Monday, March 30, 2015

Christ's Hospital Empire Day Cricket 1919

Sometimes it is not so much the front of a postcard that makes it memorable but the back. This is a real photo postcard of Maine House of Christ's Hospital School in Horsham in their distinctive cassock school uniforms in 1919. But what makes it so utterly charming is that, presumably somewhere in that line-up is young H. E. Wright who has written the results of his Empire Day house cricket match on the back (and in brackets, his own contribution: 58 runs and 2 wickets) and he is so glowing with pride that he has sent the details to, presumably an older brother, an Lance Corporal in the Army.


Unknown said...

What a charming post. The cassocks are usually known as "blue coats" with the stress on the "blue"), and I've never thought of them as cassocks but I suppose in a sense they are! Worn with moleskin breeches and bright yellow socks they are the height of fashion.

Laurent said...

A very handsome retrieval and nicely augmented by Unknown's support. What confidence we used to convey by postcard, we almost dare not transmit today, and may never possess again.

The Creature from the Darkest Recesses of the Web said...

Dear Callum,

Brace yourself for a bravura display of pedantry…

Christ's Hospital had, until very recent years, sixteen boarding houses occupying eight boarding blocks. Each block was named after a notable former pupil - Coleridge being the outstanding example - and contained two houses, designated "A" and "B". Apart from sharing a building and a name, the two houses would normally be quite independent of each other.

Thus Maine wasn't a house, as such - it was (and is) a block, containing Maine A and Maine B. The two Wright boys were both in Maine A, and what we're looking at here is evidently a Maine A house photo, taken in front of the principal entrance to the Maine block.

Re the inscription, it seems to me that H E Wright's signature is in a different (and less mature) hand from the rest of the text. I think the postcard was written by the person whose signature appears above his, S de Ste Croix (senior housemaster of Maine A for many years) and was simply countersigned by HEW.

There was quite a big age gap between the brothers (if such they were, and it seems a reasonable inference). C C Wright was in Maine A from 1909 to 1916, Henry E Wright from 1916 to 1923.

After his war service in the Artists' Rifles, C C Wright joined the Brazilian Bank (afterwards the Bank of London & South America) and served in Brazil and Portugal until 1960. He died in July 1973. Henry lived until June 1991.

As for Mr de Ste Croix, who was known as "Duster" as it was easier to pronounce than his surname, he taught at Christ's Hospital in Horsham from 1902 until 1924, and previously at the school's old premises in Newgate Street, London. One of the earliest Maine A boys, the author John Middleton Murry (husband of Katherine Mansfield, close friend of D H Lawrence), remembered him as "a kindly and humane but rather indolent Jerseyman". A later pupil, the artist and author Philip Youngman Carter (husband of Margery Allingham), testified that de Ste Croix "never lost his perception nor his humanity". He didn't have much of a retirement, dying on 2 July 1928.

The Creature from the Darkest Recesses of the Web said...

Oh dear, it looks as if I wasn't quite pedantic enough. C C Wright joined the Artists' Rifles in 1917, but as the postcard indicates that by 1919 he was with the 5th King’s Royal Rifles, and since we don't know when the transfer took place, it was unreasonable of me to assume that his war service was entirely with the Artists' Rifles. Sorry.

Callum said...

I thank you all for your comments but, of course, we must honour The Creature from the Darkest Recesses of the Web, whomever you might be, for your pedantry and diligence: which is always most welcome on FFEP. I agree with everything you say!



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