OLD BOYS: The Decline and Rise of the Public School

OLD BOYS: The Decline and Rise of the Public School

DAVID TURNER    Book Number: 84670    Product format: Hardback

Public Schools and those that have attended them are often regarded with deep suspicion or mistrust amongst people who believe they lead to preferential treatment and top jobs. Yet is this really so? The first public school began with the founding of Winchester College in 1382. Boys from the elite families attended these schools, whilst girls, if they were offered any education at all, might go to a nunnery, though once the dissolution of the monasteries took place, this practice ended. Public schools rely on tradition and heritage; Eton claims the oldest classroom in continuous use; a fifteenth-century segment is utilised for, amongst other things, Japanese lessons. 'This air of history reinforces the centuries-old sense among the public schools that they are educating leaders from among the country's elite...' The current headmaster of Eton states, 'If you know that some interesting people have gone on to do some interesting things, whether it's George Orwell or the Duke of Wellington, that does implicitly ask the question 'Why not you?' The author argues that public schools are good for the nation, and this fascinating account is packed with anecdotes, such as the time a school housekeeper called Dinah lodged a complaint against the sixth form at Shrewsbury that boys had been using her name with bad language, though she did not understand the words. It turned out that they were merely memorising a purely innocent Greek text, 'Deina men oun, deina tarassei Sophos oionotheta.' Colourful stories cover revolts, bullies, eccentrics, corruption and financial collapse. Some girls' schools devoted more time to music and painting that they did to the classics, with an inspector noting that it wasn't thought worthwhile tuning pianos used for practice or by juniors. 'It would be an act of mercy to a child with a musical ear to take out the wires; it certainly cannot improve an imperfect ear by leaving them untuned.' 336pp. 32 illustrations.
Published price: £25
Bibliophile price: £7.00

Additional product information

ISBN 9780300189926
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