Our Most Famous Old Boy (click to visit newsletter page)
Contemporaries at Clayesmore boarding school dorm describe
14-year-old Brian in 1948
Page written by Hugh Thompson, who states: "He hated every single place and left at the first opportunity aged 15. He complained of anti Semitism and bullying at all his schools. He also admitted to making few friends and being actively disliked. He was typical of many eventual entrepreneurs in refusing to take any school system which told him what do and think seriously, but once in the freer adult world thriving and succeeding almost immediately."
Just a few excerpts:
...Peter Mycroft, who was in 'O' dormitory with Brian Epstein, says, "He may not have been happy at school but he was a warm and pleasant chap and very popular among his immediate circle. I remember once when someone from another dormitory wrote Jew Boy on his pillow. We all went after that other dorm, we all stood up for him because we liked him and knew he was a bit of a pacifist. He was easy to get on with, he was under a lot of pressure from his father to be good at sports. I don't remember the art as much as him listening to Bach all the time."
...However, another (unnamed) contemporary has a very different view. "Epstein had a terribly high opinion of himself and really thought that no one was bright enough to follow his arguments. As far as his art was concerned he was a real con merchant, pretending to be something of Picasso and just laughing at everyone. He enjoyed annoying people and getting into ridiculous arguments. I couldn't stand the way he made no effort at sports, he just went out his way to show everyone that he was making absolutely no effort. I think Appleby and Scadding, in their good natured way, just tolerated him."
Per Hugh Thompson again: "It was a Spartan school, with something of a physical attitude as it was right up until the l970s with beating, fagging, bullying, lousy food and very cold dormitories being the norm. A rather spoilt individual and creative Jewish boy who really only wanted to be at home with its considerable comforts, with his mum and help in the shop would not have found Clayesmore to his taste. Also, looking at pictures of Epstein before and after Clayesmore, one is struck by how adult he looks. On the whole, schools succeed with those who want to learn or can be formed. Epstein wanted neither of these things, as the nine schools he went to can all testify."
This web page was dated 2001.