As part of the reunion celebrations for the OKs attending their collective 50th and 60th reunions, we arranged for a “walk down memory lane” in Commem.
As those of you who attended Commen regularly on Sundays will know, there are many names and works of art carved into the pews in the gallery that effectively served as the KC chapel in the years before the chapel was built so in those days it was effectively the spiritual home of Kingswood. It was in fact the Leadership Meeting of Commem that pledged support for the founding of Kingswood way back in 1892.
Once the school opened, its scholars attended the church regularly. It was also the decision of the Leaders that Kingswood be seated in the gallery. Whether this was because the trustees of the church feared that the downstairs pews would fall victim to the penknives of the scholars is not known, but the accompanying pictures of the gallery balustrade and pews illustrate the art and the craft of schoolboy carving and their yearning for immortality.
Visitors who for the first time see the carvings sometimes react with shock, feeling that they desecrate this holy place. They are right to some extent, but anyone who examines the woodwork on which the youngsters of yesteryear carved their names and then scrutinizes the memorials of the Old Kingswoodians killed in the two world wars will observe that many names appear on both. The “naughtiness” of the boy takes on another dimension. Think of the comfort to many a grief-stricken family such an association has brought.
It was indeed touching to see these reunion groups sitting quietly where they found their names reflecting on so many personal memories – all with their own unique stories. There is no doubt that memories abound at Kingswood, and it is these memories that unite our OK community that is very much part of the Kingswood family that we are all part of.