Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Prince George & I

In future when they ask me where I went to school I'll just say 'the same one Prince George goes to.

In a few days time the Prince will enter through these gates for his first day at Thomas's School in Battersea. 

I went through them, too, every day for seven years - or would have if they had not been reserved for members of staff and sixth formers. Lesser mortals had to go through the side door but I guess PG will get to go through the main gates. 

It all started in 1700 when Sir Walter St John, the Lord of the Manor of Battersea, endowed his school for 'twenty poor boys of the parish of Battersea.' By 1970 when I came on the scene there were 550 of us but the school still bore Sir Walter's name and proudly displayed his motto 'Rather Deathe than False of Faythe.'   

Then something very strange happened. 

Well-intentioned people got it into their heads that school like Sinjuns (as everyone in Battersea called it) were elitist, even though we were a working class grammar school, and Sir Walter's School was reorganised. This reorganisation was so outstandingly successful that the school was closed altogether in 1986 and sold to an independant school for fee-paying children from well to do homes.

Happily Sir Walter's work continues through the educational charity that bears his name, but I don't think we would have guessed in million years that Sinjuns would end up hosting the next king but two for his early years education.

 I wish the Prince well but I do wonder where the poor boys of Battersea go to school these days

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