For various reasons I have recently been talking a lot about my junior school days. Not really on here, but to other people.
One conversation got onto the subject of school houses. Some schools, it seems, have only two or three houses. Some have more, but just name them after colours. Others just don’t go in for the ‘house’ system at all. I think all of them miss out by doing that.
At my junior school we had four houses – Baird, Campbell, Livingstone and Scott – all of which were assigned a colour – respectively blue, green, yellow and red. After I had been at the school a few days I was assigned to Scott house. I remember a boy in my class, Jeffrey Sealey, cheering when this was announced. To this day I have idea why.
For a long time I’ve puzzled over those names. Why choose those? They are not from the same fields of expertise. They are not even from the same era. And two of them died because of their own recklessness. It has never made sense to me.
That said, I was proud to be in Scott house. Red was my favourite colour, and our ‘Scott! Scott! Best of the lot!’ chant was, well, the best of the lot. In fact, we’d make up rhymes which played on the fact that nothing rhymed with ‘Livingstone’.
I was crushingly disappointed when, in my final year at the school, I wasn’t nominated for the role as house captain. Each house had four captains, a house captain and a sports captain for each gender, and they were voted for at the start of the autumn term by all of the other members of the house. For some reason, when it came to my year, the school decided that no-one other than Steve Clark was worthy of the honour, so he got to be both house and sports captain so far as the boys were concerned. And yes, that’s rankled with me ever since, because they took the decision out of my house’s hands in a way that they did for no others. (For the record, Steve and I were friends and I didn’t begrudge him the honour at all, it wasn’t his fault the school thought that no-one else among the rest of us was worthy of any sort of recognition).
So – before this becomes another very long post – what were your school houses and which one were you in?