Attending Harrow as a day boy carried a social stigma and resulted in a ‘daily purgatory’for the young Anthony. His experience at Winchester was little better with regular beatings from his brother Tom.
The family lived just north of London, at Harrow-on-the-Hill. A number of sons of residents of Harrow parish could attend the famous school free, and so Anthony attended Harrow as a day boy for three years from the age of seven, at no cost the Trollope’s. Being a day boy carried a social stigma and resulted in a ‘daily purgatory’ as Anthony went from home to school. He was desperatedly unhappy at Harrow, and in 1825 was sent as a boarder to a private school at Sunbury where he stayed for two years. Then, in 1827, Anthony was sent to follow his father and brothers at Winchester. His experience there was little better than at Harrow, he was frequently beaten, often by his brother Tom, and made little progress academically.
From the age of 12 to 16 Anthony was much alone at school, or at home, without his mother. Fanny Trollope, together with a male companion, Auguste Hervieu, then embarked on an extraordinary expedition to America, taking her three elder children, but leaving Anthony behind. When Fanny’s initial plan to join a Utopian community in Nashoba fell through she opened a bazaar in Cincinnati, which her husband stocked with ‘4,000 dollars worth of the most trumpery goods that were ever shipped.’ Thomas Trollope joined Fanny for six months from September 1828, leaving Anthony entirely alone without both parents. The bazaar failed financially and in 1831 Fanny returned home.
At the same time his father’s financial position worsened, and he failed to pay the school bills, making Anthony’s position at school even worse. The family moved to a dilapidated farmhouse in Harrow Weald and Anthony was removed from Winchester and in 1831 was sent once again to Harrow as a day boy. He faced a daily trek of 12 miles to and from school, ‘dreadful walks’ which made the end of his school career the worst period of his young life.
As a refuge Anthony took to day dreaming, constructing elaborate inner worlds and making up stories, which he would continue for weeks and months. ‘I would carry on the same tale, binding myself down to certain laws, to certain proportions, and properties and unities.’ It was this habit of daydreaming, in which he allowed nothing impossible to happen, which, he wrote in his autobiography, ‘must have tended to make me what I have been.’