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News > College news > A timely return

A timely return

A presentation clock from 1896 is donated to the College

On Thursday 20 October, College Archivist Paul Jordan was presented with an ornate clock which has a connection with the school dating back 126 years.

Paul takes up the story:

In June 2022, the Archives were contacted by Steph Lawrence who wanted to donate a clock to the College. It had been presented to Albert Zaleski, her great grandfather, who had taught French at the school from 1888 to 1896. He appeared to be highly regarded at the College as the headmaster pointed out on Speech Day, 1896:

‘...the French Examiner spoke very highly of the French teaching…and he [the headmaster] must congratulate Mons. Zaleski most sincerely on the result of his work.’

And later that year:

‘Mons. A Zaleski left us at the end of last term; on Monday, July 28, N H Baynes [Norman Hepburn Baynes, Home Boarder 1892-96], in the name of the School presented him with a small testimonial in return for his kindness and patience during the eight years of his mastership.’

The clock is inscribed: 'Presented to A Zaleski as a token of esteem and regard from the masters and boys of Eastbourne College, July 1896'.

Following his time at the College, Zaleski continued to teach French in Eastbourne and advertised in the local press offering French language and literature lessons. A few years later he left England for France and died in 1910.

Steph said she was coming to Eastbourne on a coach holiday and would bring the clock with her – we imagined a grandfather clock strapped to the roof! In fact, it is very ornate brass mantel clock, decorated in the French ormolu style. It now takes pride of place on the mantelpiece in the ES office in Craven Cottage.

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