Nostalgia: Memories of the College for Boys

Leamington College for Boys

Leamington College for Boys

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More than 60 years after leaving Leamington College for Boys a former pupil regrets not having thanked his teachers enough for their dedication.

Retired English professor Maurice Varney, 79, who now lives in Cheltenham, attended Leamington College from 1948 to 1955. He has submitted some of his memories of the school.

He said: “It was a good school, with very hard-working male teachers, very poorly paid, many of whom had served with distinction in World War 2.

“The early Fifties were a hard time for people materially. Rationing finished only in 1954 and we all struggled along. The surety of the school and the dedication of our teachers, along with academic and acting success, kept me going. I owe that school a lot and I never thanked my teachers enough when I went off to university.

“The school was a straightforward Grammar School in the early fifties, later merging with Leamington College for Girls and then becoming Binswood Secondary School.

“Binswood School seemed to want to bury everything to do with Leamington College, at a time when selective education became non-PC. There were honours boards in the old (still there) main building, but the present owners know nothing of them.

“There used to be a thriving Old Boys Society, but it has died. The Old Leamingtonians’ Rugby Club is still going strong, however. Our most famous old boy was Sir Frank Whittle who invented the jet engine. Other people achieved in their own ways.

“I became a teacher-trainer, university teacher and Professor of English, specialising in English, Linguistics, Applied Sociology,and 10 foreign languages and working in central and Eastern Europe and China in the 80s and 90s.

“Leamington Public Library in the old Spa buildings has a section on the school and some school magazines from my time which will give you a real flavour of the place. Photographs of some of my teachers are in one.

“In Leamington, to quote Hartley, ‘The past is another country’. Louis Napoleon lived there in his first exile and Alastair Crowley, basically a nobody, caused a great stir.”