School History Available Online

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John Saunders
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Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 6:08 pm
Location: Kingston-upon-Thames

School History Available Online

Postby John Saunders » Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:34 am

I've made the RGS School History available online here as a viewable/downloadable PDF file (5.31 mbs). ... istory.pdf

Its official name is 'The History of the Royal Grammar School High Wycombe 1562-1962' and it was written by two RGS masters Leslie Joseph Ashford (1912-2007) and Christopher Matthew Haworth (1911-1975). Ashford and Haworth were heads of History and Classics respectively at the time of the book's publication (1962), and were two of the most admired members of staff in the school's history. I don't believe the school itself sells physical copies any more (I checked their online shop and there didn't seem to be any on sale). I imagine it went out of print decades ago. So prospective buyers' only hope of securing a copy would be to trawl the second hand market. For this reason I decided to take matters into my own hands and make an online copy.

Ashford wrote the first six chapters, which covered the school's early history up to the death of headmaster George Peachell in 1905, with Haworth writing chapters seven and eight, covering the headmasterships of Arnison and Tucker, both of whom were still alive at the time of the book's publication, and both of whom read the chapters on their respective eras before the book was published.

In the preface (and I'm fairly sure I detect the whimsical style of the much-admired Classics master Haworth), the authors acknowledge the inevitable limitations of such a work...

School History, Preface wrote:Schools are like the old kingdom of Prussia in that their histories are the histories of those who ruled them. Materials for the last hundred years are comparatively abundant, but they are the records of the Governors and of the Headmasters, not of the boys or the assistant masters. For Wycombe, as for other schools, it must be left to fiction to provide the Tom Browns, the Bunters, the Mr. Chips and the Mr. Perrins.

The late authors cannot have envisaged a future in which there would be a completely new form of fiction - social media! I guess it is up to us old boys to supply our own view of the school from the consumers' point of view on places such as this forum. Joking apart, it's a very interesting, if short, work, which I have read through several times.
John Saunders
RGS 1963-70 (personal website