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  GEORGE ORWELL AT HAYES

A building in the Hayes Village Conservation Area is - or should be - an outstanding candidate for a commemorative plaque, particularly in this year, 1984.

  The Fountain House Hotel, in Church Road at the south end of the village street, was once a private school where George Orwell taught from April 1932 to July 1933.

Eric Blair applied for the post of teacher at the school, known as The Hawthorns High School for Boys, although he had had no training in or experience of teaching. He had spent five years in the police in Burma, but his most recent experience was as a hotel dishwasher in Paris and as a vagrant in London, neither of which occupations (if, as seems improbable, he mentioned them at the interview) would have been likely to recommend him for a teaching post at a boys school. However, he was also a former King's Scholar at Eton - something not without its advantages when applying for a job at a school with only some 14 pupils, including the owner's son. Blair was appointed "headmaster" of the school, with one other teacher as his assistant.

The school was run as a commercial enterprise by Mr Eunson, who was not a teacher himself and had a full time job elsewhere. The proprietor took classes only in emergency, when one of the regular teachers was away.

While he was at Hayes, Eric Blair, in consultation with his literary agent, chose the pen name "George Orwell", and this was used on the title page of his first book, 'Down and Out in Paris and London', completed at the time.

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