Fan Court School

Cayley, Class of 1954

Robin Baker

Robin shared an insight into his memories of his Prep School years at the 'Back to Fan Court' reunion in October 2023:

What comes to mind when you think of your school days?

Gratitude for my days at Fan Court.

Who was your favourite teacher and why?

Really, I considered whole team of staff from teaching to pastoral care as my trusted friends.

Mr and Mrs Elliott – The headmaster and his wife. Always accessible in his study. Wonderful story reader in the drawing room on Sunday evenings.

Mrs Willcox – Form 1 and gave me a foundation in observation of nature and names of all of the common birds.

Mr Willcox: Sports enthusiast, cricket, football, athletics (1948 inter house olympics – I’m sure Cayley won) and flag raiding.

Mr Williams: always calm, warm hearted. He invented WilliBall played with a rugby ball from one end of the estate to the other.

Mr Snape: Great history teacher a warm-hearted disciplinarian and a much respected, responsible and caring man.

Mr Andreae: Was a junior teacher before he became Headmaster. Gave me real encouragement in the classroom when I was struggling.

Mr Lole: Ran the workshop and carpentry. Taught me lifelong use of tools and woodworking skills.

Eric Bole: Junior master,  great sportsman played Rugby for the England, and inspired us. Married Lorraine Abbot junior matron whom we all loved. Took her off to Principia School in St. Louis and became headmaster.

Miss Townsend (Townie) Head Matron was always there for us at bedtimes and if one ended up in the sanatorium. We did get measles and mumps etc. She was comforting and practical with boys.

Mary Bower: Piano teacher. Lessons on the grand piano in the wood panelled drawing room. We played duets together sitting on the long piano stool. I loved her.

Favourite moment you remember the most?

It has to be Sunday afternoons in the Shrubbery. Freedom to do what ever we wanted in the wild Rhodonedroned wood. Constructing tree houses, making camp fires in the sunny field, flag raiding and actually looking out for each other. The shrubbery doesn’t appear to have been touched since we were at school – hmm, hmm 70 years ago OMG!

How do you think your school years have shaped you into the person you are today?

My happy experience of boarding at Fan Court from the end of the 1940’s most certainly gave me a sense of confidence to make the most of whatever life throws at one. I remain as close to remembered experiences at Fan Court today as if they were yesterday. Those memories for the most-part are the positive ones. I like to think of Fan Court, at the time when I was there, as a golden era for the school. I do have a lifelong gratitude for the years I was there, the encouragement to be ones best, a moral sense of responsibility from an early age and lifelong friendships.