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Archive

The Aysgarth School archive is managed voluntarily by Ted Haslam.

Ted Haslam joined Aysgarth in 1983 as a teacher and left in 1988 for a headship at Barnard Castle. Upon his retirement in 2009, he rejoined Aysgarth in a number of teaching roles including head of Pre-Prep before finally leaving teaching in 2014. As well as maintaining close links with Aysgarth over a number of decades, his grandson is also currently at Aysgarth. 

If you would like to learn more about the history of the School, Ted would be happy to hear from you - please email them via enquiries@aysgarthschool.com.

 

My first thought upon taking over from Stuart Tate as custodian of the Aysgarth School archives was that I probably qualify to be in an archive myself! When I arrived to teach in the school during the Christmas holidays of 1982 what a wonderfully eclectic mix of colleagues I discovered! Gerry McCann could be found regaling the boys with his stories of how, during World War II, he shot down German planes from the top of the tower using only a penknife. The boys loved it. They knew the tale was made up and Gerry knew that they knew, but he was such a superb raconteur that no one minded. Jeremy Marston would be coaching in the fives courts, pausing only to take off his fantastic 1920s style fur overcoat. Stuart Tate would be making gloriously witty comments, one of which was his trademark. “I taught him all I know and he still knows nothing!” To top it all there was the charm and friendship of Andrew Bigham. I was part of the school’s staff youth team (ie the group of younger teachers at that time!) which included Old Aysgarthian Philip Southall, Oxford United fanatic John Walker and the cultured Director of Music, Tom Oakshott. On meeting these characters and many more, I knew that I had arrived at a special place. There was certainly nothing like it where I came from in Australia. 
After six years I left to become a headmaster, but twenty one years later, following a retirement that had lasted five weeks, I returned to fill a variety of roles. Today’s Aysgarth pupils retain the spark, humour and zest that the boys had when I first arrived back in 1982, and I have found myself teaching the sons of some of the boys I taught in the 1980s! Charlie Bryant asked me if I taught his father, Edward. “Yes” I replied. “Did you teach my grandfather?” he then enquired! I still don’t know whether he was serious or just winding me up. But then you could never be sure of that with Aysgarthians. The younger generation of the Milbank, Vaux, Wyvill, Price, Swan, Hotham, Bourne-Arton, Wallace, Willoughby and Macdonald of Sleat families often enquire if they are better behaved and more intelligent than their fathers. Naturally I reply in the affirmative, but then I am also guilty of calling them by their fathers’ Christian names at times, so perhaps I am confusing the issue. 
So what does my work in the archives entail? Well, I have a constant stream of requests from members of the public for information about distant relatives, or from research assistants wanting information about distinguished past pupils. Although I am not an expert on all things Aysgarthian (although my work does brings back many memories), thanks to the organisation and foresight of former staff and pupils and of the Old Aysgarthian Association I can usually discover the information that is required. This has made me realise that as well as being the caretaker of the school’s past, I must also preserve its present for the future. With that in mind I am attempting to collect current items that will become archive material in the years to come. Items of school memorabilia such as books, trophies, pictures and school uniform often arrive as gifts or appear in auction houses or on ebay, and some of these are displayed in the archives cabinet situated next to the Reynolds Hall. I have also embarked on a project to trace the history of many Aysgarth treasures.
People have so many amazing recollections and these do need to be written down and kept. Recently I have had a wonderful time with Wanda and Simon Reynolds recording their reminiscences. If you feel that you could provide us with a memoir of your time here, or you have anything relating to the school that you would like to donate, then we would be most grateful to receive these in order that we may add them to the archives for the benefit of future Aysgarthians!