Today we came across a more unusual and unexpected item in the Newman Archive – in amongst the thousands of letters, an envelope simply labelled “Ealing School Playground, August 11 1853”. Inside, a collection of dry leaves with no further explanation.
It seems Newman must have paid a visit to Ealing School, where he had studied between the ages of seven and fifteen. At the end of his time at Ealing School, Newman underwent his conversion, influenced by Thomas Scott. ‘. . . to whom (humanly speaking) I almost owe my soul.’ Newman would have been 52 years old when he collected these leaves. This would make these preserved leaves over 161 years old!
It’s all a bit of a mystery – can anyone help us get to the root of it?