Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > OP updates > Pranks of the past

Pranks of the past

A selection of pranks as told by OPs.
21 Nov 2023
Written by John Sadden
OP updates
Drawn by pupil Roger Purkis (section of a cartoon in the Portmuthian, 1950)
Drawn by pupil Roger Purkis (section of a cartoon in the Portmuthian, 1950)

1930s

"When I was given a chemistry set I discovered gunpowder and "yellow peril". This wonderful mixture of potassium chlorate and sulphur is not only very explosive but has the intriguing property of detonating when smartly hit. It could be enclosed in a little sealed paper envelope, about an inch square, each containing about a salt spoon full of the mixture. When a row of such packages were placed about 18 inches apart on the tramlines, the next tram would create a series of explosions like a burst of machine gun fire. Blank cartridges were even more impressive byut also very expensive. One morning at prayers, the Headmaster announced he had been informed of this practice, of which he took a serious view. It must cease forthwith as it was giving old ladies palpitations." 

"What is now vandalism was, in ourselves, leniently called 'pranks'. I remember heaving desks out of first floor windows." 

1940s

"I remember one prank at school where a boy tied a string to a bell, dropped it down a hollow gap in the outer wall of the building. From the classroom upstairs he could make the bell ring in the classroom downstairs." 

1950s

"One day a new Geography Master, Mr  ......... appeared. As he walked to the back of the class the desks at the front would mysteriously close ranks, so that when he turned round he was surrounded."

"One day we decided that during the lesson I would shout "Fire!". open the window and leap out of it. The rest of the class would follow. Loyally I did as I'd promised. But when I was outside the window the rest of the class closed the window and waved to me. (I was caned)" 

1960s

"Pupils unscrewed the door handle of Mr ........'s classroom in A block. Mr .......... was unable to leave so he climbed out of the window, wearing his gown, and over the railings into the High Street."

Similar stories

see below

Pupils of the past have always enjoyed collecting stuff More...

One of the school's Eton Fives courts in 1948 with Tony Savage, John Burridge and Ray Carter

The game of Fives was played by all the most exclusive schools. More...

Ibn Saud's army on the move, as capture by Captain Shakespear's camera

The story of Captain Shakespear OP. More...

The house flags, which were first used for leavers' "March through the Arch" in 2012

All traditions have a beginning and the House flags, and leavers' "March through the Arch", have surprisingly recent ori… More...

Most read

The house flags, which were first used for leavers' "March through the Arch" in 2012

All traditions have a beginning and the House flags, and leavers' "March through the Arch", have surprisingly recent origins. More...

Have your say

 
image

Address

High Street, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2LN

Quick Links

Follow us on Social

This website is powered by
ToucanTech