A former pupil with arguably the single greatest connection with the Schools and their history was welcomed back on Wednesday 26th June when David Briggs returned to attend a Service of Dedication in honour of his father, Canon George Wallace Briggs. George Briggs was a pupil at the Grammar School in the 1890s before heading to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he achieved a double first. He then returned to Loughborough as Rector of the Parish Church, during his time in which post he created the Burton Chapel and composed the School Hymn as well as several other hymns and anthems.
The family connection with the Schools is even stronger when the fact that David’s maternal grandfather was Benjamin Barrow (a former Chairman of Governors after whom the Barrow Building is named) is taken into consideration and David was visibly moved as he stood in the Quad for the first time in over 80 years looking at the building which bears the family name.
David himself was at Fairfield for only one year – when it was associated with the High School –before winning a Choral Scholarship to King’s College, Cambridge and attending the College School of which he was later to become Headmaster: he did, however, remember accompanying his father on visits to the Grammar School on several occasions when he was a teenager.
Canon Briggs was renowned for being the major compiler – in conjunction with S.R.Pullinger (Headmaster 1926 – 1955) – of two books of ‘Prayers and Hymns for Schools’ which were used widely across the country in the 1930s and 1940s: it seemed highly appropriate, therefore, to name a room in his honour in the Schools’ new music school.
David was accompanied to the short service of dedication by his daughter, the broadcaster Anne Atkins, who read two poems.