Archives

From humble beginnings in a box room under the tower, the Archives have grown rapidly both in volume and importance in the last decade or so, thanks in large measure to the work of ex-Headmaster Dr John Blatchly, whose extraordinary work in sourcing and collecting artefacts of all kinds from the four corners of the globe culminated, in 2008, in the opening of the ‘New Morfey Rooms’, formerly the old Prep School’s music rooms. Here, at last, space could be found to do them justice, and provide a welcome for a steady stream of visitors. This period coincided with a growing appreciation of the value of the old photographs which John and his predecessors had amassed, and which Stuart Grimwade O.I. spent some years restoring digitally, resulting in the publication of a small selection from the archive as ‘Ipswich School – A History in Photographs’. The image archive covers the whole of the School’s life in its Henley Road buildings, their origins happily coinciding with the birth of photography.  
 
The school's photographic collections are amazingly rich, made more so by the assiduous naming of members of teams and other groups by George Notcutt, and his father S.A. Notcutt, the real founder of the Old Ipswichian Club. George spent his entire life at the school, save Cambridge for his degree and Active Service in World War II. The family home The Gables, 35 Henley Road, later became the preparatory School. It is perhaps ironic, that, while digital photography has come to our aid in so many beneficial ways, it may yet spell the end of future archiving, since very few photographers these days are prepared to retain professional quality prints for future generations to discover. How many of the digital images that we all take today will still be viewable in 150 years time, and indeed, how many are of the quality produced by the Victorian photographers?! 
 
The main categories of the collection: 

  • Select memorabilia, archaeological, historical and sporting. 
  • The recovered remnant of the school’s own library (accessions 1657 onwards) in a special oak case made by Justin Bartlett OI. 
  • Works of Art by OI artists: Charles and Henry Eddowes Keene, George Thomas Rope, George Ingelow, Edward Poynter, Edward Ardizzone, Cecil Lay, and Martin Squirrell. 
  • Early photographs, 1850s onwards, since digitised by Stuart Grimwade OI. 
  • Books given as prizes, works by OIs, Ipswich and Suffolk collections. 
  • Files for OIs whose achievements we know about. 
  • Dated press cuttings filed by term. 
  • Scrapbooks for special topics: OIs in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Rigaud, Holden, Browne, early Cricket matches, manuscript and printed OI memories of their time at the school from William King onwards. 
  • The School’s earlier homes in the town illustrated: Felaw’s House, The Cardinal College watergate and chapel (St Peter’s Church), Blackfriars, The Master’s House, Lower Brook Street, The 1842 and 1851 Great Schools and the few surviving honours boards. 
The archives are, strictly speaking, the School’s rather than the Club’s, although the interest to Old Ipswichians is undiminished by this fact. They are now managed by former pupil Melissa Joralemon, who can be contacted on maaj@ipswich.school.