Rhubarb 2020

ST EDWARD’S r h u b a r b

SUMMER GAUDIES A H I S T O R I C A L P E R S P E C T I V E Chris Nathan, (G, 1954-1957) Archivist


T he first School Gaudies commenced as soon as the move to Summertown was made in 1872-3 and at first were held in spring, summer and winter. Each was an opportunity for prize giving of different kinds, but the summer event was the main occasion when parents, friends and, later, OSE would attend in ever greater numbers. To add some confusion, the early Gaudies were called by different names including ‘St. Edward’s Day’ and ‘Commemoration’ or ‘Commem’. It wasn’t until the 1930s that Warden Henry Kendall finally decided that there would

be two specific events in the School calendar, the Summer Gaudy, usually held in either June or July, aimed at parents and families at the end of the School year – and the Winter Commemoration (‘Commem’) in November to remember the fallen

continually building, leasing then buying land and slowly growing pupil numbers, the Gaudies in the Summer Terms were events not to be missed. The School was out to impress not only parents and prospective parents, but also the dignitaries of Oxford and the local citizenry of Summertown and surrounding area. There was a regular format for the annual Gaudy which

1913 was the School’s fiftieth

anniversary and quite naturally the Gaudy that year was a

sumptuous affair. Over 500 guests

came to Oxford and the School was ‘filled to utmost capacity’

and to welcome back OSE. Two separate occasions for two key audiences. In the years up to the Great War, during which the School was

included the traditional prize-giving speeches from the Warden and those in high office at the School, cricket matches, rowing races and the tea party in the Quad (weather permitting) were key attractions. After 1910 the Corps would parade at various times as well. Chapel services would be central to everything, with three services offered and usually very well attended and compulsory for the pupils. In certain years there were good reasons for Gaudies to be much larger events than normal, such as the opening of the Chapel in 1877 when the Bishop of Oxford was present and 400 guests attended.

Gaudy 1899, the earliest known picture


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