Frank A Gusdorf remembers Macaulay House College
I was born in 1926, and came to England as a young Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany in 1939, a few weeks prior to World War Two. My father had succumbed at Buchenwald, a German concentration camp in December 1938-one of the first to die in what was to become the Holocaust. My immigration from Germany was a desperate effort to save sole male family survivors.
I arrived at what was then called Macaulay House College in August 1939. I was shown into the dining room for lunch, through a large gated entrance and inner courtyard. It had large, white washed walls, a beamed ceiling and large round tables.
English boarding school was a culture shock for me. I had learned English at school in Germany, but my ears were not attuned to it. The school was reputed to be named after Thomas Babington Macauley (1800-1859) who wrote the History of England, had later become a Member of Parliament, and who had lived at the house. It had a Lawn Tennis court at the back, the football field, and we played cricket which I initially thought was quite boring and a large oak trees in a cow pasture.
There were both boys and girls at the school, all of different backgrounds. My dormitory was in the largest building, accessible via a steep staircase. It had bare polished wood floors and was very cold. The bathrooms and toilets were in a smaller adjacent building, with flagstone floors. Baths once a week were arranged by matron, a middle aged local woman who also dealt meticulously with our laundry, which consisted mainly of our brown and pink scratchy wool uniforms.
I have mostly wonderful recollections of my times at Macauley House College, I benefited greatly from the hospitality of the English people, the education, and most of all the sense of stability and order they gave me. My stay in Cuckfield was a crucial part of my life. It gave me temporary security, a classic English education, and discipline, that I shall always look back to those times and places with great sentiment.
Over the years I wanted to return to Cuckfield, and in the spring of 1998 I finally succeeded. My wife and I came upon Ockenden Manor, which had once long ago been Macauley House College.
Frank A Gusdorf Los Gatos, California
from Cuckfield Society Newsletter (2003)