Proud of its history, but with a strong sense of the future - The Worcester Observer

Proud of its history, but with a strong sense of the future

Worcester Editorial 5th Mar, 2015 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016   0

STANDING proud in its 120-acre grounds, Malvern College will forever be known for helping former students such as C.S Lewis and Jeremy Paxman reach their prominence of today.

But behind the striking exterior, it is the school’s contribution from 1942 to 1945 which had greater significance on the wider community and played its part in safeguarding the future of the country.

After the outbreak of the Second World War – in 1939 – the college was used by the Royal Navy and Free French forces, and its students and staff were evacuated to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. Three years later the school was commandeered by The Admiralty and used as a base for Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE).

TRE was the main organisation for infra-red detection for heat seeking missiles.

Along with a visit from the Queen Mother on its centenary celebration, this is just a small sliver of the history the college is steeped in – but it was the future of the historic school which excited headmaster Antony Clark.

“We value our traditions and deep roots,” Mr Clark, who was been headmaster for six years, said. “But we are also a dynamic school which is forward looking and seeking to further our mission to be the best co-educational school in the UK.

“It has been a very exciting time of growth and development for the school and clearly we have reached a very important milestone in turning 150 years.

“But rather than just one day of celebration, we want to mark our 150th anniversary by reflecting the many areas of interest, achievement and influence the school has fostered over the years.

“The events over the course of this year will be a very fitting tribute to our current and former pupils, teachers and community.”

And some of these events which the current crop of 670 pupils have been able to enjoy include the opening of the new Razak Science Centre, a black tie dinner at the House of Lords, a trip to Ypres and a Blenheim Palace reception – to name a few.

Project co-ordinator Leigh Ralphs said: “A lot of former pupils have gone on to do great things and one of the reasons behind this 150 years was to celebrate the past, the present and look to the future.

“We have had a good working group of people who have put this together and came up with various ideas. A lot may have gone by the by but the ones we have gone for we have really put our foot down and got on with them.”

One idea dreamed up in 2011 was the launch of a book showcasing the school’s history and one to follow on from that which was produced after their 100th anniversary.

The task was handed to college stalwart Roy Allen, head of history at the site, who admitted the 135,000-word title took him close to four years to complete.

Mr Allen, who has been at the school for 40 years, added: “I used the century history work which had been written and built on that from all sorts of archival material, letters and news articles.

“Doing it gave me a sense of continuity and a sense of being part of the whole project as there is a really strong community feel about it.”

The 150th celebrations and enjoyment of the college will continue long into the year but it is the historic actions of this famous landmark which will live long in the memory of Malvern and the wider community.

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