His headmaster at Repton ‘struck me as being a rather shoddy bandy–legged fellow with a big bald head and lots of energy but not much charm.’ This same man in later life became Bishop of Chester and soon after that was promoted to Bishop of London and then suddenly as Archbishop of Canterbury was crowning the Queen at her coronation. ‘Well, well, well! and this was the man who used to deliver the most vicious beatings to the boys under his care!’ By all accounts this headmaster enjoyed using the cane and in later life ‘…whenever I have to sit for any length of time on a hard bench or chair, I begin to feel my heart beating…’ Roald Dahl felt that if a man who took pleasure in beating small boys could become Archbishop of Canterbury, one of God’s chosen people, ‘…then there must be something very wrong about the whole business.’

Posy Simmonds
ink, crayon and watercolour
both signed
Image size: 19 by 20 cm

These two watercolours are reproduced on pages 302 and 303 of The Roald Dahl Treasury to illustrate ‘The Headmaster,’ an excerpt from his autobiography BOY.