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.
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
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
"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.