Early Life and Education
George Orwell (Eric Blair ) was born in India. His father, Richard Blair worked in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service. He worked in India till he retired and except for a brief visit Eric did not see his father again till 1912. When Eric
was one year old, Ida Blair took him to England and moved to Henley-on-Thames, upriver from London.
Eric Arthur Blair was born on 25 June 1903 to British parents in Motihari, Bengal Presidency, British India. (For a BBC story on Orwell's house in India )There, Blair's father, Richard Walmesley Blair, worked for the Opium Department of the Civil Service dealing with the still legal opium trade with China . Richard volunteered for the war and became one of the oldest second lieutenants in the army at the age of 60 .His mother, Ida Mabel Blair (born Limouzin),was the half French daughter of a French teak merchant in Moulmein, Burma . His mother brought him to England at the age of one. He did not see his father
again until 1907, when Richard visited England for three months before leaving again. Eric had an older sister named Marjorie, and a younger sister named Avril. He would later describe his family's background as "lower-upper-middle class"
St Cyprian's School
' ...flung...like a goldfish into a tank full of pike . '
At the age of six, Blair was sent to a small Anglican parish school in Henley-on-Thames, which his sister had attended before him. He never wrote of his recollections of it, but he must have impressed the teachers very favourably, for two years later, he was recommended to the headmaster of one of the most successful preparatory schools in England at the time: St Cyprian's School, in Eastbourne, Sussex.
Blair attended St Cyprian's on a scholarship that allowed his parents to pay only half of the usual fees. Many years later, he would recall his time at St Cyprian's with biting resentment in the essay "Such, Such Were the Joys" a sarcastic quotation from William Blake's poem about happy childhood and describes physical and mental punishments .The experience left with a feeling of shames as his parents were
not as rich as those of the other students and that he was ' no good.'However, in his time at St. Cyprian's, the young Blair successfully earned scholarships to both Wellington and Eton.
One of Orwell's favorite book as a child and
adult was Gulliver's Travels
After one term at Wellington, Blair moved to Eton, where he was a King's Scholar from 1917 to 1921. Aldous Huxley was his French teacher for one term early in his time at Eton. Later in life he wrote that he had been "relatively happy" at Eton, which allowed its students considerable independence, but also that
he ceased doing serious work after arriving there. Reports of his academic performance at Eton vary; some assert that he was a poor student, while others claim the contrary. He was clearly disliked by some of his teachers, who resented what they perceived as disrespect for their authority. During his time at the school, Blair formed lifelong friendships with a number of future British intellectuals such as Cyril Connolly, future editor of the magazine 'Horizon', in which many of Orwell's most famous essays were