Barry Page (28/05/14)
I have it on reliable authority that before most of us entered the Upper School at Camden Road, it was compulsory for boys to wear caps as part of their uniform. Other area schools, such as Holloway, observed the same practice (see image).
Later, however, caps seem to be restricted to the Lower School at Eden Grove. Later still it appears that caps became obsolete, although readily available from Keevans school outfitters, Hornsey High Street (see image).
Did anyone wear a cap either at their Junior school or BBS? If so, do you have any stories?
I wore a cap at both my primary Ambler Road JM and Barnsbury, although I don't remember them being compulsory at either. When I moved the Eastbourne again caps were worn mostly by younger pupils but were not compulsory except on ceremonial occasions like the walk through the town to church for the Christmas service and prize giving, Eastbourne Arts Festival and so on. I don't know if it applied to Barnsbury but prefects had a special cap with extra piping, and my own (hush my mouth I was head boy) had the piping and a little tassel in addition.
Not only did I wear a cap, I think I was one of the last to stop wearing short trousers!
Caps came up at our mini reunion on Wednesday, and I recall that prefects on the gate at Camden Road handing you a detention if you were not in uniform, including your cap.
How many of us continued to wear the uniform, is the question. Think my school tie disappeared during the third year. Look at the 3A photo of me for confirmation. (note that Billy Hunt was sans jacket in the same photo) Grey trousers went the next year and after that I wore blue pin stripe wide leg ones. Remember wearing my double buckle, cuban heel winkle-pickers in the third year. Where's Raymondo when you need him? He never wore a uniform and was considered the smartest kid in the school.
Cuban heels now you are talking James, you have just stirred up a past memory about one of the lads in my class having a pocket radio, for some reason the teacher was out if the class room, the lad put on the radio and 'The Dave Clark Five' were playing ' Glad All Over' so all of us stamped on the floor even a better sound if like me you were wearing Cuban heel shoes plus at the same time we all slammed down the desk lids in time to the part of the lyrics "and I'm feeling" Bang! Bang! "Glad all over" etc, the teacher returned to the class room to immediately stop the fun we were all having, good old days and it only seems like it happened last week.
Photoshop Chris Zindilis
Interesting reading about the school caps, like most of us when my parents purchased my school uniform from Keevans in Horsey High Street the Barnsbury school cap was part of the uniform, I clearly remember wearing my full Barnsbury school uniform and cap on the first day at school and walking into the playground at Eden Grove which I immediately observed that the older boys did not have caps on so I quickly removed my cap for fear of a good kicking and put it away into my pigs skin briefcase which my father had picked up used the previous week which I had to polish up over he weekend before my first day at school, I never wore the cap again throughout my years at Barnsbury and in my 5th year wore what clothes that I wanted to wear as the teachers in my 5th year treated us as adults, I still think to this day that Keevans must have known about the caps not being worn, I should have demanded a refund, why were school uniform standards not kept up?
As George Kent mentioned this subject was covered at the mini pie and mash reunion on Tuesday, George also might have the answer to the mystery of how the Bonk got his nickname which I know that we have discussed this subject in the past, over to you George.
Definitely remember wearing long trousers upon starting at Eden Grove, they were the first pair I had!!! I can also remember Matthews always telling me to get my hair cut, think I was a bit of a rocker the first couple of years, he used to tell me I'd go bald like him. Glad to say he was wrong!
Not certain when I gave up the uniform, think it was probably about the second year. I think I may have had some sort of blazer which had a cutaway front, de rigeur at the time, so I may have got away with that. But I don't recall any big fuss being made.
I was too. My mumsy practically forced me to wear these shorts thereby making me a figure of fun no doubt. Was I glad when I started wearing long pants
Thanks for all the responses to this thread(s) (pun unintended). For all the ex-short trousers, knock-knee brigade. take heart. Here's a picture of the BBS Upper School choir belting it out, with some of the 3rd. year (?) squirts at the front in their short pants finery. Don't know the actual year, but Griff Lewis may be able to enlighten. Wot say, Griff?
Talking about school uniforms and school caps: Please see a photo of me with my father, taken by my mother in 1956.
I was attending an infants-primary school in Haringey at the time; before we moved over to Caledonian road, and even at that age, I was expected to wear a full kit of the school uniform, including a matching overcoat.
I remember how cold it was the day the picture was taken and I was so lucky to also own a nice warm pair of gloves.
They were the days!!'
Loved the anecdotes about caps, Cuban heels and cutaway jackets. Of the ubiquitous 'beanie cap', I can recall only two that I had (BBS wasn't one of them - I think my parents balked at buying that part of the uniform from Keevans). The first was the Wolf Cub's proverbial dark green 'beanie' with gold piping from the brim to the crown. I was in the 5th North London troop that met in Laycock Senior Boys Secondary School, Highbury Station Road. Every Thursday evening, in the school's gym, the troop would assemble and often play some form of 'team-inspiring' game. One was called "cap-in-the-middle" in which all the participants walked in a circle around a cap placed on the floor. When the troop leader called out, the boys would race to the cap - the winner being the first lad to touch the cap. Pretty dumb game, but it did encourage camaraderie.
The second 'beanie' was foisted on me at Laycock JM School. I hated it if for one outstanding reason. The badge on the cap was in the shape of a shield and slap-dab in the middle was a stylised capital letter 'L'; obviously for 'Laycock'. Unfortunately, kids from other schools immediately branded the 'L' symbol to mean "Loony"; and the insult became deep-rooted. Another reason for the cap-phobia was, as probably we all have experienced, its magnetic attraction for older boys to snatch it off one's head. Then tossing the cap from one gang member to another and frustrating the harried and often tearful victim. The cap sometimes ended up over a wall or fence before the yobbos departed having had their fill of fun.
I remember getting "conned" into the choir in Eden Grove with promises of days out and a whole pack of lies. The only trip out I can recall was an afternoon to The Royal Festival Hall and that was not a particularly enjoyable event at that.
I do not remember continuing with the choir when we went up to third year in Camden Road, but if I had then it would have been sometime 1960/61. Otherwise it was one of the promised trips out from the 2nd year in Eden Grove !!
I am also pretty sure that I had advanced to long trousers on moving to the "big" school.
Thanks for the feedback about the BBS choir. Royal Festival Hall I remember only in 1951 during the Festival of Britain. It appeared to be a huge place when you were five-six years old. You were definitely 'conned'.
Well Michael and Tam, our mums must've been of like minds. I wore short trousers and a cap all through years one and two. I distinctly remember playing in the band at Northern poly and ol' McHugh telling me that if I didn't turn up for the performance in long trousers he wouldn't let me play. I had to borrow a pair of my dads.
If you look at the class photo for 3B in Camden Road you can see Micky Doolan wearing a Dave Wax suit with a white Fred Perry shirt. What a guy. A mod before his time. RIP Micky.
My mother said she thought the beneficial properties of air would get to your legs and fortify your pins. The air certainly got to them in winter. I don't know about strengthening; after being thawed out there might have been a slight buzz.
Ahhh!! The infamous chapped thighs! Winter wind burn and copious dollops of Vaseline petroleum jelly to counteract the pain and unsightly red sores. A vivid memory, indeed!
Serious pain sitting in front of the fire trying to get warm in cold, cold winters. Why on earth did our parents not put us in long trousers during that time?