I set off this morning for a trip to Canada and the United States, with the intention of visiting four cities in the course of six days. I will be travelling with Nick Priestnall and our purpose will be to meet up with Old Millhillians in East Coast America. This year the President of the Old Millhillians Club is David Brown who has spent his working life in the States. We are looking forward to supporting him during his term of office in his homeland.
The trip for me will combine the opportunity to meet those who know Mill Hill of old, listen to them as they share their memories, and talk to them about the exciting ventures that the School is engaged in today. We will be unashamedly talking about ways that they can support the School, both in terms of interest, personal contact and, indeed, through financial support. David Brown is a keen advocate of the ABC Bursary Fund which supports students unable to fund themselves and he will be pressing his peers to donate to this excellent cause.
Our trip takes in a visit to Montreal, New York, Washington and Philadephia. Each of these cities would justify a much longer trip if we were to make the most of all that they have to offer and there will be a frustration that we are visiting for such a short time. Whilst we will have to save sight-seeing for another occasion, the finale of our visit will be a trip to a place with significant historical associations with the grounds of the School. We will be hosting a lunch in Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia in order to celebrate the important link between John Bartram and Peter Collinson, two important botanists who maintained a life long partnership based on their interest, both intellectual and financial, in plants. John Bartram supplied Peter Collinson back in the 18th century with a range of new and exciting plants which were introduced, through this route, for the first time to the UK. With an invitation issued to the staff at Bartram’s Garden to visit Mill Hill in June for the opening of our own Collinson Garden, we look forward to an exciting new chapter in this transatlantic alliance.
Meanwhile I am searching for clothes that will keep me warm in the predicted temperature of -8 degrees in Montreal. Not much occasion for spending too much time outside there!