I wasn't working on Thursday, but I took my atheist body along for the service, which opened with the School Song (a very rare thing for a school to have, they usually adopt a hymn and call that the school song, but my school has its own custom written song).
These days, this sentimental old baggage can't sing it for crying. There's a verse dedicated to each House (Addeys - Green; Stanhopes - Blue; Pepys - Yellow; and Evelyn - Red).
Addeys are named after the Elizabethan shipwright John Addey, whose 1606 legacy for the poor children of Deptford was later used to co-found the school. Stanhope is for Dean George Stanhope, a local churchman of the early 18th century. Pepys (pronounced by us Peppies, not Peeps) is after the 17th century diarist. Evelyn is as after John Evelyn, another noted diarist from the 17th Century. All had local connections.
The last verse of the School Song celebrates John Addey's craft, which would have been of great use to Elizabeth I at the time of the Spanish Armada. Britain's shipbuilding and ships are known as Hearts of Oak, and here's the final verse:
Hearts of Oak that Deptford made
Guarded England well.
The ships are gone, but stands the School,
The shipwrights' worth to tell.
As builded they right sound and true,
So builds the School, and shall for aye,
Sing Addeys, Stanhopes, Pepys, Evelyns,
Prosper School always!
As I recently mentioned, next year is the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Stanhope school, which later incorporated the Addey bequest.
This year I managed to persuade one friend along for the evening. Next year, I plan to entice lots more, whether I'm still working there or not.
Meanwhile, enjoy the sight, as I enjoyed the taste, of the cupcakes bearing the school badge served up to the evening visitors: