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Skilled Craftsmanship Restores Historical Doors to Original Glory

Published on isbi School News dated Thursday 29th of November 2012

Meticulous restoration work carried out by a local craftsman to the entrance doors of Bishop's Stortford College's distinctive Memorial Hall served to reinforce the significance of the school's Act of Remembrance this year.

In 1922, the parents of Ernest Knight made a donation to pay for the oak-panelled doors in memory of their son, who taught at Bishop's Stortford College from 1909 to 1916 and then, as Second Lieutenant in the Machine Gun Corps, went missing in action on 24th September 1917.

Much of the symbolic detail on the doors had been lost or damaged through wear, tear and countless coats of varnish and linseed oil over the years giving Rob Helder of Romark Interiors an interesting challenge. 'One of the hardest parts of the job was stripping off the many layers of applied coatings hiding the original gilding on the carved pelican feeding its young on each of the doors,' explained College Estates Manager John McDonagh.

First used by the Egyptians as a symbol of a devoted parent, early Christians adopted the pelican to represent self-sacrifice and Jesus Christ shedding his blood on the cross to save mankind. Ernest Knight not only sacrificed his life for his country, but he was also a scholar at Corpus Christi College Cambridge, which has the pelican as part of its crest. The palm motif that also features on the doors is an ancient symbol of triumph and victory, which the Christian church used to represent the victory of the faithful over the enemies of the soul.

The annual Service of Remembrance, held on Saturday, saw past and present pupils and staff gathered in the Memorial Hall to remember, and pay tribute to, those Stortfordians who lost their lives in service to this country in two world wars and subsequent conflicts.
The lesson was read by Richard Price, a past president of the Old Stortfordian Society, and the address was given by Royal Marines veteran, the Reverend Dave Pickett.

Heads of School, Oliver George and Lucy Clough, read the Roll of Honour and laid wreaths at the doors of the Memorial Hall, which was built in 1922 in memory of those who had fallen during the First World War. Sixth Former Charles Porter, on trumpet, sounded the Last Post and Reveille and the choir sang 'Greater love hath no man' by John Ireland.

An Act of Remembrance was held in the Junior School as well.

'The idealism of selflessness and the desire to help others lie at the very heart of Bishop's Stortford College's foundation,' said Headmaster Jeremy Gladwin. 'Our annual Remembrance Service is an important part of College life and helps to ensure these timeless values continue to burn bright within our community.'
Skilled Craftsmanship Restores Historical Doors to Original Glory - Photo 1Skilled Craftsmanship Restores Historical Doors to Original Glory - Photo 2
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