Ernie Huddart Home
Photographed at the opening of the Bragg Laboratory Bengal Lancers
He and especially Chunky Pine would 'beat" the physics newcomers into a quivering but receptive state. Ernie is responsible for instilling a lifelong interest in physics into me, and gave me confidence through the 'Scientific Society'. Brusque, but funny, and a great chap. Tim Gleed-Owen (1970)
I have an Ernie Huddart story which, given that I only encountered him for a double period in my entire school time, may or may not be remarkable. Ernie was covering a lesson for an absent colleague and asked a question to which, I presume, he thought we should all know the answer. Only one hand was raised. Now, as a teacher, I would have taken that answer, which was correct, and moved on to the next question but Ernie decided to start at the back row and ask each individual for the answer. When answer came there none he gave each boy a whack with his slipper. He worked his way through the class until he reached the lad who knew the answer (Phil Bratby). On receiving the correct answer he gave Phil 2 whacks!! It was funny and somehow, perversely just, as I perceived it then but it serves to highlight what a different and better world we inhabit now. Discuss Pete Jackson (1955)
A son's remembrance, which reflects particularly on the camaraderie between staff:
|My father as you will have guessed was Ernie Huddart - I am the youngest of his 3 sons and we all went to WGS and were taught physics by him! We all remember the "bit of two-by-one" and his sons always got the two wallops to ensure no favouritism! My eldest brother, Steven, died tragically in 1978 - he was an orthopaedic surgeon and left a widow and three young children, two of which have gone on to become doctors. Steve was a contemporary of I think Rob Smart, now a solicitor in Wellingborough, and was a good rugby player with the 1st XV. He would have left WGS in about 1967, my other brother John in about 1971, and I left in 1975. I believe I have the slightly dubious distinction of being the only Old Grammarian to become a veterinary surgeon - I think there were a couple of students before me but I was told they never finished the course. It's a curious claim to fame, but I think may have been related to Harry Wrenn's passion for|
all things Oxford - veterinary courses are not available there, though they are at Cambridge. Of course I didn't even bother to apply there - that would have been heresy! So I trained at Royal Veterinary College, University of London. One aspect of our lives which may appeal to you would be to describe the camaraderie and friendship which existed between the staff. My father's best friends were John Butler, Dave Wilson, and Cyril Pine in later years. Earlier he had been very friendly with Ken Parkinson, who taught me biology - Ken went on to Bedford School and, when my father retired, he took up a part time position as a caretaker and odd-job man in the boarding house headed by KP (nickname Nosnikrap for obvious reasons) at Bedford. He loved wood and metal work and was a master of many crafts so this suited him down to the ground. He remained great friends with many other staff members, and when he died the other staff were very supportive of my mother until she too died in 2002. Barbara Wrenn was a great friend along with the Pines and Butlers. My father's love of home brewing and particularly elderberry wine made him popular also with many other members of staff including the younger ones - I remember Richard Armstrong, Bert Way (?), Howard Buchanan. I remember as a child, on one bonfire night, my parents had taken pity on a particularly ineffective member of staff (?Carlos Stephenson), and invited him round for the bonfire. He was a Spanish teacher and brought along some bangers which he lit in his hand and threw them away to explode spectacularly a few yards away. The next day my parents were furious - the lawn had half a dozen enormous craters in it! But I remember he must have been invited back because one day he was having lunch with us when our dog went missing and helped us scour the town to find him!
Anyway, I hope that you find some of this of interest, and once again congratulations. I think that the overall impression of my father from your book was accurate (mainly thanks to Dave Wilson) - though a fearsome teacher, he was generally respected and then liked as a real character when one become old enough to appreciate him! But then, I am biased - to me he was the most kind, generous, friendly, strong and brave father and if my sons feel half as good about me, I shall be content! RICHARD HUDDART