Rhubarb 2020

Gaudy 1943. White marking prevented collisions at night in the blacked-out quad!

ST EDWARD’S r h u b a r b

Dining Hall but more usually in Big School then festivities transferred into large marquees on Upper One but more often in the Quad. Every boy was involved in one way or another, there were displays of all kinds, mass PT on Upper One, swimming/diving in the outside pool, OTC (later CCF) parades, and always cricket matches and rowing races against the OSE. In the evenings there were theatricals, concerts with choirs as large as one hundred singers, with Staff and OSE providing the bass voice balance. Weather always seemed to be right – but on the few occasions it wasn’t, the show went on regardless. Attendances were always in the hundreds and some visitors came from long distances to attend. Whenever possible, outside military/ police bands were invited to play and the local press and Summertown residents were usually present. From 1929 until his final Gaudy in 1954, Kendall always ensured his guest speaker and presenter was judiciously chosen, including other Headmasters, when HRH the Princess Royal agreed to open the Memorial Cowell Gates onto the Woodstock Road. She would be the first member of the royal family to ever visit the School and also the first woman to ever perform the task of presenting the prizes. Everything changed with WW2, although Kendall tried to keep the tradition going, while fully realising that the OSE and many parents were otherwise engaged. He called them ‘Pocket-Gaudies’ or ‘Ersatz-Commems’ as so few turned up: petrol was scarce, and curfew made long distance travel impossible. But there was still cricket and rowing on view, ‘war-time teas’ and a warm welcome for all who made the effort to come. Kendall’s last Gaudy in 1954 was an emotional one and he again presented the prizes (he had booked the Archbishop of Canterbury two years before, who sadly was ill on the day!) as well as opening the new Memorial leading Oxbridge figures, Bishops, very high-ranking servicemen, politicians and perhaps most important three Chairmen of Barclay’s Bank (the School’s bankers!). His real coup was in 1939


Gaudy 1943, white marking prevented collisions at night in the blacked-out Quad!

Master. Dr Walter Stanton, built up the standards of the School Choirs and musical talents were displayed as often as possible when parents came to the School. Music later became part of the Gaudy tradition. The Gaudies after the arrival of the sixth Warden, Henry Kendall, in 1925 would be very different, like many other things at St Edward’s. He bided his time, then in 1928 brought back Gaudy in the Summer Term, on this occasion allowing himself the stage as the main speaker

and prize giver. The whole event was updated and in the years that followed would provide some of the most memorable summer festivals that OSE can recall. One day stretched into three and the events were, compared with what had gone before, lavish, extensive and impressive.

One day stretched into three and the events were, compared with what had gone before, lavish, extensive and impressive

Chapel services still formed a solid basis, the prize-giving was held in either the

Gaudy 1985


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