memories of brathay hall

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Seeing the photograph of some of the Stanton lads at Brathay Hall brought back so many memories.

I was a local lad, a product of a local secondary modern school, whose horizons extended no further than Skegness.

I was fortunate enough to join Stanton Ironworks as a trade apprentice and I will always be eternally grateful for the opportunities I was given whilst working there. All apprentices were actively encouraged to continue with their further education. So off we went to what was then the brand new Ilkeston College of Further Education which has now been demolished to be replaced by a supermarket.

Thereafter thanks to the companies continuing encouragement, I went on to study at what is now the Derby University.

However Brathay was really something else. Yes some of it was tough; we were up early in the morning for a quick dip in the lake before breakfast.

Then after breakfast we would have our dormitory inspection and if your bed had one crease in the sheets it would be torn apart for you to make it again, and worse still sometimes on dry days your bedding would be thrown out of the window for you then to go and retrieve it. By evening we were usually all exhausted however after dinner we had lectures or played games. Sitting in front of the warm log fire on a cold winters night it was very easy to nod off only to be rudely awakened by a friendly cuff from the lecturer. You quickly worked out that it was better to do things correctly and avoid the hassle.

Brathay widened my horizons and gave me experiences I had never dreamed of. Hill walking and a bit of easy climbing; camping in the snow in February; some basic sailing experience, together with other skills such as map reading and knowledge of the countryside, and even a bit of acting as we had to put on a play at the end of the course.

I am sure that every one of us who went to Brathay gained from the experience, which in turn benefited the company.

After all these years I am so grateful to Stanton for the opportunities it gave me. Despite leaving school with no qualifications I went on to gain qualifications in both engineering and law and thereafter pursued a professional career in intellectual property. I also found my lifelong hobby of walking which I have now done for nearly sixty years, and have also found the time to do a little sailing.