Memory Bank

Jonathan Edwards' Trip Down Memory Lane

I was a pupil from 1975 to 1979. Having never been back to Princethorpe for some 35 years, (not through not wanting to but never getting round to sorting it out), my wife and I were about to celebrate our silver wedding anniversary and decided to spend it in Stratford-Upon-Avon, then thought it was a golden opportunity to visit the old school! So I got in touch and arranged a visit with Melanie Butler.

The day of reckoning was set for 30th April and with a little bit of nervousness, we arrived at the front door.

Wow, Hogwarts or what! The tower as you approach the school is the first reminder if how grand the school is and was. Into the reception area and how it has all changed, which you would expect after all that time. All I kept trying to do was remember the surroundings. Not until I got to the chapel did it all come back. The long corridors around the quadrant and the canteen just as I remembered, obviously a little bit of paint and a red theme on all the doors and frames have made it all look a little bit warmer. The study hall has now been converted to a library, oh how many hours did I spend in there with Mr. Rex (my history teacher), then the dormitories! No longer there! The school has stopped taking in boarders for the last 7 years, so all offices now. Tried to find my old room and there under the beams I could still see myself. All the old names came flashing back, Adrian Watts, Simon Yates and Philip Callan. Then outside I still remembered the old gasworks, where we would sneak out and have a crafty fag. You can see the mile run, which we had to run during PE and of course in detention!

The school now has a Sixth Form block and there are new buildings going up everywhere, it all looks very different from my day. We are just coming to the end of a wonderful memory trip when Melanie's mobile rang and we were whisked off back to the reception area to meet no other than Father O'Brien (Teddy as he is known today) Wow, I'll have some of what he's been eating, he doesn't look any older, and to cap it all, he remembered me. What a wonderful way to end a really good trip down memory lane.

To all those other old boys, if you are thinking about visiting Princethorpe and are a little nervous, don't be, it really is a must and hopefully I will meet some of you in 2016 when the school celebrates 50 years.

Richard Returns To Princethorpe For A Long Overdue Visit

OP Richard Dawtrey returned to Princethorpe for the first time in 35 years after leaving the College following his A-levels.  His tour of school with OPs Secretary Melanie Butler brought back memories of his and his brother, Philip's time at the College. His parents, farmers from Norfolk, had moved with their young family to Africa to help with agriculture initiatives, organising resettlement schemes and constructing rural roads and water supplies. The boys were eventually sent to board at Princethorpe.

Richard takes up the story...

In April 2014 I came back to Princethorpe for a visit, having not seen that front door since 1969 when I left for the last time.

The entrance and corridors look much the same, quite strange to be back again.  Finding myself and my brother Phil on the whole school photos took some doing, but I managed it after a few minutes. There were lots of faces that I remembered and I don't know how but the names popped back into my head as well, Stanaslowski, the Daniels brothers and Richard Wong to name a few.

Being a student from Africa I only went home with my brother in the long summer holidays and the school was home for much of the year, so I knew it better than most. These long journeys were nothing compared to those I had for my previous school in Tanzania. It took three days on an old service bus which was full to bursting with locals, goats, chickens and people sitting on the roof, over dirt roads, travelling from Mbeya in southern Tanzania to Arusha near Mount Kilimanjaro in the north.

There were so many areas of the school where I remembered doing this and that, including having a common room in the Tower where myself and Richard Walsh and a couple of others played as a band. Fr Clarkson had pushed us up there to reduce the noise levels near the church.

There have been many changes in the buildings, great new areas for study, art and music to name a few.  The students seemed well behaved and had a more determined look about them than I think I had at that age, perhaps the old grey cells are letting me down there.

The standard of the work on the walls reflects the great talent the students have and one feels that the education they get now must be far better than my day, much greater scope if nothing else. Having said that many of the old boys I know have achieved much success in the world, becoming directors, senior managers, company owners, professional sportsmen, artist and musicians of note.

Now I am retired I think Princethorpe did well for me,  for which I am thankful.

Onwards and upwards Princethorpe I say!

Wild Africa and a Job To Do by Brian Dawtrey, Richard's father is a true family adventure story of the family's early days in Africa, it is available at

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Prize Giving 1984 Mystery Man Identified

Well done to Ian Lucas whose eagle eyes identified the mystery man in OP Paul McGrath's Prize Giving pic from 1984 as Matt Audinwood, standing next to Carl Tranter on the second left.

Alex Darkes remembers Matt as coming from South Africa, but we dont know where he is now, if anyone can shed light on his whereabouts please let us know!