A view of Radley – 1913 – J.H. Kirkby

The Archives contain the foundation documents, the diaries, statutes, inventories and letters of the 1840s and 1850s, which were the day-to-day working matter of the school. They were assembled by A.K.Boyd during the 1930s and 1940s for his history of Radley for its first 100 years: Radley College, 1847-1947. Blackwell, 1947, and the subsequent 150th anniversary history by Christopher Hibbert. His successor as Archivist, Tony Money, built on those foundations and created an unparalleled collection of material relating to the extra-curricular life of the school relating to drama, music, the societies and the Socials and in particular to sport, which resulted in his own books Manly and muscular diversions: public schools and the nineteenth century sporting revival. Duckworth, 1997, and Football at Radley, The College, 2002. The Archive Centre was named in his honour in 2007.

Both the Library and Archive actively collect material to enhance the collections and to fill in gaps. Over the last year the Library has acquired the only known copy of The Radley psalter, 1847. As well as collecting all ephemera, such as concert and theatre programmes, the Archives receives regular gifts from the Video Unit. Between 2004 and 2006, the Archives also received three major sets of papers: the letters, notes and photographs of C.P.T.Wrinch, deposited by his daughter Charlotte Roueche; from Jim Hare, formerly Head of Drama, the albums containing all his production notes, photographs and programmes; and papers and publications of Jonathan Griffin, deposited by his literary executor, Anthony Rudolf of the Menard Press.

A Library and an Archive are both living units which carry the past to inform the future. There are several projects in hand or planned to bring the wealth of the collection to current Radleians and beyond. Recent discussions with the National Archives have highlighted how rich a collection Radley owns which has a much wider remit than just the school: for example, the log-books of the Natural History Society have both national and local significance being an exact and unbroken record since 1884; whilst Tony Money’s latest research into the influence of the ‘Radley idea’ upon the other public schools of the mid-nineteenth century demonstrates the wealth of material in the unpublished diaries of the earliest Wardens.

The digital archive.  The full text of The Radleian magazine, the College registers,  the earliest histories, the War Memorial databases and many photographs can be accessed here: Radley Archives online

Opening hours: By appointment only

All enquiries contact The Archivist.