Did monitors have any real use?

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, but that's still CH related.

Moderator: Moderators

richardb
Forum Moderator
Posts: 630
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:23 pm
Real Name: Richard Bloomfield
Location: Tyne and Wear
Has thanked: 321 times
Been thanked: 233 times

Did monitors have any real use?

Post by richardb » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:56 pm

I remember that both junior and senior houses had monitors in my day. These were a select group who were allowed such major responsibilities as serving food and making sure we all cleaned our shoes. They did though receive very great privileges.

It may be the passage of time but I can't really remember them having any major value in running the house and seem to think they were just very small cogs in the machine.

I am sure that there will be some ex monitors in our number who will tell me I am wrong.

With hindsight I am left wondering whether monitors were just narks for the housemasters.
These users thanked the author richardb for the post:
blueeyedboy (Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:22 pm)
Rating: 5.88%

sejintenej
Button Grecian
Posts: 3394
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:19 pm
Real Name: David Brown ColA '53-'61
Location: Essex
Has thanked: 55 times
Been thanked: 26 times

Re: Did monitors have any real use?

Post by sejintenej » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:33 pm

Before the time of junior and senior houses monitors had considerable authority. It was they who essentially ran the house - everything from getting boys up in the morning and ensuring that their beds were stipped (and later made) to getting teams for games to general discipline to leading prayers to getting the house in marching order. Within that select group the Trades Mon had the responsibility of ensuring that all the jobs were allocated and then done effectively and efficiently - a work detail totalled about 40 and everyone of those had a specific job which he had to oversee and check.

The house was actually run by the monitors rather than the masters. IMHO Col A worked almost like clockwork to the benefit of those there. There was one "major" problem on 30th November 1960 at about 1.40pm when someone doing trades in the Dining Hall was hurt and had to go to the sicker. (I have just looked up the certificate to get the date!). Accidents will happen.

Priveleges: not really that many. They were allowed bikes at school (only grecians could ride in uniform) and a later bed time which took account of the extra homework. In my last year, evenings up to abpout 11pm was homework, 6am to 7am was homework, weekends were usually homework full. This was not enforced upon me - it was a product of the discipline of previous years. For legitimate outside reasons I had to take a week off two terms before A levels - my books were at home with me and still it took weeks to catch up when I returned (and the staff were helpful in that)
These users thanked the author sejintenej for the post:
postwarblue (Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:47 am)
Rating: 5.88%
Every government carries a health warning

blueeyedboy
3rd Former
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:37 pm
Real Name: Charlie
Has thanked: 21 times
Been thanked: 20 times

Re: Did monitors have any real use?

Post by blueeyedboy » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:35 pm

Well you and I wouldn't be the ones to ask would we Richard! The way Ron Lorimer ran things really wasn't my bag, and there were much more interesting things to do than supervise Late Trades. Some monitors were thoroughly decent, others definitely filled Shakespeare's description of 'man, proud man, dressed in a little brief authority'.
These users thanked the author blueeyedboy for the post:
richardb (Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:45 pm)
Rating: 5.88%

richardb
Forum Moderator
Posts: 630
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:23 pm
Real Name: Richard Bloomfield
Location: Tyne and Wear
Has thanked: 321 times
Been thanked: 233 times

Re: Did monitors have any real use?

Post by richardb » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:45 pm

We certainly weren't at the front of the queue Charlie!!!
These users thanked the author richardb for the post:
blueeyedboy (Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:46 pm)
Rating: 5.88%

Foureyes
Grecian
Posts: 757
Joined: Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:26 am
Real Name: David
Location: England
Has thanked: 0
Been thanked: 83 times

Re: Did monitors have any real use?

Post by Foureyes » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:18 pm

I agree with sejintenej. I was in Lamb B 1949-55 and the monitors ran the house, with the occasional gentle steer from the Senior Housemaster, Mr. Archbold. I ended up as 3rd Monitor and was responsible for discpline, behaviour, etc, - a bit like an adjutant in an army regiment. The only privileges I can remember is that Grecians were allowed to walk along the 'Grecians' path' and that monitors were allowed to have a brew-up (cocoa, Ovaltine, etc) after the others had gone to bed.
David :shock:

bakunin
UF (Upper Fourth)
Posts: 97
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:22 am
Real Name: Manch
Location: The westernmost lands
Has thanked: 102 times
Been thanked: 53 times

Re: Did monitors have any real use?

Post by bakunin » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:11 pm

Hah, a pathetic and pointless privilege indeed, the "Grecians' path"... I used to feel very slightly subversive walking along it.
These users thanked the author bakunin for the post:
richardb (Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:15 pm)
Rating: 5.88%

bakunin
UF (Upper Fourth)
Posts: 97
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:22 am
Real Name: Manch
Location: The westernmost lands
Has thanked: 102 times
Been thanked: 53 times

Re: Did monitors have any real use?

Post by bakunin » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:20 pm

House monitors seemed to have some limited uses: supervising prep time, waking people up and goading them to go to bed. What on earth did school monitors do though? Aside from wear velvet cuffs and sit on the dais to have perpetual last suppers with Poulton (which sounds quite annoying to endure)

MrEd
3rd Former
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:29 pm
Real Name: Ed McFarlane
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 15 times

Re: Did monitors have any real use?

Post by MrEd » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:30 pm

School monitors used to keep order in Chapel, occasionally pick you up on your uniform, walk on the Grecians Path, get orange juice at breakfast and might pretend to try to catch smokers, and ride their bikes to and from lessons.

sejintenej
Button Grecian
Posts: 3394
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:19 pm
Real Name: David Brown ColA '53-'61
Location: Essex
Has thanked: 55 times
Been thanked: 26 times

Re: Did monitors have any real use?

Post by sejintenej » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:28 am

Foureyes wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:18 pm
The only privileges I can remember is that Grecians were allowed to walk along the 'Grecians' path' and that monitors were allowed to have a brew-up (cocoa, Ovaltine, etc) after the others had gone to bed.
David :shock:
True, I had forgotten those. Monitors also had swabs to clean their shoes (and coats when required) clean up the dirty mugs in the morning and occasionally get sent on errands, for example to the tuck shop. In winter they might have to carry coal and clean out the fireplaces in the two monitors' studies.

That question of riding bikes in uniform was strictly enforced. One year a boy in Col A was kept under sedation in the sicker and woken up to take his S levels there. I was detailed to take his exam papers from Big School to the sicker by bike and got caught by some master en route. I just about got away with it after lengthy enquiries.
Every government carries a health warning

michael scuffil
Button Grecian
Posts: 1557
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:53 pm
Real Name: michael scuffil
Location: germany
Has thanked: 13 times
Been thanked: 44 times

Re: Did monitors have any real use?

Post by michael scuffil » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:43 am

In the time before senior and junior houses, monitors virtually ran the place, and the school routine would have collapsed without them. They did not see themselves (as a rule) responsible for rule enforcement, but for everyday organization and admin.
The official privileges were few (e.g. own table in dayroom, later bedtime, changing and bathing after games in lav-ends -- i.e. in a proper bath, not having to march on breakfast and tea parade) but the main privilege was that as a monitor, one was oneself largely unmonitored (though house captains might intervene if a monitor exhibited particularly gross behaviour).
The independence enjoyed by monitors depended to a considerable extent on the housemaster. Some (e.g. Arthur Rider) were very much hands-on; some (e.g. Matthews) were negligently hands-off, while others again (e.g. John Page) kept an arms-length eye on things (sorry for that mixed metaphor).
The atmosphere in a house could vary very considerably according to the monitorial body. In my first year in ThB we had an arty crowd whom I liked; the second year's lot were a bunch of officious ruffians.
These users thanked the author michael scuffil for the post (total 2):
postwarblue (Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:49 am) • Ever Bluer (Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:03 pm)
Rating: 11.76%
Th.B. 27 1955-63

User avatar
CHAZ
Grecian
Posts: 934
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2008 1:15 pm
Real Name: Charles Ian Forster
Location: FRANCE
Has thanked: 0
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Did monitors have any real use?

Post by CHAZ » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:40 am

Interesting new topic. During my time (1978-1984) the Junior House monitors supervised prep mainly and reported you or "sent you down" if you talked after lights out! In the Senior House the role was more important and incorporated getting both dorms up after the rising bell, leading the houseto brekafast on time and also shouting "Form Two Deep" on Band Parade, distributing house biscuits, supervising prep and overseeing house trades (UF had to do all the cleaning) and finally getting people to bed as well. A House Monitor had duty once a week.

Obviously the House Captain automatically became a School Monitor and so he had functions outside the House. I was a Senior Grecian for 2 terms and so could not be House Captain as well. Obviously there could be two School Monitors in a House and this was my case in Michaelmas Term 1983 as SG at the time was doing 7th term Oxbridge. If you were a School Monitor you had a Duty Week which meant every morning you accopanied the SG by watching all Houses arrive on time for breakfast. You also had to attend Chapel and read the lesson on full school chapel. Other responsibilities could have been management of theatre tickets and their distribution; organising litter parties; I suppressed the hunt for smokers bit ( :oops: ); overseeing dining hall trades with House monitors....

Perks of the job? Sure eating on dais and having toast. There was no OJ in my time. Qshott ( a small amount of cash); the Monitors room at the back of Dining Hall and of course the Buttoned Coat!!

BTW I was in Chapel 7 days a week as a SG!
Charles Forster
PeB 1978-1984

User avatar
J.R.
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15363
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:53 pm
Real Name: John Rutley
Location: Dorking, Surrey
Has thanked: 136 times
Been thanked: 89 times

Re: Did monitors have any real use?

Post by J.R. » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:15 am

And of course, during my day in Coleridge B house monitors could impose limited punishments. Usually a 'quarter' or a 'mile'.

The mile was running round the pitches on Big Side within a set time. The quarter was from the house down to the Post Office and back, again within a set time. (The actual times set escape me now after all these years.)

Failure to do it within the set time meant an immediate repeat of the punishment!
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

richardb
Forum Moderator
Posts: 630
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:23 pm
Real Name: Richard Bloomfield
Location: Tyne and Wear
Has thanked: 321 times
Been thanked: 233 times

Re: Did monitors have any real use?

Post by richardb » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:31 am

You have pre empted my next thread Chaz which was going to be: "What on earth did the Senior Grecian do of any use?" 😂

scrub
UF (Upper Fourth)
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:11 pm
Real Name: Tim
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 45 times

Re: Did monitors have any real use?

Post by scrub » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:10 am

I have no memory of what the school monitors could actually do :lol: Tell kids to pull up their socks, button their coats, and not walk on the Grecians path is about all I can think of.

In the senior house there was a house captain and vice-captain who must have had some important role to play, but that escapes me too. House duties (supervising prep, waking people up, sending them to bed, roll call on the weekends, etc) was done by Deps mostly.
ThB 89-91, PeA 93-96

User avatar
CHAZ
Grecian
Posts: 934
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2008 1:15 pm
Real Name: Charles Ian Forster
Location: FRANCE
Has thanked: 0
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Did monitors have any real use?

Post by CHAZ » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:12 am

:lol: Richard!

Actually looking back on it, I am sure the role affected my A level results as I bombed German.

Globally it was a PR role and there were fun parts like going to Amicable Socitey of Old Blues dinner; having numerous dinners at "the House" with VIPS who came to the school; singing every day in Chapel...

On the downside there was the Webb affair (Goodbye Mr Chips) that broke in my time; having to learn the Oration by heart and fluffing two lines on the day; a sense of detachment from my House as I was not really there...

Anyway still hnoured to have served in my humble way...
These users thanked the author CHAZ for the post:
richardb (Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:22 am)
Rating: 5.88%
Charles Forster
PeB 1978-1984

Post Reply