Radley Then & Now
Talks and events about the history of Radley College, led by the College Archivist.
The Marionette Society
With its roots in the 1940s, the Marionette Society produced more famous ORs than any other aspect of Radley life - from Oscar winners to professional puppeteers, theatre directors to senior civil servants. It is the only society which encompassed all the creative and performance arts - sculpture, costumes, lighting, woodworking, sound, orchestra. The only society to perform complete Mozart operas. For more than 40 years it dominated, indeed engulfed, the lives of those involved, boys, dons, musicians, Radley's resident girls. The modern Radleian may be baffled by this obsession with 'puppets' (Puppets?) but here is the chance to hear from the puppet-masters themselves.
Rugger Will Be Played
In 1823, Webb Ellis picked up the ball at Rugby School, and ran with it. This controversial action is being celebrated throughout the world in this bicentenary year of the game of rugby. Radley had developed its own game – 12 good men, engaging in puddings and squashes. How different would the world be if Radley Football had triumphed in place of Rugby Football? It sacrificed its own football game in favour of the new rules of Association in the 1870s but already there was a movement to go to the dark side (or into the light, depending on your point of view). In 1914, the Warden published (probably) the most controversial notice ever pinned up in Covered Passage: RUGGER WILL BE PLAYED. Association was banned. No debate. No looking back. Radley Then & Now: Rugger Will Be Played took place via Zoom on 1st November 2023. The talk was led by Archivist, Clare Sargent, with contributions from the College’s Sub-Warden (and former rugby coach), Niall Murphy, and Tutor & Master in Charge of Rugby, Nick Wood. We are grateful for the thoughts and memories that were shared by members of the community during the event.
The Dons' Plays
This Radley Then & Now event celebrates 100 years since the very first Dons' Play at Radley College. You can't keep a good don down. In 1923, the Dons’ Plays became a Radley institution, and so began 100 years of truly bad puns and jolly dodgy costumes. The most popular performances were written in-house. There were pantomimes in the 1940s by Theo Cocks with music composed by Ceddie Borgnis; in the 1960s until the 1980s, Peter Way wrote a series of 'masterspieces' with music composed by Donald Paine. Join us as we look back over a century of total role reversal. What do you remember? And can you still hum the tunes? Radley Then & Now: The Dons' Play took place via Zoom on 18 April 2023. The talk was led by Archivist, Clare Sargent, with contributions from the College’s Director of Drama, Victoria Buse, and former don, Hamish Aird. We are grateful for the thoughts and memories that were shared by members of the community during the event.
Radley in the 1940s
In this virtual event 'A Glimpse into the Archives - 1940s', we look at this eventful decade: the impact of war on the College, royal visits, and life as a student. Hosted by Radley College Archivist, Clare Sargent, and compered by Radleian Society Manager, Caroline Monaghan. Recorded on Wednesday 11th November 2020.
Covered Passage: the Heart of the College
On 1st November, 23 members of the Radleian Society community joined Radley Archivist, Clare Sargent, for an online oral history event looking at the rich history of Covered Passage. We charted the early history of Covered Passage as a route between Big School and Chapel, and some of the early escapades that were staged there, through to the Amnesty Cage of the 2000s. Clare shared an array of historic images, showing the evolution of the architecture, and also plans for the future: a timeline of Radley College history, which will be installed soon. Those on the call added hugely to the event by sharing their memories of Covered Passage, and reminiscing together to paint a vivid picture of life at the school in the 1950s and 60s. These memories are very valuable to the school, and our online Archives events provide an opportunity for us to gather them for future generations.
A Beautiful Place: Radley's Changing Landscape
This Radley Then & Now event focused on the grounds and landscape of the College. A Beautiful Place: Radley’s Changing Landscape took place via Zoom on 2nd March 2023. The talk was led by Archivist, Clare Sargent, with contributions for the College’s Estates Bursar, David Anderson, and the Director of the Countryside Centre, Charlie Herbert, and plenty of valuable input from members of the community who joined the event. The talk explored the more than one thousand years of history of the College landscape, including evidence of medieval farming visible through modern LIDAR imagery, landscaping by Capability Brown, and Radley’s future plans for sustainable energy production, and new woodland planting. It was wonderful to have so many join us for this wonderful exploration of the College’s grounds and landscape, and we are grateful for the thoughts and memories that they shared on the call. View a video of the event, with slides, on YouTube.