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Archive lifts the lid on Wellington School's long history
6:00pm Thursday 24th October 2013 in Devon
LETTERS from a former prime minister, pupils’ handwritten accounts and old photographs... they all make up an archive chronicling the history of Wellington School.
Historians at Somerset Heritage Centre have been trawling through items dating back to 1799 and they’ve thrown up some interesting finds.
Among them are letters from Sir Stanley Baldwin – the country’s only prime minister to serve under three monarchs – and R D Blackmore, author of the famous Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor.
Archivist Liz Grant said: “We were approached by the school and we said yes, we would like to do it.
“It has taken quite a long time but I haven’t been working on it every day. I was looking at it on and off for 18 months.
“I really like the old photographs and the students’ memoirs – they give a better insight in to what school life was like, especially under former headmaster George Corner.
“He polarised the students; some loved him, some hated him.”
The collection charts pupil records, including an account book dating back to 1880 detailing individual fees and expenses such as school uniform.
A diary containing details of school punishments and holiday activities and photographs showing the carving of pew ends in the school’s chapel during the 1930s were also discovered.
The chapel, which stands today, was funded by subscription in memory of past pupils who lost their lives during the First World War.
Of particular interest to current headmaster Martin Reader is the file of Mr Corner, which details the burial place of each student lost in the Great War.
Mr Reader added: “We were delighted when the heritage centre offered to look after our archive. The archivists have done a thoroughly professional job in cataloguing it.
“The relationship between the school and Wellington has been intertwined for over 175 years and many of our archives give a fascinating insight into Wellington, Taunton and Somerset throughout that time.
“By taking on the archive, it means that an important historical resource is open to all and not just a few interested Wellingtonians.”
The archive lives at Somerset Heritage Centre, Brunel Way, Norton Fitzwarren, and is available for anyone to look at. Book an appointment on 01823-278805.
- Do you have fond memories of Wellington School? Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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