The literary life of EDWARD JAMES, author,reviewer, occasional poet and former pension adviser to the government of Kyrgyzstan
One hundred years ago my mother went on a scholarship from an elementary school in Lambeth, south London, to become a boarder at Christ’s Hospital, one of England’s most prestigious schools. Last week I went to the site of the girls’ branch of the school in Hertford and took some pictures.
The school my mother attended is now a block of luxury flats. When the school was founded in London in 1553 (the year in which my book The Frozen Dream is set) it was for both boys and girls but over the years fashions changed and boys and girls moved to separate sites, the girls to Hertford and the boys to Horsham in Sussex. Boys and girls were reunited in 1985 when the girls moved to the Horsham site.
The gate pillars at the girls’ school were topped by a pair of stone figures of pupils in the school’s ‘bluecoat’ uniform. Both boys and girls still wear the long 15th century blue coats. The original figures went with the girls to Horsham but replicas now stand in their place in Hertford. Below you will see one of the figures and the front entrance to the main hall (1693).
This is not my only family association with Christ’s Hospital. My wife’s brother went their, to the Horsham site, in the 1950’s.