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What is it ?

Curious Objects and Events

Photo from James Carter

IHIS would seem to be a float for some carnival or other event on the thene of torture. It was constructed by the scouts somewhen around 1967. Was the boy named Brent Smithers? Who else was involved? Can anyone help?

What is all this about?

Photo from John Barton

What is this ?

JOHN BARTON found this photograph among souvenirs left by his father who was head of the Building Sciences department at the school. This was also called the "Technical Section".

A cryptic note on the back of the photo says "Designed by me and made mainly by the students". The lettering on it says "LEWES TE . . . . . " as far as can be seen. The scale of the object is difficult to gauge and it is not clear what it sits or fits on except that it is vertical and cylindrical, perhaps made of vertical wooden slats. Was a torch to be fitted above the crown?

Nobody has come forward with a positive identification or explanation for it. The only hypothesis that makes any sense is that it was a lamp or beacon to ornament some part of the school chapel. It has the crown and room for the six martlets, but is there enough for "LEWES TECHNICAL SECTION" ?

The school song has the lines "In these same meadows now our School hands on the torch and keeps the rule". Could this object be an oblique reference to "the torch" mentioned in the school song? The device was never seen in the chapel and vanished without trace. It could well have been that Neville Bradshaw was not impressed, if he ever saw it.

In fact he was loathe to admit that the Technical Section was really a part of LCGS. He took the view that this group of boys had been foisted on him by the ESCC Education Department who were responding to Government pressure to provide technical training for the post-war building industry. The ESCC could not afford a new Technical School to complement the Grammar and Secondary Modern schools so this was their response. For reasons of space they took almost all their lessons in part of the Secondary Modern School but they wore our uniform, came to our morning assembly and were considered to be pupils of LCGSB. Perhaps Mr Bradshaw had some notion that this section would contribution to building the proposed chapel but he soon realised that this was not possible.

Maybe this "torch" was the sort of contribution that did not appeal to him and would only serve to give the impression that LCGS was some sort of technical school. To him the words "technical" and "grammar" were like chalk and cheese. In his opinion technical pupils were destined to work with their hands and grammar pupils with their brains. The former would become working class artisans but the latter were on the road to the professions and the middle classes.

A brief perusal of the panoramic photos taken in the 1948 to 1955 period shows certain rows where very few faces have been named, often at the back. It seems very likely that these are technical section boys who are not named because very few are known to Old Lewesians.