“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

The Day They Laid the Foundation Stone for the Cathedral School – December 1928

Posted: April 29th, 2011 | 5 Comments »

As I mentioned GG Scott’s Holy Trinity Church yesterday it seems only right to note the Cathedral School next door that drew most of its boys from the families of the congregation of Holy Trinity.Cathedral School was posh, similar to a British public school but without boarders and was housed in the rather nice art-deco building adjacent to the church. One rather well known old boy is of course J.G. Ballard who talked about the school in Empire of the Sun (I’ve put a link in but if you’re reading this blog and you’ve not read Empire of the Sun you really need to take your business elsewhere!!) and in this article in the Sunday Times shortly before his death.

Down along Jiujiang Road (formerly Kiukiang Road) is the school building where a small plaque remains to the foundation stone:

Cathedral School – Henry Lester Endowment for British Boys and Cathedral Church House and Hall

This corner stone was laid by CF Garstin Esquire CBE

British Acting Consul General at Shanghai

on the 19th Day of December 1928

The wonderfully named Charles Fortesque Garstin had a minor reputation as somewhat of a fighter against the opium trade and the, in 1928, rising power of the Green Gang etc. He moved from Acting to full in consul in 1929. And so the foundation stone was laid. What anyone walking past these days who bothers to stop, crouch down and read of CF Garstin’s actions that, presumably cold, day in December 1928 makes of him I do not know. But he lingers on down there on Kiukiang Road all the same.

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5 Comments on “The Day They Laid the Foundation Stone for the Cathedral School – December 1928”

  1. 1 Charles Fortescue Garstin said at 6:39 am on July 5th, 2014:

    Dear Paul

    CF Garstin was my godfather..I remember him well. If interested, drop me an email.

    Paul, Hampshire

  2. 2 Paul French said at 5:05 pm on July 7th, 2014:

    How wonderful – if you have anything on him and his anti-opium crusades I’d be interested – and a photo of course! paul@chinarhyming.com

  3. 3 Clément said at 6:18 am on November 3rd, 2019:

    Dear Paul,

    I myself am very interested in CF Garstin for my PhD thesis : would you accept to share with me what you’ve been able to find about his experience in China? My mail is clement.p.h.fabre@gmail.com

    Thank you in advance!



  4. 4 David Grant said at 10:28 pm on February 18th, 2021:

    My parents were married at the Cathedral my older brothers both attended the school prior to the Japanese taking over the city WWII

  5. 5 Donald Grant said at 6:54 pm on March 5th, 2021:

    Otherwise known as Grant 11 I remember the grand hall and the gymnasium which had running banked track. I have a picture of my class taken by the Cathedral.

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