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Simon Pearce - author

Updated: Aug 8, 2021

I am a retired teacher who has lived in Woolverstone for the past 40 years. I came here as a young graduate and an interview for my first teaching post at Woolverstone Hall, the Inner London Education Authority boarding school. I had been collected at Ipswich Station by Neil Clayton, Head of English, inspiration for authors and actors, among them Ian McEwan and Neil Pearson.

I remember coming along the Strand beside the wide expanse of the River Orwell at high tide, for the very first time, and thinking what a stunningly beautiful place this was. As I was driven up the Freston Hill, I noticed the Tudor, red brick tower standing proud. I felt I was entering the most magical of places.

We reached the plateau, the road curved to the left and in front of me were delightful, one and a half storey, red brick cottages set in neat pairs with spacious gardens, ornate gable ends and tall central chimney stacks. A charming village hall tucked behind iron railings, with war memorial set in the grounds, appeared on my right. I was instantly lost to the charm of this small village. A short terrace of red brick cottages with monkeys on each end of the roof followed! Why were the monkeys there? A large Georgian house on the left. A traditional village school with high pitched roof on the right. What a wonderful place to live, I thought; the cottages looked warm, cosy and inviting. never thinking that one day I would be privileged to live in one.

We turned left at a soft yellow brick lodge, decorated with bands of red and whte bricks, and with a large, tiled porch suggesting importance. Driving down a lane with an ornate pair of red brick cottages and farm buildings on the left, we came to a Church with a tudor brick porch and tidy churchyard all enclosed behind iron railings.

After a sharp right turn and climbing a short incline, my first view of Woolverstone Hall hove into view across immaculated manicured lawns. An imposing central block in Portland stone and sweeping wings with arches on either side. I was captivated and have remained so ever since.

And I had an opportunity to work here, in this beautiful place. Thank you Anthony Adams, my tutor, for drawing attention to the advert and saying "I think this job would be good for you."

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