Friday, November 25, 2011

Archive Plans

It is some time since I last posted a blog. Family problems, retirement and the need to reorganise the Archive have left little time. However, now I am able to devote more attention to this and to other aspects of Archive policy and the Archive website.

The last months have been particularly busy. It was very pleasing to see the interest shown on Founder's Day in the Archive display and talk. the O.E. part of the day was a resounding success, with an excellent turnout of O.E.s and their families. Many did come on to the Archive talk, to the extent that we will have to find somewhere larger next year. the highlight were short films, shot in the late 1940s, by John Gaisford and his friends. These were remarkable, not just for the 'blood and thunder' form of the plots, but for the quality of shooting and the way they showed life at Epsom in those days.

Among the highlights of the last few months have been the details of William Wills Robinson's career in New Zealand and the piecing together of his life and achievements. He seems to have introduced Rugby Football to Aukland, New Zealand and appears in the very first teams for cricket here. Gradually the early sports history of the College is coming into focus, even though we have no real records before 1870 ourselves, If anyone knows more, please let me know.

Again I have found out that we have at least one O.E. who was a victim of the Nazi holocaust. I will explain more about this later in the year, by which time my research should have moved on. Obviously it is a particularly sad story, and I hope to write about it in next year's O.E. News. Remembrance Day brings a number of sad stories with it each year. I am trying to record stories about O.E. experiences in the Second World War, partly to use in school on Remembrance Days. Nowadays we have a Field of Remembrance, with each cross named, and researching the details continually brings up sad stories. If you have something to contribute, could you E-mail me the details? Unfortunately research is adding to the death toll from year to year at present, sometimes just confirming deaths, but sometimes finding new ones. If you know of any O.E. who has died in the services since the Second World War, I would be particularly pleased to hear from you.

These absorbing researches have rather taken my eye off the need to build up an Archive website, but now I am focusing on that. I hope to make real progress over the next few weeks and have something to show by Christmas. Initially I will be concentrating on photographs, but other features will follow as quickly as possible. I was pleased to see that Archie Paxton's website was used by our local newspaper, the Guardian, for copy on Remembrance Day - if you have not seen this small website about Archie, who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, do look it up: