Lord Hart comes back to his roots

BACK in the 1950s there were three great friends at Northgate Grammar School in Ipswich.All went on to make their own mark in the world. One is now an architect with an international reputation who has designed some of the most prominent buildings in Britain – including the visitor centre at Sutton Hoo.

BACK in the 1950s there were three great friends at Northgate Grammar School in Ipswich.

All went on to make their own mark in the world.

One is now an architect with an international reputation who has designed some of the most prominent buildings in Britain - including the visitor centre at Sutton Hoo.

Another became one of the world's best-known theatre directors and received a knighthood.


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And the third is now a peer of the realm and a top government advisor who today is paying a nostalgic visit to his home town to see how it has changed.

Lord Hart of Chilton was just plain Garry Hart when he went to school in Ipswich.

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He was born and brought up in the town attending St Matthews school before moving to Northgate.

It was there that he became firm friends with Trevor Nunn and Birkin Haward, a friendship which survives to this day.

Since he left Northgate, Lord Hart has not lived in the town - but he still makes regular visits to Portman Road.

Lord Hart said: "After I left school I went to university and my mother moved to Lowestoft where she still lives, and I haven't lived in Ipswich since then.

"But now I have moved back to Suffolk and live near Sudbury but I haven't really been around Ipswich much since I was at school.

"I really only come back now for the football - I'm a dedicated Town fan, it all started in the 50s when you could get into the ground free after half time when they opened the gates."

But today he is on a guided tour of the town with mayor Roger Fern, who was at Northgate at the same time.

After leaving Northgate, Lord Hart went to University and became a lawyer, specialising in planning law.

When Labour was returned to power in 1997 he became a special advisor to the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine.

And he retained that role when Lord Falconer took over. He was made a life peer last year.

It was a chance remark made when he accompanied Lord Falconer to open the new Ipswich Crown Court in October that led to today's visit.

Lord Hart said: "I was talking to Roger Fern and we realised we were at school at the same time and he offered to show me around the town, so here I am.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the old schools, although both have been replaced by new buildings since my day.

"And it will be very interesting to see around the Waterfront area - that has changed out of all recognition since I lived in the town.

"As a planning lawyer, I am very interested in architecture and how towns develop - so I will find that fascinating."

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