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28th June 2021

An Archives Year in Review

September 2020 – July 2021 has been a turbulent year with the pandemic still raging and lockdowns meaning that school life has had to adapt to these new times. Despite frequent stop starts, the Archives have achieved a lot of the past year and we are excited to share some of our behind the scenes work with you.

Cataloguing Project

We have begun our cataloguing project of the Archives in 2018 and are pleased to say that COVID has not slowed us down. In September we had settled upon a new numbering system and began transferring our data from our audit spreadsheet into what we call the new box list. The data from the old spreadsheet was organised in the new list according to the new series, sub- series etc. defined in our hierarchical tree diagram. This diagram is a snapshot of the key themes and collections that we have. It helps to show how all of our records are inter-related as well as helping us physically and digitally organise, number and store the collection.

Whilst we were waiting for our new cataloguing software to be installed, we began the long but important step of reorganising the collection. Using the new box list, we moved items from their old boxes, gave them a number according to the new numbering system, and then stored them in brand new, acid free storage boxes and folders. Now every item in the collection is numbered and the physical storage accurately represents what is seen on our digital catalogue. We are still in the process of buying new storage materials for the archives and are pleased to say that we are about 1/3 – 1/2 way through the collection. The new storage will help preserve the collections for future use, reducing the pollutants and lux that can get to documents, and ensuring that the collection is not reacting with the acidity in normal cardboard boxes!

The new, reorganised Archive shelves.

With ATOM installed, we have embarked on phase three of our project which will see the collection be catalogued fully and made available for all to see online. Our archives catalogue can already be viewed here: https://accesstomemory.oakham.rutland.sch.uk/index.php/. As time goes on, more and more items and files will be added (and hopefully some digital versions of items too!).


Have you visited our Libguides site? If not, be sure to check it out after finishing this post! https://bit.ly/3eoiGaf.

Our Libguides has continued to go from strength to strength this year. Over the course of the year we have finished our biographies of Old Oakhamians who fought in all conflicts since the Second Sikh War, including those who fought and died during the First and Second World War.

Due to the pandemic, we have had fewer visitors to Oakham School Archives. So we asked ourselves how we could still provide an exhibition for OOs and the public from a far. Thus our video exhibitions were born. Any display that we produced for our display cabinet have been reproduced digitally with a video accompanying it. So far, we have covered topics of sport, Remembrance Day, physics and the IB diploma.

A page from our IB exhibition on Libguides. 

We have our first major display specifically targeting A Level students on Post War Oakham 1945 – 1954. This section of our website looks at what Oakham School was like immediately after World War Two and how the changes in Britain and the world were reflected in the Oakham School community. To help teachers in lessons, we produced a source book to accompany the exhibition.

In the Spring term 2021, we launched our education and wellbeing pages. These pages contain a variety of activities for use inside and outside of lessons. Our major education collection is centred on Old Oakhamians and the First World War, with activities include drawing, source analysis, and creative writing. With so many wonderful pencil drawings in the Oakhamians Magazines from the 1970s and 80s, we have given you the opportunity to colour these in and turn them into your own pieces of art for the wall. There are also some fun word searches to do!

An example of the archives’ educational material developed in the past year. 

Lastly, we remembered the Duke of Edinburgh in a special exhibition looking back at the many occasions where the Duke visited Oakham School. We are lucky to have such a rich photographic history of the Duke’s visit and this is shown through the exhibition.


Be sure to follow us on Twitter – @OakhamArch – as we share fun facts and items from the collection. This year, our major social media campaign was #fromthearchive and looked at a wide spectrum of school life from Latin to chapel and trips.

The Archives’ twitter page.


In 2021/22, Oakham School will be celebrating 50 years of co-education and the Archives have been very busy planning three digital/ physical exhibitions to commemorate this milestone. Along with other school departments, there will be lots of events happening throughout the year so stay tuned to both the Archives and main school news to hear about the exciting events coming your way.


We have still been busy this year creating physical and digital exhibitions for everyone to enjoy. Our topics this year have included sports, physics at Oakham School, and the IB diploma. Our physical displays can be seen in the school reception and you can view of exhibition videos and digital items on our libguides page.

The Archives’ Winter term exhibition on sports at Oakham School.

Enquiries and Accessions

Anyone can contact the Archives with a question or request. We receive many lovely emails and are always happy to help. The easiest way to contact us is via email: archivesuser@oakham.rutland.sch.uk.

We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has donated something to the Archives over the past year. We have accessioned many items, both physically and digitally, and every piece helps to build our knowledge of the history of the school. We have been keenly collecting material relating to Oakham School and the pandemic and have recently received a major donation relating to Hambleton house.

BAFs Photographs

This term, we took the BAFs cricket photographs off the walls as many were fading a little in the light. We digitised all the photographs and printed facsimiles of them. These new reprints were then glued onto new backing boards and then replaced in the frames. Now the photographs are back rehanging in BAFs and the originals are safely stored in the archives.  

A sneak peek of the newly displayed BAFs photographs.

Thank you for reading!

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