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Rupert Brooke's signature

Rupert Brooke and Family exhibition

(Items selected by Daisy Ashton, aged 16)

Parents

Rupert Brooke was born on 3 August 1887. His parents, William Parker Brooke and Mary Ruth Cotterill met at Fettes College, a public school in Edinburgh. W. P. Brooke was a master at School House, while Mary Ruth Cotterill was matron at Glencorse, another house at the school. They married on 18 December 1879. Brooke had to resign when they married because there was no accommodation there for married masters.

This led them to move to Rugby, where ‘Willie’, as Rupert’s father was known by the family, became Master of School Field House a month later. This was one of the houses which formed Rugby school, an independent school founded in 1567.

While many of his friends will have lived away from home, Rupert Brooke must have had a very different experience of school life. Like many boys, he took part in sports like rugby, football and cricket, representing his house and school. However, the fact that his father was Master of School Field House, where Rupert lived, meant that he did not live away from his parents until he went up to Cambridge. It has been suggested that this led him to grow his hair and dress distinctively, as almost an act of rebellion.

Rupert Brooke’s mother was a rather dominant figure in his life, at least in his youth. It is difficult to know how close he was to his father because little correspondence between them remains in the Brooke archives.

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