The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 57 From London To Windsor

Eton College 1

Previous - Next

The main block of school buildings (with the School Office) is of fine mellow red brick. The buildings include two courts or quadrangles, communicating by an archway. In the centre of the larger of these, the School Yard, where the boys assemble for 'absence' or roll-call on half-holidays in summer at 2.15 & 5.30 p.m. (in winter at 2.30 p.m.), is a bronze statue of Henry VI. by Bird (1719). On the west side of this court, over the entrance archway, is the Upper School, erected in 1689-94. This contains busts of Wellington, Chatham, Fox, Canning, Gladstone, and other eminent Etonians. The panelled walls of class-rooms and staircase are covered with the names of boys (over 15,000 in number), the earlier (e.g. Fox and Shelley) cut by the boys themselves, the later added officially by professional hands. A bronze frieze in the colonnade below Upper School commemorates the 1157 Etonians who fell in the War. On the north side of the courts is the Lower School, with old wooden pillars (erected by Provost Sir Henry Wotton; 1624-39), which support the Long Chamber, once occupied by the dormitory of the Collegers (circa 1500). On the east side is Provost Lupton's beautiful front to the college buildings, with a central clock-tower (1517). On the south side of the School Yard stands the Chapel, a stalely Perpendicular structure of stone (175 feet long, 82 feet high) somewhat resembling King's College Chapel at Cambridge. It was begun in 1441 but contains details of every subsequent century. The ante-chapel was added about 1475. On the outside of the west wall is a modern statue of Bishop Waynflete (1395 ?-1486), the first Provost of Eton. The intervals between the north buttresses were formerly used for the game of 'fives,' and the projection of the balustrade at the north porch is responsible for the 'pepperbox,' which distinguishes the Eton form of the game. The internal decoration of the chapel is modern and not particularly happy. The fine lectern dates from circa 1485. On the south wall is the tomb of Sir Henry Savile, provost from 1596 to 1622. Lupton's Chapel (north side, Tudor) shows the rebus of that provost (1504-35). In the chancel is a Sir Galahad by G. F. Watts and a piece of tapestry (Adoration of the Magi) designed by Burne-Jones. In 1923 a series of Wall-paintings (1479-88) of English workmanship was discovered behind the stalls. In the antechapel are a statue of Henry VI. by Bacon (1786) and several brasses (15-17th century). The choristers' vestry, inside the north entrance, has been converted into a War Memorial Chapel.