The Archives Winter Term Update

As Christmas draws closer and we all prepare to break up for the festive holidays, here in the archives we thought that we would reflect on the previous term and what we have been up to!

We start with the form 3 enquiry skills project. Similar to last year, this was a series of short lessons delivered by the library staff, encouraging pupils to expand upon their academic skills such as research and referencing. The archives ones again played a key role within this project, creating booklets on Old Oakhamians who died at the Battle of the Somme for pupils to use as the basis of their research. The Somme was chosen because the pupils were encouraged to read the book Dear Jelly in preparation for the project. Each Old Oakhamian had a booklet on their life at school and their military career printed.

In conjunction with this, the archives created an in depth display in the library for pupils and staff across the school to learn about the Battle of the Somme and consider the question of whether the human cost of the Somme was worth the territorial, military, and technological gains. We received lovely comments from and staff and pupils.

On the theme of displays, we have been busy creating half-termly displays in our reception cabinet. We began the winter term celebrating the rugby world cup in Japan with a display on the school rugby team’s 1977 trip to Japan.

This was followed an exhibition focusing on Peter Witchell, previous head of music at the school, and some of his Christmas compositions/ his impact on Christmas music at Oakham School.

Our last display of the year has been a very special one, helping to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Smallbone Library. Not only have the archives researched and produced a new booklet on the history of a library within the school, but we created a display within the library itself centred on the theme of a pupil’s scrapbook of library memories.

On the 3rd December, a celebration evening was held in which Nick Poole (CEO of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals), Frank Cottrell-Boyce (award winning author and screenwriter, and who, with Danny Boyle, devised the Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics), and finally Dr Huw Davies ( Lecturer in Digital Education and co-convenor of the British Sociological Association’s Digital Sociology Study Group) gave a series of lectures on the theme of ‘enabling understanding through informational and recreational reading’.

Our ambitious cataloguing project has been continuing at an excellent pace. The aim is to recatalogue the whole school collection, reorganising and creating an effective numbering system for the collection, and finally collating all of the metadata onto an industry standard catalogue. We have finished the first phase of the project which was box listing the collection. This is a quick survey of each item in the collection so that we have a better idea of how many items we have, what the themes within the collection are, and ensuring that we have the key basic information for every item e.g. a title, date, location, description, quantity, tags and key people.  Currently, we are beginning to review the whole collection and create a tree hierarchical structure in which the whole archive’s collection will be organised within. From here, we are going to create a numbering system which will reflect the current collection’s structure, but also help for future archival collecting purpose and expansion. This is such an important step that we want to really focus upon in order to give a stable longevity to archive storage and collecting.

You may have spotted us at some Old Oakhamian events this term. The Old Oakhamian President’s Dinner was held on the 23rd November and there were lots of facsimile photographs from the past on display for our OOs to reminisce at.

We always love having enquiries from inside and outside of the school community. We can help support researchers, genealogists or those interest within the history of the school. If you have any enquiries or suggestions for future blogs/ twitter posts/ Oakhamian magazine features, please do get in touch at

If you are not already, please do follow Oakham School archives on twitter. Not only do we post interesting facts and items from the collection, but it is also the place to stay up to date with school archive news and new blogs. We also take part in twitter hashtag events such as Explore Your Archives.

Thank you so much for your support throughout 2019 and we look forward to engaging with you all in 2020!

Merry Christmas from the Archives’ team.


Other News...