When I started at Hockerill Boarding School in 1991 there were two Deputy Headmasters – Mrs Marriage and Mr Brown.
Mr Brown was nicknamed ‘Von’ due to his military style of dealing with behaviour, and when he wasn’t dishing out punishments he was IT teacher.
Mr Brown had a vicious handshake. He would offer his hand and which point he would squeeze your hand so much you felt like all the bones inside your hand were turning into dust.
Lights outside the office
Mr Brown’s office was directly next to the Bursars office and reception where children who had been sent to him (usually due to poor behavior) whould queue. I seem to recall that he had a system of three lights outside his office to summon the next person in. If the light was green, you were OK. If the light went amber and you were next, you were in medium trouble. But if that light went red, you were in real deep shit.
Mr Brown always had a range of punishments at his disposal. You definitely didn’t want to be sent to him.
My Brown walked with a limp. I never found out why. Some people said it was because he had a wooden leg as the result of losing a leg in battle.
Although Von was feared throughout Hockerill, I always remember him as being fair. He was also the first person that taught me how to use a PC (RM Nimbus machines with a dot matrix support running Windows 3.1). It was thanks to him that I would eventually develop a lot of IT skills.
Mr Brown’s Retirement
I don’t remember exactly when Mr Brown retired. I think it was around 1993. I do remember that the school bought him a car as a retirement present – a Black Ford Granada Scorpio. That would have been a lot of money at the time; probably around £20,000.