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News > OS News > RPH at 100 - reflections on 2013 90th Anniversary Event

RPH at 100 - reflections on 2013 90th Anniversary Event

Centenary on the horizon with reflections of the 2013 90th Anniversary Celebrations
15 May 2023
Written by Jennifer Law
OS News

As we look forward to celebrating the Centenary of Robert Pearce House with an assembled group of 180 OS & guests, spanning an incredible eight decades of Pearites on Saturday 20th May we look back fondly on the 90th Anniversary celebrations in 2013.

2013 90th Anniversary celebrations - event report:

In the true spirit of OS Re-connect events, lifelong friends and fellow RPH boys Chris Wagstaff (RPH 49-54), Pat Connelly (RPH 49-53) and Neil Macmillen (RPH 50-54) came up with the idea of hosting a reunion event for their wider contemporaries to join them in returning to RPH to mark the 90th Anniversary of the house ahead of full Centenary celebrations in 2023.

Invitations we sent out worldwide to OS who had been in RPH up to 1960 and a good response was swiftly received. Despite many heartfelt apologies being received due to existing holidays and other personal and family commitments, on Saturday 5th October 25 OS, some joined by their wives, spent a full day on Campus reminiscing about their time in RPH.

We were honoured to welcome back all our OS guests but special mention must go to OS R Hugh Adams (RPH 35-40) who travelled with his son Nicholas (RPH 65-73) from his home in Northamptonshire and to Mrs Bet Soady who joined us from Wiltshire. Mrs Soady’s relationship with the College spans almost 90 years but it was in RPH as the wife of House Tutor then Housemaster Lesley Soady from 1947-71 that she was most fondly remembered at the Re-connect reunion.

Headmaster Jeremy Gladwin provided insight into where the College had come from over the past 50 years and where it was aiming to be in the coming years. Current Head of House Will Moore gave a witty, confident and insightful talk to the reunion guests about current life in RPH, with descriptions being quite different to OS experiences during the 1940’s and 50’s. Most interestingly flexi-boarding was a thought provoking concept for the OS who had all been full boarders in their time.

Will then joined some of his RPH contemporaries to provide informative and good spirited tours of the House for our OS guests which brought back vivid memories of their time at the College. Warmest wishes are extended to the tour guides who did their House proud in the way they welcomed the OS.

Reunion attendees revelled in the opportunity to see the House where they had spent so much of their lives during their education at BSC. Opportunities presented for some of the OS to see their actual studies although in a few cases the redesign of the layout of the house now meant their studies were used for functions other than sleeping in!

Reminiscences continued over a delicious lunch which was far removed from the undefinable yet hearty stews that had been provided on a daily basis in the era of our OS guests which was the time of strict rationing during and after the war. The informal atmosphere continued after lunch as OS Cliff Shipman (RPH 43-49) kindly shared his memories of his time at the College, dominated by humorous descriptions of the antics in the classroom of his contemporary Dennis Bromley which raised many smiles of recognition amongst his audience.

Campus tours and a spot of House Rugby up on top field passed the mild autumnal afternoon while a tasty afternoon tea back in the FLT permitted final opportunities for friendships to be renewed and stories to be shared. An excellent archive table with photographs and artefacts provided by Librarian and Archivist Maggie Garrett supplemented by personal photographs and journals loaned by the invited OS made for excellent review and further stirring of memories.

Wishing all those joining us for the Centenary celebrations a smooth journey back to the College and a wonderful day and hoping that the event proves to be as wonderfully memorable as the 2013 90th Anniversary celebrations.

Although many of those present at the 90th Anniversary are unable to join us for the Centenary celebrations, they will most ceratinly be with us in spirit and remembered with great affection. 

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