Dover College

MTV: The Archive Edition

MTV: The Archive Edition

In all the time that I have spent at DC (I started in January 1990) there has always been one outstanding issue that concerned me. As we all know the college began in September 1871 and throughout its 150 years it has inevitably created a lot of ‘stuff’. This all makes up the college archive, the memorabilia that contributes to the history of the school. This archive is made up of photographs, magazines, books, paintings, physical items (caps, blazers, trophies etc)  and a plethora of documents. Some of this material is generated by the school and some is donated by Dovorians and their relatives, but all of it is valuable.

My concern has always been the lack of a proper ‘home’ for the archive but I am pleased to announce that the new home for the archive is the Gatehouse. It has been refurbished inside by the wonderful in-house maintenance team and our plan is to slowly move the material across from its current store, sort it and catalogue it.

We are being helped in this mammoth task by Hazel Vanderhoeven (retired librarian and archivist) who is sorting the material and organising it in its new home. This process has already begun but will take some time to complete and the photographs included in this piece are an early result of it. The first picture shows the Gatehouse from the Folkestone Road and the detail on it that caught my eye was the text: Dover College – The Gateway.

The next picture shows the ranks of the OTC ((Officer Training Corps) assembled on the close. Again, what interested me in this is not the OTC but the view of the old gym to the left of the chapel. Of interest again are the fives courts in the front of the gym. There are still some signs of it on the steps up to middle ground.

At the other end of the close is what is now Priory Lodge but what has been in my time at DC the bursary, a tuckshop, the sixth form centre and a staff flat. The next photograph shows the building as a tuckshop. Again it is not just the photograph that is interesting but the fact that this is a commercially produced post card sent by a pupil to his aunt in

Canterbury. I am old enough to remember when, on a Sunday in the boarding house, boarders had a time to write letters and cards home. Mobile phones have changed all of this.

Earlier on in this piece I wrote that from time to time we are given donations by ODs and their relatives. The next photograph illustrates this and is a donation from a son following his father’s death. It is a St Martins house photo from the summer term in 1926.

Once again it’s not just the photograph which is interesting but the letter accompanying it which contained some of his father’s recollections of his time at the college. Apparently his mantra was “school days are the happiest days of your life”.

Next is a photo I took of Dai Fujikura (Leamington) playing the piano in Menzies. It is a fairly recent photo but still important to the archive. Dai is a well-known composer of modern classical music, was a pupil of Pierre Boulez and has just published his autobiography (so far only available in Japanese).

Perhaps the most significant development in recent years has been the introduction of girls throughout the school. This has had a massive impact on the college and that is reflected in the archive. Here is a photo of the modern St Martins house at the Christmas lunch in the refectory 2017.

We hope to have a later edition of the digest which concentrates on the nearly 50 years of girls at DC.

The next photo is the earliest in this set and dates from 1898. It shows the SH rugby team in the garden behind the house with a rugby trophy still competed for by the boys.

The final photo is a view that will be familiar to all Dovorians and is one of my favourites.

This view of the close is iconic and much loved.

There is more, so much more in the archive and, as we go through and catalogue it, more will appear in the monthly digest. IN the meantime if you have any items that you think should be included in the archive then contact me at vanderhoevenm@dovercollege.org.uk.