Memories of Malsis

For an overview of the Malsis Experience and how it has influenced your lives we would like to invite you to submit your personal reminiscences to this section. However, the idea is not just to look back but also deal with the here and now, so if any OM would care to put pen to paper (or knuckle to keyboard) we would love to hear from you. We’ll be particularly interested to receive impressions from the more recent generations of boys and girls – just tell us when you were at Malsis, what you enjoyed most, where you went afterwards and what you’ve been doing since. See if you can pinch a few nostalgic snaps from the family album, include some current ones, send it all to us in an email here and we’ll do the rest.  And don't forget to join our mailing list via the Contact Us page.

Martin Wood (1956) - letter to the Reunion Dinner of 2007

posted Oct 25, 2016, 2:56 AM by Tim Birdsall   [ updated Oct 25, 2016, 3:22 AM ]

Talk about a voice from outer space! Perina Shryane forwarded your email to me in the absence of Simon, and you are right; Harrow hasn't lost address contact with me, though physical contact was lost many years ago. Likewise with Malsis, which I last visited on a return trip to England in 1983, when our family took a cottage in the dales for a week. Before that, I think it was a reunion for recent leavers held in about 1960! 

Looking at the pictures posted at the end of your letter brought back many memories and I should just love to come back for an evening at the school. Unfortunately, I get back to England seldom these days, and when I do pressure is always there to look up relatives and other more recent, but equally out-of-touch, friends. 
You may ask why I don't get back to England. So you have some idea of my doings in case old Malsis boys should query "where is Wood?" Here is a brief bio since I left England in 1976 for Canada. 

I worked in Eastern Canada for two years on pulp mill construction, then moved to Vancouver for three years staying with forest products but more in the office. With three kids, we all went to Nigeria for three years working on a hydroelectric dam; from there to Cairo, Egypt, for another three years working on the construction of the World Trade Center project on the banks of the Nile.

After a year back in Vancouver, an old Harrow friend asked me to join his Office Products business in Newport Beach, Southern California. The whole family [wife and three children] moved down there and I lasted for eight years before the lure of travel, and desire to work more in my own field, took me to Bosnia in 1998. I worked on a USAID [US Agency for International Development] project rehabilitating the country's infrastructure after the war, and was there two years. After that it was a natural transfer to go to Kosovo to do the same there for three years'. When I left Kosovo in 2003, I thought that was the end of my time in the Balkans. My parent company Parsons sent me to Qatar in the Gulf, but after seven months of envying the money Qatar had to spend on luxury, I sought out an opportunity to return to the Balkans. Which is where I have been for the past three years. There's one more year to go, after which perhaps there will be opportunities for longer trips back to the UK, and to revisit places such as Malsis. 

People may not remember that I was the youngest boy ever to go to Malsis up to that time - 6yrs 5 mos - and I stayed 7 years and a term. It was a marvellous time and I truly appreciate all that I learnt there. My grandfather always recalled the first Speech Day he attended [my parents were in Nigeria and were abroad most of the time I was at Malsis]. He told me Mr. Montague [could have been Lund] gave out the prizes and in his speech he said that if parents, strapped after the War, could only afford a prep school or a public school education for their son, then pick the prep school because that is where your son will learn lessons, morals and values for life. He was right - and Malsis was one of the best there was. 

Martin Wood, (1956). Written in November 2007.

And to the Editor:-  "I thought you might like to see some old B&W photos I took in early 1956. They are attached - and I think I can name at least 80% of the boys, and of course all the Masters."

Malsis Masters & Boys.pptx

Letter to the Editor from Reg Gadney

posted Jan 25, 2016, 3:05 AM by Tim Birdsall   [ updated Jan 25, 2016, 3:14 AM ]

Letter to the Editor from Reg Gadney

22 January 2016

Dear Pat. I was born prematurely at Malsis in the front top Dorm 10 in those days I think. Mum fell down on the ice  in the snow outside the front door. I don’t know how she managed because Dad had set off to fetch Dr Barr and got stuck in the snow in Glusburn. Anyway all went well. Bear in mind we had no central heating. The place must have been perishing. Later Dad employed the services of a uniformed nurse called Nurse Wagner. Quite what my beloved Dad was doing history doesn’t relate because the German Frau Wagner was arrested as an undesirable alien and carted off. Not before she had regularly literally tied me to my cot  to stop me sucking my thumb.  There were of course no toys but someone made my first toy, a monkey on a swing. Here it is 70 or so years on in about the same shape as I am now!!!

I was named after Reginald Lund .....  read more

Malsis Chronicle Quiz: Part I

posted Jan 20, 2016, 12:09 PM by Tim Birdsall   [ updated Jan 20, 2016, 12:09 PM ]

We've collated a set of images from our Malsis Chronicle Archives and now it's your turn! Take a look at our quiz and please send your answers, questions, comments, anecdotes  etc to your website editor Patrick Birdsall.      or by post to 51 Church Street Willingdon, Sussex BN22 OHR.

The Hudson Trophy

posted Sep 5, 2015, 2:16 PM by Tim Birdsall   [ updated Sep 5, 2015, 3:03 PM ]

A pictorial memory of the Hudson Trophy.  The Hudson Trophy was presented to the Malsis Old Boy’s Association in 1961 by Charles Hudson, father of Tony Hudson (45 – 51). It was for a golf competition for members of the Old Boys Association.

The "Old School Tie"; Patrick Birdsall 1944-1951

posted Jun 4, 2015, 3:42 PM by Tim Birdsall   [ updated Jun 4, 2015, 3:44 PM ]

Malsis School Tie
I would like to include a brief personal memory of my own which shows how a chance meeting with a Malsis contact once helped to enhance my own career:

One of my brother Timothy’s cartoons, which I don’t still have but remember well,  showed two identical couples strolling towards each other, arm in arm. Each chap was sporting an Old Etonian tie, but there was an anxious embarrassed expression on their identical faces, while each wife was whispering into her husband’s ear,      “Don’t worry Darling…perhaps he didn’t go there either!”

But this true story is about the Old Malsis Tie........  (read more)

Andrew Hunter; 1952-1957

posted Jun 4, 2015, 1:25 PM by Tim Birdsall   [ updated Jun 27, 2015, 11:40 PM ]

Rugby XV 1956

My time spent at Malsis ( 1952 to 1957 ) was a marvellous part of my life.

I will never forget meeting Bernard Gadney when we first visited the school and I thought what an inspirational and impressionable person he was. A giant of a man !


The whole School was something completely new in my life and all the teachers and staff were very friendly. I soon settled in and made a group of friends. The seniors were like gods to us............. (Read more....)

End of days: Norman Berry's photographic record

posted Apr 2, 2015, 12:25 AM by Tim Birdsall   [ updated Apr 2, 2015, 3:22 AM ]

OM Afternoon at Malsis - 6th December 2014
The final Carol Service for Malsis School was held on 5th December, 2014,with former headmaster of 20 years, John Clark, his wife Pam and their friends. It was a beautiful and moving service, involving the few remaining Malsis children with a full complement of loyal teachers, support staff and musicians under the direction of their inspired musical director James  Ashworth. Next day a sort of ‘reunion’ had been hurriedly arranged, inviting OMs to visit Malsis to inspect all the items – ‘ASSETS’ is the jargon – on display. Here you can still see the selection of excellent photographs taken by Norman Berry, which can be accessed via the link here.

Five years at Malsis - Ian Fillan 1941-51

posted Apr 1, 2015, 2:54 PM by Tim Birdsall   [ updated Apr 2, 2015, 3:26 AM ]

The Author on Sports Day (with Junior Relay Cup, I think)

Here are my randomly assembled memories of my 5 years at Malsis which I feel were the most formative years of my life.  As they are read now, and in the future, I hope that they will bring back equally fond memories and that they will stimulate other OM's to write something similar for others to enjoy...

First homecoming

posted Mar 2, 2015, 2:29 AM by Tim Birdsall   [ updated Mar 2, 2015, 2:44 AM ]

Malsis is the home, in fact, of my earliest memories ever, having been brought back from Keighley Hospital at a somewhat tender age, by my father James and mother Lorna Birdsall (still then affectionately known to the boys by her maiden & stage name of "Miss Gee").   Both spoke fondly of their time as teachers at the school but, sadly, both are no longer with us - Mum passed away just a couple of months ago - but the memories linger on.  

I spent my first four years in our home on the school grounds,  Campion House, (later part of the arts faculty).  Here I am practicing how to mix it with the big boys.  

My one issue with that place is the fact that the cavernous mansion of my infancy shrunk to Lilliputian proportions between the time that I left (aged 4) and re-visited some ten years later – how did they do that?  

Tim Birdsall, Sydney

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