Rhubarb 2020

ST EDWARD’S r h u b a r b

Library. There was a turnout of well over 600, with many OSE included. The Gaudies of the fifties and sixties gradually built up to pre-war levels as rationing eased and strawberries and cream returned. The mass displays gave way to more specific exhibitions concentrating on the diverse interests within the School, the three-day format was shortened and attendance by the pupils to the Gaudy Chapel services was no longer compulsory. Music played an ever bigger part, including performances from the various School orchestras and bands quite apart from the choirs and choral singers often provided the rousing finale. Warden Fisher, like his predecessor, used his contacts to coax such celebrities as Field Marshal Montgomery, Sir George Mallaby and Sir John Betjeman to be guests of honour. In 1963, the School’s centenary, there was another huge celebration taking place over four days. It was a real ‘Red Carpet’ affair with several dinners, firework displays, ‘Son et Lumière’ in the floodlit Quad, the band of the Royal Marines, Centenary Concert, Chapel Services, marching displays, gymnastic and swimming galas and a flypast by members of the Air Section of the CCF. There was the presence of the ex-Archbishop of Canterbury and no less than three other OSE Bishops! Between 1500 and 2000 guests took part. In 1968 John Harding-Davies (OSE), who went on to be a cabinet minister in


Gaudy circa 1950

a Thatcher Government, became the first alumnus to present the prizes. Through to the present day the Gaudies have remained the main date in the School calendar and as the School has grown and moved into a co- educational establishment, changes have been made

guests now have to be accommodated and the number of attractions include the Arts in many forms including theatre and dance as well as music but with the traditional events remaining. In 2013 the 150th anniversary was celebrated in very grand style with

Everything changed with WW2... petrol was scarce and curfew made long distance travel impossible

to allow for the number of extra guests and changing trends. Large numbers of

3000 visitors from all over the world descending on Oxford for the three packed days. It was a massive event which took 18 months to organise and was a great success. The weather co-operated fully – concerts were held on a specially constructed stage in the Quad with smaller stages elsewhere, cricket was played, ears were pricked as to what the VIII were doing at Henley, the band of the RAF played, there was a flypast, the Science building was officially named as was the latest girls’ boarding House and of course there was a bouncy castle. 2020 was a unique Gaudy as it never happened in reality, but virtually, a combination of creative minds at the School using the latest technology to ensure the Coronavirus didn’t disrupt the annual festivities any more than it needed to. One imagines Simeon would have been both dazzled and delighted by the outcome.

Gaudy 2013


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