In the first edition of this Magazine it would be fitting to make some mention of the history of the school. It is disappointing that the earlier days are somewhar shrouded in uncertanty. All that I know is that the school was founded some time before 1928 at Stroud House, Grayswood, Hazlemere. It was a small day school and photographs of school groups from 1929 show that it then had about 25 boys. The house must have been large for that number and we are told that there were good playing fields and plenty of space including a wood where the boys could enjoy their spare time. ( I can confirm this as I attended Stroud at Grayswood. The Picture is of me taken in 1943! J.P.)
|Either in the autumn of 1936 or the spring of 1937 the school was taken over by Mr B.H.Molony and Mr Woodall, in his retirement returned to cricket, his favourite pursuit. I understand that had been a member of the "Hampshire Hogs" for a great many years.|
Again from evidence from photographs, it appears that the school continued at the same strength more or less until 1939. Then, with the advent of the Second World War the numbers increased and we believe that Mr. And Mrs. Molony successfully steered the school through these difficult days. In 1946 the school was moved to Zeals House near Mere in Wiltshire. Zeals house is a fine Tudor building, large, rambling and with many long stone passages. The rented property consisted of 60 acres of which about thirty were sub-let to a local farmer. There was a large lake where bathing and later boating, became the order of the day during the summer. Unfortunately this lake became less and less beautiful and useful as the weed on its surface became thicker and more permanent. The House too after a few years tenancy disclosed its decided drawbacks.
The Molonys retired from the school at the end of the summer term 1948 when I took over the sole headmastership, having been in the school for four terms as a partner.
Zeals had been rented only on a fourteen years lease and at the end of the seventh year it was decided to break it. Some of the reasons for this step might here be mentioned. Firstly the lease was a severe one and we anticipated a heavy delapidation account on our departure. We were reminded by legal friends that to "keep" the house and grounds in good order, meant to "put" it into this state. Parts of the house were in a thoroughly bad state of repair, the roof was leaking in places and dry rot had been detected in a number of places. Perhaps the most deciding factor was the landlord's decision at that time, not to extend the lease over the fourteen years.