discussion

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I created this page for people to start their own threads and discussions. You are very welcome to do so, but please do not incriminate anyone and try to avoid anything which might be triggering or distressing to others. Boarding Concern, Boarding Concern and Boarding School Survivors all offer help and support to people who are struggling with the effects of boarding, unfortunately I am not in a position to be able to offer that as I do not have the training or time. Sadly at present I am unable to moderate this page. SF

297 thoughts on “discussion

      • The official version:

        Lindsay Robert Thomas Martin (Robin) Beloved brother, died 20th July 2016, after a long illness. Boy, master and Headmaster of Sherborne Preparatory School. Sadly missed. Funeral for family and close friends. Details of Memorial to be advised.

  1. Probably for the best. I was fortunate in never having any ‘issues’ – many of the others on the ‘discussion’ did. I was and remain lucky, they were not.

    I have other comments to make re. other bits and pieces – they can wait. Not the time.

  2. I’ve read parts of this discussion with considerable interest, and when I have more time, I will read the rest. I was a pupil at Sherborne Prep between 1964 and 1966 when my parents, who had become seriously unhappy about the school, moved me to another boarding school much nearer home and with a more developed attitude – for those days – to pastoral care.

    I’m not going to go into enormous detail about my experiences there, because they mirror some of those already related: I wasn’t subjected to “special attention” from Robin Lindsay – and I think I was there rather before he turned into the full-blown paedophile that he clearly became – but even as a seven year old, it seemed odd to me that he spent so much time in the changing rooms, watching us shower after games. So far as his father was concerned, I agree that he had a sadistic streak but I also think there was a sexual element to it: he seemed very fond of smacking small boys on their (preferably bare) bottoms and there were several occasions when he lined up an entire class or, on one occasion, everybody in the changing rooms, to beat them for no reason other than his personal gratification. Not a nice man at all.

    Several of the other names are familiar to me, particularly Miss Snow, who used to make the boys in her class play what I can only describe as Strip Catch. She would throw the ball to you and, if you dropped it, you had to take off an item of clothing, even if it ultimately left you naked (and it sometimes did). One can only speculate as to her motives – perhaps she felt it was character-building to be humiliated in front of your peers – but any teacher who tried playing a game like that nowadays would find themselves in court with a swarm of tabloid reporters camping out on their doorstep.

    It wasn’t all bad: like others on here, I remember Mr Rhodes as one of the good guys, as was Mr Loveluck (?sp?), a decorated war hero who taught languages and who combined a strict, rather disciplinarian classroom persona with a genuinely kind nature at all other times. When I left the school I did so, in general, with “all the regret of a man wiping a piece of dog sh** off his shoe”, in the words of Iain Banks, but I felt a distinct lump in my throat when I said goodbye to him.

    Boarding schools provide an environment in which some children thrive and some don’t. If I could identify one thing that seems fundamentally wrong about them, to me, it would be that it’s a full-on, 24/7 experience from which there is no escape. If you’re a kid who goes to a normal school you can usually go home at the end of the day and unload to your mum, dad, or whoever, when you have a rubbish day, or you’re bullied, or when an adult does something inappropriate. At boarding school, there was no such release valve or means of whistle-blowing and no affection. Even now with modern safeguarding practices I suspect that many bullied and abused pupils never tell anybody about what has happened to them, and many more endure the misery of being separated from their families at a young age: if that’s not child abuse, I don’t know what is. If you are a confident, popular child, who makes friends easily, you will probably thrive in the atmosphere of independence that you will find at a boarding school. If you’re a bit insecure and sensitive you won’t, and it will be a memorably nasty experience that can scar you for life.

    I am sad that Robin Lindsay has died, but only because it means that he has avoided justice. As someone else has already said: “He got away with it” – and so long as boarding schools exist, it’s my view that other Robin (and Fred) Lindsays will continue to do so.

    Sorry – in spite of my best intentions, I seem to have gone on a bit! 🙂

    • Although Lindsay has passed away his legacy ,and the others, has not and it will be brought to justice. Wheels may turn slowly but the whole story has to be documented and laid bare..

  3. Mr Rhodes indeed one of the good guys – I was at St Monans for at least a term or two, not sure. He was a cricket chap as far as I recall – encouraging us to do better ‘get a fifty’ etc. I was never that good at sport, but tried, and it appeared that there were those who were ‘chosen’ at both the prep and ‘Big school’. I also recall a Mr Loveluck (ditto ?sp?).

    A Mrs Stephanson/Stevanson (?) taught French at the Prep – the classroom at Netherton with the bow windows and door to the south. I have an ‘instamatic’ photo here somewhere of a ‘class’ shot. Her husband taught history at ‘Big School’.

    It is for me 51 years since I left the Prep but the more posts there are yield more memories.

    I, like my classmates, did the 11-plus and passed – a ‘just in case’ exam in case CE to ‘Big’ or elsewhere not on the cards. My parents totally unaware that I had done it. Perhaps an indication that the education was good.

    As previously, all for now, until someone adds something.

    David

  4. A quote from the National Association of Survivors of Child Abuse: “Many pedophiles are extremely clever, often charming, patient people, frequently thought of as among the most valued of community members. That’s because they spend a lot of time grooming the parents, friends and neighbors of the children around them, just as they groom the kids themselves. It’s not unusual for pedophiles to pick careers and / or volunteer positions that will deliberately place them in close proximity to the youngsters they crave. They’ll then proceed to impress (or “groom”) the adults around them by becoming the most reliable on-call volunteer, the most generous friend, the most giving neighbor or the favorite relative. Their presentation makes them seem to be completely sincere, among the most trustworthy and valuable community members. Parents of molested kids will often be shocked at their own naivety, but pedophiles are as clever as can be in grooming the adults around them, too.”

  5. How interesting that he should try and recruit you to his cause. It is entirely understandable because that institution was all that he lived for, in every way.

    I know that I expressed this in my evidence to both police and solicitor (for DoE). It is of course appalling to have to dredge this up all the time and the very fact that I happy he is dead is saddening.

    My own experiences (expressed earlier) pale into insignificance when compared to those of the so-called “arsonist” but my life since those days at Sherborne have taught me, at first hand, that people become arsonists or suicide bombers because of terrible experience and a sense of hopelessness often associated with childhood trauma. The fact that Lindsay would attempt to write off a child (in his paid care) as “an arsonist” tells much much about the normalising of this specific kind of abuse…

    Out of sight and out of mind, beyond the reach of the social services, my peers, whether in freshly pressed crickets whites or making minced meat of all-comers at the Roehampton Sevens, were victims of a ghastly rapist.
    Long may he rot.

  6. Replying to Guy’s (October 31 2016 9.19pm

    Yes wish there was a reply facility too..

    Great to hear from you Guy.. Although we would have known each other by surname..

    One of the great solaces of the Prep at Sherborne was the French teacher and scout master
    Mr PGE Farwell. He had two sons and lived in a terraced house in Sherborne. He was to me a thoroughly decent man and surely he must have known what was going on. I enjoyed the Scout camps out at Stalbridge. I used to whittle tent pegs and these were given out too.. Like you Guy I still have one . I remember driving out to the camp in the back of a large van with all the gear. Farwell also taught history.. There was a Mr Alexander who played piano in the evenings to cheer us up. The upright piano was in the big double classroom where the walls had the large green scholarship boards.
    There was a french man who came in probably 1971 who lived down the lane at Netherton who drove a Renault 4. Mnsr Le Manac I think.. He must have left and the family you mention moved in. Mr Bird and Miss Snow still living in the other cottage down there.

    At St Monans was a family who were the Dickinsons. Col Dickinson was the bursar. Very stiff military man. Black moustache. They had a stunningly attractive daughter Anne who went to the Girls School.. They had a room with two bunk beds in and four or three of us would live there for a couple of terms. It actually felt quite normal until we were detailed to go up to Netherton for the next term and either be in the upstairs or downstairs senior dorms supremely convenient to satisfy Lindsay’s appetite for boys older than ten years..

    It was the peculiar summer swimming that I found bizarre… how a group of us would be escorted by Lindsay to the Big School open air pool and we would all strip like a synchronised display team. as he watched and commanded us all to put our ‘kickers on’… After about fifteen minutes (it was usually bloody cold) we would all get out and form a line as he commanded ‘kickers off’ and there would be a row of naked wet boys for him to ogle at… Then we would all troop back to Acreman House for breakfast.

    House of horrors ..There was an art room down at St Monans.. run by a lady art teacher.. I enjoyed the art lessons.. who was she?… I think she may have been married to a teacher at the Big School..

    I often wonder what became of my friends at Prep School.. I never saw them again..

    Yes Mr Phillips was a total sadist. English teacher.. Yikes.. I remember a Mr Holman.. Checked blazer and pipe sort of guy.. decent..Geography I think. The matron at Acreman was that little old lady with a huge handkerchief hat and she would have a radio on sunday eves as we were all in bed in the Acreman dorms.. Radio blaring hymn singing.. A Miss Guile ? or Gyle?

    I think Netherton was the real lair of Lindsay and with Mrs Griffiths in the flat (where was Mr Griffiths or was she a widow)..acting as a cover of normality?

    The other lair being the Acreman changing rooms with that huge shower chamber where he would stand and watch . Horrific looking back ..

    There were some day boys whose parents would have been high up in local businesses in the area and in Yeovil.. Day boys were I presume not in Lindsay’s remit and the parents subsequently groomed to support him. QED later Police investigations.
    Us lot who were Lindsay’s prey often came from slightly disjointed families. My own being from a peripatetic forces one. Often where family communication was very strained. He was clever to spot the right sort of prey.. Apart from letter writing home… there was no phone or regular visits.. Unlike the luxury of the children of today. It would have been clear to Lindsay who was a lonely child or not..

    Good old tent peg!
    Any thoughts on the Netherton Moose Head?
    You must have been around in 1968 when they were filming Goodbye Mr Chips with Peter O’ Toole and
    Petula Clark..

    • Farwell was it. For some reason I remember him as Sparks. Must have got that confused with another teacher. Yes, he was a decent man, and I can remember being glad to get out of the school with him on those scouting trips as everyone was much more relaxed and happy. It’s important to remember that there were ‘normal’ teachers there who were probably struggling to deal with Lindsay as a man and managed to give us some good experience of their subject and themselves as human beings. That French teacher was one such. I can still remember being presented me with that golden tent peg. Hand carved and painted by him.

      Do you remember Lady Guilett (Gillett/Gillet)? Matron in Acreman. She used to keep an empty laundry basket down a dark corridor downstairs which you’d get strapped into at night if you were out of bed. She’d put you there for half an hour. Do you remember this at all? The old matron who was just there when I started had been there since Moses and was very ancient – or so it seemed to all of us. I think she was retired after my first or second term. She had been there in my father’s time there!! Yes, so many of us were there because our fathers had been there before us duing the time of Fred Lindsay. Anyway the old matron who seemed to be known simply as Matron (I don’t remember her name at all) is in my memory still. She would warn us when Skunk was about at night. I can remember her skuttling in to the dorms quickly with a “Cavey, the head’s about. You’re all asleep.” That’s so vivid in my memory – she used this term “cavey” which I’d never heard before and not heard since. Keep cavey = keep a lookout. She was warning us, protecting us as best she could, and I remember that she always insisted we were to be asleep. That all began to make sense a year or so later for me when trying to look visibly asleep was important when Lindsay came round late at night for his backrub gratification. She was replaced with this Lady Gillet. How much awareness she had of what was going on – I have no idea. But certainly Mrs Griffiths knew. I remember talking about it with her. My impression looking back was that some of these people were trying to protect us as best they could – and there was certainly police interest in the place as far back as the 70’s. So I assume various staff were approaching the police and trying to get action taken.

      It’s perhaps easy to think there was widespread complicity – but the culture was massively different. I think people were aware throughout the school but afraid to tackle it – they would lose jobs and homes. My sense later was that he had been hiding in plain sight and getting away with sustained paedophile activity under everyone’s nose. I’d never heard the word ‘pervert’ until the age 8 when I went there. It seems to me that suddenly at that age I was thrown into a world I knew and understood nothing about. It was a sinister world with words most of us probably barely understood at first – and much bullying. Sink or swim. It was simply about survival. And at the top was a man touching us and fondling us and watching us through eyes of desire and beholding us as quiet prey. I started some kind of sexual journey at age 10. It was wrong. A headmaster should not have been allowed to do this to small boys.

      It would be good to form a meeting for survivors – to gather together and explore possible action. I think it needs to more widely recognised. And reported to the police and to IICSA. I have reported my Prep school abuse to the police.

  7. ‘Matron’ from the 1930s through until your time was Mrs C.M.Ind, though, like you, we never knew her by that name. She was a kind woman who was particularly caring of younger boys who found being away from home difficult to cope with. She would hold ‘birthday parties’ for those who wanted them in her surgery (the room at the top of the stairs leading up from outside the dining hall). If you were quarantined alone in the small annex next to her room on the upper floor at Acreman, she would ask if there was a particular friend you would like for some company for a short time (boys were not otherwise allowed on the top floor during the day). Lying awake at night in the upper dorms, we would hear the Big Ben chimes on her wireless at ten o’clock. She was a kind woman in a harsh environment, and deserves to be remembered.

  8. Hear hear…She was a kind soul….My mother told me years later that she recieved a reassuring letter from her during my first term that all was well. I was eight. Songs of Praise on the radio Sunday evening as we all went to sleep….

    • Yes, I remember her as kindly and protective. Sadly she left very soon after I started – maybe two terms or even one. She brought a human warmth to the place. I never knew her name until now (thanks Ian Greenwood) – she was simply Matron. It’s sad to think of someone giving such long and loyal service to a school run by such a disturbed man.

      We now know this kind of abuse was going on in many prep schools across the UK. It’s hard not to think there were quiet networks operating throughout Britian at that time. I hope IICSA when it gets its act together and stops lurching from crisis to crisis – will uncover much of the history of all this nationally in schools and other institutions. It was endemic and has caused so much damage to lives, and to our wider society.

      • If I remember rightly, whilst waiting outside Fred’s study for the inevitable beating if Ma Hen came along she would make us pass the time by doing physical exercises of some sort. I used to dread the first lesson of the day, algebra with Fred. Time does funny things with the memory but I recall, boys who got something wrong, being held by the scruff of the neck and having their noses rubbed in the blackboard. Correct me if I am wrong.

        • I’m guessing that this refers to your time in what today we would call Year 5, i.e. in the ‘Upper’ with the dividing screen drawn across to separate 3A from 3B. I don’t remember the nose-blackboard interface, but it’s quite possible that by then we were on opposite sides of the screen! The probability of sudden and unforeseen violence from FRL caused me to miss a lot of school that year, and I reiterate that (without prejudice against any of his son’s later behaviour as reported here) Fred Lindsay’s random and unrestrained cruelty was quite as unacceptable then as it would be today.

        • I can’t remember that specifically, but I certainly shared your terror of Maths with Fred, it being my ‘worst’ subject (no thanks to him I suspect) – so anxious was I, that I remember at one point being in the habit of creeping down to the classroom to copy out answers from the exercise books of more able boys. His Maths lessons might have been conducted in Mandarin for all that I understood them. What I do have a clear memory of however, was his habit of loosening and pulling down the waistband of his trousers to show us the long livid scar across his stomach, the result (as he relished the telling) of an appendectomy carried out on the kitchen table of his boyhood Ulster home. Thankfully, I was rescued in my final year by the fearsome but kindly Mr Bird (“Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest”!).

          I would concur with all previous fond comments about Matron (I can still picture her immaculate triangular headgear like a ship’s sail advancing down the corridor) – I seem to recall her nickname was ‘Minnie’ and like another post can remember feeling a strange sense of comfort as she quietly sang along to ‘Songs of Praise’.. In the evenings she used to put a plate of left-over bread and jam on the dresser in the corridor and I soon learned that if one went up early enough in the evening one could still one’s hunger, and perhaps more important, simultaneously snatch some rare moments of sympathetic adult attention.

          • That’s right.. ‘Minnie’ .. that was her nickname.. and I do remember the plate of left over bread and jam. I also do remember a Lady called Gillet.
            Didn’t know about the locked up in the basket routine though. Thankfully Fred Lindsay was no longer teaching when I was at Sherborne Prep but he did run a sort of stationary supply cupboard on the ground floor by the stairs near where the Secretary office was in Acreman. Just queuing for pens and writing pads was bad enough as I seem to recall one boy being severely cuffed for something. The rule being that you didn’t stand out. Be bland and you won’t get victimised.
            Robin Lindsay on the bedroom prowl was common.. as I eventually became a dorm prefect and slept in a bed which had a peculiar electric light in a very dangerous tin holder to mask the light. You were allowed to use this light to read after lights out. A bit of a treat really. As the rest were asleep you could read a bit. Lindsay did appear from time to time like a dark figure prowling but you learnt to keep still and pretend to sleep as the passing waft of the smell of panatelas went by.
            As a rugby player I did suffer some back injuries and now I remember the times when in the Acreman laundry room Lindsay would take me up there and lay me down on the couch lower my shorts and underpants and raise my shirt and he would administer embrocation on my back. It is only now that I recall what he was doing. And why? Now I think about it I wasn’t the only one to have this treatment.. so where were the matrons?? They must have felt so helpless. I feel sorry for them now after all this time.

            I remember when Ma Hen died and a couple of years later Fred too. The memorial service in the Big School chapel and Robin Lindsay up in the pulpit all emotional as he asked us all to sing the hymn ‘For all the Saints’
            Yeah? I thought. Saints indeed.. !

            The Hut was where the assemblies took place.. ( outside was a long pile of stone re used for the new build Music Rooms as facing stone as it was the local honey coloured Ham stone) and from time to time we had a cine film show. I remember one film we had was A Tale Of Two Cities. The classic Black and white film. The next day I went in for something and found the apparatus still set up with the last reel of the film. Me and my friend Williams thought it would be great to run the film from the end backwards at fast speed to see the guillotined heads go back on.. so we were both rolling with laughter when that sadist teacher Phillips came and beat the hell out of us with a stick.. his face was bright red with rage.. such unbridled violence ..

            We used to have weird films.. like The Winslow Boy…

            Perhaps there ought to be a film documentary about Sherborne Preparatory School..

            It is amazing chaps to read all your posts on this forum.. so it proves that what happened really did and it wasn’t a hell like dream.. a nightmare.. very grateful to you all and Sally Fraser..

  9. Yes, I remember watching The Winslow Boy in the hut…Lindsay telling us all why it was an important film. I also remember watching ‘Oh Mr Porter’ with Will Hay. Mr Philips was a nasty piece of work obsesssed with his radios.
    He managed to persuade Mr Farwell to use short wave radio sets in a night game in scout camp. Both teams wandered about for a few hours in the pitch black Dorset woodland – neither made contact with the other so a failure all round that wasn’t repeated.
    Does anyone remember that maniac geordie teacher that whacked every boy in the class with a chair leg because someone didn’ t own up to something?

    • Yes, I remember that much vaunted radio set night ‘wide’ game at Stalbridge Park scout camp. Total failure.
      I dug a pit near a track heading into the woods and covered it with sticks and bracken hoping to snare a teacher. I think Mr Brock copped it..RESULT!

      I also remember watching that Will Hay film.. Oh Mr Porter as well.. the ghostly miller in the windmill..

      When I first went to Prep the first Christmas entertainment film show I saw was in big class room 3A and 3B and projected on to a big screen. The film was ‘Operation Crossbow’. One of the actors in it was the late Philip Madoc (don’t tell him Pike) and I met him a few years ago and mentioned the film shown at Prep school. He said that ‘ it all sounded quite awful.. and by the way .. well done for surviving..’

      I can’t picture the teacher with the chair leg with a Geordie accent though.. The teachers seemed to try and teach everything or anything depending what was required.

      I used to have one of the long school photographs taken in front of Acreman on the tennis court, one of those panoramic photos you could run from one end to the other while the camera whirred around. I used to us the photograph as a dartboard.. The central area where Lindsay sat eventually became a large hole..

      I sent it back to the school for their interest and their archives.. That would have been in 2008 ish..I wonder if they still have it in their archive..

      I have never seen The Winslow Boy since that time in the hut. It’s as if we all were living in a black and white world.. ..

      Mr Brock.. I think he used to play for Dorset as we had to go down to Dorchester sometimes to watch some rugby match or other.

      • I have the 1957 photograph in front of me. Let us test my memory. From the left, Mr Cavanagh (English and Scripture) was he Australian? Mr Boucher (Geography) Molly Brack (Art and the cubs) RTML, Ma Hen, Fred, Jean Snow (Various subjects at Netherton). Did top of the class receive the Peanuts cartoons that were pinned on the board each day? C R Bloy (French) I think Mr Bloy might previously have been the bursar at Sherborne School. Next to matron there is a master and I cannot remember his name. Then we have Mr Birch (History perhaps). Dicky Bird is not in the photo but later married Jean Snow. Jean Snow had a little business marking cricket balls and the like with our initials, penny a letter? I used to enjoy the community singing. I don’t think you could get beaten for singing out of tune. I understand that when RTML retired to Kent House in Richmond Road he had a CCTV camera in his front garden (so I am told).

        • Are you sure of the date of that photograph, Watson? The adults in the summer 1957 photo read, from left to right, Miss Rose, Mr Streatfeild, Matron, Mr Bloy, Miss Brack, RTML, Mrs Lindsay, FRL, Miss Snow, Mr Bird, unknown, Mr Boucher, Miss Sheppard, unknown, Miss Page. Your photo may be Summer 1958.

          Young Peter (P.T.D.) Cavanagh was (or claimed to be) a 17-year-old boy when he started teaching at the Prep – very much into English and Drama, but I’m not sure if he was there by 1961 when I left. Tony (T.R.) Burch was the Latin Master, also into amateur dramatics and operatics – he sang the Judge in a Sherborne production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘Trial by Jury’ in c.1960.

  10. A lot of activity lately. So much so that it is hard to know what to comment on.

    Although, as I have mentioned before, I was not subject to any RTML ill-treatment, it is fair to say that there is enough evidence in assorted posts to give much more than an element of truth to that side of things. Can a case be initiated against someone who is now deceased? He was creepy, I viewed it as ‘odd’ at the time. It was a strange world – I, like most of you, knew no different. Our parents signed us up to it all – unknowingly, as it must have appeared to be a ‘good place’. I was signed up to ‘Big School’ when I was 2!

    Matron was ‘Minnie’ – a normal person. I do not recall certain of the observations – we are all somewhat older than we were. I am now 64 and even the younger ‘Members’ must be mid-fifties, at least.

    School photo stuff – I have some of the big pan-around ones here somewhere. As with Big School – the tale of the run from one end to the other to be feature twice. Possible. I will have a look. Assorted other ‘house’ photos. Some of my own of classmates with a now somewhat dead Kodak instamatic – remember those? – outside the Netherton classroom. How many of those faces could I now name? Ummmm… I must have a look to see if I can find said photos.

    Should I find the photo (s) – is it possible to scan and upload? That is a query that is directed ‘above’. I feel the answer will be negative. I anticipate understanding that – let us know anyway?

    Who recalls sweeping up the autumn leaves with those odd machines, the walnut tree down the drive, the gardening plots we had near the Acreman Road fence? Roller skates down the drive from Netherton, skating in the ‘hut’, single skates, and the hut being where I was when JFK died.

    The post that mentioned a ‘meet’ sometime – I am not sure if I was there with any of you (me 1962-1965) – no replies to that. Is anybody interested, or could we just be a few grumpy old(ish) chaps in the Digby Tap for a couple of beers some food and a chat?

    All the best.

    • I had a garden plot down the side of the large sloping lawn.. British Bulldogs as we charged up and down… all that went when they dug it all up and levelled it for a tarmac tennis court/football pitch with hideous tall wire fences.. Walnut trees or Horse Chestnuts. The corrugated green fence down the side of the footpath leading to Acreman Road. The Big School boys would walk down that from Lyon House..
      The Upper Paddock had a small wooded area where the scouts were allowed to make stuff.. I seem to remember a chicken hut there? I have a Kodak Instamatic of a friend called ITK Clapham sitting on the top of it.

      I must try and retrieve my school photo from the Prep archive if they still have it.. I was at Sherborne Prep from 68-71 so I think that panoramic photo would be the summer of 1968 one but would be great to meet up with any older chaps.. lots to overlap on anyway…

      One of the chums I had at Prep (although I have never seen or heard from him since I left at end of 71)
      was the son of the chap that ran the huge car dealership in Yeovil . Other friends were day boys whose families had large dairy farms. It would be interesting to speak with them as RTML would not have dared stray into that spectrum as regards ‘prey’ as it was a certain demographic he was looking out for.

      Although the time spent at Sherborne for those years was heavily compressed, being a border, and also the fact that much of it has had to be suppressed/wiped or buried in the mental hard drive, there remains quite a bit that is good. One always had to search for good times as that is what we try and carry with us through the rest of our lives at least.

  11. A couple of you have mentioned “Lady Gillet”, who succeeded Matron.

    I wonder if you are thinking of Lady le Gallais? I recall her becoming an assistant matron, but I think I’d gone before Matron (yes, a kindly woman) retired. If it’s her, she had a couple of sons at the school as well. I seem to recall that they were from the Channel Islands and I assume that they were aristocrats down on their luck. I don’t remember the stuff about the basket but if she was skint, and reliant on working at the school to get cheap fees for her offspring, the Lindsays would have had a powerful hold over her.

    • Hi James

      Good point re Lindsay’s powerful hold.. A kind of blackmail with the cheap fees. I wonder how many times that ruse was used by the Lindsay’s.
      Looking back on it…There was a strong Channel Island link with the school.
      Two boys, brothers, when I first started at Sherborne in 1968 had a father who was heavily involved in Jersey politics, eventually he became Lieutenant Governor no less. It was this man who encouraged my own father, who was a forces friend, to send me to Sherborne. My Gt Aunt lived in Jersey and I was always sent there for school, holidays. Sounds like a case for Jim Bergerac !! I wish. I found out many, many years later that my grandmother (sister to the Gt Aunt) did a deal with Lindsay for fees. She paid for new mattresses for the whole school I think.

      I seem to recall when at Sherborne, before Fred Lindsay died, we had a visit to the school of some politician from Ulster. This would be late 1968. We had to line up and wave patriotically. Who the heck this guy was I have no idea? Any thoughts from anyone?

      The idea strikes me is that by hobnobbing with high up types both the Lindsay’s strike an air of almost invincibility. Very much in the style of Saville.

    • I remember Lady le Gallais. A very elegant and refined woman. And I remember a le Gallais boy who I was friendly with. Did they have two boys – I can’t remember. I visited their home once. But I don’t remember her as a matron at all. They lived in lovely small manor/farmhouse some distance away from Sherborne.

      Person I’m thinking of was definitely a Lady Gilet (Gillett). The laundry basket punishment was quite Dickensian really, and frightening. It involved being strapped inside an empty basket in the downstairs corridors where Linsday came up from at night.. It would then give him an opportunity to deliver the late night Morroccan slippering if he could be bothered or was around. So in effect: double punishment. She may not have been aware of this, and I don’t want to suggest she was complicit in his activity in any sense. No more than the widespread complicity that came with a general staff awareness and inability to tackle what was going on.

      But the junior staff can hardly be blamed in many ways – there was a police investigation in the 1970’s and even that could not tackle the problem. It took another two decades before the police investigation in the late 90’s led to Linsday being removed. I think there was probably too much fear and sense of not being able to speak out – and certainly I know that when staff did speak out – they left or were sacked. I can remember that happening to the good teacher/parent of one of my friends, a day boy whose family lived on school grounds for a short time. I’ve told of this already on here, and it was in my report to the police. I would love to track that family down and thank them for trying their best to uncover Lindsay’s activity. My memory of them would suggest that awareness of Linsday was widespread. And certainly Mrs Griffiths was fully aware. But what could these people do? Very little. If they spoke out – they would lose their homes.

      Headmasters don’t get to abuse small boys without adults developping some awareness. Although he kept the worse of his abuse to late night private ‘backrub’ sessions with accompanied masturbation – for sure, there were adults in that school who were aware of what was going on. But you are right to talk about power. Power and powerlessness ran through all of this – the powerlessness of employed people to tackle an all-powerful employer who owned his own little kingdom.

      • I, too remember Lady le Gallais as an elegant and refined woman and I have to say that the basket stuff didn’t seem to fit in with my recollections of her. Plainly Lady Gilet/Gillet was someone else entirely so let me quickly say that it obviously wasn’t Lady le G. who used to shut boys in the laundry basket.

        My recollection is that there were two le Gallais brothers (but I may be wrong) and that there was a Jersey connection somewhere (it’s certainly a common name in Jersey). I’m also pretty sure that she helped out at the school for a while as some kind of Assistant Matron. However, this was all (yikes!) 50 years ago now, so my recollections may be a bit confused. My memories of Robin Lindsay’s weirdness, and predilection for watching small boys take their clothes off and his father’s liking for inflicting corporal punishment are, however, crystal clear. I wish they weren’t, sometimes….

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