Thursday, 10 November 2011

King of the bongo

Birley Schools in all its glory

I heard this story while at Eton from someone directly involved in it. I am giving my best account of it here, omitting names and positions.

Background: The picture you see above is the Language School at Eton, called Birley Schools (after an old Head Master, I am given to understand). The widely supported view is that this is an old, ugly, grim and generally badly-designed post-war brick building that should have never happened. Also, more and more boys are nowadays taking Modern Languages courses, and the old building is just not big enough to cope with the demand.

Given these facts, the powers that be have decided to throw down this building and build a new, bigger, better, uncut Language Schools. This is already under way as I am writing this, due to be completed in a couple of years.

Now the story is, it turns out that a certain person in Modern Languages is very friendly with the President of Gabon’s wife (one of the sons went to Eton or something). Having mentioned the situation with the language schools, she generously offered to donate a hefty sum to the College for this new building. As you know, Eton College is a public charity, and it frequently takes donations like this one.

The terms of the agreement were fairly generous: they gave the money, and Eton would have a yearly scholarship for one Gabonese boy, and of course, would name the building after whoever made the donation.

Unfortunately this is where the story ends, for the surname of the President of Gabon is… “Bongo”.

“Bongo Schools” is a name Eton is not yet ready for. Maybe good enough for the Music Schools.

*The present name of the project is “International Schools”.

3 comments:

Raul said...

Eton have missed a trick here: the chance automatically create lines and lines of Gabonaise presidents; a de-facto Bongo dictatorship.

Eugenia DG said...

What about a more resounding denomination fusion, more in consistence with the voiced patterns of English, say, Gabongo?

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