Friday, March 30, 2012

End of Term

It seems amazing that, just a few weeks ago, we were in the depths of winter. For the last two weeks we have been enjoying unseasonably bright and often warm conditions, so that everyone seems to have decided that 'global warming' is to blame. As everyone goes home for the Easter holiday they look forward to a continuation of this barbecue weather - it's almost as though we are into exam weather already! Not so long ago, Easters were very different.
I remember myself the great excitement of getting off on Adventurous Training, either to Snowdonia or the Lake District, certain of a week or two of the snow conditions which made such expeditions truly arduous and exciting. When else did one use ice axes and crampons? This year there is no Adventurous Training - a truly sad casualty of the times - especially as it would be Dr. Huxter's last year.
If one looks further back, winters were truly cold. There are the photographs of the great Roman fort built in the snow by boys in 1916. One is on the Archive Website. It's difficult to believe that it was possible to ice skate on the flooded fields around the College quite regularly, but there is a bundle of skates hanging in the Archive Store that prove the point. Lately the Archive acquired a wonderful photograph from Wilson Steps of the scene on the field in 1963 - truly an Arctic winter. Compared to that, even a hosepipe ban seems a small sacrifice for this wonderful weather.
The Archive has had a truly busy term, but now the worst is past - the Archive Website has properly happened in so far as one can ever say. It is there, though what is there is just a shadow of what has still to evolve. I still have much to add, but the framework is in most respects complete and the additions are the work of future years. It should be possible for the Website to mirror the development of the Archive, showing something of the researches we do from year to year. Next term the website will continue to grow, but the emphasis can be on other things.
I am told that, in May, we will at last have access to the In-Touch database, created for Development and the O.E.s. This should for the first time allow us to access the careers of pupils arriving after 1955. It will open the possibility of cataloguing the Archive in concert with the work of other departments, which should be a great advantage to all of us. This will also allow us to appeal for more materials, which can now be acquired and dealt with digitally. the future is just getting a bit nearer in the study of the past.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dom Wulstan

Do see the obituary for Dom Wulstan, who is to be buried today. The obituary is on the Farnborough Abbey blog: I thought it a wonderful obituary to an extraordinary life. Dom Wulstan visited the College at least twice in my time here and preached in Chapel with such humility and certainty in faith that I found the experience most memorable. To think he was one of our boys...
I'm still making slow progress on the Website, working on the 1920s and 1930s, which I hope to finish today. I was very pleased to be able to show the website at Headington School in Oxford, on Wednesday, where we are building a completely new Archive in the eaves of a very large teaching block. It should be open in September, and includes moveable shelving and air conditioning - truly this is out of our league. Recruiting for an Archivist is to take place quite soon, if anyone has the required skills, and a book is expected for their 100th Anniversary in 2015!
Much to do, so will sign off at this point.