These letters were written by Charles and Gerald Talbot, brothers who entered Radley in 1854, under the Wardenship of William Sewell. They were aged 12 and 11 respectively when they first joined the school. Charles became Senior Prefect and a member of the boat crew. Gerald rowed in the VIII and played for the Radley Football 12. They each left aged 18. The letters were written to the boys’ parents in India. Because of the distance they spent most of their holidays at Radley under Sewell’s guardianship.
The original letters are part of a bound collection marked on the cover ‘Family Overland Letters, 1856-1857′ which were sent to the boys’ father, the Hon. Gerald Talbot, when he was Private Secretary to Lord Canning, Governor General of India. The Hon. Gerald Talbot became a Trustee of Radley College with Colonel Moorsom after the financial crash in 1861 which resulted in the resignation of William Sewell and the near-failure of the school itself.
The letters were sent to A.K. Boyd in 1951 by Mrs Chetwynde-Talbot, widow of the eldest son of Charles Talbot. She allowed some original letters to be kept in the Archive and for a transcript to be made of all those relevant to Radley.
Wednesday 15th 1856
Today we had our usual game at Prisoners Base and the lower (?) class of which Ge[rald] is one drilled before dinner. After Prisoner’s Base I went on the flypole and a had a jolly go on it. There are four of us who when we get on together can go the highest jump on it. The four are Holland, Biscoe mi, myself and Orme mi and we are a sort of crew of the flypole and go an enormous height on the flypole I should think at a rough guess about 7 foot. [Charles]
The four boys playing here are William Holland and Henry Biscoe, who both received citations in the Liber Argenteus and Henry Orme whose copy of the Radley Psalter has recently been purchased.