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 >>>
Reconstructing Capability Brown’s work at Radley Hall: North & South views
Reconstructing Capability Brown’s work at Radley Hall: romantic and picturesque – serpentine walk and Gothic buildings
Reconstructing Capability Brown’s work at Radley Hall: fish pond into lake: water features from formal to picturesque
Loss & Rediscovery: Capability Brown’s landscape at Radley
image © Royal Horticultural Society, Lindley Library
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
Object No 10 was a riddle. Object No 11 continues the theme. It is one of the great mysteries of Radley. When this series was first proposed, object No 11 was among the first items to be nominated. It is so iconic that its inclusion in ‘The history in 100 objects’ was cited by the Warden in his end of term assembly. But the object itself baffles. Its hold over the average Radleian is inexplicable to the average adult human. The very photo shows just how unappetising this commodity really is. Yet it is a commodity. It has been used as a reward, as a bribe, in negotiations over lessons, as the impetus behind a strike. It is the stuff of nostalgia. This is a tale that encompasses gluttony, embezzlement, debt and bullying.
It is a soft bread roll filled with minced chicken in mayonnaise, with the minutest amount of lettuce garnish imaginable. All hail, the mystery of the chicken roll. THE FULL STORY
I have four faces, but when I was born I had no face at all.
I am an icon, but what I represent has changed with the years.
I am a landmark, but I cannot be seen from any vantage point.
I have four courts but only one remains.
I have three bells named after Christian saints and
I have been shot at dawn.
I have been a stage.
I have been a roundabout.
I am central.
Boys went unfed, staff unpaid, beds unbought, to pay for me.
I am the oldest.
I was the first.
Who am I? – Click here for the answer
22 A*s in Maths and 6 + 4 more respectively in Further and Additional – a really impressive performance, set alongside the most important statistic in my eyes – 60/62 grades were A*/A/B in Single Maths, a truly amazing statistic. Very well done to you and to all the team.
An apparently simple postcard from the Director of Studies to the Head of an Academic Department, penned in AER’s signature purple ink – instantly recognisable to anyone at Radley from 1993 until 2012. On the face of it, a casual note. Digging deeper, it reveals a complex story about a fundamental debate in education over the last 160 years. Object no 7 covered the school curriculum before the advent of public exams; object no 8 looked at the role of an extra-curricular academic discipline and the impact of the enthusiasm of individual teachers. Object no 9 looks at the day-to-day business of education: the formal curriculum and the place of comparative testing between schools for pupils to achieve measurable qualifications – the public exams for A Levels. But the story of exams, results, league tables, only skims the surface of this postcard. For this is the story of exams from the ‘other’ side – not from the pupil’s point of view, concerned with the results of an individual – but from the teachers’ side. Although the postcard is addressed from one individual to another, it is about teamwork, and about saying ‘Thank you.’ For it acknowledges that, although not all taught the actual A Level classes, all the members of a department have contributed equally over a pupil’s career, and all are to be congratulated and thanked. To Read More Click Here
The Transit of Venus 2004 credit Charles Barclay
No 8 in our list of objects is an event rather than a physical object. An event so elusive, so transient, that you can blink – and miss it. And yet an event so regular that the challenge to record it, and to measure it accurately, has moved empires. This is a story of the shrinking world and the expanding universe. A story that links James Cook’s great voyage to Tahiti in the 1760s to measure the distance between the Earth and the Sun, with Removes sitting in a classroom at Radley in the 2000s using the global network to harness a telescope in Hawaii to photograph the births and deaths of stars in other galaxies.
This is the story of a hobby; of long nights spent star-gazing; of the influence of great teachers on keen pupils; of the pursuit of academic excellence outside the formal curriculum; and of an event that no one now living will ever see again. THE FULL STORY
St Peter’s College
Sept. 9 1857
My dear Parents
I hope that you will excuse our not writing to you by the last mail when you hear how it happened. We [were] just going out to spend the day at a gentleman’s house the other side of Oxford, and our ponies were at the door when we remembered that it was the day for writing and so Charley just wrote a line like you told us to say that we were well. To your question about having a watch, I shall answer no because I should never keep it in order. All the names of all the people who are in danger out in India are put up by the Warden on the chapel. I hope that we shall stop here next holiday for then we shall be able to ride. I suppose that the rainy season will begin soon, it seems as if we were going to have a rainy season here for we have had nothing but rain for the last two or three days. We do much harder work in our form now such as Caesar and Ovid which are both rather harder Latin than we used to do. I must now say good-bye with love to you both,
Your affectionate son
PS. Charley told me to tell you that he has not had time to write.
A standard letter home from the younger of two brothers. It includes everything two loving parents could expect from a thirteen year-old: excuses about not writing, obsession with ponies, answer to a question about what he wants for his birthday (on 25th September), talk about the weather, academic progress, more excuses from his fifteen year-old older brother. But this letter home will travel by overland mail, as will their reply, and although Gerald Talbot writes home every two weeks (whenever he is not too busy) it will take nearly a month to arrive, and another month before he receives a reply. That is, if he ever does receive a reply. For Gerald’s father is stationed in Calcutta as Secretary to Lord Canning, Governor-General of India, and news about the Sepoy Rebellion which started at Meerut on 10th May 1857 has been filtering through to Britain since June 9th. To Read More Click Here