A Walk Down Dragon Lane …

Jun 20, 2022

This term, we took a (virtual) stroll down Dragon Lane with Peter Jay (OD 1950) and his family. Many relations have been through the School, with the first, Michael Garnett (OD 1933), Peter’s uncle, joining in 1929. Since then, many members of the family have been pupils at the Dragon, with the most recent, Jamie Jay, leaving in 2005. In this issue’s Walk Down Dragon Lane, we hear from Peter Jay (OD 1950) and his sons Pat (OD 1984), Tommy (OD 2000), Sammy (OD 2002), and Jamie (OD 2005). We loved reading their brilliant answers!


My time at the Dragon School in three words

Peter: Red in tooth and claw.

Pat: Fun. Forming. Competitive.

Tommy: Joy in corduroy.

Sammy: Arcane gleeful anarchy.

Jamie: Prelapsarian dizzying youth.


When I was a young Dragon, I wanted to be

Peter: Speaker of the House of Commons.

Pat: My dad.

Tommy: Everything.

Sammy: I had no plans to grow up.

Jamie: A Musician.


The superpower I wish I had

Peter: To know what others are thinking.

Pat: To turn back time.

Tommy: In my early Dragon days there was a popular game on the Nintendo 64 called ‘Zelda, Ocarina of Time’. The hero found a way to travel between childhood and adulthood in order to restore harmony. That would be pretty neat.

Sammy: Complete lucidity.

Jamie: To breathe underwater.


Eggy or marble runs?

Peter: Aggies*, surely?

Pat: Eggy

Tommy: Marble runs! Pioneering the field of sandpit architecture was an early career interest.

Sammy: Marbles: mystic gemstones, ballistic missiles, and (before Pokémon cards) our first experience of a tradable commodity.

Jamie: Marbles.


My inspiration growing up

Peter: My father, my Winchester Housemaster and History teacher, and Jacko’s history teaching in Middle 1.

Pat: My dad.

Tommy: Teachers!

Sammy: My dear friends Olly Rowse and Minoo Dinshaw, and our creative writing lessons where we were played cassette recordings of Tennyson and Yeats reciting their poetry. That really brought literature alive for me.

Jamie: Robin Hood.


At the top of my bucket list

Peter: Never to go to bed stone-cold sober.

Pat: Scuba dive with great white sharks.

Tommy: ‘If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.’ (Cicero) Keeping one of each would see me out happily.

Sammy: I would be happy just once to see blossom-time in Japan.

Jamie: To see or swim with a blue whale.


My most memorable moment at the Dragon

Peter: Francis Wylie’s performance of Richard II and what Joc said from the (*&%$!@ deleted) touchline when I funked tackling Juliet Hartley in an inter-Form rugger match.

Pat: Scoring three tries in my first-ever School match (it was the C team!)

Tommy: First kiss.

Sammy: In E Block our class adopted my pet hamster “Buzz” [Lightyear], who lived in the classroom. One morning, we found he had broken free of his cage and was nowhere to be found, until Bun Break, when the teacher opened the biscuit tin to find Buzz inside, asleep on a bed of crumbs, doubled in size and content as a sultan.

Jamie: Sitting on the Cherwell riverbank on a now dilapidated small wooden jetty with my first girlfriend Victoria Granville (OD 2005). We’d go there during the post-prep playtime on the fields during our last Summer Term in 2005. We’re getting married next year.


My biggest achievement

Peter: Never like to answer questions like that.

Pat: That would be telling!

Tommy: Building a career around work I enjoy doing feels like an achievement that will keep giving. As an architect I have worked on a number of exciting library, gallery and museum projects in complex, historic settings such as Lambeth Palace, the Geffrye Museum and St John’s College Oxford. Campus architecture interests me because it is about a beauty that inspires learning and engendering a sense of community.

Sammy: Refusing to abandon what I love in the search for a living.

Jamie: Not reneging on my answer to Question 2.



The advice I would give to my younger self

Peter: Be yourself.

Pat: Listen more.

Tommy: Go for it!

Sammy: It’s okay to be quiet.

Jamie: Take it easy.


In one sentence, what does it mean to be a Dragon?

Peter: To know what fun is.

Pat: To feel special, warm, and looked after.

Tommy: I left in 2000, but still recall the fullness of my experience there, moving between the different worlds of classroom, playground, hall, library, studio, swimming pool, playing fields, boarding house and riverbank. If childhood stays with you, I guess being a Dragon means you are someone who feels well-fed, full of energy, curious about the world and ready to be challenged on all fronts.

Sammy: To hold your own, to be afraid of no one, and to protect what is precious.

Jamie: Dragons are often free-thinking, free-spirited individuals, sometimes in ways that aren’t immediately appealing to everyone they’ll come across in life.


Since my Dragon days …

Peter: I thought life was an obstacle race and tackled it as such. This rather missed the point.

Pat: I have worked in London, Hong Kong, and Gibraltar. Had the two most amazing kids. And two fat orange cats who go with me wherever I go.

Tommy: After the Dragon I went on to St Edward’s School just down the road, followed by Cardiff and Kingston universities to study architecture. I set up my own architectural practice in 2021 with a focus on projects that are about specific ways of working at home, supporting the needs of family life and enhancing biodiversity. I got married in 2020. We live in Hackney. My two best men, (who I see nearly every week,) are friends I made in my first year at the Dragon.

Sammy: I pursued my love of literature through school (St. Edward’s) and university (Oxford), and found my calling working as a rare book dealer, at Peter Harrington Rare Books in London. My introduction to this weird and wonderful world came when sheer luck placed in my hands a first edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein inscribed by her to Lord Byron. That was a decade ago, and I have since enjoyed travelling the world in the hunt for similar treasures, and recently found myself curating exhibitions of rare books for fashion designer (and book collector) Kim Jones at his Dior and Fendi shows. I met my partner, Lavinia Harrington (who is an artist), at university and we married in 2017. I remain close friends with fellow Old Dragon Joe Seaward, as well as Olly Rowse and Minoo Dinshaw (and am god-father to their children).

Jamie: I went on to St. Edward’s School and then studied music at Leeds University, graduating in 2014. Through my twenties, I’ve been composing, producing and performing music, predominantly with my band Low Island who released their debut album to critical acclaim, reaching #2 in the iTunes UK Album Chart, #17 in the Official UK Album Sales Chart, #13 in the Official UK Album Vinyl Chart and #5 in the Official UK Independent Chart, with a song featured on the FIFA 2021 soundtrack. I now live in North London with my fiancée Vica, who I met in the Maths class of Mr Mews in the Christmas Term of 2004.


* Aggies were a prized form of marble in Dragon marble shows, only second to ‘spirals’ in exchange value in the playground market.


Would you like to take a ‘walk down Dragon Lane’? Please get in touch with the Development team; we’d love to hear from you.

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