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News > Alumni News > The Inheritance of a Sense of Humour by Brian Lingard (OS 1942)

The Inheritance of a Sense of Humour by Brian Lingard (OS 1942)

Old Stopfordian Brian Lingard (OS 1942) discusses the influence of the Gilkes family on his and P.G. Wodehouse's sense of humour.
24 May 2022
Alumni News
Brian Lingard (OS 1942) & HRH The Duke of Gloucester at Brian's book launch
Brian Lingard (OS 1942) & HRH The Duke of Gloucester at Brian's book launch

Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, better known as 'Plum' began his studies at Dulwich College in May 1894, where his older brother Armine had been studying before him.  P.G. Wodehouse left Dulwich in 1900.

Young Christopher Gilkes would have been at Dulwich College, probably between 1911 and 1918 when his father, Gilkes Senior was High Master there.  Gilkes Junior became Headmaster at Stockport Grammar School in 1929, leaving in 1941, to become High Master at Dulwich College, following the retirement of his father there at the time.  Between the early 1930's and 1941, as Headmaster at Stockport Grammar School, he was in his mid-forties, placing him as commencing his studies at Dulwich College in about 1911.

P.G. Wodehouse was therefore at Dulwich when Gilkes Senior was High Master there and his sense of humour would have been much influenced by him during that period.  Also influenced in his sense of humour, would have been Gilkes Junior who, without doubt, had much affected my own (rather caustic) sense of humour between 1935 and 1941, in addition to my father's influence, when first introducing me to books by Plum, such as Summer Lightning, Piccadilly Jim and The Clicking of Cuthbert in the 1930's!

P.G. Wodehouse's sense of humour was thus well influenced by his High Master, Gilkes Senior, as was that of his son Gilkes Junior, my own Headmaster.  My lifetime love and admiration for the works of P.G. Wodehouse (and perhaps that of other Old Stopfordians) was thus undoubtedly, but unconsciously, supported by these strong generational links with the Gilkes family.  An inheritance to be treasured for a lifetime indeed!

Perhaps also, on a more personal level, this influence has been carried through, here and there, into descriptions which have been applied to my own three books* on architectural private practice, as being 'light-hearted' rather than being serious technical publications on this complex world of architectural private practice, as typified so well by H.B. Cresswell in his Honeywood File and Settlement books written in the 1920's.

Brian Lingard

SGS 1935-1942

*Brian Lingard is the author of: Special Houses for Special People, Thrifty Homes for Thrifty People and All the Rest of the Bricks and Mortar.  Copies to be seen in the Old Stopfordians Library at the Grammar School or obtainable for Old Stopfordians and pupils at half publication prices from jbl@gallerylingard.com

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