Barnes School History

The boys wore white shirts and blue shorts as they do even now, but instead of shoes they had Ammunition Boots, the type used in the army. They weren’t very comfortable but were good for Football. For athletics and sports most ran in bare feet.

The girls wore a blue frock as much below the knees as now above. What they wore underneath is unbelievable. There were knickers and bodices, long stockings, at least two petticoats besides other garments for the colder weather. Above all, for both boys and girls, and staff, topis were compulsory. It was a punishable offence to be seen out of doors without one.

     Everyone was firmly convinced, doctors included, that there was sunstroke lurking for bare heads in the sun. It was possible to feed children on less than Rs. 10/- a month. Prices were low for everything and with them salaries were small too. Servants earned about Rs. 10/- or 12/- a month.

In the School Hospital, children were often ill with malaria. That, along with topis and other things is almost unknown now. The children’s dining hall was upstairs in the big hall. The food was brought up from the kitchens by hand lift.

During lunch time the staff had their meal on the stage, facing the children. For dinner, a very formal occasion, evening clothes were to be worn: dinner jackets and stiff shirts for the men, while long frocks for the ladies. There was a special staff dining-room where in turn the juniors had to sit at the high table with the Headmaster and his wife – terrifying ordeal at first.