On Sunday, July 31, a group of 13 members plus Anna’s dog Cleo, assembled at 10.30 as instructed at the elegant landmark, Memorial Gates, to begin our guided tour of Clifton College.
Our first port of call was the School’s Synagogue, entered via a winding wooden staircase, and through a corridor of extraordinary stained- glass windows, apparently permanently lit up.
The room itself felt like time had stood still, from its Victorian beginnings, as many of the items had come from the original synagogue room. The room was complete with pulpit, eternal light, ark, and benches, mostly carved in wood. The walls were lined to the ceiling with portraits and plaques full of names of the original founders and benefactors, mainly from Victorian London, with names we recognize today. Anna’s description of the history and ethos was fascinating and informative.
Afterwards we visited the school’s library, a long and airy room, with wonderful views over the playing fields. There were remnants of various events celebrated during term-time, from banners depicting LGBTQ+, to Harry Potter.
A most spectacular surprise was the chapel, an enormous oblong, airy space, with an astonishingly important looking organ, considering this was for a school! The school continues to have resident organ scholars.
Afterward, we walked via the playing fields to the pedestrian area of Clifton, to enjoy our lunch at Eat a Pitta. Fully refreshed, we proceeded towards the Suspension Bridge, and enjoyed the famous views over the Avon Gorge. We returned via the Observatory, which gave the opportunity for tea or ice creams, and finally back to our cars.