Monthly Archives: October 2014

A Long Way Home

Welcome home! The postcards that travelled through time and space

Welcome home! The postcards that travelled through time and space

This is the story of three postcards that, like Lassie, came home. One is of the St. John’s Chapel, one is of a one of College’s footpaths and one is titled ‘The College from the Bridge’. A man named James Massey has sent those recently after his father recued them from the skip. Somebody nearby was connected to Marjon and either died or conducted a clean-up of a century. James never heard about Marjon before, and
inspired by the photographic postcards decided to investigate. His family lived in Battersea for many years and he knows the surrounding area very well. Having only those three images to guide him, he set out to find out where the college was. He went to research in his local library, which has an album of Marjon students that dates back to 1930. After some searching he found the old Marjon site, which is now a residential area. He found out where the College went to and finally he sent those postcards to the archives with a letter explaining how he came into possession of those and a story of his detective exploits. It amazes me how much effort he made to find all those information and contacting us. He must be some sort of local history buff. And thus the postcards came home- more than eighty years and more than 200 miles. And they have brought with them a story of perseverance and love for the place you live in.

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Moody Music

Since the archive’s sweatshop are running constantly producing poppies like there was no tomorrow I decided to relax for a while and maybe turn to something that can actually speak for itself. I admit that about music theory I know exactly three things: zip, zilch and nada. But they say that the music soothes wild beasts so I too can just admire without a strain. Once upon a time, Marjon was even teaching music and the archives still have their music sheets. I can’t read them of course, but so it happens that this time I don’t need to. Thanks to some talented people, music of Marjon students came back to life after a hundred years. There is an excellent learning source about one Ben Moody, developed by Adam Read, Simon Longstaff and our own Gillian Fewings, with special thanks to Tim Sayer. Ben Moody was normal Marjon student- a room monitor, rugby player, and a Volunteer. He is included in one of the scrapbooks so we know exactly how he looked like. But in the end, the thing that earned gained life of it0s own is his music (or somebody that was like him, it’s hard to say as no one thought about signing sheets).
So today no long histories, no mountain of photos. Just the music of those that were students of Marjon century ago. Pleasant listening!
http://elearning.net.marjon.ac.uk/archives/music/story.html

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101th Thing You Wouldn’t Expect to Be Doing in Archives

Photo0432

Arts and crafts is a skill useful for a Marjon archives’ volunteer

I have written on many occasions that we’re not the normal, run-of-the-mill, dusty and dark archives. Ok, we have plenty of dust and I could get a dark corner or two if I had to. But with the people we have contributing we’re nothing like some archives I know (I’m looking at you University of the Capital of Devon!). And the 101th thing you wouldn’t expect to be doing in the archives is…flattening bottlecaps. And before you start calling mental health crisis team on us, let me explain. Soon we will have a major action that combines recycling with the Remembrance Day (I bet you never expected to hear those two words in one sentence:-)). Operation Poppyfield is an action that aims to build a poppy field from discarded bottlecaps in honour of the students that gave their lives in the wars. The bottlecaps need to be flattered, painted red and mounted on a stick to make a recycled poppy. We have issued a challenge to residence halls to collect as many bottlecaps as possible. *shameless braging alert* And if you’ll be on campus anytime soon, keep an eye out for the flyers advertising the action. They were designed by yours truly. *end of shameless bragging* We need over 1000 bottlecaps to make the field happen and let me tell you, that’s A LOT of flattening.

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Hush-Hush

I haven’t written a lot recently and today I fear I don’t have another story from the archives. The reason is: there will be a huge event in the near future. I can’t say anything specific just yet. Everything is still on hush-hush basis and waiting for the big reveal. Everybody is running like ants after a storm in preparation for it. How big is it? Well it’s big, national level big. We are all pulling together to showcase our work the best we can. We have our hands busy by choosing, printing, planning and displaying. I hope that this event will make us a little bit more visible. We have worked
hard for the past year and we want others to see the fruits of our labours.

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A Steve McQueen of our own.

Before I begin, I apologize for the unusual amount of old movie references that found a
way into this post. I am such a nerd…:-)
Because it is autumn already and because there is going to be a grand campaign for the
remembrance week, I got my hands on some stories about Marjon’s students that fought in the war. Some I already told, like that of George Hart, other were told by my fellow volunteers, like that of John Colston Babbage.

Ernest Rutherford Little,as he stands in the records of St Mark's. Beware of the quiet ones!

Ernest Rutherford Little,as he stands in the records of St Mark’s. Beware of the quiet ones!

However, I didn’t know the story of Ernest Rutherford Little, who turned out to be a regular Steve McQueen with The Great Escape of his own. As a student, Ernest had an opinion as quiet, maybe a bit dull person. His teachers thought he was kind of slow even though he could work very hard. Little did they know that he is capable of great courage and ingenuity.
During the WW1 he was captured and put in Grafteniederung Prisoner of War camp. He escaped in April 1918 and for 5 days eluded the enemy. He was captured, only to escape again in October. It was near dawn, the 10th of October. Ernest and a buddy of his were working as helpers in the camp’s kitchen. Somehow they managed to outwit the guards, and with the help of their fellow prisoners, they escaped. Their absence was only discovered three days later.
After that bold move they acted out La Grande Vadrouille. They walked cross-country,
by night and using only a compass and a map. For six days they walked hard and slept
rough, until finally they crossed into Holland. Later, this escapade was reported as the
only successful escape from the Grafteniederung.
So beware of the quiet ones, because very often those have inner resources you might
not be aware of.:-)
Souruce:
St Johns College: magazine 1920

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