Winter 1887-88 (Age 13)

With his parents on a tour of Russia, Winston spent Christmas at Connaught Place with Jack and Mrs. Everest. The Duchess of Marlborough invited him to Blenheim and was “much aggrieved” when he showed a reluctance to go. When Mrs. Everest came down with diphtheria the boys were taken to Dr. Roose’s house.

After they moved to the Duchess’ London home in January, their grandmother wrote their parents, “I keep Winston in good order as I know you like it. He is a clever Boy and really not naughty but he wants a firm hand.”

On 23 January he returned to his last term at Brighton. His grandmother looked forward to his eventual entrance to Harrow, “…for I fancy he was too clever and too much the Boss at that Brighton school.”

During February Winston claimed to be working hard for his forthcoming entrance exam for Harrow. On 15 March he took the examination. His own dramatic account of the event is found in My Early Life (Woods A37). He claimed that he was accepted only because the headmaster, Dr. Welldon, was a man “capable of looking beneath the surface of things: a man not dependent upon paper manifestations.”

And so he left the school of the Misses Thomson. His own remembrances of these years were quite favourable: “At this school I was allowed to team things which interested me:  French, History, lots of Poetry by heart, and above all Riding and Swimming. The impression of those years makes a pleasant picture in my mind, in strong contrast to my earlier schoolday memories.”

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