A Public School That Jumps

August 15, 1965

In the 30 years of its existence, Millfield School in Somerset, England has built an exceptional reputation in sports. It had seven former students at the Tokyo Olympics; it has a crack polo team; its golf team has beaten Oxford University; and its First Fifteen is the best schoolboy Rugby team England has ever seen. Along with its adventurous approach to sports, Millfield has two other distinctions that set it apart from Britain's more traditional public (private) schools. The more startling is the fact that the school is coeducational (there are 87 girls among its 689 pupils from 42 countries). Nearly as surprising is the rare disregard for class lines shown by Headmaster R.J.O. Meyer, who will enroll anyone that he thinks would benefit from the Millfield system—even if it involves cutting the steep $2,500 annual tuition.

The school's sports trophies are kept in the dining room (above). On the table is the Chip and Block trophy, given to the winners of a golfing contest in which parents and children make up the teams.

The junior interhouse long jump (in progress in the picture at left) is part of a remarkable track and field program. Mary Rand, an Olympic gold medalist in the high jump, is a Millfield graduate.

A freckled and tousle-haired Londoner named Jeffrey Fisher (right) may remind some readers of "Mad" magazine's cover boy, but he is a lot more active than Alfred E. Neuman. He plays cricket in summer, soccer in the winter months.

The spirit of Millfield is personified by Robin Stoddart-Stones (above). When volunteers were wanted to jump into a leaky boat, young Robin called out, "Sir, I'll sink, sir!" and he nearly did.

Millfield School has won the All-England Schools Tennis Championships for nine years, often playing its second-string 14-year-olds against 18-year-olds. Here some boys volley with a tennis machine.

Marcia Aw, daughter of the late Aw Boon Haw, the Chinese patent-medicine king, takes a golf lesson. Her brother also is at Millfield. Famed Tiger Balm Gardens in Hong Kong is a monument to their father's liniment.

Tennis is the most popular game. More than half the students play, including His Imperial Highness Prince Paul Makonnen of Ethiopia (above), grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie. He is called Makonnen by classmates and staff.

A Liberian student, Varnie Dennis, is the 19-year-old captain of the team that broke all records for schoolboy Rugby last season. The team won every game it played and beat the Racing Club de Paris "A" side 26-3. Dennis hopes to introduce Rugby to Liberia, where it is almost unknown.

The wide lawn that sweeps down from the back of Millfield House is used for fencing. Using a French foil, Frances Bennett of Rhodesia (left, foreground) executes a lunge.

Headmaster R.J.O. Meyer (right) is a former Somerset County cricket captain whose relaxation is caring for exotic ducks. Here he confers with a duckling named Lord Byron.

The school maintains a stable of 16 horses, and riders look after their mounts, doing all the grooming, clipping and exercising. The polo team (below) practices rain or shine.

ELEVEN PHOTOSJERRY COOKE

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)