The Old Chandosians (1954-1959 vintages) first got together in 1994 after two of us met again across a negotiation table in Paris to discuss an Anglo-French acquisition. Since then we have met 11 times in various locations on a somewhat irregular two to three year basis.
Our “guests” have included both our old Housemaster, ‘Bertie’ Stephen and Joe Bain, one of our favourite tutors. Over the years a total of 32 of us have enjoyed one or more of these, usually formal, events.
In 2017, Stowe very kindly negotiated with the National Trust to let us have a picnic at the Queen’s Temple, so with plus-ones for the first time, we enjoyed some excellent food provided by a much younger Old Stoic, but unfortunately not an Old Chandosian!
Following this, the Old Stoic Society said that they would like to host a lunch for us at Stowe. COVID intervened and so it was delayed until 2022 by which time, regrettably but inevitably, our numbers had decreased. The date was 22 June and 11 of us, who have known each other for 68 years, managed to celebrate almost 1,000 years of cumulative friendship.
It was a wonderful day with lunch prepared for us on the South Front Portico, considerably more enjoyable than the meals we had had as schoolboys (just one year after the end of rationing), preceded by delicious glasses of bubbly. So wonderful and hot in fact that we all decided to move into the Marble Hall, where members of the Old Stoic Society looked after us in five-star fashion.
To cap it all, we were allowed back to visit our old haunts, much changed in the last 70 or so years; notably the Sigma dormitory where 15 of us had slept, even in winter, with just one radiator. Now of course well heated with computers and work stations. And our Houseroom, totally redecorated and painted but still with apparently the same radiators, although one assumes providing more heat. Of course, we looked at the old House photographs with our partners/guests/wives trying to identify 15-year-old boys some 70 years later.
We would like to thank both the Old Stoic team for their hospitality and the School itself for giving us all such a wonderful start in life. And finally, congratulations to all the people involved in the outstanding restoration of Stowe House and its contents.
Mr Robin Hunter-Coddington (Chandos 58)