Former Chorister Checks Out 21st Century Boarding!

Alistair Pollard, Chairman of The Federation of Cathedral Old Choristers’ Associations (FCOCA), took time off from the Federation’s AGM in Oxford on 6 May to meet up with Christ Church Cathedral School head, Richard Murray, to tour the School’s recently refurbished boarding accommodation.

Following the visit Alistair said: “These boarding facilities are considerably more comfortable than what I remember from my own school days, back in the 1970s at The Chorister School, Durham. Here the dormitories are spacious, welcoming and with pictures on the wall; but there is still the cacophony of a variety of musical instruments being played from odd places around the boarding house!

“I have very fond memories of my time at The Chorister School, but life was a little more regimented than it is now. Each dormitory slept up to 10 boys, and we had sheets and blankets – no duvets then. “Hospital corners” were demanded every day and the daily dormitory competition culminated in a cream tea party for the winning dorm at the end of term. But still, an improvement from the early 40s when Durham choristers had to sleep in the Deanery basement chapel as a makeshift air-raid shelter.

“Chorister attire has also moved on since my time as a chorister. In the early 70s, Durham choristers still wore Eton suits all day on Sunday, and occasionally on other days. We also swapped our detachable small (and softer) collars for a stiff Eton collar before and after each service during the week, doing battle with collar studs back and front. During the week we wore a woollen purple tie, which had a habit of gradually unravelling, sometimes with a little help. Only at the Christmas Day party were you allowed to wear your own clothes, although we did wear grey shirts, instead of white, on Thursdays when there was no Evensong. Oh for a simple polo shirt!”



CCCS’s new boarding accommodation featured in April’s Tatler