The Genesis of Campaign 1552
Campaign 1552 was launched in December 2015. This followed discussions within the British Columbia Old Blues, most especially with Terry Bate Donation Governor and long advocate of governance reform in the management of Christ’s Hospital. As a first step a proposal for a revised Mission Statement on the official Christ’s Hospital website was submitted on December 28 2015 for debate by the next CHOBA Board meeting. The concern was the fundamental erosion of the ethos of Housey in the 21stC.
The CHOBA Board Chair initially agreed to table this proposal for discussion by the CHOBA Board. Then the CHOBA Chair withdrew this undertaking saying that this was beyond the remit of CHOBA. As a consequence a Sui Generis Letter was sent to some 50 Old Blue branches, sections and groups on January 21 2016. After much correspondence amongst Old Blues world-wide Petition 1552 was formally submitted to the Clerk/CEO on February 9 2016 for consideration by the Council of Almoners on March 17 2016.
Subsequently a series of Signatories’ Letters were submitted in support of Petition 1552 and additional signatories joined the original email petition. On February 26 2016 an Online Version of Petition 1552 was launched. There are now some 850 signatories (101 on the original version and 749 on the online version).
Following a request that I might attend the Council Meeting on March 17 2016 to actually present Petition 1552 in person and answer any questions by the thirteen Almoners, the Treasurer and Clerk/CEO kindly proposed a separate Middle Temple Meeting on March 7 2016 which after various discussions now involves a Campaign 1552 delegation of five meeting the Treasurer, Clerk/CEO and the City of London Almoner to present and discuss Petition 1552 and its hoped-for implementation.
Old Blues possess an extraordinary sense of belong to Christ’s Hospital lifelong. This belongingness includes at its heart the shared ethos over the centuries through the family circumstances of the "poor & needy"; the very special dress/uniform of long blue coats and yellow stockings (Old Blues are often seen wearing yellow socks) which sets Blues apart especially in the streets of London for centuries as something recognizably different; the special language, long traditions and idiosyncracies; the Leaving Charge; the great friendshipss and comradeship of Old Blues world-wide via Le Cordon Bleu and CHOBA; the excellence of the teaching (Wm Wales FRS teacher of Mathematics was a world-famous navigator and astronomer; Gordon van Praagh PhD was a metallurgist & crystallographer with national standing); the examples of famous Old Blues (Saint Edmund Campion, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Barnes Wallis); the legends and myths (the Spital Sermon; the Deede of Pittie; James Boyer and his cherubims; Henry Flecker and his rages; Clarence Seaman and his psychological reforms); the ceremonies with the Lord Mayor on St Matthew's Day, Speech Day, connection with the Royal Family; the foundation at the time of the Reformation as part of the Protestant movement that created the Anglican Church and the link with the Bishop of London and Anglicanism; the investigation by the Charity Commissioners in the 19thC and the move from the Grey Friars Monastery site; the 1985 merger of Horsham & Hertford; and at the iconic centre, the Chapel & the Band "Beating the Retreat" in the Quadrangle.
This creates the unique sense of lifelong belonging to Housey of Old Blues based on this shared experience with at its soul, sui generis, the ETHOS. Hence the potency of this Campaign 1552 movement.
Campaign 1552 is indeed not an organization but a Collective Movement of - at this moment - some 850 petitioners world-wide who request and demand that the Council of Almoners hear their cry and ensure that the ancient ethos of Christ's Hospital be newly embraced and endorsed via a Great Existential Debate and the halting of the retreat in the 21stC from the ancient mission and Charitable Ethos.
It has been my happenstance privilege to be, I hope, of service to Christ's Hospital and Chair this Campaign 1552 now involving nearly 1000 people. Not all Old Blues support Petition 1552 but by the measures we perceive in the many discussions via a thousand and more email communications a majority of Old Blues do indeed support Petition 1552.
Our present champions in this cause are our five selected delegates (Professor Keith Bowen FREng, FRS, The Very Reverend Dr John Arnold OBE DD, David Arnold MA former Headmaster & Almoner, Heather Goodare MA former Head Girl, Richard Poulton MA former Head Master of Christ's Hospital) for the meeting at the historic Middle Temple on March 7 2016, next week, with the Treasurer, Clerk/CEO and the appointed City of London Almoner (Guy Perricone, Greg Andrews, Catherine McGuinness).
This collective, this Campaign 1552 movement must not fail.
Campaign 1552 Chair
March 1 2016