The UK celebrates the Centenary of (Partial) Suffrage for Women in February 2018. Exhibitions across the country are marking the event. Girls schools, in particular, have found a treasure trove of previously unknown material documenting the eagerness with which young women followed the debate and hoped for a future in which they could participate fully in the government of their country. Many of those girls had brothers at schools like Radley College. But the boys’ schools have found it very difficult to find material to contribute to the celebration. At Radley, the Debating Society addressed the issue on just four occasions during the height of the Suffrage Movement: in 1908, 1910, 1913 and 1918 … Here are the debates >>>
‘This most civilized of Radley competitions,’ former Don, Barry Webb, describing Declamations in 1983. With its roots deep in Victorian ‘memoriter’ exercises and parlour recitations, Radley’s civilized competition goes back to the days of William Sewell in the mid-1850s. In the course of 170 years it has seen recitations in Serbian, Greek, Latin and French. It has faded entirely from view, been revived (twice) as a symbol of continuity in the face of global war, and has had its current format unchanged for 70 years. Boys have groaned, Dons have goaded. Adjudication has been fiercely criticised. Youtube has radically altered the way boys research and learn pieces. And in 2018, it was live-streamed from the Theatre into classrooms across the school and parents’ homes around the world. Declamations – one of Radley’s enduring institutions … Read on
Argent an open Book garnished Gules clasps and buckles Or thereon inscribed the words SICUT SERPENTES SICUT COLUMBAE between three crosses pattée of the second on a Chief of the last a Key in bend sinister of the first surmounted by a similar Key in bend dexter Gold between to the dexter a Serpent knowed and erect and to the sinister a Dove both proper
Sicut Serpentes Sicut Columbae
Heraldry, crests, badges, mottoes – the very root and branch of tradition. The symbols that say ‘we are here’ and ‘here we stay.’ The colours of identity. A complex pattern which is instantly recognisable to anyone associated with an institution. Unchanging. But even something so traditional grew organically over time and was not there for the first sixty one years of the College’s life. Here is the story of the college crest ….
When the Archive went back to school. These contemporary letters were written as ‘thank yous’ following an afternoon spent at a primary school. The children were studying aspects of Victorian history, particularly the kind of education rich boys might have experienced in the nineteenth century. They heard about the carved desk lid, a prefect’s banner, a letter from Gerald Talbot and the prefect’s fives bat. So this particular ‘object’ is about how the virtual museum does sometimes go out into the wider world. It is also a partner to No. 17 The teachers’ revenge, since it tells the story of the everyday objects used by those examinees of the 1870s. Read on …
This miniature presents the most ephemeral of ephemera: a scrapbook of snippets cut out of junior boys exams by an unknown Don at Radley in the 1870s. Exams are the horror at the end of every teacher’s year. Object no. 9 Thank you letter, 2011, examined the history of formal exams and external qualifications. But the end of year test existed long before exams were subject to external scrutiny or led to nationally recognised standards. Back in the 1870s, a boy could remain in the same class for years before he passed an exam that allowed him to move up to another class. The teacher tasked with forcing an education into such a boy needed his own methods to retain his sanity. In Radley College Archives is a scrap book of cuttings from exam papers. Did the teachers who collected these feel they were banging their heads against a brick wall, or did they fall about howling with laughter in the Common Room as they added yet another gem to their collection? Here are some of the most sparkling moments as gathered together in Facetiae Radlienses e responsis per examinations factis extracta St Peter’s College 1869
In April 1770 Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown received £200 on account from Sir William Stonhouse of Radley Hall, Berkshire. In December that year Sir William paid another £200, with a further £200 on 3 April 1771. Brown later received a draft on Sir William’s bankers, Messrs Hoare & Co., dated June 9th 1773 for a final payment of £72, which he described in his Accounts Book as ‘a balance of the above account and in full [payment] of account demands.’ The account was then crossed through in the Accounts Book, which probably signifies that the work was completed, paid for and the contract closed. There can be no doubt, therefore, that Capability Brown was employed by Sir William Stonhouse to carry out landscape ‘improvements’ at Radley Hall over four years between 1770 and 1773, with the bulk of the work probably completed within the year April 1770 to April 1771. In the year in which the Tercentenary of the birth of England’s most significant landscape garden designer is being celebrated nationally, it is time to explore the story of Radley’s lost landscape: to examine what remains, discover how it was lost and found again, and, most significantly, to ask ‘What could you buy for £672 from Capability Brown’? Read on >>>
|This is a highly contentious carving. Not only does the word ‘servants’ evoke the class distinctions of the Edwardian era, but the very separation of this group of names on the War Memorial reinforces that separation in contemporary eyes. Yet when it was created it was as an act of deep reverence and honour. Radley is one of very few schools which included the serving staff on its War Memorial. At its dedication in 1924 it was part of the great democratisation in death which saw the creation of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission at the end of World War 1.
The whole debate of what form a War Memorial should take began at Radley as early as January 1917 and was not concluded for another 30 years. In that time the committee had resigned twice, the builders had failed their contract, the architect had died and another war had been fought. Utility or Sentiment? What is a War Memorial all about? … read on >>>
|This is a scrap of paper glued onto a piece of old cardboard, annotated in red and black ink. It is very easy to lose or discard it; extremely easy to overlook it. What it records can be passed by just as easily. Indeed, so used are we to the landscape around us, to the trees, the paths, the pitches that every golfer playing on Radley College Golf Course, every visitor for a school match, every dog-walker and every member of the College, has walked past this with barely a thought. Yet its purpose is grandiose, ambitious, permanent: a grove of eighteen oak trees each planted to commemorate that greatest of cricketing targets – to score a century in a school match. In thirty-seven years only thirteen boys achieved it. This is the planting plan for Century Clump. … The full story|
|Cover designed by Caspar Lumley, K Social, 6.2, with advice from professional designer Mike Brain. The cover celebrates 150 years of publication of the school magazine. How much has changed in that time, and how much stayed the same? The magazine itself seems to have changed out of all recognition, yet still covers the same material – the everyday life of the school. When it was first produced in 1864, the school was just seventeen years old, struggling to survive. The magazine was entirely written by the boys and sales were necessary to cover its own costs, with profits being used to subsidise school sports and the library. 150 years later, it has a print-run of 5000 copies, is distributed free, and is the most prestigious publication produced by the school.… read on|
Some of the objects which are essential to the story of Radley have very little by way of individual history. So the articles about them form a series of ‘mini-objects’. The first of these is the school’s premiere academic award: the Richards Gold Medal. This is a story about the relationships between schoolmasters and schoolboys in the earliest days of Radley… read on