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NAME: Nigel Palmer

DATE: 06 August 2006


I can recommend Edward Blishen's autobiography Sorry Dad (Hamish Hamilton, 1978).  Part 3 is a thinly disguised portrait of life at QE in the 1930s.  The names are changed but not much - QE is "Queens", Barnet is "Barton".  1930s may sound like ancient history but it could be a description of QE as I knew it in the 50s (and later?), especially the cruelty and the snobbery.  The first couple of years he was there were in the old building in Wood Street.  And "Sandy Spring" is clearly "Frosty" Winter as a young man.  Out of print, of course, but available via Amazon, etc., or though your local library.


NAME: Martyn Day  Martyn DayThen & Now

DATE: 10 December 2007

CONNECTION WITH QE: Pupil 1956-1963

I took Nigel Palmer's advice and read Edward Blishen's Sorry Dad - as fine a description of post-war middle class snobbery and class prejudice as you could wish for.  The struggle to keep up with the Jones may not be completely over today but it is nowhere as fierce and insidious as it was in the 1950=s.  The scenes set in 'Queens' certainly matched my own memories of Q.E, although I couldn't quite make the connection between 'Sandy Spring' and our own 'Frosty' Winter, who I remember as being a rather amiable bloke.  I took part in the annual Careers Fair at QE last October and while I was in Barnet I went into the old School in Wood Street where the opening chapters of Sorry Dad are set.  I was amazed by how small the building is.  The main Hall is not much bigger than the average classroom at Q.E and lacks all of the essential extras - like changing rooms, laboratories, libraries, common rooms, playing fields and the like.
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