Barry Harber

(at KEGS 1961-1966) writing in 2019

‘Full Circle’

In September 1961 I joined the ranks of KEGS from St. Albans Grammar School as my father was moving the engineering firm he worked for from Hatfield to Bury St. Edmunds. The move was prompted by a desire to be closer to the east coast ports as over 90% of its range of road construction machinery was exported to Europe. In order for me to be at the school at the start of the school year, it was decided I would be a boarder until the following spring when the rest of my family made the move to Suffolk.

I remember well my very first day as a boarder because, on arrival, I was whisked away by the headmaster’s wife (Molly Elliott) to have tea in the large dining hall on the first floor. That tea featured a new delicacy to me – haslet, a strange sort of pork meatloaf.

Fast forward to 2014 and I found myself buying the leasehold of 5, St. James Court, the new name of the former headmaster/boarders’ house which was converted into 16 apartments in the mid 1980’s. And guess what? – number 5 occupies the space once taken by that very dining hall! Our huge lounge window gives us a magnificent view across the Abbey Gardens to the Cathedral which has the added benefit of being floodlit at night. Today, very few people seem to be aware of this lovely Victorian building which in my view is one of Bury’s best kept secrets. The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that half of the original structure is now missing. In fact, at one point there was even a suggestion by someone from the Bury Society, no less, that the entire building be demolished! Thankfully this never happened.