The Climbing Frame

Mary Hocking

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25 February 2016
208 pages

This is the story of how a trivial event may be inflated by press, television and mere gossip into a national scandal.

A small boy falls off a climbing frame in his school playground: though he is hardly at all injured, his mother accuses the headmaster of negligence. Soon the County Education Office and the County Council Education Committee are involved. Matters are complicated because the headmaster in question is in love with a young employee of the Education Office, while the Chief Education Officer, a liberal-minded man, is increasingly sniped at by his deputy, by a County councillor, and by the press.

The Climbing Frame is a compelling and totally convincing novel about a subject of which Mary Hocking had real knowledge. Both the official and the private aspects of the cause celèbre are presented with an accuracy and a sympathy which are beyond praise.

A very knowledgeable, all too true account of how a small grumble, flooding through parents, schools, Education Committee and Press, can wreck lives and loves. All who attend committee meetings will recognise its sober truthfulness and compelling interest

Phyllis Bentley