yet because he, rightly, thought it was not done for a public school boy to eat outside. His new grey flannels had retained the crease which had cost his long-suffering father so much labour and his well-polished shoes were only slightly dusty from the journey. In one hand he carried a new handbag (‘filled only with those articles required for the first night of term’) and in the other the paper so hurriedly bought at that last fateful moment on the platform. His newness was blatant.  

Behind him in the School bus arrived two rather more-experienced creatures. Their corduroys and leather-patched tweed coats bore obvious signs of hard wear, their hair had not been cut for the beginning of term and their shoes were only passably clean. They had an air of bored confidence. Their glances at the countryside were cursory and contemptuous. Conversation ran along the fixed adolescent lines of jazz, films, etc. on the one side, and birds' nesting, fishing, etc., on the other. Home life was obviously not on their minds. The transition period had left unmistakable changes behind it: uncleanliness and untidiness were two obvious traits in their semi-grown-up stage. The comparison was clear and the potential first-termer began to feel his superiority. He leaned back in his seat and emulated those of earlier vintage by putting his hands in his pockets and opening his coat. Little did he know what a deadly crime he was committing against the social system of his new school. His balloon-like confidence was soon to be pricked by the callous remark of a seventh-termer: ‘After all, there is some excuse for him, he is only a New Boy.’ 

Bradfield College Chronicle, July 1946, 71.


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