No Ancient Pile – A History of Milton High School
I’m delighted to see that ‘No Ancient Pile’ is being made available via the internet. When I wrote it for Milton’s 75th anniversary in 1985 over 3,500 copies were printed and doubt was expressed as to whether they would ever all be sold. But they were and for a good many years there have been requests for copies but the cost of reprinting made it out of the question. Now the miracle of the internet means that it can again be widely accessible.
The book was written in something of a hurry over about six weeks in April/May 1985 and appeared just in time for the 75th birthday celebrations centred on 25 July. Research was mainly through the school archives which included every issue of ‘The Miltonian’ and much else, together with interviews with many who had attended Milton from the early days through to the time of writing. ‘The Chronicle’ was largely ignored as even in those far-off days it got most things wrong!
One or two inaccuracies have been brought to my attention over the years but by and large I think the account remains a fair summary of the school’s first 75 years. New chapters should perhaps be added to take the story forward to the present day but, by and large, it would be an unhappy tale and not one that I would wish to undertake for sadly, the optimism expressed in the ‘Afterword’ with its ‘massive hope in the future’ was not justified.
In the following years Milton fell on increasingly hard times. A crippling shortage of funds and major overcrowding brought about a steady decline with the result that what had been one of the finest schools anywhere became a shadow of its former self through no fault of its students or teachers who remained proud of their school and its traditions.
It is very encouraging that a new generation of Miltonians is determined to arrest and reverse that decline and their ambitious plans include this reappearance of ‘No Ancient Pile’. As Milton progresses into its second century, I wish them all good fortune in restoring to its former glory the school that represents thirty years of my life.