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News > Memories > Memories of School meals, swimming lessons and the death of the King

Memories of School meals, swimming lessons and the death of the King

Brian Dale, who left Dame Allan's in 1955, shares his memories of school meals, swimming lessons and a memorable day
31 Jan 2023
Written by Katherine Leonard
Fowberry Crescent 1955
Fowberry Crescent 1955

School meals

Each form sat at a long table. Mally, aka Major Mallinson, would shout out Benedictus Benedicat and then we could sit down

At the head of the table sat a prefect and he was in charge of a large bowl of mashed potato which he distributed. It had to be refilled several times. Pease pudding often was served up too.

A memorable day 

A day in February 1952 will always stay with me; we were sitting a mock History exam when a prefect entered and handed a note to our teacher Dr Fell. He asked us to stop work and to proceed quietly to Assembly where the head announced the death of the King and we were sent home.

The following year at the coronation my brother Michael, who was a year behind me, was given a Bible from the Schools governors. I was given a book on Newcastle written by a teacher at RGS from Viscount Emsley of the Newcastle Chronicle. I still have both books.


Swimming was something else! We walked up to Fenham Baths and if you couldn’t swim you were lassoed around the waist and dragged across the pool. At some stage you were deemed able to swim and then ordered to jump off the high board. It must have taken me over 30 minutes to pluck up the nerve!

Other memories

- The head was allowed to beat you with a cane and prefects with a gym shoe

- School caps were to be worn at all times

- No mixing with girls was allowing until Sixth Form

- The boys’ day ended at 4.10 and girls’ at 3.30

- Annual carol service with obligatory Latin carol

- Walking on the grass quadrangle forbidden

- Taking part in Mikado and Ruddigore operettas 

- In 1951 the school field was relaid and the kitchens revamped 

- Our geography teacher was Mr Walker and he gave us as acronym to remember rivers in Yorkshire: 


That was 70 years ago!

Brian Dale (1955)

We'd love to hear about your school days. Please email Katherine Leonard to share your memories.

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