On a sunny afternoon in July 1961, my father and I arrived at the school field to meet Jack Carlton, famed housemaster of Sanderson’s. I was 12 years and 11 months, in my ex-prep school short grey trousers. Various cricket matches were going on, and the end of term was approaching. I had a place to start in September as a Sanderson’s boarder. Jack, leaning on his stick with the ever-present Corgi ‘Pip’ at heel, examined me critically. ‘Bit small, isn’t he? Well, we’ll soon build him up’. (It never happened!). We then set off for Sanderson’s in Jack’s red Ford Zephyr convertible, with white-wall tyres and the beige hood down. This was a brief reconnaissance visit. I remember meeting the House Mother Mrs Maltby: large and tweedy with a look that suggested she took no prisoners. Mrs Maltby presided over the matrons and Italian maids that came and went with some frequency. The maids called her ‘Mrs Malt’ and everyone was in awe of her.
Meanwhile, my mother had received the ‘Packing List’. This was a list of every conceivable item of clothing and bedding that a new boarder had to have packed in his trunk on arrival at his boarding house. This was to be my first experience of boarding school life. My expectations were based on an exotic reading cocktail of ‘Billy Bunter’, ‘Molesworth’, ‘Jennings and Derbyshire’, ‘Eric or Little by Little’, ‘Tom Brown’s chool-days’ and ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’. All the new clothes were supplied by school outfitter’s J&A Beagley in St Peter’s Street. The Beagley family was linked to the Randalls by marriage since the 1890s, but I don’t recall any forelock-tugging by the assistants when I made my few forays into the shop; in fact when I ordered my first non-school suit there and asked for fashionable narrow bottoms and no turn-ups, the head assistant demurred, telling me it wouldn’t be a good look as ‘you are rather long in the foot, sir’. Of all the places to be long in, the foot just did not cut it. Incidentally, my current shoe size is 7.5-8 depending on brand.Andrew Randall (61-66)