WALKING PAST UNIVERSITY College School (‘UCS’) in Hampstead’s Frognal, I spotted something that reminded me of my schooldays, both at the Hall School (in Swiss Cottage) and Highgate School (…in Highgate!).
A part of the brick wall enclosing the grounds of UCS is inscribed with initials. Some of the bricks also have circular depressions. Those which have not been filled in have interiors which are parts of spheres. The bricks on the walls of the schools I attended used to be spotted liberally with similar circular, spherical concavities.
The concavities, which are never more than about 1.5 inches in diameter, were created using the edges of coins. If the edge of a coin is placed firmly against a brick and the twisted left and right repeatedly, the sharp coin gradually wears away the brick and creates a concavity as described.
In the days long before mobile telephones were even the stuff of dreams, mining out brickwork and inscribing one’s initials provided a perfect way for school kids to pass a few idle moments and to leave one’s mark.
Read more about Frognal and the rest of Hampstead in my new book available from https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09R2WRK92