Getting Around School

Gordon Richardson: Splinters

Gordon was born in 1953 in the Philippines. His parents lived and worked abroad so Gordon attended several mainstream schools, mainly in Hong Kong and India. At age eight, he was sent to England with his brother to attend residential mainstream private schools, first in Yorkshire and then in Cambridge. He then went on to study at university.

Here Gordon describes the various ways he got around the school.

  • Gordon Richardson
  • Gordon Richardson


If we go back to prep school, junior school, the boarding school there, no, there were effectively no real adjustments made at all, apart from they built a little wooden ramp so that I could get out of one door, to get outside on the ramp so I could get in and out of the building whenever I wanted to. But no, I mean the dormitories were upstairs and I just had to crawl upstairs and crawl along great miles of corridors. I mean there was one point, it was probably 100 yards from the top of the stairs to the dormitory and I just had to crawl, shuffle along of my backside and get splinters in your backside from the wooden floors.

When I went on to public school in Cambridge, again, you know, there was no – nothing particularly done for me but again, there were two steps up into the house that I was living in and – so I made myself a wooden ramp there, by that stage I was quite skilled in carpentry, so I made my own wooden ramp and that lasted all the five years I was there. In fact when I went back to the school about ten years after I’d left, my little wooden ramp was still there and you could still see people would go all the way past the steps and go up the wooden ramp and come back to go in through the door.

But no, I then had to – again, a lot of the lessons were upstairs and so I made a little sling seat out of canvas and had – two poles would go through eyelets on either side and so we’d get to the, say the Physics class or whatever, and I’d just get to the bottom of the stairs and four boys would pick up, you know, one corner each of one of the ends of the poles, and the four of them would just pick me up, carry me upstairs and dump me on a chair in the classroom.

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