Bessie Bunter

Discuss all the girls comics that have appeared over the years. Excellent titles like Bunty, Misty, Spellbound, Tammy and June, amongst many others, can all be remembered here.

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Phoenix
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Joined: 27 Mar 2008, 21:15

Re: Bessie Bunter

Post by Phoenix »

AndyB wrote:I would have liked an explanation of the Shell form
Shell and Remove are terms used in public schools for forms or years, the Shell being the equivalent of the third year, the Remove being the fourth year. Quite why they were so called is something of a mystery, but someone online claims that Shell relates to the fact that thirteen/fourteen-year-old beginners at Harrow (third years in standard schools) used to eat their school meals under a shell, and guesses that the term Remove, the name given to the class they moved on to the following year (the fourth year therefore) was so named because they were removed from their position under the shell to eat somewhere else. Personally, I think there has to be some other, more persuasive, explanation. What does seem to be true though is that the Shell precedes the Remove, as that is the case at the King's School, Canterbury.

The secondary school I attended, Lancaster Royal Grammar School, didn't have a Remove although it did have a Shell form, but this was the equivalent of our fourth year, the Fourth form being our third year. This was because the First form had some years earlier been the designation for a Prep school, so when we went to LRGS from our primary schools via 11+ success we went straight into the Second form. Something similar must have happened at Greyfriars because their eleven-year-olds also started in the Second form. Surprisingly, I never queried the use of the term Shell during my years in the school. It was just one of many curious novelties that we found on arrival, like rugger, cross country runs, named houses for inter-house sporting activities at all age levels, the school's junior representative teams being referred to as Bantams, Junior Colts, and Colts, classrooms called the Bell Room, and Big School (the music room), classrooms in other buildings such as Lea House and Gardyner House, a playground called the Courts, detentions called drills, and prefects wearing gowns who were basically in charge of discipline apart from in classrooms (in fact not too many years earlier they had even been allowed to cane younger pupils : they were still permitted to hold prefects detentions on Saturday afternoons, attendance by the miscreants being obligatory). As you can see, LRGS aped the public schools, you just had to look at the schools our sports teams played, and the distance travelled for the away fixtures, to realise that, examples being Sedbergh, Barrow Grammar School, Rossall School, Manchester Grammar School, King Edward VII School, Lytham, Leeds Grammar School, Merchant Taylors', Crosby, and Stonyhurst College. Any need to know the source of the word Shell could easily have been buried beneath all the above.

Of course, Frank Richards, or Charles Hamilton to give him his proper name, never attended a public school so it's not that surprising that he thought Greyfriars pupils would study in the Remove before they got to the Shell. (For what it's worth, my view is that Charles was far more interested in the activities of his boys than in any school organisational matters.) It is also odd that at Greyfriars there were six forms to negotiate, rather than five, before reaching the Sixth form. I don't know whether one or other of the forms could be bypassed completely, so if anybody else does, perhaps they could let us know. At LRGS the really bright boys were fast-tracked to 'O' Levels in just four years, 2 Alpha, 4 Alpha, Shell Alpha and 5 Alpha, and before you knew it the creme de la creme were doing Oxbridge entrance exams. For the record, I couldn't stand the pace so I was relegated from 4 Alpha after the second year summer exams. Physics and Chemistry specifically were seriously impinging on my need to maintain control of my imaginary football leagues. You never read about that sort of activity at Greyfriars, and come to think of it, you don't read all that much about exams either. Oh, and Charles had clearly never been told that public schools didn't play association football, nor for that matter had the author of Smith Of The Lower Third at Lipstone College in The Wizard.

Bunty Girl
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Joined: 14 Jul 2013, 19:11

Re: Bessie Bunter

Post by Bunty Girl »

Early Bessie Bunter material is available here:

http://www.friardale.co.uk/School%20Fri ... Friend.htm

Long before the days of Mary Moldsworth and Miss Stackpole. The original Billy Bunter stories are on the same site.

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RuthB
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Joined: 22 Sep 2010, 16:04
Location: Cork
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Re: Bessie Bunter

Post by RuthB »

Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought at some stage Reg Parlett was drawing Bessie, that by the way was published in Spain too (she was called Fina ironically). there is a page that I cannot find now and Billy Bunter appears on it, it is the fourth picture down in this blog post: http://candela123.blogspot.ie/2009/08/f ... manso.html

Can anybody clarify this?

DavidKW
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Joined: 30 May 2012, 08:39

Re: Bessie Bunter

Post by DavidKW »

I remember Richard Stilgoe onch sanf a homage to Bessie on Nationwide. Anyone remember this?

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RuthB
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Re: Bessie Bunter

Post by RuthB »

I just looked at the Comic Art of Reg Parlett, 60 years of comic and he did Billy bunder, therefore my confussion assuming he did both characters. Not so sure now!

Tammyfan
Posts: 1983
Joined: 23 Aug 2012, 10:41

Re: Bessie Bunter

Post by Tammyfan »

Tammy annual 1985 was the last Tammy annual to feature Bessie Bunter. It ends on a high note because it has Billy Bunter in one story (much to the consternation of the Cliff House cook). We also learn how closely matched Bessie and Billy are for eating.

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