Girls' School Takes Lessons to the Pub

By Benedict Moore-Bridger; Ellen Widdup | The Evening Standard (London, England), May 6, 2009 | Go to article overview
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Girls' School Takes Lessons to the Pub


Benedict Moore-Bridger; Ellen Widdup, The Evening Standard (London, England)


NOT many headteachers would encourage pupils to spend all day in the pub.

But Vivienne Durham, head of leading independent school Francis Holland, is sending her students to a 19th century alehouse for lessons in English, psychology, history and art.

Ms Durham took the step after the owners of The Gloucester Arms - - a former hang-out for poet Dylan Thomas -- announced it was to close.

Governors drew up plans to buy the pub and connect it to the main school block in Clarence Gate, near Regent's Park, keeping all original features.

The Pounds 13,000-a-year school, whose former pupils include actresses Jackie and Joan Collins, Sienna Miller and socialite and Hugh Grant's ex-girlfriend Jemima Khan, spent around Pounds 2 million on the 5,000-square-foot extension, which includes seminar rooms and an art studio.

It also features a music, drama and theatre studio behind the original saloon bar and was due to be opened by the Duke of Gloucester today.

Ms Durham said the 430 pupils were delighted to have such a unique classroom. She added: "It was a very wellloved pub. Our caretaker used to drink there -- he was one of the regulars.

"But times have changed for breweries and it was put on the market.

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