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News > Archives & History > The Haddon Gates of old

The Haddon Gates of old

Building work at the entrance to Bishops is finally completed. Upgrades included the refurbishment of the entrance and gates that are steeped in history.

 The Avenue, Bishops Diocesan College.

At the entrance of Bishops is the very historic ‘Ogilvie Memorial Gateway’ erected in 1923 to commemorate a former Principal Canon George Ogilvie, who served in that capacity from 1861 to 1885. 

The iron gates attached to the gateway are called the Haddon Memorial Gates, to the sacred memory of the Head of School of 1939, Dacre Lovett Haddon, killed in active service on 6 July 1944, fighting in the Italian Campaign in World War II.  These gates were given by his beloved parents to his sacred memory, and inscribed on them is the Latin phrase, ‘in limine’, meaning it is so sad and tragic that someone has to die so young.   The gates were opened and blessed in 1946. 

There is an incident in the history of the avenue that cannot go unaccounted.  On the night of 30 June 1943, a huge storm uprooted many of the trees in the avenue.  After the storm that night, all the remaining trees were cut down, to a point opposite School House. 

Someone who was there at the time and could remember the event, said that

‘it took weeks to cut the trees up, and then a firm of contractors winched out the stumps’. 

After that, boys dug new holes for the next generation of pines (which is what we see today).  Digging was an arduous task, to get through the ironstone surface.  On the night that the tress blew down the new Principal Mr Hubert John Kidd taking office in the year, said:

‘That funny old line of match sticks had gathered about it too many fond associations for anyone to venture to do the right thing and cut it down.  The great storm took the matter into its own hands, and after the first shock I believe we shall find it less harrowing to watch the younger trees growing than to watch the old warriors falling one by one’. 

Unfortunately, a photograph of the fallen warriors cannot be found, mainly because it was the time of war (the Second World War) and most things were scarce in supply, such as photographers. 

Today the avenue consists of those very trees planted in 1943, towering into the sky and providing shade and a suitable entrance for all who enter Bishops’ magnificent grounds.  More recently, and in anticipation of the old warriors having served their duty, a new generation of pines has been planted interspersed in the existing pines.  Added to this is the school’s masterplan to upgrade the entrance which was completed in April 2023. 

In this way, we see the landmark preserved, for current and future generations.

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