Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Let The Little Children Come To Me

When I was a small child, aged about 6, we occasionally had a visitor at church who intrigued me. A boy of about 12, who came to visit his grandparents regularly. But he always wore a long blue buttoned dress. Weird, I thought. Mum explained he was a boarder at Christ's Hospital School and that was his uniform. I had so many questions - Why the odd name? [it is a very old Christian School, and "hospital" meant hospitality/accommodation rather than place of sickness] Why the odd clothes? [they've had the same uniform for hundreds of years] Is he specially clever? [I don't know - but many famous and clever people have been pupils there] Is his family very rich? [yes - but lots of the children there are from poor families, and they have been given free places] I wanted to go and talk to him, ask him all my questions - but every time he visited church, his Gran [probably wisely] whisked him away. He in his dress, she in her fur coat - they drove smartly off in the Bentley before I could begin my interrogation.
I'd forgotten all about him until my trip to London. As we strolled round the City on a sunny Sunday afternoon, Liz took me to Christchurch Greyfriars Garden [she knows most of the hidden gardens, and frequently takes Rosie] We looked at plants, and birds, beetles and butterflies - and then found this statue
Erected two years ago, it marks cthe 350 years [1552—1902] that the school was on that site [it is now in Sussex] Read more here and here
On the back is a poem by Coleridge [former alumnus] Rosie has none of her Gran's childhood inhibitions. She climbed up and chatted to the children, held their brazen hands, inspected their clothes and whispered into their ears. 
A lovely sculpture in a beautiful place... 


  1. Two boys who were at primary school with my eldest two went there when they were 11, being sent away to boarding school was a family tradition and paid for by an old family trust apparently. Certainly a strange uniform for the 21st century

  2. The famous people listed among their alumni is interesting. One wonders how many children were helped by having such an education, whose families could not have provided it without these trusts and bursaries. They're apparently unique in having more "charity" pupils than full-fee-payers.

  3. I could never have sent my girls away to boarding school though!

  4. Has she taken you to Postman's Park?

    1. We've been visiting there for many years. A new plaque has (sadly) gone up since our last visit, for a lad from Thamesmead.


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