L.B. Pekin on St. Christopher’s

L. B. Pekin was the author of 5 books published by Virginia & Leonard Woolf's Hogarth Press in the 1930s - Public Schools: their Failure and their Reform (1932) Progressive schools: their Principles and Practice (1934) and a Hogarth pamphlet The Military Training of Youth (an enquiry into the aims and effects of the OTC).He also penned a short book on Darwin in their 'World-makers and World-shakers' series (1937) with a jacket by John Banting or possibly Richard Kennedy (who did most of Pekin's jackets). Kennedy later wrote A Boy at the Hogarth Press. L.B. Pekin's real name was Reginald Snell. This pamphlet on St Christopher's, a progressive school at Letchworth (still going strong and still vegetarian) was loosely inserted in his book on public schools.

The Way of Life
at St Christopher School, Letchworth


   It is too easy for a school to make extravagant claims for its contribution to the happiness and welfare of mankind. We can never know how much, in the end, we are able to do for our children. At the most we can but believe that by giving them a community in which they may develop most freely, according to the mysterious laws that guide the growth of the human spirit, they will be able to become most thoroughly themselves, knowing themselves and knowing what they midst do with their lives. At the most we can believe this–and at the least, too; in either case our responsibility and our opportunity are alike tremendous. Every school worthy of the name must be founded on a faith; none will perfectly succeed in living up to its highest hopes. In the paragraphs that follow we shall give the most honest description of one school that is built on a firm faith in a certain way of life, if we set out the things we believe to be good for the growth of the human spirit in the child; and we shall want to make the honest admission that such a description must needs be rose-tinted–it cannot give a fair picture of the daily difficulties and occasional perplexities, the half-failures and the part-victories that must occupy a large share in the life of any school. Here, at any rate, are some of the things which we believe and for which we work.

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