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Ploughing the sea: Latin America observed

A very British school

The first British immigrants to Chile settled largely in the port of Valparaiso, which acquired a distinctly British character. By the end of the 19th century 32,000 people of British origin were resident in the city and there were British schools, clubs and magazines catering for their interests.

Other British settlers gravitated to the capital, Santiago, to the cattle-farming area of Magallenes in the south (this region was particularly popular with Welsh emigrants) and, during the saltpetre boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, to the northern parts of the country, where this mineral was extracted. Today there are believed to be about 400,000 people of British or Irish origin in Chile, out of a total population of 17 million.

The Grange School, Santiago, founded in 1928, was closely modelled on the British public school. Its first headmaster, John Jackson, a Chilean of British origin, wished to provide Chilean boys with a bilingual boarding school education similar to that enjoyed by their British public school counterparts. Today the school, which is now co-educational, is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC) of leading independent schools, one of four HMC schools in Latin America.

The 1954 issue of the school magazine, The Gryphon, reflects the British spirit of the Grange School; there are articles on rugby (including one entitled 'Long live rugger!'), references to the school cricket team and the tuck shop and news of old boys, some of whom are studying at British public schools or universities. British surnames are common among pupils, staff and advertisers, the latter including local businesses such as McKay confectioners and Hardy & Co sports outfitters. The issue also contains character sketches of members of the sixth form.

The Gryphon: second term, 1954. [Santiago]: The Grange School, 1954 [Canning House Library Collection] is available for consultation in the Foyle Special Collections Library.

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