This week Peeps is going back to school – to West Street Boys’ School to be precise, 89 years ago.

The school was formed when the boys’ junior section of St Andrew’s School was separated from the rest of the school – the infants and junior girls – in 1902. West Street Boys’ School later became Potters Gate School.

Pictured is a tableau performed at Vernon House in West Street as part of a carnival in 1934. A banner above the proceedings proclaims ‘Whither Farnham’ and there appears to be some sort of inquest or trial being staged.

Are they debating the future of the town, perhaps weighing up evidence as to the direction its development or people may take in years to come?

As most of the boys in the photograph would now be about 100 years old, it may be there is no-one left who can answer that question and the whole story behind the picture may remain a mystery.

West Street Boys’ School's 1934 carnival tableau
West Street Boys’ School's 1934 carnival tableau (Peeps into the Past )

However, thanks to a letter written 50 years after the event, that has been sent to Peeps, we do know the names of most of the boys present. 

They are:

  • Left side: Albert Darl (policeman). 
  • Back row: Reg Stonehouse, Ray Ellen, John Gardener, Dean.     
  • Middle row: Berridge, Lee, Stan Eade.
  • Front row: Bert Larmer, Reg Pankhurst (?), Foster.
  • Centre:  Mace bearer (in top hat) – Ted Carter.
  • Back row: West, Ray Searle, Bill Farrow, Alfred Temple, Robert Hockey.
  • Middle row: Don Cranstone, Fred Gretton, Simms.
  • Front row: Stan Lamport, Keith Bennett.
  • Right side: Fry (policeman)
  • Back row: somebody hidden?, Little, Sawkins.
  • Front row: unknown, Arthur Dodd, unknown.

The letter containing the names of the boys was written by Fred Gretton, who is seen seated in the centre dressed as a judge, to Stan Eade, who is at the end of the middle row on the left wearing a cloche hat. 

He can be seen more clearly, dressed as a woman, seated in the second photo where the boys are all aboard their carnival float.

Peeps would like to hear from anyone out there, perhaps a relative of those pictured, who can provide more information about the West Street Boys’ School.

It would also be interesting to know what the school motto was, as it is partially obscured in the photograph.