Belhaven History

'As She is Wrote' is a letter home taken from the 1938 Belhaven Hill magazine, a precursor of ‘The Bugle’:

As She is Wrote for history se
War-time Memories of Belhaven Hill and Dinnet House

Peter O. M. Chitty

1938 -1942 Belhaven boys in su
January 1938 – July 1942:
Back Row: P. Chitty, J. Menzies, S. Menteth, R. Agar.
Front Row: C. Sanderson, M. Paton, M. O’Brien, W. Bell.

In the summer all four of us went to Scotland and were persuaded to visit my cousin Walter who was at Belhaven Hill Prep School in Dunbar. Whilst there the Headmaster - Brian Simms - spotted the Royal West Kent Regimental badge in my Glengarry and immediately offered my parents special terms for my education there, as he had served with the 20th Bn the London Regt in WW 1, and their badge was the Kent Horse.

All the boys save for one complete Sassenach - Paton - wore kilts and glengarries on Sunday together with Eton Collars which were itchy, especially in hot weather. Walter was still in the school when I arrived and made my life reasonably good hell in a sort of cousinly way. Whilst I played all games at Belhaven, shooting was naturally my forte and I was in the 1st VIII my first summer term in 1937 and we won the Lord Roberts Bowl open to all Junior Schools in the Empire, Aysgarth coming second. We won it again in 1938 and 1939 but then came war and it was not held again. Read more …

Memories of Belhaven Hill 1937 - 1942
Nigel G. S. Champion

was born in India on 13th July, 1928 where my father was a forest officer (and a pioneer wildlife, my parents arranged for a young lady who had come out to visit her brother in the Indian Army (as photographer) in perhaps some of the most beautiful country in the world in the foothills of the Himalayas, not far from the western borders of Nepal. The normal drill at that time was for the children of British officials to be sent home to the U.K. for their schooling at the age of 8.
Prior to that, however part of what was then, rather unkindly, known as the 'fishing fleet' and whose members were assumed to have come out in search of suitable husbands) to join our family, travelling with us and acting as a governess for me for perhaps two years as she wanted to see more of India. This proved an excellent move as she was very good in that role and became a lifelong friend of our family. The only problem of this arrangement for me was an almost total lack of contact with other children of my own age as we were constantly on the move while my father was inspecting the forests for which he was responsible.
So in September 1936 my mother, leaving my father with his work, took me down to Bombay (3 days by train) and we embarked in a rather elderly P and 0 liner called the Mongolia. There followed a very interesting three week voyage during which we saw several bombing raids on the coastal towns in Spain where the Civil War was in full swing. Then ultimately we crossed the Bay of Biscay in a very severe gale during which I claimed to be about the only passenger not laid low with seasickness, a factor which encouraged me later to join the Royal, Navy. On arrival in the UK I was brought north to Newton Stewart to be introduced to my grandparents, with whom I was to live in the school holidays. My mother then took me over to Belhaven, introduced me to Mr Simms (the headmaster and founder of the school) and departed to catch the next ship back to India. As a result of the War, I saw my Parents only very briefly in 1938 until after it was over. Read more ...

The Headmaster Welcomed Mrs Mary Whitely to Belhaven Hill
School Room previously large p
The School Room, which is now the large panelled Dining Room with no door, as seen on the left hand side of the photograph.

Last term the Headmaster was delighted to receive a request from Mrs Mary Whitley who asked if she might visit the school, as her relatives had been the final private owners of the House before it became a school.  She was very impressed at how much of the original building and decoration still survived, and was intrigued to see the Drawing Room still very much used as a Drawing Room, albeit in the guise of the Headmaster’s Study. She kindly provided the photos following the article, which for so long were all she had remaining from her family's time at Belhaven.
Mrs Whitely had written earlier in the year to say that her grandmother, Mary Marrow, was one of the last occupants of the school, then called Winterfield House, before it was sold to Mr Lewis to become Belhaven Hill School in 1923. Read more…