The routine at boarding school was pretty rigid. There were occasional changes but these were usually for lesson timetables or meal time changes.
The day would usually start with being woken up at 6.30am. I can remember one House Master in particular called Major Eales. He was the husband of one of the English teachers and a former soldier. Now in his early 60s, he would arrive in the corridor at 6.30am shouting “Come on boys! Feet on the deck!” until we sat upright.
It would then be time to get washed and dress. Morning showers were reserved only for the Year 11 boys in Roding House (it was considered a privilege). For all others, it was a queue for one of a number of sinks and then a wash.
Around 7.15am it was time to make your way to the dining hall for breakfast. In the early 90’s this was often quite basic – cereal, fruit and toast – but I do recall it improving to much more by the mid 1990s.
We would all sit at large rectangular wooden tables, around 10 to 12 to a table. Jam and butter was provided in plastic cups, as was sugar. You would help yourself to tea, coffee, watered down juice or milk. Once finished, you would take your plate and try to the cleaning area where a team of staff would place the items in large plastic trays and put them through and industrial stainless steal dishwasher.
If you were in trouble, you may have been designated the job of cleaning tables and trays. This was a punishment used in the early 90s by Deputy Headmaster Mr Brown (nicknamed ‘Von’) due to his military style but would later be stopped.
After breakfast it was time to return to your room or dormitory for an inspection. This would usually consist of checking beds were made and rooms tidied and would occur around 8.10am.
In the early years this was quite rigid and in the first year also involved Saturday Morning Inspections. However, I seem to recall that the inspections became less rigid towards the end of my time at Hockerill.
At 8.30am it was time for school assembly, which I won’t go into in detail. We’ve all been through them!
In between assembly and registration there was time for a quick fag (if you smoked) and then off to the first lesson for 9am.