www.belmontschool-hassocks.org.uk

 

HISTORY: Hassocks, 1954-1972

Mr Christopher Barlow (Stowe and King's College, Cambridge ), a former Organ Scholar, took over as Headmaster, Mrs Burr remaining as business partner.

There were 58 boys in the school in summer term 1958; 75 in 1965; 67 in 1971.

There was a change in the most favoured destination schools with Stowe and Sherborne becoming the most prominent.

The longest serving Masters of the post-war era were Mr Francis Whaley (January 1946 - July 1962), Mr Tony Eggar (May 1946 - December 1948, September 1957 – July 1972) and Mr Peter Phillips (September 1954 – July 1972).

Christopher Barlow was a good Latin teacher and was responsible (with the help of two music teachers, Mr Gardiner and Mr White) for raising the standard of Belmont’s music to a very high level. The choir sang in Guildford and Winchester cathedrals and such was the demand for places at the carol service that a second service was held in St George’s Church in Hurstpierpoint.

However, there was a darker side to Christopher Barlow. He was a paedophile, whose excessive use of the cane made life a misery for many boys at the school. His behaviour would not have been tolerated in a more enlightened age.

Many of the features of Belmont created by Max Burr, such as Bonfire Night, Sports Day and Archery continued - but not the Christmas Play.

The first OB Dinner took place on Weds 29 April 1964: over 90 dined at the Public Schools Club, 100 Piccadilly, London.

The number of boys in the school began to decline in the mid-1960s and reached 61 in 1967. In 1968 Hurst Court, Hastings, closed and about thirty of their pupils joined Belmont.

By 1971 numbers had dropped again to 67 and, with massive maintenance bills appearing, the school was running at a serious loss. No buyers could be found with a realistic prospect of continuing to run the school and in 1972 Mrs Burr closed the school and sold the site.

Christopher Barlow and Nilla Burr retired to adjacent apartments in Winchester.


Andrew Seale (1970-1972) writes:

When Belmont closed in 1972, quite a large contingent of boys from Belmont were transferred to St Wilfrid's School in Seaford. I was one of around 25 boys that moved there in 1972, so there was a certain continuity for many of us.

My mother was a great letter writer and kept in touch with Mrs. Burr after the school closed, up until Mrs Burr's death. I am now living In Winchester and did not realise that I was often walking past the adjoining houses where Mrs Burr and  Mr Barlow retired, until I read Dale's book. The properties overlook the Winchester College playing fields.