Paris Mystery Location: 1937 Felixstowe School Trip

Felixstowe County School first trip abroad – Paris 1937

Felixstowe County School first trip abroad – Paris 1937

Yesterday I accompanied Clive to a terrific exhibit, ‘100 Years of Secondary Education in Felixstowe’, held in the building that was once the Felixstowe Grammar School.

The school began as a one-room elementary school with 15 girls, moved in 1930 to the building we visited, and became the Felixstowe County School in 1936.

Among the display boards from those early years was one with the above photo of the school’s first trip abroad: Paris in 1937.  Does anyone recognise the location and statue?

I couldn’t place it but think it may be at Ecole Militaire. An Internet search of equestrian statues in France shows one of Joseph Joffre at Ecole Militaire; it has a white base and black horse. This is the only huge plaza space like that I can think of, other than the one in front of Hôtel de Ville. I find Ecole Militaire rather bleak but the students in 1937 look like they’re having a great time. Of course they are  — they’re in Paris!

Back in Felixstowe, in 1944 the school became Felixstowe County Grammar School. Clive later attended ‘the grammar school’ from age 11 until his mother and stepfather moved the family to Australia when he was 16. I enjoyed watching and listening to Clive and others reminisce about their time there during a guided tour.

Some parts of the school building had completely changed, but at one point we were at a corner on the ground floor and Clive said, ‘This was the boys’ entrance, where we came in after parking our bikes in the bike shed, then went upstairs to our classrooms.’

I found it very poignant the way Clive and some of the others had such strong memories of their particular school spaces, such important places for young people. So I had to take a photo before the group moved on.

Clive looking like a little kid, at the bottom of his old school stairs

Clive looking like a little kid, at the bottom of his old school stairs

Cheers and thanks for reading. Next week’s letter will be from Felixstowe.

2 Responses

  1. When school bells ring as they are either this week or next in this area of the United States, so many folks think of their own return to school: the first day outfit and nerves, the walk to school or to the bus stop, and the return to that familiar routine. People rarely forget.

    My husband went to elementary school at the time when the number of students far outstripped the capacity of the school district to keep up. We baby boomers got used to temporary spaces that are memorable now, although long out of use as districts caught up with the spaces needed for larger enrollments. Just the other evening he described where he went to fourth grade in great detail even though he only went to the building for one year until the district had another building ready.

    Perhaps it is the distinctive red brick so often associated with schools or the kids we once were, but so many people have life long memories of their school days filled with the detail that only young children seem to notice. You have made reference to such feelings in some of your previous posts when you have written about your experiences at Ho-Ho-Kus School. So here’s to another year in school!

  2. Thanks Eleanor – all so true! Here’s to the (northern hemisphere) new school year starting up.

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