Scott, Percy W (TD MA)
Junior Master 1901 -1902
House Master 1902 – 1950
Officer Commanding OTC
1903 – 1920
1920 – 1950
1931 – 1950
An Appreciation by Canon R. C. Howard, Headmaster, on the occasion of Mr Scott’s retirement in 1950.
An outstanding and beloved personality will be missing from the School by the time this number  of the Johnian is published, for Mr. P. W. Scott will have retired to live near his brother at Bognor.
He came to the School in 1901 and his appointment was temporary! And it must be taken as evidence of insight on this part of Mr. Cooper, the then Headmaster, that he discerned in his new and temporary Assistant Master the strong an indefatigable character which succeeding generations of Johnians discovered him to be.
He soon became and remained one of the moving spirits of the Staff, and many and varied have his activities been. It was not long before he was Housemaster of the Chevron, Commander of the Corps and finally School Bursar. With Mr. Parham and Mr. Pocock, Mr. Scott formed the powerful triumvirate which did so much for the School during the latter part of the Headmastership of Canon Coombes and in the early years of Mr. Tower’s reign.
There are many monuments to the work of Mr. Scott, particularly the shooting range and the admirable equipment of his House. But two special achievements are his: the first is that he took over the bursarship during difficult days, when finances were not easy and the School was not full. It is to his? Credit that the School’s resources husbanded in such a way that the very best use was made of them: by the severest economies and rigorous administration from which another may have shrunk, Mr. Scott got things in order in the most remarkable way. They were economies which if they pressed hardly on masters and boys were at the time necessary. And it is a pleasant thought that during the past eleven years, the situation has been so eased that the School authorities have been saved from the pressure of those earlier and harder days. But it was during those days of hardship that Mr. Scott showed his mettle and contributed so much to the rehabilitation of Hurst. This is a wonderful achievement and the gratitude of hundreds goes out to him and to those who worked so self-denyingly with him.
The second great achievement -and I am sure that in his heart he would say that this is even more important -is that long line of friends which he has among the Old Boys. He never forgot a face, and in my short five years I have often heard expressions of surprise from Old Boys who have not been frequent visitors, that he should remember not only who they were but their names, their interests, Houses and even what profession their fathers followed.
With the retirement of men like Mr. Scott and Mr. Hodgson great links with the past must inevitably go but they are not forgotten. Fortunately in every living Society there are other links continually being forged, and though Old Boys will miss him almost as much as those of us who worked with him till the end of last term, they will still come, drawn, not only by those still at work for Hurst, but by the School itself which is bigger and more durable than any personality, Boy, Bursar or Headmaster who has ever given to it. As Mr. Scott has so often said to the present writer, who has learnt so much from him, “The School comes first”. That has been and I am sure ever will be Mr. Scott’s motto.
Two years ago Mr. Scott told me that he washed to leave at the end of the Summer Term 1948: I felt, and I am sure I interpreted aright the feelings of many others, that our Centenary Celebrations would be incomplete without him. But here again I think that what determined his consent to stay was not primarily the persuasion of the Headmaster nor his own desire, but the principle that the School comes first and his belief that he could still serve it by remaining a little longer. But that he did stay as I asked him is a matter of gratitude and I express it on my own behalf and the School’s.
It is, of course, as the School’s most keen and devoted servant that Mr. Scott will be chiefly remembered; but within this context of loyalty to the School he earned the regard and friendship not only of boys and Old Johnians but also of his colleagues and his five successive Headmasters. It can have been no easy task to adjust himself to the ideas and methods of these five, but because the School came first he did so and in doing so taught us all that the School is greater than any individual: they come and they go, but the School goes on, carrying its first hundred years with honour and stepping bravely into its second century.
But there is one old gentleman that none of us can defeat though we may, like Mr Scott, hold him at bay for a while, and that is Father Time. It is over three years since Mr. Scott reached and triumphantly passed the allotted span, and he probably had the distinction of being the senior School Bursar in England. One and all we shall wish him many years of health and happiness in his well-earned retirement.
All Johnians will be glad to know that the Governors have seen to it that Mr Scott in his retirement will be completely free from any financial anxiety.
If there is any satisfaction, as indeed there must be, in looking on a long task well and faithfully done, no man has more right to feel that satisfaction than Mr. Scott, our friend.
The OJ Club Presentation
When in the summer of 1950 Mr Scott, who had by then been the Housemaster of Chevron for 48 years, announced his retirement, the OJ Committee decided that such outstanding service to the College deserved special recognition and launched an appeal. As a result at the OJ Dinner the following year, as an expression of the affection and esteem of the subscribers and as a token of their appreciation of the valuable and ungrudging services rendered by him to the College and the Club, Mr. Scott was presented with a cheque for £600, substantially exceeding the target of £400, and an illuminated album in which were engrossed the names of 400 subscribers and well wishers. Members of the Governing Body, Masters, O.J.s and parents and relatives of deceased O.J.s had all responded wholeheartedly to the appeal.
Extract from the Address of Canon R C Howard at the Memorial Service in the school Chapel for Mr P W Scott and Mr H B I Pocock.
And so, first of all, we must in our commemoration, while we mourn their loss, rejoice in their firm, steadfast and unostentatious faith. I put it first because, in my view, that is a matter of first importance.
The second great characteristic they had in common was their self-effacing devotion to the School. It is significant that when I wanted a photograph of P.W.S. for the Johnian I could not find one and I had to have an enlargement of one taken from a group. And it was only by the great good fortune that an enterprising youth had taken a characteristic snapshot of B.I.P. leaning out of a window above the Shield rooker just after he had observed an eclipse of the sun.
I cannot think of any man who shunned the limelight more than P.W.S. He was quite content to serve and did not care a rap who got the credit. Though he loved every stick and stone of the place, yet it was not only the buildings that he cared for. People were his great and enduring interest. But he knew them as part of the School-part of the living organism which is Hurst. While we were here he loved us, but as episodes in the life of the School which he cherished and for which he would sacrifice anything. He sacrificed his own comfort – and sometimes ours – as, for instance, in those days in the Michaelmas Term as it grew colder and colder, and P.W.S. got bluer and bluer, in his reluctance to have the heating put on!
Because he conceived of the School as an entity, more important than any individual, he gave an abounding loyalty to those who for the time being were in charge of it. The only test for his friendship was-does he care about the School? If he believed you did then he was yours, and I personally stand second to none in the debt I owe for his sustaining help-particularly in times of difficulty.
And Hurst has had very difficult times indeed. There were moments in the ‘twenties when the very survival of the School was in doubt. It is possible that Hurst would have fallen, as others fell in that lean period, if it had not been for that strong pillar supporting it-or, to change the metaphor, it would have come to grief if that small, wiry figure with the will of iron and the heart of gold had not been there to see it through. He was hard on himself and could be stern, if need be, to others, but his personality was softened and informed by a ready-if sometimes slightly astringent-wit and gracious manners. His love for the place endowed every member of it with a new virtue and a greater merit just because that person was a part of Hurst. How many of you have been warmed by his welcome. If all others had forgotten your name P.W.S. hadn’t. He remembered your face and attached the right name to it. And not only that, he knew something of your family and could, if he chose, recall not only your present but also your past! He was an almost inexhaustible store of Hurst lore: its members past and present, its history and its origins; and never will Hurst be more faithfully served.
When the sad time came at the age of 72 for him to lay down his work, he retired, as you know, to Bognor to be near his elder brother. And though he lived for another ten years he had left his heart here at Hurst, and after his departure lived a shadowy life of memories. His greatest joy was to return here as he did at least once a term.
There will shortly be a memorial to him in this Chapel, in the form of a new organ case. But even though there were no tangible form of remembrance, I somehow feel that his personality would still pervade this place and certainly his name will remain a legend in the history of the School.
He was a lovable and a good man, and so was B.I.P. Never has any School had more faithful servants than these two. And so, fellow members of this beloved place, we come back to our original them. Hardhearted would he be who did not mourn the passing of these two fine men; but faithless and ungrateful we should be if we did not, for the completion of so full and fruitful lives, offer our heartfelt thanks to Almighty God in that Service which Christ himself gave to us, the Eucharist, the Great Thanksgiving, in which both Percy Walter Scott and Herbert Pocock found both strength and peace.
‘THERE WERE GIANTS IN THOSE DAYS’
P. W. S
A Reminiscence on the occasion of his death in 1961 by L. G Stocks (OJ) a former Secretary of the OJ Club
“I’m getting old” he said at that last O.J. Dinner he attended but as far as I could see there was little outward change, despite the passage of 35 years since we’d first met. I was a new boy in his House and was duly impressed by the slightly awesome figure in the neat grey suit and white stiff collar.
On Saturdays he would relax in grey flannels and sober sports jacket and set off in the bull-nosed ‘Morris’ for Brighton. The rest of the week the ‘Morris’ lived in the Porters’ Lodge. He took me with him once to buy a cap. “Meet me at the Creamery by the Dome for tea” he said, and what a feast it was. Buttered toast, fried eggs, cream cakes, the lot. How well he understood the schoolboys’ appetite!
In those far-off years the Chevron sporting record was a flop-we hadn’t won a cup for seven years! At last the senior rugger side fought their way into the House final. It was a ding-dong struggle in the mud and rain. Immobile on the touchline stood P.W., an upturned collar his sole concession to the cold and wet. He followed the fortunes of the game without a word or sign of the inward excitement we knew he must have felt. “Well played, Chevron,” were his only words as we squelched off the field, victors by a narrow margin. How we marvelled at such self-control. Willy Wright would have been dancing a jig but such displays P.W. regarded as slightly unseemly.
He always let his prefects run the house and never interfered in routine things. Each Saturday he issued our weekly pocket money, 3d., unless our parents subsidised this dole. All transactions were recorded in detail in his ledger. Penny fines for minor misdemeanours were faithfully deducted. “I say, look here, that’s far too much,” he said when one boy was fined three times in a single week. Three of the best we thought more than deserved, but justice could not be denied as the fine itself was waived!
There was the time when rabbit featured on the luncheon bill of fare. Bones alone, no meat at all, was Benfield’s portion at that well remembered meal. “Take it to the office and complain,” we urged. Such ill advice came easily from his friends; they had not to face the music. Egged on but trembling, Benfield bore the plate but dropped it on the mat at Scott’s stern “come in”. Six-up was dealt out on the spot; such insolence had not before been seen. We never looked for trouble after that-it was a lesson we all have to learn.
I really came to know him after schooldays were finished He was a diffident and kindly man. One day we viewed the buildings from the outer quad. “What a wonderful place” he half murmured to himself. Such depth of feeling took me by surprise, for shyness was ingrained deep into his soul He feared to give a notice out in Hall, and would go to any length to find another master for the chore. And as we gathered round his grave that day, the winter sunshine warmed our sorrowing hearts. We bade farewell to a beloved friend and how aptly the memorial notice read “Well done thou true and faithful servant”. Hurst, indeed, is saddened by her loss.
L. G. Stocks.