Page updated 8th January 2018
The original, Blue Boy statue was situated near the entrance of St John's Hospital School in the High Street.
The original, stone, statue of the Blue Boy was carved by John Weston in 1733, using former pupil George Wall as the model. It was placed in a niche of the wall on the High Street, as shown in the 1845 engraving of the school building. The school buildings on the High Street were demolished for the new Post Office and Eastgate Arcade that was constructed in 1880. What happened to the statue after this date is unknown, but it is known that by 1956, this statue was at 'Cobham', Rose Barn Lane with a new head, and was soon removed to the chapel of Exeter School; it is now in a new garden at the side of the Butterfield building. Standing 4 ft 4ins (1.3 metres) high, the head does not match the body and the hands are missing.
There were four cast-iron Blue Boys made when the schoolroom at the St John's Hospital School was rebuilt during 1859/60. Somewhat smaller than the original at 3 ft 6 inches (1.06 metres) high, two had open backs, intended for standing against a wall. One of the free standing statues stood in the playground before being moved in 1899 to the main schoolroom, when the playground was asphalted. The second statue was above the clock in the main schoolroom. The two hollow backed statues were on either side of the fireplace in the hall of the orphanage. The hall was closed in 1908, when they were moved to either side of the gateway into the playground from the High Street.
After the school was closed in July 1931, the two free standing statues were displayed in the Hall of the Vicars Choral, South Street, where the governors met. The open backed statues went to the builders yard of Stephens and Son on Okehampton Street. The two statues in the Hall of the Vicars Choral were rescued after the building was totally destroyed in the 1942 blitz and taken to Upton Pyne, Clyst St Lawrence, a property that belonged to the St John's Hospital Trust.
One of the free standing statues was placed in the new Princesshay, and the second went to Exeter School's Butterfield Hall–it is now in the window of the Exonian Centre.
The inscription reads:
THIS STATUE OF A BLUE BOY
STOOD IN THE COURTYARD OF
SAINT JOHN'S HOSPITAL SCHOOL
FOUNDED ON THIS SITE
AS A BLUECOAT SCHOOL
BY THE CHAMBER OF EXETER,
A.D. 1636 IN THE
DISSOLVED MEDIAEVAL HOSPITAL
OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST.
THE SCHOOL CONTINUED UNTIL 1931
IN THE NEW BUILDINGS ERECTED IN 1859
WHICH WERE DESTROYED BY
ENEMY ACTION ON MAY 4TH 1942
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