Monday 5 March 2018 saw a fantastic turn out of Old Boys for the School’s first Pre-1961 reunion, coming together and reacquainting with fellow pupils over 50 years since leaving school.
The Old Boys (coming from as far away as America, South Africa and Switzerland) assembled at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School in Elstree and boarded coaches to take them to Westbere Road, now Hampstead School, where they were met by a large team of staff and prefects, who welcomed them with open arms, providing a much welcome cup of coffee to combat the cold weather before tours of the old school commenced. “The young prefects were a great credit to the School”
The tour provided an amazing opportunity to view the original building, where many rooms whilst repurposed, were still in place and retained the old character and features that many recalled. The swimming pool provided recollection of many stories of cold showers and overpowering chlorine, while the ILC, previously the original school hall remained the same with the balcony and cornice features around the ceiling. Stories of assemblies, prefects on stage making announcements, and reading from the Remembrance Book came flooding back. During the tour it was also noted with great delight that Mr Moody’s English classroom was still recognisable!
After a very successful tour of Westbere Road, the Old Boys listened to a speech from the current Head Master of Hampstead School, recalling memories of past teaching staff and a promise that the old school would continue to stand, even beyond the demise of the new buildings, due to its strength and character.
After the memory provoking tour, it was back onto the coaches to return to Habs, Elstree, where reception drinks and cakes provided a much-needed energy boost whilst looking at honour boards from the period, displays of photographs of sporting teams, teachers, buildings and events, kindly provided by the Old Boys themselves and an amazing collection of items provided by the Archive team including school caps, sporting awards, homework books and report cards. These were met with much excitement. Tours of the `new’ School were also provided by an army of current pupils, each revelling in hearing the fascinating tales of Westbere Road days as they moved around the campus.
A musical interlude by the impressive Habs Big Band in the Bourne Hall, provided some time to reflect on the tour and conversations that had taken place with old friends, whilst listening to some outstanding music from the very talented boys.
Light refreshments and wine followed, providing a final opportunity for Old Boys to reconnect where they shared jokes and stories with their peers and teachers and rekindle friendships first established over 50 years ago. “It was a real pleasure to meet with so many people after 60 years or so” Ian Smart (OH 1958)
The evening was a great success, receiving much praise for both Hampstead School and The Foundation for arranging such an amazing event.
We would like to thank all our Old Haberdashers for coming together and look forward to keeping in touch with them. We also extend our warm thanks to the staff at Hampstead School, Margaret Johnson – Business Manager, Jacques Szemalikowski – Headmaster, and of course the prefects, who provided superb tours.