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Semper Fama Viret
Pembroke Grammar School
Badge and Motto
by Melanie Phillips
It all began with an ugly breezeblock compost container. The bottom of my garden was beginning to get choked with Old Man’s Beard, so much so that it was growing out of the compost construction.

I was too short to reach its roots and could only pull furiously and ineffectually at its tendrils.

It was time to summon the Brindleys, a husband and wife team of landscape gardeners, to undertake the work.

I work as volunteer gardener at Stackpole Gardens and I had always admired the garden arches with stone seats within them. My idea was to build an arch and cover it with roses.

All the stone for the arch, the seat, and the path came from stone that was dug up from the garden. The pair found wonderful limestone pieces that were probably buried when our little row of terraced houses had courts. The courts were compulsory purchased for road widening in the 60s.

The stone was used for the arch and as luck would have it the owner of the Eastgate Hotel across the road was having his Victorian chimney demolished.

Andy hot-footed it across the road and asked him if he could have the old bricks. Next port of call was Jewsons. He came back with a large concrete ball that the company had used for display purposes and that they no longer needed. That was placed on top of the arch.

At this point, I happened to mention that the creation looked like an old quadrangle that you would find in a public school.

Behind the arch was the wall with the compost behind it. Andy skimmed the wall until it was smooth, but it looked bare and uninteresting.

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That was when I thought of our school badge. I ran upstairs and fetched my school blazer (it no longer fits!!) and showed him the badge.

He drew it out and, after the plans were completed, copied the shield onto the wall using pieces of tiles from Tilecraft. The tiles were smashed up by him and his wife Fernanda and used to make a mosaic.

About this time I found a bell that I had long forgotten about. It was covered in narrow boat art. The bell was rubbed down and the artwork removed, revealing the brass bell underneath.

Whilst he finished the badge, Fernanda made the stone seat.

We then decided that the adjacent blank wall should have some school graffiti on it. We thought about this for some time and I decided that instead of graffiti we would have the school motto.

Andy painstakingly worked on it in the freezing cold, and the result is this wonderful work of art.
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