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Archives in the Curriculum

The Archive is an important resource in the College, accessed by pupils in all years, from DUCKS to Year 13. Lessons based on archival material give an added breadth and dimension, and the boys recognise the uniqueness of the chances they have to use the Archive. In more recent years this has been extended to include Free Learning Days and the Upper School Symposium.

Apart from the formal, timetabled lessons, boys can use the Archive for extension projects like the Extended Essay, Liberal Studies or their own research as well as contributing by volunteering as part of Community Action or the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.


Children from Herons and Moorhens come each year in January to see the lifeboat – The James Caird, in which Ernest Shackleton and five men set out to find help after the Endurance sank and they were stranded on the ice. The story if brought to life by showing the photographs taken by Frank Hurley and they try on the balaclava belonging to the doctor, Alexander Macklin and they pass round the model of the Ships cat – Mrs Chippy.

Junior School

During Book Week boys follow a quiz devised around the theme of the week which could be anything from Shakespeare, Pirates or Mythical Beasts. A trail is followed around various rooms in the College while viewing and studying artefacts from the Archive to answer questions.

Year 9 History Project

While studying the First World War the boys learn research skills in the Wodehouse Library and Archive. Each is given an Old Alleynian to study, someone who lost their life in the war. The challenge is to find out as much as possible about them from the printed records in the Archive together with manuscript letters and original documents.

Year 10 Wellbeing

The College has a very interesting collection of books, newspapers, pamphlets and accounts dating from the late C18th relating to the campaign to abolish the Slave trade. The boys have the opportunity to study these in detail, working in groups answering general and specific questions and then feeding back to the rest of the class what they have learnt.

Volunteering in the Archives

From Year 10 to the Sixth Form boys have the chance to work in the College Archives as volunteers either as part of Community Service or to fulfil the

Volunteering section of the Duke of Edinburgh Award

Working in pairs or teams the boys are encouraged to work out the best way to tackle a task and then complete the work. Work included sorting boxes of photographs, indexing C18th and C19th letters, re-ordering title deeds or answering enquiries by research.

Discover More

Mrs Calista M Lucy BA MCLIP

Keeper of the Archives
Telephone: 020 8299 9201

Mr Freddie Witts MA MLitt


Mr Robert Weaver BA MA FSAScot

Keeper of the Fellows' Library