No. 1. 1890's Desk Lid

No. 1. Desk lid, 1890s

A lid from an oak desk of the kind in use in Big School from the 1860s until the 1920s. For nearly eighty years every boy in the school sat behind a desk like this, and for nearly eighty years the desk lids were the primary (officially the only, and always unofficial) graffitied objects in the school. The desk lids became so iconic that when the desks went out of use in the 1920s, Warden Fox proposed that the lids should be saved and used to panel Covered Passage. In the end, after months of languishing in storage in the Old Gym, only four desk lids survived, three to be made into the back of a garden bench now long decayed and thrown away, and one, chosen at random, to be kept forever as a museum piece. This is about public and private space; it is about the relationship between schoolboy and classroom, and between schoolboy and teacher; it is about the temporary and the permanent; and about anonymity and making your mark. To read more click here.

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