Thursday, 24 June 2010

On this day...

Henry VI founded the college of Eton in 1440. Described by the monarch as 'The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor', the mixed school, for ages 13 - 18, was one of the nine original public schools, as set out in the Public Schools Act 1868. As a school that has produced some of the country's most recognised political figures and sportmen, it is not surprising that Eton also holds some distinguished literary connections, albeit not many directly.

The authors that is does boast however, are two of the nation's favourites - master of the spy novel Ian Fleming, and socialism advocate George Orwell. Literary inspiration also lies behind its doors, as Arthur Hallam, a dear friend of Alfred Lord Tennyson and the subject of elegy 'In Memoriam A.H.H.', attended the college before he died at the tender age of 22. Interesting, Tennyson's grandson also was a pupil, and poignantly his middle name, Hallam, reflected his grandfather's lost friend. Other relations include the son and great-grandson of Charles Dickens, as well as a descendent of Lord Byron. A number of literature based films have also used the location for filming, such as 'Shakespeare in Love', 'Mansfield Park', and 'The Secret Garden'.

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