Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I attend an Old School Reunion

Eastern Eye, 120 Queen Street, Newton Abbot

Last Friday I set off to Devon for a short break - including an old school reunion. On the way there I visited the Eastern Eye Restaurant in Newton Abbot to have a quick meal for old times sake. The reason - many years ago this was a newsagent and tobacconist shop - which was my home as a child between 1945 and 1951.  I wonder what my parents would have thought about my sitting at a point that would have been behind the counter immediately below my old bedroom - eating some excellent butterfly prawns.
Dartington Hall Entrance
    The reunion was in a grand old manor house, Dartington Hall, which in 1925 was purchased by Leonard and Dorothy Elmhurst to encourage rural industry, arts and crafts. It is a wonderful venue deep within the Devon Countryside not far from Totnes. One of the activities they started was a very progressive school which unfortunately closed in 1987.
The Great Hall and Kitchen Block, Dartington Hall
    I went to the senior school (Foxhole), between 1952 and 1956, and despite the small size of the school it was delighted to see (by my estimate) over 400 people there, of which at least 20 where contemporaries of mine. It was wonderful to meet many old friends and talk about old times - and find out what people had been doing over the last half century or so,
    There was only one disappointing aspect of the reunion. The senior school has closed and while the main building is listed there are plans to redevelop the site, although work appears not to have started. It would have been so nice if the builder's fence across the drive could have been open for a short time so that people who have spent years of their childhood in the build could at least walk round the outside, and perhaps across the central courtyard.
Foxhole School, Dartington Hall
    While this is not directly linked to Hertfordshire I am sure you have memories of your old school days that really ought to be recorded for posterity. The relevant Hertfordshire web site is Hertfordshire Memories if you went to school in the county. If you have old Hertfordshire school photographs from before the First World War in your family archive why not add them to the collection of such photographs already on this web site.

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