CBTS: My Story
So my real name is Steve Hendy (aka Curly which I carried over from Junior School) and boy do I wish I still had some of those blonde curls now!
Anyhow I was so proud to start CBTS on Sept something 1967, after only two of us passed our 11+ from St Stephens C of E at Lansdown. Myself and Rob Mussmann (Rob are you there or have you gone back to Germany?).
So after a week of being dragged around the clothes outfitters, and being measured for this and measured for that, with my folks buying all the school gear: cap, badge, blazer, trousers, etc (can we ever imagine doing that for our children now?) There I was first day at school, absolutely terrified! Just little ole’ me, in a cap which I hated, a tie that my mother had nearly strangled me with, which always looked to short by the way, carrying a tan leather strap satchel complete with cheese and pickle sandwiches, no backpacks in those days, and stood in assembly in the biggest most overpowering building I had ever seen.
We had been told of all the rituals that Upper 6th done to us newbies (maybe some of you guys were in upper 6th when I started). Like being rolled down the bank, and OMG the thought of the communal showers after gym, where I had been told Upper 6th would come and hide your clothes. Could I ever imagine now running past Pappin totally butt naked telling him my clothes had been moved…
Anyhow school started and we were taken to Room 28 upstairs, and then scare number 2, in walked a master in a black gown carrying a mortar, and the greeting wasn’t hello Steve as it was in Junior school, but Hendy, sit down over there. My first reaction was OMG this is Goodbye Mr. Chips for real! How vivid that first day was, being separated into 3 classes 1Y,1X and 1L. The L’s thought they were best hmmmm no comment. Then later came separation again, into Games houses, I know I was in Sheridan, and one other was Gainsboro, but I can’t remember the others. I got through that day though, and ended up doing 6 complete, and very enjoyable years. How we all wish we could go back in time.
I have many but here’s a couple I can share … that might raise a little smile
Well my first one, actually happened during our school trip to Switzerland. I was in class 2Y and it was lucky that a few of us from that level went, as you probably know those were normally for 4th form and above, but as there were several spare places we got to go. There were 2 masters with us as I remember, Joe Cannon and Mr. Morgan (French teacher). Well we all met at the coaches parked at the school main entrance, and all of us 2nd year went together, we were heading to Calais to catch the ferry. We left the school went up over the bridge at Brougham Hayes, and without any warning one of my school buddies, Mike Stratford threw up all over 2 rows of seats … hence back to Kensington bus station to all change…what a great start!
The trip too had its moments in Switzerland, from the “farting” competition after meals in the hotel, to purposely missing the cable car at the ski resort of Grindewald, so we could stay a few more hours with a traveling girls school at the same location, to hanging Geoff Mc Cann over a river bridge, dangling him by his feet.
5th grade was the by far the craziest though, although now I look back and realize we must have been just nuts! But our crazy antics earned us our nickname as the notorious 5Y. Poor Mr. Gordon Stokes, who eventually refused to teach us Physics, so we ended up with Dickie Harbour, and there trust me, we even breathed quietly. Mr. Stokes must have had everything done to him, once, I remember him telling Julian Noakes about lighting a cigarette in class, well Julian ended up throwing a bag of tomato sandwiches, narrowly missing him and landing on the board. Another was the day that, let me think - I think it was Desmond Pegler, crept up and placed a pair of hot tongs on his white lab coat.
Can you all remember the accent Sammy Seal had? Especially when he said the word BURN! Well we became a choral class whenever that word was used, and the whole class would pipe up and say “DOES IT BURN” Another Mr. Seal funny, was the time a lad from Corsham (Mike Harris) was sent out of the class for a burst of uncontrollable laughter. Someone had filled a teat from the pipette, with water, tied the end and was throwing it around the class, behind Mr. Seal’s back. Of course those things will not take much handling, and as fate would have it, it burst over someone just as Mr. Seal looked around. Mike Harris just could not stop laughing!!! My attitude changed though when I met his daughter Fiona, she was gorgeous, long blonde hair and just an immaculate figure, did I ever try to be teachers pet after that, it never worked though.
The art room was no escape either for masters, as Peter (Ben) Coard threatened to hold us all on detention until someone told him where his pipe was hidden.
Of course us pupils had our embarrassing moments also. Do you all remember Bill’s Bar? on the Bristol Road. Our favorite haunt when we wanted to skip lessons, we thought we were uncatchable there. WRONG!! We skipped some class and were at the bar, which was really just a sandwich house, playing the jukebox, eating burgers, smoking… and in walked Masher Mills… no escape except to the heads office. Uncle Bill was cool though, just a severe telling off and a note to the parents.
Another classic was the games periods. In earlier years I am not sure if golf was allowed at the pitch and putt at Vicky Park?? Well I think it was in 4th year that golf became an option for games, so that was just so cool, I was and still am a hopeless golfer but to three of us Vicky Park is like a half mile from home. So we would walk up there, and say hello to the green and go home, usually to one of our three houses. Well this one day, unbeknown to us, lovable Mr. Pappin had decided to have tea and ice cream in the clubhouse, and he waited and waited for us to show up and show him just how good at golf we were. Oh dear we never did show, Subsequently we were all banned from golf and had to return to mainstream games.
The Day To Forget:
One thing though I know I for one and many other old boys of all years share, is probably our saddest moment in history. The day when City of Bath Technical School, combined with Westhill and became Culverhay, and the move to the newer premises at Rush Hill became imminent. We had lost our identity, the CSE replaced the O level as the norm, soccer replaced rugby, the yellow and black was all but a memory, and many masters from CBTS decided it was now time to hang up their gowns and mortars and say a tearful farewell. That day too for many of the class of 73, who at this time were in lower 6th, myself included, decided to also say farewell and take our further education at the college, in protest over the move. I guess many would say that that day was the day I and many of my classmates grew up.
How many of you like myself, used to dread hearing those famed words of my elders “Make the most of school, they are the best days of your life” Well I’m sure there are many, but looking back now, they were and still are the best days ever. The comradeship of the boys, the competitive spirit, the harsh but fair and experienced teaching the masters provided, the school itself and what it stood for, are now but memories, but memories unlike reality lives on and to all old boys of CBTS, I would like to close by saying I am so proud and honored to be a part of the greatest school ever, to have with me today, those many many happy memories, and to be a part of this old boys network.
Long Live CBTS in our memories !!!!!