Author: archives602

No. 16. Receipt for £672. 1770

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

 

No. 15. Equality in death: the Servants’ War Memorial, 1924

Servants memorial hi res

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 >>>

No. 14. Planting Plan 1948

Century Clump

Century Clump

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