Founded as a Charity School for boys in 1697, by 1715 the school also accepted girls – 6 girls to 30 boys. In 1892 the Central Foundation School for Girls girls’ school was opened in Spital Square just by Spitalfields Market. When I went back in 2011. the main school building had been demolished and the beautiful old hall was derelict. When I returned in 2014, like much of the district, it had been gentrified and the hall was now the Galvin la Chapelle restaurant.
I was delighted to find that my neighbour in my Art History class had not only been a CFS pupil about 10 years after me but like me had learned to play the cello. She’s had similar experiences carrying her cello through what was then an active Fruit and Vegetable market.
From my memoir Woman in a White Coat
The school allowed me take the cello home to practise. My walk through Spitalfields Market, lugging the heavy black case, brought roars of laughter from the market porters.
It was ‘Give us a tune then.’ ‘Can you put it under your chin?’ ‘I’ll carry it for you if you give me a kiss, Miss.’ and ‘Can you put that big thing between your legs?’
Their catcalls followed me all the way to school.