Back-To-School Blues - I


English Enameled Cufflinks with Dulwich College, London School Crest (LEO Design)


By now, most students have trundled back to school.  And, this year, some of them might be returning after more than a year away. Personally, I always loved the first day of school and was always excited to return.  But, for others, September signaled the "Back-to-School Blues."

One of the mysterious inconsistencies of the English language—on different sides of the Atlantic—is the meaning of the term "public school."  In England, where the term was coined, public schools are those fancy, expensive, private schools (open to students for a tuition fee).  In America, "public schools" are those open to the wider public, paid-for by the public.

In 1619, the famous Elizabethan actor, Edward Alleyn, founded a "public school" in London (with the signed permission of King James I) with the intent of educating 12 poor boys, mostly orphans.  The school came to be known as "Dulwich College" and, in time, it expanded its enrollment and its mission.  It is still a boys' school and it moved into its current London premises in 1870.

Some of its notable alumni include explorer Ernest Shackleton, architect Charles Francis Voysey, writers P. G. Wodehouse, Raymond Chandler, & Philip Ondaatje, and the contemporary actor Chiwetal Ejiofor.

Once founded, it was granted a coat-of-arms and a crest, shown on the enameled cufflinks above.  This pair was made in the 1930s by Harley & Company, Birmingham.  Click on the photo above to learn more about them.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248