The Earliest Insignia?
To date, we have found no evidence to suggest a school badge or uniform was used prior to World War II. However, by the late 1940s and early 1950s, a simple badge had been introduced. This was set in the school colours of red and black and comprised a shield enclosing the letter "W". Initially, an "antique" font was employed as shown in the sample on the left.
In fact, this sample has a special significance for my family as it belonged to one of my older brothers. It resurfaced a few years ago when I acquired my mum's old photo box. She had carefully unpicked it in the 1950s and preserved it amongst other mementoes!
Although the badge was sewn to the breast pockets of many pupils, it was not (as far as I know) obligatory. Neither was a jacket! At least one more decade would pass before a real uniform was introduced.
Developments During the 1950s
The badge continued throughout the 1950s but its composition changed slightly. Whilst the shield was retained, a more modern font was used for the letter.
The sample on the right was my own badge and it served me from 1956 to 1960. I believe a tie was also available. This was a somewhat shapeless and narrow creation with horizontal red and black stripes.
Once again, neither, the badge nor the tie were obligatory.
A Full School Uniform
We are not sure of the precise date that a full school uniform was introduced but we believe that it was shortly after Mr Newsome retired as headmaster in 1960.
That would probably place it in the reign of his successor Mr.A M Queen (1960-1965). If anyone can provide a precise date, please let us know.
The uniform followed the colours of the original school badge with a black jacket trimmed with red braid at the cuffs. This was worn with grey trousers and a diagonally striped tie of red and black.
A grey pullover was also available - edged with red and black. The school photo (left) was kindly sent to us from New Zealand by Stephen Daniel (Holmes). It features Stephen back in 1967.
I understand that the old badge was reworked for the uniform. Whilst the familiar shield was retained, the lettering was extended to "WB" to reflect the commonly used name for the school - ie "Whitstable Boys".
This more complex symbol was to be shortlived.... for a very good reason. Read on!
The letters "WB" remained relevant for a decade or more. Then, like the nearby Endowed Girls School, "Whitstable Boys" became co-educational.
The transition was a gradual one as explained by Derek Drury...
A bit of a revamp took place. Whilst much of the overall uniform remained, the badge was redesigned as a sailing boat set in a ships wheel. This was very similar to the badge of the old Whitstable Urban District Council and its basic design followed that of a number of other local organisations. Thus, the school continued to reflect its close ties with the community of Whitstable.
The photo (above right) is another family memento and it was taken circa 1990. As you can see, girls wore the same jacket as the lads... albeit with buttons that "did up the wrong way"! The summer dress was a red and white check that gave an overall pink appearance.