Wennington School, an independent, progressive, co-educational boarding school, was founded by Kenneth and Frances Barnes in 1940. It closed in 1975.
The purpose of this site is to inform visitors about the school and its place in the spectrum of progressive education and also to provide a forum and reference point for all ex-pupils, staff and friends around the world.
The site is run by the Wennington School Association, a group of old scholars, staff and parents, and was created by an ex-pupil, Robin Sinclair (1968-74). It is being maintained and developed by by members of the Association, with the support of the Planned Environment Therapy Trust Archive and Study Centre, where the Wennington School and Kenneth C. Barnes archives are held.
Wennington School was, like any school, not without its faults and, consequently its critics. However, to many of those who attended it was a very special place which created and fostered very special, lifelong relationships.
It is hoped that this site will reflect those feelings.
Please note that this website contains names and photographs of many former pupils and staff. If anyone would prefer not to be named, please let us know via the "Contact us" link.
William "Hammy" Howell (1954 - 1999)
Wennington pupil 1966 - 1973
Hammy developed his passion for blues and boogie-woogie at Wennington. It was here he got the nickname Hammy - a consequence of keeping hamsters ( later, he kept rats ).
After school, in the seventies, he made contact with musicians in London and developed his style at a slick pace. He played for a while with a blues band, but found greater fame in his early twenties with the rock and roll band Darts - an exciting period, with gigs far and wide, Top Twenty hits and TV appearances.
After his mother's death in 1979, Hammy had the first of a series of breakdowns that were to dog him for the rest of his life. He carried on with music, developing his classical technique as well as blues. He taught from time to time, worked as a session musician and joined various bands - including Hoodoo Moon and the Beacon Band, the band of Beacon Quay House in Torquay, his last home.
Musicians Hammy played with rated highly his ability to play piano. He had a talent for both frenetic solos and fitting in with a band.
He was very attached to his friends and family, but he also had a strong need to be independent. When he died in January 1999 at the age of 45 ( from heart failure ) it became clear to all how many friends he had made in his life. He was deeply cared for and appreciated, not just for his massively entertaining skill with the piano, but for his warmth, his kindness, his humour and his big personality.
A memorial CD of some of Hammy (William) Howell's blues and boogie woogie music with various bands has been produced in a limited edition. A few copies are available at £10 incl p&p. For details on how to order contact Pat.