History- the sprawling sea of infinite paper…well, not exactly. People have very little contact with the solid, physical evidence of the progression of the ages. Except maybe in museums, but even there we’re separated by the glass and stern warnings of ‘don’t to touch the exhibits’ kind. It is such a shame. There is nothing quite like holding something that until very recently was buried under tons of earth and forgotten. Nothing, except maybe for handling the object that took refuge in our archives. We have many memorial plaques that had been taken from the place they were originally placed, mostly because of the move to Plymouth. Some were taken from the Battersea House when the Colleges merged. And when somebody says that archival work is light, just hand them A5 of solid brass and ask then:-)
The memorials themselves are quite beautiful and some are very elaborate. To think, that each of them stands for something so dear that people couldn’t bear the thought of them being forgotten. There are memorials for principals and vice-principals, tutors and other employees who earned the respect of their colleagues and pupils. There are memorials for students that met a tragic death and for war heroes. There is even a memorial for Percy Beach Daniels- the little son of principal Daniels. It stands not only as a remembrance of him, but also as a grim reminder of the realities of the Victorian life. Some are written in Latin and I had to scramble the little knowledge of the language that I have to decipher them, at the same time fighting against the ornate, gothic font.
Each memorial has a transcript made, that holds the dimensions and whatever inscriptions there are. This led me to find that the memorial for doctor Kay-Shuttleworth is not among those we have. I do hope the memorial is placed somewhere around campus, probably somewhere not open to the public. I’d rather not think that we would be so careless as to lose a memorial to one of our founders. But I’ve said enough already, let the memorials speak for themselves now: