The Prescotian Webzine

In an earlier issue, mention was made of the sobriquets by which school-fellows and members of staff were known by the boys of the thirties.. Amusing, naughty, sometimes unkind, occasionally ingenious, often corny, they were almost universally employed and with little modification through the years.

The most obvious "Robbie" for Robinson and "Scotty" for Harry Scott implied a certain friendliness -at least they had the tenor of diminutives however undeserved in either case.. "Drugs", no diminutive, was obviously the chemist and would have been so even had his name been otlter than Drewry. "Herby" was ' derived from Mr Chant's Christian name anyway but "Charlie" Fennell's first name played little part since it was Cedric. Perhaps he just kept it secret. The origin of "F.A.B." Bailey needed little research. Others, however, were less obvious.

Whence Muddy" Hawthorne and "Fanny" Stevenson ? Even the three Hawthorne brothers have been unable to discover the origin of their father's tag. "Joe Egg's" head was no ovoid, rather flat-topped and square of mandible, but Joe was his real name and Hammond egg go well together.

The revered CWH Richardson was known by several names - always, 1 venture to suggest, with that affection so often used with reference to a fattier figure. To the boys be exuded a certain paternalism -perhaps because he had no sons of his own - but one can only conjecture on the image presented to the staff! To us lads he was variously "Charlie", "Richie", The Old Man", "Dick", "Old Man River" and "The Boss". I ike my old friend John Webster, having many years past enjoyed Robert Donat's film portrayal of Mr Chips, one wonders why (his befitting epithet passed the Old Man by - for Richie was surely Donat's prototype.

Instead, "Chips" cloaked one's chum, Perkins I. Surety "Perks" would have been more apposite in Arthur's case, but then by tradition Arthur becomes "Tarty" and hence Jackson's handle. Origins of others are lost tor ever - "Pudge" Crompton, "Chicken" Chorley (he surely was no chicken) and the two unrelated, even in time, "Pips", Frank Evans and Andreas Priestland. The most contrived of all was, of course, "Ponsasinorum". This was Asbridge I, W.A of that ilk. You are invited to look up the word in your Oxford dictionary. At the same time you will discover the meaning of the word com.

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