Monday, 10 January 2011


I thought I would head this up with the coat of arms of the Merchant Taylors' Company.  At Merchant Taylors we wore it on our blazers in the summer.  I think I still have mine in a draw somewhere.
This post is nearly a month out of sequence.  This is because I mislaid the dinner card containing so much useful information that I had to have it by me before embarking on describing an excellent evening at Merchant Taylors' Hall shortly before Christmas.   I have now tracked it down so on with the blog.
An aerial view of the Merchant Taylors' School buildings looking roughly north.  Perhaps unconsciously the design around quadrangles had an influence on the building plan for Drapers' Academy (see Drapers' Academy: We Get Through 6 August post).  Photograph thanks to 
Those who have read my biographical details will have noted that I attended Merchant Taylors' school in the early sixties.  My time there was not successfully spent and it ended when I gave up on the sixth form and enlisted in the Army.   However I made some lifelong friends at the school and recollect that I was taught by some extremely intelligent masters who, on mature reflection, had very interesting things to say.  Nevertheless I am not a particularly enthusiastic old boy and have not had much to do with the school for the last forty-five years.

This was rectified at the Merchant Taylors' Company Doctors' Dinner which, as our Education Dinner in March of each year, is a coming together of all the educational establishments linked with the Company.  Two of the Court members, Christopher Keville and Peter Watkins, are my exact contemporaries at school.  We all arrived on the same day and I am certain that we were in the same form to begin with.

Mr Stephen King, Headmaster of Merchant Taylors' School.  Photograph courtesy of
I found myself seated between Christopher and the current Headmaster of Merchant Taylors' School, Stephen Wright.  He was most kind to me as the returning prodigal and did not enquire too deeply about my lack of academic success. 

The Master Merchant Taylor, Dr Julian Oram, gave a very good speech.  It included a review of outstanding headmasters of Merchant Taylors' School over the last four centuries.  I was convinced that the somewhat austere headmaster of my time at the school, Hugh Elder, would not be mentioned.  He was but only as the victim of an elaborate practical joke that involved toilet rolls unrolling from apertures in the Great Hall ceiling in the middle of a major school ceremony.  A great deal of ingenuity had been involved in setting this up.  My only regret is that this was a year or so before I arrived so I only knew of it by repute.

A lovely evening and one where I met a lot of people I knew directly or by reputation.

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