Robin Ward and the Black Lion - Prices in the sixties

Here's the first in a series of three pieces on "The Black Lion" which I'd be pleased if you could add to the website at a suitable place. I doubt whether any Old Priceans will even remember the magazine, but we at least had a lot of fun with it! However, if anyone can remember any further details or correct my memories, which after such a long time might be a bit faulty in places, I'd be pleased to know. 
Best regards,



Phase 1 - A pioneering project is born (1968)

In the mid to late 1960s traditional values, conservatism, authority and the Establishment in general were being called into question in many circles in Britain. Just one of many manifestations of this was the offshore pirate radio stations, which sought to shake up the entrenched music establishment and provide a free all-day pop music service which would also give opportunities for unknown talents to make themselves heard who would otherwise have been completely ignored by the BBC.

The changes in thinking were also being felt at Price's. The school magazine, the "Lion", was chiefly renowned for 
its endless reports on football, cricket and rugby matches and what the CCF and the stamp club had been doing the previous year. In other words, pretty monotonous stuff that one might flick through once but which didn't really hold one's interest for long enough to warrant a second reading.

To liven the magazine up boys were always encouraged to produce pieces of creative writing, and some of the results certainly were creative. (In fact, in one extreme case in 1967 the writing aspect virtually took over the magazine!)

other forces were coming to play in the background, in the shape of Chris Bard and Mr. Johnson. Around spring 1968 they conceived the idea of producing an alternative magazine, to be called "The Black Lion"which would provide an outlet for writing deemed to be too conservative for the "Lion" and would aim to stir up the staid way of thinking of the Price's establishment. Articles on pop music, anti-war poems, anti-religion rants, anti-authority stances, in fact anything as long as it was anti-something could be considered for publication. I vowed to support the project in any way possible.

After a call for contributions, which took months to materialize, the first issue finally saw the light of day around October. It consisted of twelve enormous pages typed on one side and mimeographed in red, blue and green (on some pages so badly that the print was more or less illegible).

The first page welcomed readers with the following, somewhat condescending remarks:

    "Ronald Smallacre once said: "Blessed are the Apathetic for theirs is the achievement of nothing", and so let it be with us.

Contributions for this magazine were few, but the standard, of course, was good. This would indicate the truth in Smallacre's prophecy, for this magazine is run by the intellectual minority on behalf of the moronic majority". 

Page 12 praised the virtues of "Revivalism", which was seen as the antidote to the prevailing Price's mentality:

    "REVIVALISM - a means or an end. <

    The word "Revivalism", and all the excitement and intrigue that is connected to it, have, for some weeks, been echoing throughout the School. The Great Price's Revival has begun.

    People in all walks of life: parents, masters, priests, magistrates, soldiers and others have all been asking the same question: "What are they?" Even the recently liquidated Friendly Society and Prisoners Aid Committee have felt the first twitches of Revival. For, as the dark cloud of apathy disperses, slowly, the School is seen in a new light. Even the Ordnance Survey people, with whom we are mis-registered as a "Borstal", are looking twice. The Revivalists have extensive plans for: The Church, the Bible, Education and the Country as a whole; we will be publishing White Papers periodically.

    For Revivalism can only stand for the Future. Revivalism is now, and evermore shall be.

                                                                                                By order of

                                                                                                The Dynamic C.F.J. Bard

                                                                                                and C.H. Retzler.


In between was a collection of poems on among other things the subjects of growing old, despair, death, slavery, freedom and capitalism, and a tirade in the "Opinion" column, signed by "Late", on the cycle park door always being locked when boys wanted to park their bikes (the official reason being to keep the heat in), with the remark that if moderately intelligent boys could not be trusted to close a door, then those in the High Places should condescend to fit a spring, so that it might close itself.

Some 100 copies were made in the initial campaign, and one morning at break Chris set up a table in the library with the magazines in a box and a poster above his head proclaiming the appearance of the new publication. The mags were to go on sale at 6d each (i.e. 2 1/2 p) and the proceeds - if any - would be ploughed back into the next issue.

I noted that they were selling very briskly, and towards the end of the day I asked Chris how we'd been getting on. To my disbelief he gave me a conspiratorial grin and said we'd got rid of nearly all of them. In fact, by the end of the week we'd completely sold out!

Not surprisingly Mr Poyner didn't exactly seem enamoured of our project, and as far as I remember a number of heated discussions took place between Chris, Mr. Johnson and him. But to his credit he didn't try to ban it. And as long as we had Mr. Johnson as an ally .... 

As if to defend itself, the "Lion" which came out in December 1968 proclaimed on its front page "The Official Magazine of Price's School, Fareham".

Overjoyed at our success, we immediately started making plans for the second issue.