Fake Heritage: Why We Rebuild Monuments by John Darlington - review by Jonathan Meades

Jonathan Meades

Neolithic Concrete Wonders

Fake Heritage: Why We Rebuild Monuments

By

Yale University Press 248pp £25 order from our bookshop
 

Peter Nichols called God ‘a sort of manic depressive rugby-footballer’. The same might be said of those in charge of Britain’s public schools, with their compulsory Anglican ‘worship’, compulsory team spirit, compulsory militarism, compulsory misery and compulsory importuning of former pupils to contribute to this or that vacuous project. This last has nothing to do with education and everything to do with disseminating ‘the brand’: the headteacher, the hearty paedophile, the rosy-cheeked sky pilot, the donnish beak – these persons are in fact far down the school hierarchy, at the summit of which sits the marketing manager.

This creature’s job is to roll out clones of the original for easily impressed Singaporeans and Malaysians, either ignorant of the horrors of public schools or eager to get their children off their hands. Among the contributors to this specialised form of internationalism is Wellington College, the most architecturally interesting

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