Increase Font Size Option 7 Reset Font Size Option 7 Decrease Font Size Option 7
  • Polls

    As we go back to school, what was your favourite playground game?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • In the September issue of Best of British…
  • Subscribe to our Newsletter
    • Events
    • Offers
    • British Trivia
    • Exclusive Competitions
  • An Image Slideshow
  • An Image Slideshow

Best of British is the UK’s premier nostalgia magazine covering every aspect of life from the 1930s to today.

Each issue encourages you to:

  • Explore readers’ own recollections and memories in our Yesterday Remembered section
  • Discover more about days gone past with stories on everything from vintage transport to great Britons and from Christmas traditions to great days out
  • Enjoy regular reader favourites such as Treasures in the Attic, 1940s Post, Postcard from… and of course our Puzzle Page and Crossword

We hope you like reading our magazine as much as we love compiling it. In the meantime here is this month’s letter from our Editor, Simon Stabler

Vivat Bacchus

Some say school was the best days of their lives, while others believe it was hell on earth. I’m somewhere in between and although it wasn’t the greatest hardship, I’d rather have been somewhere else.

That probably explains why I’m only in touch with three people from school; my younger brother, one of his classmates who happens to own a well-known brewing company, and Chris Hallam, who has written the cover story celebrating St Trinian’s and its creator Ronald Searle. Despite a breadth of award-winning illustrations across film, books and magazines – including, as “any fule kno”, another fictional school, St Custard’s, in Geoffrey Willans’ Molesworth series – Searle considered the maidens of St Trinian’s a millstone round his neck.

Teacher turned crime writer Colin Dexter was altogether more benevolent towards his famous creation, Inspector Morse, imbuing the character with his own love of music, crosswords and the classics. The final Morse novel, The Remorseful Day, was published 20 years ago this month and, to mark the occasion, Sandra Smith recalls the afternoon she spent talking to the author.

Colin Dexter’s brother, John, taught Latin at my old school. In fact, Chris and I were in the final first year to have compulsory Latin lessons. Neither of us took it up in later years (something I sometimes regret) but one of my older friends told me how helpful our Mr Dexter was in preparing her (all-female) class for their O-level Latin exam.

The night before the exam, he invited the girls round to his flat so they could practise their vocabulary. You’re probably thinking: “You couldn’t get away with that now,” and you’re probably right. But this is the clincher: not only did a single man of a certain age have five or six 16-year-old girls in his flat, he also brought some bottles of wine for them to sample during the revision session.

There was nothing untoward going on. This kindly innocent act, intended to ensure his class did the best they possibly could, shows just how things have changed. But let’s hope none of them went into the exam hall the next day with a hangover.