Thursday, 4 July 2013

Mr Spanky

Jeremy Lucas. Jeremy Robert Lucas. JRL of Shit off! Love, JRL fame. Mr Lucas. Mr Spanky. Former joint headmaster of Holmwood House School, Chitts Hill, Lexden, Colchester. Former Conservative councillor for Essex County Council. Mr Lucas used to love to savage small boys and get properly aggressive on their tiny asses. He probably still does. What a guy.

Here are a couple of childhood memories of Mr Spanky from friendsreunited:

Below: Mr Spanky and his award-winning smile (source)


  1. I remember quite clearly young Thackeray's (I won't use his Christian name to protect his identity) defacing of the wall that you mention. Because he did not own up immediately (can't blame him), there was a school detention for all pupils of Holmwood House on one Wednesday afternoon in 1975. I vaguely remember poor young Thackeray confessing after receiving this and being given JRL's dreaded whack. Worse than that, poor young Thackeray was the school pariah for a long time. It's hard to believe that we as kids didn't see that the petty tyrant JRL was the real villain, not poor Thackeray who was merely expressing a not unreasonable opinion. I remember that this poor kid's parents had divorced at the age of eight. Anyway, I hope Thackeray has become prosperous and successful in later life.

  2. Oh you know, this n that, it's all a work in progress isn't it? Lucas was a vile shitbag who should never have been allowed near small children. That he has somehow managed to carve a career in local politics is sort of disgusting really. There was also a teacher called i think George Harris (and for some reason i think his middle initial was M but this may be due to a joke about him at the time, the substance of which i have forgotten), who was even more dangerous. I think his wife was the headmistress of the pre-prep and this is what enabled him. Harris should have gone to jail for a long time. Maybe he did at some point. It seems that teaching used to attract these creeps in those days. I think it's all changed now. Certainly my daughter likes her school and her teachers and so do we. ("Thackeray" is a misspelling btw, not that it matters). Anyway thanks for the solidarity, brother.

    1. Dear Domo,

      Thanks your reply. I admit that I am a person who often has nostalgia for simpler times because the modern world's obsession with political correctness and technology often baffles me. But you've reminded me of how fallacious nostalgia can be. The 1970s were certainly not a great time to be in a single sex boarding school.

      I didn't attend the pre prep school, so I don't remember this George Harris character. But he certainly sounds like a piece of work!!! Which years did he work at HH?

      I'm glad your daughter is having a happier time at school than we ever did at H.H. Would you mind me asking what kind of school she's at? (state or private, single sex or coeducational). I personally think that the money my father spent on me to attend single sex private schools was not well spent. I would certainly never send my stepson to one even if I could afford it! If you'd like to hear more on this matter, please let me know.

      I can also share with you some more memories of my time at H.H. during the 70s if you're interested. I'll protect the identity of the pupils involved but not the staff.

      By the way, it looks as if you have an interesting website, so I should have a look at more of your articles. :)

  3. Thanks for writing. I agree with what you say and I would like to discuss it some more. I am also curious if i know you. I am going to reply properly on Wednesday. (For one reason or another I ended up working through the night on a job that had to be finished by this morning and then today has been a bit full-on and non-stop. Tomorrow we are travelling to deepest Cornwall and will be without internet until the evening). Until then...

  4. I hope your journey to Cornwall (from London I assume) has gone well. I'm pretty sure that I've found out who you are. If my guess is right, then you knew me quite well at H.H. in the 1970s but have not met me since then.

    If you don't mind, I would prefer to keep my anonymity on this forum. However, I'm 99% sure that I've found your professional website (which I will not name to protect your identity). I can send you my identity and my personal anecdotes to the contact address on this website if I have your permission.

    Meanwhile, I'll give you my views on single-sex private education versus co-educational state education. The former type of education is supposed to give its pupils a better chance to succeed in life, but I'm not sure it does. I would say that happiness and success as an adult are down to the following factors:- mental balance, innate intelligence (I.Q.), social skills, employability and meeting one's academic potential.

    In my opinion, single sex private schools are actually harmful to the mental balance and social skills of their pupils. Being put in a school with only one gender and only people of the highest socio-economic group does not enhance either a child's mental balance or social skills.

    A kid is removed from the community in which he/she is from, and is thus less likely to be able to relate to people from different levels of society. This an essential skill to be able to function effectively in the 'real' world.

    He/she is also at risk at being completely inept at dealing with members of the opposite gender. I personally never dated at all as a teen. I admit that this is partly because I'm somewhat aesthetically challenged, but I think the odds are that I would have done better in that respect if I had gone to a co-educational school.

    What is more, he/she is often under great pressure to be a high flier because of the money that his parents are spending. If he/she cannot do this because his/her innate intelligence is not that high (i.e. IQ<130), he/she will have terrible feelings of inadequacy or guilt. These feelings may last a whole lifetime. I admit that even in my mid 40s, I'm still trying to get over my disappointment on failing to meet the expectations that were put on me for getting a private education.

    I would be happy to write more to you on your professional website

  5. (continuation of previous comment)

    Please ignore the incomplete sentence in the last comment. That's just there due to my IT ineptitude.

    Now I'll look at academic performance. I admit that at H.H., I learnt French and Latin while I was of primary school age. This would never have happened at my state school. I doubt that learning Latin is of any use to kids of that age although I can see the value of learning modern foreign languages. Anyway, if I'd stayed at state school, I could have learnt modern languages from a tutor after class. This would have cost far less than going to a private school as well as saving me from the emotional damage of going to such an institution.

    I did read in the Independent last year that studies show that students at private schools do better than children at state schools overall. On the other hand, state school children who are of a high socio economic group perform at least as well as private school kids academically speaking. In other words, it's the home environment that counts rather than the type of school when it comes to academic performance.

    Innate intelligence is another factor that determines a child's academic success. Someone with an IQ of between 100 and 115 is unlikely to be a high flier academically speaking, no matter how hard they try. Sending kids with this moderate level of intelligence to private school with its high expectations is setting them up for failure. These kids are likely to have low self-esteem and guilt (which may last for life) because they cannot be the professional, captain of industry or entrepreneur that their parents/school expect them to be. The topic of this paragraph is particularly poignant for me because it is based on my personal experience.

    So all in all, private single sex schools are harmful to children with regard to both learning the 'soft' skills of life and emotional development. Furthermore, they don't benefit kids academically. Thus, parents should not waste their money by sending their kids to those places. On a good note, at least single sex schools in Britain seem to be becoming a thing of the past.

    Anyway, lengthy rant over!!!!

    1. Hi,
      Possibly we knew each other at Holmwood House?
      Anyway there have now been some developments. Contact Dominic Thackray the person who wrote tnis blog via his website if you want to discuss some more.
      Best wishes

  6. Yes, let's move this to email, that'd be good as i don't usually post very personal stuff on here, i mean it's usually sort of spurious stuff, trivial stuff or truculent stuff, stuff for giggles, i mean it feels odd posting serious stuff in public somehow. Please use the "bonjour" email that it sounds like you have found. I will sign off here now. Apologies for my brevity, i owe you more words, but i'll do it by email. Not least, the internet connection here in the deepest countryside is maybe not the greatest. Later...

  7. I remmeber this vile man, his love of caning children and giving them the whack, and the detention session you mentioned also.
    Looking back on it, it was quite ingenious that he innitiated a rule that He knew children would break (no talking in dorms) would then prowl the corridors looking to catch children talking, and hey presto a queue of children waiting to be beaten the next morning for his sadistic (possibly more) pleasure.
    He seemed to have his favorites (prefects or “specials”) whom would be indulged with treats and days out, (I have suspicions about that one)and he would chat to like friends in dorms, and pupils he disliked like me whom he would interogate for hours over minor misdemenors whilst pulling his knuckles diring a inquisition that would invariably lead to an eventual caning.
    I have only one word to describe this man who went on go be a prominent businessman and upstanding member of the community.
    Sick sick sick.
    I have a feeling that one day the real truth about that place will come tumbling out.....

  8. I was also at the pre prep school with Mr Harris.Looking back on it he was well dodgy?
    One day he caught a group of us for a minor misdemenor. We had to queue outside the bathroom for punishment by him, expecting a beating. Instead we were given a choice to be tickled, which of course at the time seemed like a relief.
    I do remember feeling uncomfortable with the way he tickled me in the broin area, and the amount of time he spent doing it.
    A few years later heand his wife left under some kind of cloud. They even wrote to my parents asking for a reference. Looking back on it, this seems a bit odd.

  9. I also remeber after I left, I had a friend who still had a brother there whom Lucas took a strong disliking too, and was withdrawn from the school by his family.
    I never forget his mother saying to me, that she had spoken to the people working there, and some hadleft, because they were “disgusted” with what was going on and some of the practices taking place there.

  10. Yes to everything you say. It is good to hear from you. My dear auld dad also remembered that Mr Harris had left under a cloud of some sort. How auld would he be now? He might be dead. I have more stuff to say about them, i mean Harris and Lucas, but not really in public. I'm sorry about the detention, truly, although it never occurred to me at the time that it was in my interests to fess up, i mean i was only 7 or 8. Did we know each other? If you'd like to speak privately then you can get me at bonjour [at] dominicthackray [dot] org . All best wishes to you.

    1. Good to read your blog as well!
      More to say? I am fascinated, but understand that you may not want to publish anything potentially libalous.
      It may be worth talking to someone in confidence like the NSPCC, and if there was anything dodgy they can advise on a appropriate course of action.
      A crime, is crime no matter how long ago it was committed, and sometimes with these things people dont feel confident enough to speak out until years later....
      The way I look at it, anything that makes Lucas (and Harris) sweat after the reign of terror they imposed on us (and making us think at the time that it was our fault) is a good thing.
      I ask you even allowing for the fact it was the 70s, was the behaviour of Lucas, or Harris towards us children, in any way right, appropriate or non dysfunctional for men in their 30s???

  11. Have now contacted you via your website.