‘He never came down to our side, except on the rarest occasions.’
The boys lived in boarding houses adjacent to the school. This was common in public schools and boys often identified strongly with their houses, which were supervised by a resident master.
At Charterhouse, the houses were named after their housemasters. One of them was Girdlestonites, named after F.K.W. Girdlestone, a notable figure in the school. But it was known by the boys as Duckites, after the masters nickname – Duck.
The housemasters did not intervene much as it was thought that the boys would learn from each other how to lead, and how to follow. R.E. Grice-Hutchinson, a Duckite in the early 1900s, remembered that his housemaster ‘never came down to our side, save on the rarest occasions, other than at the official times Whenever he did come down, he always stamped with his feet so as to give good notice of his approach.’ But, if necessary, a housemaster would step in. Grice-Hutchinson recalls that Duck ‘could be downright terrifying and none of us would have dared to take the least liberty with him.
‘However, he remembered Duck very fondly: ‘on our last evening when we went in to say good-bye, he always told us that there was a bed for us whenever we wanted to come back.’
R.E. Grice-Hutchinson, 1898-1904,
Charterhouse School Archive, 180/2/3.
Use the links to the left to explore this on-line exhibition.
- Introduction – Living away from home
- Charterhouse School: page 3
- Charterhouse School: page 1
- Charterhouse School: page 4
- Visit Royal Holloway University of London’s on-line gallery: Snapshots of Institutional Life.
- Find out about Godalming
- Royal Holloway University of London website
- Charterhouse School website
- Holloway Sanatorium in the display
- Common Lodging Houses and Surrey Towns in the display
- Surrey History Centre website