Reflecting on Untold Stories with the Warden

In this latest video for our upcoming anniversary book, Warden John Moule joins author and Archivist, Clare Sargent, to discuss its place in Radley’s history and how it reflects and examines the central principles of the College from 1847 to today.

Watch their conversation

The book can only be ordered direct from Radley College


Untold Stories – about the book

The cover revealed

Cover Story
We are pleased to reveal the cover design of our upcoming 175th anniversary book, Untold Stories.This book, to be published in March 2022 to coincide with the anniversary of the historic meeting of the founders in Turl Street, can be preordered at an early purchase discount price here

Clare Sargent talks about the book in a preview video here

Copies can be ordered direct from Radley College

Untold Stories – Sacred music

Continuing our series of videos previewing some of the ‘Untold Stories’ of Radley that will feature in our upcoming 175th anniversary book, Clare Sargent talks about the place of hymns at the College, including a rare recording for the BBC of Evensong at Radley from 1956 here

Disclaimer William Ferguson was more normally called Harold and we apologise for this mistake in this recording.

Radley 175 – then and now

As we begin a year (or more) of celebrations for our 175th birthday, hear the story of the first one hundred years of Radley College told by Radleians in 1947. ‘Radley Retrospect’ – the Centenary Pageant – was written and performed by pupils and staff.

Part 1 – 1847 – founders

Part 2 – Financial disaster

Part 3 – Wars

Part 4 – Centenary

Sweets were still rationed but the prefects clubbed together to buy a box of chocolates for HRH Princess Elizabeth when she had tea with them for the Centenary

My Virtual School – rain. 4.5.2020

4 June 2020. Today it rained (just a few minutes) for the first time in 10 weeks. Some councils have urged people to water any young trees in worry over the drought. Threats of hosepipe and paddling pool bans have been greeted with derision, some exhorting us to ignore anything which might result in more restrictions on how people live their lives. Being rational is not popular just now.

Lockdown begins to relax. A new directive last week: we can now meet in groups of up to 6. A welcome change on the hottest week of the year. Picnics everywhere. People swimming in the river. Suddenly the frenetic activity of constant movement, walking, jogging, running, cycling has given way to sitting. And, sadly, to a complete reversal of how we honour the countryside. Everywhere has been glowing, pristine and untouched. Now rubbish is swept into the current. Burnt rectangles in the grass and piles of tipped-out charcoal reveal illicit BBQs. The dog, wet from a refreshing early morning dip in the river, investigated a tent on the Abbey meadows. Two bodies entwined inside.

MacDonald’s reopened yesterday for drive thru orders. The queue of cars caused Abingdon’s first traffic jam in 10 weeks. Innocent husband expressed shock that it was only 10.30 in the morning – not lunch or dinner! The same still there at 3.30 in the afternoon. The return to normality isn’t encouraging so far. An advert from a party company ‘Order your end of lockdown party equipment NOW!!!! (but don’t use it yet)’ didn’t encourage either.

Everyone is travelling further and further to escape the confinements of lockdown. Now we meet very few on our usual walks. But the hum of activity is increasing. The deep, deep silence and stillness of 4 weeks ago is fading. The golfers are back on the golf course; little private planes are flying.

School has just completed the half-term holiday. Much needed by all. Teaching and learning via screens is immensely draining. Some year groups in primary schools have started back, amid great controversy. So far, reports seem to be good – particularly from the point of view of the children allowed to interact with their friends again. And for some parents finally given freedom for an hour or so. Some prep schools won’t make it back. News for the private sector is bleak for those which were only just surviving. Some are exploring a new business model: reports that Eton’s online courses have been accessed by more than 26,000. And confirmation for us that the boys won’t be back before September – it’s a long, long haul.

The hedgerows  are full of poppies, daisies, roses and honeysuckle. In Waitrose carpark, still queuing patiently, the blossom has gone and the cherries are turning red.

© Clare Sargent

My Virtual School – coronavirus changed it. 26.5.2020

26 May 2020. My photography group’s challenge for this week is ‘coronavirus changed it.’ So far there are photos of empty motorways, families holding hands against glass doors, shopping queues, the chains on a school gate, deserted beaches, neighbours sitting on their garden walls to chat, people learning new skills. I have two potential entries: a totally empty deep blue summer sky or a car parked on the verge, almost engulfed in un-mown grass and weeds.

Prompted by dire warnings from the AA I checked my own car. It has been parked at school since 20 March. A nearly flat tyre and low on engine coolant but  (just about) a live battery. A slow drive around and around campus to re-charge it and get the brakes working until I was pulled over by one of the gardeners to ask what I was doing. Then parked it again. Another thing the virus changed – the two car family.

The truthfulness of blogs has been in the news. An aspect of our virtual world – who knows where anybody is in reality? We meet and teach and work wherever we happen to be, and we can disguise that. Does it matter? Somehow if somebody says their blog is about life in one place is it less true if it was written somewhere else? Surely all bloggers self-censor? I know I do. Little omissions, gaps in the text, conscious of the reader. No blog is a personal, locked diary hidden under a pillow.

Today the hedgerows were full of wild roses. And the moon a perfect crescent. But I’m not saying which hedgerows or what time I saw the moon.

© Clare Sargent