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Redirecting traffic

Diverting Edgbaston Park Road - Chris Hughes

Like all good myths, there's a grain of truth. It was, as I recall, the Edgbaston Park Road traffic which was diverted, briefly. The arches which in those days spanned the two gates beside the Foundation Office would have prevented the larger Bristol Road vehicles such as buses getting beyond the forecourt.

My main recollection is of the Chief Master attempting, perhaps unwisely, personally to restore order by striding up and down at the top end of the drive barking orders at those pupils whose names he knew most of whom were, like me, doing nothing more offensive than standing and looking. We were very slow to obey the Chief's orders which did nothing for his authority or temper.

One boy - Colquhoun - had gone to some trouble to paint his father's tin helmet black and had then inscribed the words 'UN OBSERVER' on it in white. I thought that that was rather clever and showed an awareness of current affairs - the UN were at all the troublespots on the globe even in those days. Ronald Lunt directed special invective at the unfortunate boy, ordering him immediately indoors and to 'take off that ridiculously childish headgear'.

There was a darker side to the prank in that a stone was thrown at a car being driven down the main drive by the pregnant wife of one of the Masters. She was fine and there was no specific adverse consequence of that incident except a dent on the vertical panel between the front and rear windows of their black Ford Prefect.

The Master in question happened to live next door to my family house which, in retrospect, must have been as uncomfortable for him as I felt it was for me.