Travels & University
In December 1936 Christopher won an open scholarship in History to Trinity College, Cambridge. His best paper was in English History but his work was ‘good all through the examination.’ As his degree course did not begin until late 1937, he took the opportunity of accompanying his father, no longer in good health, on an exhibition to South West Africa and Angola.
They set off in January 1937. The sea voyage out was relaxed and uneventful but the expedition was slow to start as they waited for official permits. During their nine months together Christopher provided much practical support- buying provisions, cooking, keeping accounts and field-notes, organising photography and helping to prepare specimens.
His diary entries are descriptive and perceptive. They reveal a caring young man fascinated by his new surroundings and determined to gain as much experience as possible. Christopher’s sisters, Diana and Tony had both accompanied their father at earlier trips: in early 1937 they were preparing an anthropological trip to South Angola but were unable to meet up with their father and younger brother.
Once back home, Christopher went up to Cambridge. His tutor was the famous classicist A S F Gow. He worked hard and, destined for a ‘First’, was elected to a senior scholarship in June 1939.
Outwardly, over the summer life continued as usual. Christopher played cricket, went to dances and visited Margate’s ‘Dreamland’. His parents, now back from Africa, celebrated the opening of the long-awaited museum extension (Gallery One) and, belatedly, Christopher’s ‘coming of age’. At the annual tenant’s dinner his speech was well received. However, Winston Churchill’s prophetic opening address at a Quex fete in 1936 was not far from their thoughts as the family welcomed Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, housed nearby, and continued preparing the Quex household for war.
1.Christopher’s final year at Harrow School
2.Christopher surveying the restocked fishpond, summer 1939
3.Returning home from the trip to S W Africa- Christopher catches up with the world events on board S.S. ‘Adolf Woermann’
4.S W Africa trip 1937; Gangenge to Nambube- Vale Tribe
5.On expedition- an unshaven Christopher in charge
6.Coming of age garden party, July 1939. ‘Hannah and Kit receive guests…many crowded in as report K was to speak…Michael (cotton Garratt), Mary’s son ran about lawn, jolly kid’. – Major Powell-Cotton’s diary