Flashback Friday No.3 - 1923 Annual Sports Day
Thursday, 14 June 2013
Sammy Seaberg describes the antics surrounding the 1923 Barker College Annual Sports Day:
“Sports Day, the Annual Athletic Meeting, was one of the curious days at Barker now long forgotten. I had been warned by the small boys were sat at my table of the wild and furious doings of the early hours of this day and of the treatment dealt out to masters on this apparently open day.

“I awaited the day with some little apprehension as I was not sure of my reaction to this sort of thing. Sure enough at about 4am the fun began. It consisted of dormitory raids, pillow fighting and much chanting and singing. I had been told that this was customary and no attempt need be made to enforce the usual discipline.

“As sleep was impossible I went up to George Conolly’s (Staff 1922-1923) room on the floor above. We were discussing things in general, when the door flew open and a large party of senior boys entered, ran around the room and departed without committing any violence. So far so good.

“George and I decided to get dressed and went off to the bathroom. I was standing in the front of the mirror shaving when the door was opened and a youth, Pat Taylor, taking aim with a water pistol deluged my face. This was too much! Grabbing a razor strop, I made for him. Off he went with me in close pursuit, into C dorm, towards the back door. Now it is necessary to know the geography of the Dormitory. Down the centre stood a large wooden stand with a form on each side and a system of coat hooks above. Coming into the dorm at full speed, I kicked my right toe, I was barefooted, on this stand and by the time I caught Pat in the shaver room I was on the boil and laid about lustily with the strop. However, all ended well and Pat and I have had many a laugh since about the episode…

“The ‘piece de resistance’ of the day was of course the “Sports Feed”. Tea at night after the sports was the one day when both boarders and day boys were allowed “carte blanche” in the matter of food. Each Dormitory outvied the other in the matter of amount and muchness of food. Turkey, fowl, pudding, cake, ice cream, fruit salad and soft drinks were all in lavish array. The tables were decorated and it was truly a sight to delight the heart of the small boy.

“The custom was for each Dormitory to invite a master to sit at the head of the table and the more popular masters were in demand… This custom continued until Mr. Leslie’s time when the increase in numbers made it difficult to accommodate everyone and it was allowed to drop.”