Back to school

After a very busy and fun half-term, it is time to go back to school. Not all children enjoy this, and we found an example of this in relation to the Cliftons. John Talbot and wife Violet Clifton had five children. We always talk about Harry, who spent the family fortune. But in the archives in Preston we discovered a little note from Michael, the youngest son, who was born in 1917. It was written to his mother, probably in the mid-1920s, when he was taught at Ampleforth College.

Dear Maima,

Take me away, one master has refused to teach me, he is the WICKED one he hit a boy so hard four times yesterday that there were markes this morning he hit him for looking at a fly that was bussing near his books the master will not teach me. So I cannot learn TAKE ME AWAY

Oh Maima take me away I will go down to nearly bottom I will not be able to do my Exams. I will not go back nex term to the College Oh PLEASE take me away Oh DO. I know you will I AM NOT being taught.

x x Love from Michael o x

It is fascinating to see how Michael complained about not being taught – he clearly felt that was a reason his mother would take seriously. And he was right. At the top of the letter is written in pencil “I did take him away. He went to Switzerland.”

Ampleforth College still exists today and is a Catholic, Benedictine boarding and day school for boys and girls in North Yorkshire, with many happy success stories.

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