John Kenny 1 (of 2)

A typical day in Mill Lane (the Upper School)

The day for Mill Lane started with a bell-ringer walking up and down past the cubicles at 7.00 am, then a mad dash across the courtyard for the showers, then meditation for 20 minutes in the small chapel at 7.20. We took it in turns to serve the nuns' mass in the convent in the lodge. A walk down to mass in the main chapel followed, with breakfast at 8.20. The Magnum Silentium ended after grace at breakfast. Lessons or study periods began at 9.00 until lunch - which I think was at 12.30. The common rooms were out of bounds except at recreational times, which were after meals. More lessons and study followed, except for Wednesdays and Saturdays when there was a choice of sports or manual labour. Tea was at 4.15 with a chance to stoke up on unlimited white bread and red jam. Further study or homework, then supper at 7.00 pm. Recreation followed that, then prayers at 8.45 for the lower school; compline for the upper school. The Great Silence began again at 9.00 pm and lights out in the dormitories and cubicles was at 10.00.

Sundays differed with a lie-in, a later mass and more recreational time. Lunch was slightly fancier too, with a roast meal.

TV was strictly limited and Mill Lane had to vote for a number of programmes; a meeting was held and the Radio Times was gone through - merely a formality as the voting nearly always went for Top of the Pops, Match of the Day and Dad's Army.


Some of the best friends I ever made
Helping to dig the trench in 1969 that brought (freezing) spring water to fill the swimming pool. And re-liming it a year or two later
Smoking Players Number 10s - this was permitted only in the upper school common rooms
Several days malingering in Sick Bay, enjoying the peace and quiet
Having my transistor radio confiscated - no more Radio Luxembourg
The cold - the heating never went on until after Michaelmas half-term, well into November
Being among the first to be able to grow sideburns and trying to evade the barber
Attending mass one Sunday in a new double-breasted checked blazer and then being called "Johnny with the jacket"

The homemade record player in the upper school common room that needed a 2-shilling piece weight on the needle arm to play - frequently The Rolling Stones
Discovering Thomas Merton, George Herbert and Virginia Woolf
Retreats at Mount St Bernard's Abbey near Coalville
Hating being a prefect - probably why I was eventually demoted
The school plays: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Tamburlaine the Great and The Doctor and the Devils - the latter for which I did the scenery and lighting

Mill Lane 1 Mill Lane 2 The Lake 1982 Rear of the Hall