Boys in Blue

For 400 years, Hertford was home to a famous school called Christ’s Hospital or Bluecoats. It’s now an independent boarding school and it’s moved to Sussex. But its buildings and distinctive statues of blue-uniformed pupils remain. Established in 1552 to educate poor children, it was originally based in London, but moved to Hertford during the Plague. Its alumni include the Elizabethan playwright Thomas Middleton, writers Charles Lamb and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (who became lifelong friends in Hertford) and August Pugin who designed the Houses of Parliament. Bluecoats is now converted into apartments. And Tesco occupies the school’s former grounds. I suspect the large palm tree in the Tesco car park was once part of the school’s botanical garden.