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News > Events & Reunions > Quincentenary OC Tea Party

Quincentenary OC Tea Party

There is something very special about Cranbrook School
5 May 2020
Written by Honey Barras
United Kingdom
Events & Reunions
Quincentenary OC Tea Party
Quincentenary OC Tea Party

I confess to being somewhat undecided when the invitation came to attend an afternoon at School. My only previous visit in 60 years was just a year after leaving and my House Master, Mr Gianetti, (a.k.a. Spag) called me Porter, much to my chagrin. Perhaps he was still upset with me for failing ‘A’ level French!

However, as my brother, Philip, is Deputy Chairman of the Board of Governors, he was able to assure me that there were going to be several of my vintage in attendance, so I said yes. I am first to admit that I am very pleased I did go. We were made most welcome and, indeed, half a dozen OCs of my years were there – Marriott, Barham, Eltringham, Davis T and two Sennecks. Time was allowed for reminiscence as well as putting names to faces in photos in albums laid out in the marquee, then we split into small groups to tour the School. There was very little that I recognised, Big School, old Crowden House, Barham House and Cornwallis, but the boys explained all the changes. Tour over and we were served a delicious afternoon tea, sandwiches, biscuits, cakes and cups
of tea, as much as you could carry!!

My congratulations and thanks to all those responsible for the organisation of a very special day.



The Old Cranbrookian Tea was the most wonderful event, held in a stunning marquee on Cornwallis field. It was clear that a lot of work had gone into the planning. The sun shone, the band trumpeted and it was amazing to see so many OCs from the past 60 years sharing funny stories about their school days. There is something very special about Cranbrook that doesn’t seem to have changed over the years.

For me, it was an incredibly emotional afternoon. Both of my children, Harry (Year 10) and Katie (Year 13), now attend Cranbrook, following in their grandfather’s (James Nichols – Crowden 1945) footsteps. It was a poignant day for us as a family as sadly my father died some six years ago and none of the uncles could attend (Hugh, Dudley and Andrew).

I scoured the scores of elderly gentlemen (staring rather strangely at their name badges) searching for a date that might possibly match up with my father’s. Very quickly I came across a huddle of five gentlemen who enthusiastically confirmed that they were friends with ‘Jimmie’. It was lovely to hear their stories, cheekily informing me that my father ‘was quite a one for the ladies’ but also sad because he was not with us. It was an afternoon of mixed emotions as I stood watching my daughter sing to her grandfather’s friends without him there.

When Harry plays rugby up on Big Side I often think of my father and the stories that he used to tell me. One story that comes to mind is his recollection of when the German fighter planes came over Big Side during a cricket practice. The ‘master in charge’ shouted ‘take cover’ but the boys had little time so just fell to the ground. My father was lucky, a shell just missed him... but he burnt his finger badly by putting it into the bullet hole moments after the attack.


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