Chapter 12 The School Today (1969)
Urban Slough is hardly the green and pleasant land it must have been when the school moved there in the 1920s. One local resident recalls that one could then hear the chimes of five church clocks every hour, from Windsor to Stoke Poges, but now the trains to the north, the traffic to the south, and aircraft overhead make this occurrence unlikely. Still, the green lawns and rose-beds make the school an oasis in a wilderness of concrete. The various building programmes have, however, reduced the green space to such an extent that only one soccer and one hockey field remain, hence the need to travel by rail to the playing fields at Taplow to enjoy the freedom necessary for good sport.
Children attend the school from all corners of the globe as boarders, and from all parts of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire as day pupils. But there remains a nucleus of children from straitened family circumstances who are still sponsored by the trade. Now, as always, this sponsorship is a secret which only the children themselves are free to divulge.
The teaching staff mainly reside on site. Those teachers who are married live either in the Wellesley Road flats and houses or in the junior block. The single staff live in the main building.
All the normal subjects are taught in the School plus a few extras such as Russian, pottery and economics, and most up to A Level for the Oxford Local Examinations Board. The facilities and equipment provided in the newer blocks are second to none and conditions in the “old” building will be equally good on the completion of the rebuilding.
The School (in 1969) remains totally independent and is financed partly by the fees, but mainly by the generosity of the Incorporated Society of Licensed Victuallers and those connected with the licensed trade.
The Licensed Victuallers’ School is not just another school, but a national institution in the finest sense of the word. Behind the name is one hundred and sixty-six (1969) years of tradition, yet the townsfolk of Slough who walk past the gates are usually quite unaware of the history and tradition expressed in the buildings ‘behind the cedar tree’.
© J. Scott 1969