Christ’s Hospital pupils march in annual parade

'Eyes Right' Guildhall Yard SUS-140930-155802001
'Eyes Right' Guildhall Yard SUS-140930-155802001

The sun shone on Friday September 19 for the annual St Matthew’s parade when CH pupils march through the City, reaffirming the School’s ancient links with the City.

400 senior pupils, the band and the choir marched from the Church of St Andrew, Holborn to Guildhall to meet Alderman Fiona Woolf, the Lord Mayor of the City of London where each pupil was presented with ‘largesse’, a coin fresh from the mint, the amount according to his or her standing in the School.

It was CH pupil Alex Stewart’s first experience of this ceremonial occasion, having just joined the band as a trumpet player. Alex, aged 14, said: “My first experience of St Matthew’s Day parade was one of the most exciting and proud moments of my time at CH.

“As we got off the coach we realised we were starting in two minutes and there was a mad buzz to gather our music and instruments, warm up and congregate in the middle of the road.

“The deafening drum roll started, the entire band fell to silence. I could see hundreds of cameras and shocked faces on the sidewalk. Some of them knew what was happening, others confused and curious. The march from the Church to Guildhall was exciting.

“My favourite bit was when we marched underneath a bridge. It was dark and all we could see was the police escort light flashing on our music sheets. On arrival at Guildhall, we silently formed an orderly line to collect our largesse.

“We then were taken to a large dining hall where we tucked in to a lunch prepared by the Guildhall. After a quick ‘hip-hip hooray’, it was the end of our trip. The coaches arrived and we piled on, everyone was sad that the great day had come to an end.”

Historically, St Matthew’s Day was the day on which the Governors of Christ’s Hospital were elected and a ceremony still takes place in the vestry of the Church of St Andrew when the Clerk of the Foundation hands the list of Governors to the Lord Mayor, Vice President of Christ’s Hospital.

The documents are then placed for safe keeping in the archives of the City. Today, there are over 600 Governors; their generosity continues to help support the education of CH pupils.

Report and pictures contributed by Christ’s Hospital.