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Westminster School Series AFB

This series of postcards depicts scenes from around Westminster School. They were numbered by R.S. Chalk (OW), who penned the following note regarding the series in 1976:

"Westminster School Postcards c.1911
(Purchased up Suts. c.1923)
1,2 - Staff
3-12 - School & Busby Library etc.
13-19 - College
20 - 25 Ashburnham & Library
26-31 - Yard, Rigaud's, Grant's
32-33 - Dean's Yard
34-36 - College Hall
37,38 - Science Labs
39-44 - Fields and Gym
45-47 - O.T.C.
48 - Carpenter's Shop

It would seem 9 of the original 57 p.c.s are missing. These included (i) Interior of Suts (alas!); (2) Art School (memories of incredible character W. Kneen); (3) Ashburnham Staircase (? two); (4) Fields); also perhaps a second view of College Garden
R.S.C, 1976"

Chalk annotated the back of the postcards he had in his possession. These annotations are included in each record for which they are present.
Each postcard in this series is marked 'Westminster School Series AFB' on the reverse. While the meaning of 'AFB' is uncertain, it is possible it may refer to the initials of the photographer, who is potentially a College John named Arthur Brown. This speculation is drawn from information included in Chalk's captions.

"Tableau" in Gym

One copy annotated on reverse by R.S. Chalk, as follows:
I do not remember any public Gym Displays in my time.
The Instructor in the picture is presumably Sgt. Melican. About 1915 he was succeeded by the colourful Sergeant Satchell - barrel chest, waxed moustache and prominent blue eyes. He was immensely popular, not least on account of his lurid descriptions (e.g. how to withdraw a bayonet from the body of a dead German), as also his vivid and racy anecdotes. E.g. “I hit ‘im square between the eyes. ‘Is eyes popped right out on strings, criss-crossed 2 or 3 times, then went back.”
Or his account of an incident during a boxing-bout between G.O. George, K.S, and A.L. Haskell (RR), now of Sadler’s Wells Ballet:
“George caught ‘im one right on the side of the nose [in those days an out-size one, tho’ later pruned]. ‘Is nose went right over at a right-angle- and came back with a click!”'


One copy annotated on reverse by R.S. Chalk, as follows:
'Memories 1918-1924
Gym was regarded as an honourable ‘occupat’ but attracted only a limited number of enthusiasts. Like the majority, I only saw the inside of Gym, on the occasion of annual inter-House contests. I have memories of D.B. (‘Spud’) Murphy, K.S., competing in (and I think retaining) the Championship only a few weeks after a very nearly fatal bout of pneumonia.
I also remember all boarders (and I think day-boys too) having to turn up in Gym for another purpose, turn by turn, during Lent 1920. The new HM (H.C.W.) had decreed that all the School should be weighed and measured (in the nude) in order to check-up on our avowedly poor physique in post-War years. We also had to blow three times down a tube into a machine which purported to register our “Vital Capacity”. I failed in this abjectly, and was accorded a life-span of about 25 years! Fortunately none of us took this gadget too seriously.'

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