To blame John Franklin for the apparent degradation of CH’s “former” ethos and dedication to those in greatest need of CH’s benefits may be slightly unfair. He is a pleasant fellow and certainly means well. (He must also be a keen and articulate Christian, or he never would have been appointed.) But none of this can absolve him from the blame FJGrogan and others apportion, if indeed the degeneration is his fault. It is true that ,unlike all OBs, he almost certainly never spent much of his youth experiencing an ethos where fellow pupils, usually of very modest means and from highly different social backgrounds, slowly absorbed the good things (spiritual, social, cultural sporting and other) that CH offers. This was well expressed by James Boyer, a long forgotten master who taught Coleridge and is most famous for his flogging, but who also said, “Boy, the school is your father, your mother, your uncles, aunts and all of your other relations:” (or some such sentiment).
The reason for this partial exoneration of Mr Franklin is simple. I am sure that the decision about CH’s slow gentrification and gradual trend towards greater exclusion of the poor, whom it has served faithfully for so long, rests mainly with the CH Council. Mr Franklin apparently agrees with this trend, probably with firm conviction. If he were to have disagreed openly, he would have been forced out very quickly. Why do I believe this? Consider the situations when the Hertford site was closed and sold, to facilitate the girls’ move to Horsham. (Whether this momentous decision was wise, or simply followed a then current fashion, or both, deserves its own thread.) David Newsome the headmaster disagreed with the Council and was forced to leave. He easily found a comparably prestigious post at Wellington College. Mr Franklin probably could not do this.
So in short, the Council must take the prime responsibility for these changes, which are unloved by so many who participate in this Forum. Probably Mr Franklin agrees they are the correct way forward, but possibly not. It is likely that we shall never know and in any case he is not primarily to blame.
This topic has been treated elsewhere, for example in the thread called, “The future of CH”.