One doctor, two generations, four soldiers, one fatality

OTs who served in the 1st World Wa

Arthur Reginald Kepp Edsell (day pupil)

The Edsell family made a great contribution both to life in Thame and to the British Army over a long period. Arthur was born in July 1889 at Thame where he lived in High Street, the second son of Annie Mabel and George Edsell (see below). He arrived at LWGS around 1900 but had left before 1906. In 1901 he was living with his maternal grandfather William Haynes at St Leonards in Sussex. After leaving school he moved with his family to Surbiton, and in 1911 he was living at home as an articled clerk to a chartered accountant. He joined the East Surrey Regiment on 13thSeptember 1910 and was commissioned as a 2ndLieutenant. On 29thAugust 1914 he was promoted to Captain. He served in France from 15thOctober 1917. 

It would appear he did not marry, and died in Bristol in 1961. 

Eric Valentine Edsell (day pupil)

Eric was born on 13thFebruary 1891, younger brother of Arthur. Like Arthur he served in the East Surrey Regiment, commissioned as a 2ndlieutenant having been a Territorial before the war, was promoted to Lieutenant on 28thApril 1917 and transferred to the Tank Corps on 1stDecember 1921 where he continued to serve, promoted to Captain on 1stNovember 1925.  He re-enlisted on the eve of WW2 on 24thAugust 1939 and served as a Captain in the Royal Army Service Corps. He died in September 1945.

George Alfred Edsell (school doctor and parent)

George was born at Aberdovey, Wales on 18thJanuary 1859, the son of James and Caroline Edsell, both teachers. He entered medical practice receiving his training at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and University College, London. By 1887 he had moved to Thame and was in practice as a physician and surgeon with Herbert Grove Lee at 79 High Street and was also LWGS doctor. In 1889 he joined the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry Territorials as a Lieutenant-Surgeon, retiring in 1899 as a Captain.  He also served on the Thame Urban District Council and was chairman in 1897. He was examiner and honorary life member to the St John Ambulance Association, surveyor to the medical department of the Admiralty, and a member of the British Medical Association. He left Thame sometime after 1904, and moved to Surbiton, where he became a local councillor, and joined the 3rdHome Counties Field Ambulance RAMC, as a Captain. He rose with promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and took command of the unit in 1911. When the Territorial Force was mobilized, after a period of training, the 3rdHome Counties (83rd) Field Ambulance proceeded to France, and then to Belgium, being deployed in the neighbourhood of Ypres.  It was here that Lt Col Edsell contracted pleurisy.  He was invalided home to Surbiton, where he died on 15thAugust 1915, aged 56. His funeral took place on 18thAugust at Kingston upon Thames where he was buried in the cemetery with full military honours.

He married Annie Isabel Haines in Byfleet, Surrey on 14th July 1887 and they went on to have three daughters and three sons. All three sons were born in Thame, attended LWGS and served as officers in the Great War.  

George Lynton Edsell (day pupil)

George Lynton was the oldest of the three sons of George Alfred.  He was born on 23rdApril 1888, baptised, not in Thame but at St Mary’s Byfleet where his mother had lived and got married. He became a professional soldier with distinguished service. He started in the ‘Special reserve’ until he joined the Hampshire Regiment as a 2ndlieutenant on 7thDecember 1910. He was promoted Lieutenant on 10thSeptember 1913 and Captain on 1stMay 1915. He was acting major from 29thFebruary 1916 to March 1919, adjutant first of the 53rdBattalion of the Hampshires from March to June 1919 and then the Warwickshires to December, thereafter acting major of the Durham Light Infantry. He was on the general staff grade 3 from 2ndFebruary to 29thJune 1918 and adjutant in the Territorial Army from 12thMarch 1920. By 1939 he had married, been divorced and was staying in a hotel in Porthcawl, a retired regular army major living on pay and pension on account of ‘disablement caused by military service’.  He died on 23rdNovember 1962 in Basingstoke.

Paul Dolbear

OTs who served in the 1st World War

Little is known about Paul except that he joined the Royal Navy and saw active service in the North Sea during WW1 according to the lists of serving OTs in the Tamensian

Two generations, two wars, two deaths

OTs who served in the 1st World War

Sidney Maskell Dicker (boarder?)

Sidney was born in Brixton, in October 1886, and he and his sister May were brought up by his mother Louisa Dicker, and uncle Charles Maskell.  Sidney was at LWGS around 1900 but is not listed as a boarder in 1901.  He married Dora Edith Jane Read, a Canadian from Halifax, Nova Scotia, at Lambeth Registry Office on 30thOctober 1909. She was well qualified as B.Sc., M.R.S.T., F.R.H.S.  In 1911 they were living at 3 Ballater Road, Acre Lane, Brixton, and Sidney was a general store dispatch clerk. They went to live in 22 Grenfell Road, Mitcham, and they had two children Sidney Charles Maskell Dicker (b. 1910) and Muriel Ethel Dicker (b.1914).

Only 5ft. 2ins tall, he enlisted into the 18th(Service) battalion (Arts and Crafts), King’s Royal Rifle Corps, on 10thAugust 1915. The battalion, under the orders of 122ndBrigade of the 41st Division, embarked for France on the 2nd May 1916, landing at Le Havre. By the end of the month they were in trenches in the Ploegsteert Wood area of Flanders, part of the Ypres Salient. The battalion entrained for the Somme at the end of August. On the 15thSeptember, at 6.15 a.m. they moved out of the trenches to attack the village of Flers, part of the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, which in itself was part of the Somme offensive. They suffered very heavy casualties and lost over 250 men during the first day of the battle. Rifleman Dicker was amongst them, age 29, and was buried in Bulls Road Cemetery, Flers.

His wife and children moved to Thame shortly after his death, living at 46 Chinnor Road for a number of years. His son Sidney Charles Maskell Dicker was also at LWGS, went on to become a teacher and before the War was living in Deal, Kent. He enlisted as a captain in the Wiltshire Regiment, was killed in Normandy in 1944 and was buried at the cemetery in Saint-Manvieu-Norrey, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie. He left his effects to his sister Muriel. She died in 1984, unmarried. 

Three brothers from Chesham

OTs who served in the 1st World War

Clifford Ewart Cyril Deverell

Clifford was born around August 1890 at Chesham, the son of Elizabeth Juggins née Loosley and Ebenezer Deverell, a bank clerk, later a bank manager, living at 108/110 Church Road. Ebenezer, by then living in Stanley Avenue, Chesham died on 7thDecember 1907 at the relatively young age of 53 but, for unknown reasons, he the place of death was at 37 rue Caumartin, Paris. What an English bank manager was doing there can only be surmised. In his will he left a modest £150 to his widow and to two farmers, Thomas Deverell and John Edward Loosley, the latter his 84-year-old father in law; nothing it seems directly to his sons.

In 1911, Clifford aged 20, was a ‘farm pupil’, a rather strange job for someone who might have been expected to be in better paid employment to support his widowed mother and her father now living with the Deverell family, but it was probably Raymond (see below) who was the main breadwinner at that time. During the war Clifford served first in the 6thSouth Staffordshire Regimentand later gained a commission as 2ndLieutenant in the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry. He survived the war and lived on until 11thFebruary 1960, dying at 136 Netherhampton Road, Salisbury, leaving £7717.

Frank Compare Deverell (boarder)

Frank was Clifford’s next elder brother, born on 27thAugust 1887. He was at LWGS in 1901. He served in the 4thBattalion of the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry. In March 1927 he married Kathleen Olive Checkley Rose.  In 1939 he was living at 9 Shortacre Lane, Saunderton, as a retired general clerk with Kathleen and 79-year-old mother who lived on for another six years, over 37 years in all as a widow, dying on 29thSeptember 1945. Frank outlived her for only two years as he died on 11thNovember 1947, leaving his widow £7274. Kathleen lived for another eight years, dying in March 1955.

Raymond John Loosley Deverell  (boarder). 

Raymond was the eldest of the three brothers, born about 1886. He was at LWGS in 1901, at 15 one of the oldest boarders in the school. Ten years later he had followed his late father’s profession as a bank clerk. On the 14thNovember 1914 he married Hilda May Toogood, a farmer’s daughter, at St Hilda’s Church, Acton Green. At that time Raymond was living at 4, Ravenscroft Road in Chiswick. After his marriage he and Hilda moved a short distance to 522 High Road Chiswick but their married life together was soon cut short as 9thDecember Raymond enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery. He served as a Gunner in the 251stBrigade. In 1939, by then a bank official, he was living at 329 Goldhawk Road, Hammersmith, with Hilda and their daughter, Margaret, 22, a dress model, her later married name being Wark. He died in June 1949 at St Austell in Cornwall.

Leslie Edgar De Pass

OT’s who served in the 1st World War

Whereas Geoffrey roamed the world, Leslie, Geoffrey’s elder brother by two years, seems to have been less ambitious and adventurous. He was born on 2nd July 1894. His early life and schooling were the same as Edgar’s, staying at LWGS and moving to High Wycombe GS in the same years despite their different ages. Unlike Geoffrey his later life is sparsely documented. In June 1926 he married Mabel Olorenshaw in Coventry. In 1939 he and Mabel were living at 92 Hugh Road, Coventry, his occupation a taxi proprietor. A year later he got married again in Birmingham to Mary M Wood. He died at the same address on 25th July 1982.

Geoffrey Pamerel De Pass (boarder)

OTs who served in the 1st World War

De Pass may seem to be an unusual surname but the De Pass tribe were extensive, often wealthy and spread across many countries.  (The Ancestry website lists more than 20,000 references to people named De Pass!) However, thanks to Geoffrey’s unusual second name it is possible to distinguish his life from another Geoffrey, Geoffrey Robert, born around the same time, also the son of a stockbroker living in London, who was probably a cousin.  Geoffrey Pamerel was the younger of two sons from a well-to-do branch of the family, also stockbrokers, living in Buckinghamshire. He was born on 1stNovember 1896 in Chesham, son of Edward and Lizzie. In 1901, his father was absent on census day but the family were living at Blenheim Villa, Hughenden. Geoffrey entered LWGS in 1908, stayed for two years and then transferred to High Wycombe Grammar School. In 1911 he was living with his family at St Anne’s, the Marsh, High Wycombe. He initially joined the 9th (Reserve) Battalion of the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry, transferred to the 5th and served in France from 20thApril 1916, commissioned as a 2ndLieutenant and later promoted to Lieutenant. He was wounded on 3rdSeptember 1916.  On 1stSeptember 1917 he was transferred to the 36thBattalion Training Reserve which explains why, in the autumn of 1917, he was free to marry Audrey A Phypers at Brighton. After the war, on the basis of later evidence, he became an accountant. Where he worked and for whom is not clear though at some point between the wars he joined the Swiss company Nestlé and moved to Vevey in Switzerland. On 29thSeptember 1939, rather mysteriously, he was staying at the Green Man Hotel, St John’s Street, Ashbourne in Derbyshire with his wife Audrey, his profession given as chartered accountant. A few weeks later on 27thNovember he travelled with Audrey and their daughter, three-year-old Sheila, from Southampton arriving in New York on 5thDecember.  The ship’s manifest states that his residence was Vevey, Vaud, along with three other British families from La Tour de Pelz, a mile or so away.  Judging from the occupations of the other heads of family it seems that the firm had decided as a result of the outbreak of war to move to a safer haven in the USA, a theory borne out by the fact that when on 27thApril 1942 Geoffrey enlisted in the United States Army his employer was given as ‘Inredecolne (Nestles)’. Nestlé realised at the start of WW2 that its isolated position within Europe in neutral Switzerland necessitated opening branches in other continents. It is therefore most likely that Geoffrey and the other families were part of the advance guard of this new policy. Geoffrey’s 1942 registration document describes him at that time as 5ft 7 ½ ins, 170 lbs, with hazel eyes, black hair and a scar over his right eye. The family were living at 349 South Beach Avenue, Old Greenwich, Connecticut. After WW2, he crossed the Atlantic at least three times between the USA and Europe, recorded as a passenger in 1947, 1951 and 1952. In 1947 he sailed with a new wife, Tillie, a US citizen ten years his junior, and with Sheila, now 18, from New York to Southampton ‘in transit to Switzerland’. It is not known what happened to his first wife but it seems probable that Geoffrey and his new family were moving back to the Nestlé HQ, though not permanently as in 1951 he flew alone to the UK with Pan American Airways, his US residence now recorded as 44 Northern Street, Stamford, Conn. returning in 1952 by ship accompanied by Tillie. 

Luke Dancer

Its who fought in the 1st World War.

Luke was born on 28thSeptember 1898, son of Louise and William Dancer a dairyman farmer, living at 139 St Mark’s Road Kensington but later lived at Pitchcott in Aylesbury. Luke was the fifth of six children but the only boy. In 1911 he was at what appears to have been a boarding school at 7 Union Crescent, Margate, along with 35 other boys aged 10 to 14 and run by Ada Masters. He entered LWGS in 1913 when he was 15 and stayed for two years.  He was in the school cricket team as wicket keeper, and the football team in the 1913/14 season. On leaving school he followed his father into dairy farming. He joined the army in 1917 as an officer cadet in the 28thLondon Regiment, was commissioned as 2ndLieutenant on 28thNovember 1917 and later promoted to Lieutenant. After the war he returned to the dairy business. In 1939 he was a dairy supervisor and ARP warden, living at 4 Park Grove, Hendon, married to Maria Elizabeth née De Kock. Date of death is unknown. 

Admiral Tim Fraser

New military chiefs appointments.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed the new appointments of Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of the Air Staff and Commander Joint Forces Command.

Published 3 December 2018

From: Ministry of Defence and The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP

Ministry of Defence Plaque

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is pleased to confirm that HerMajesty the Queen has approved the following senior appointments to the top echelon of the Armed Services:

Vice Admiral Timothy Fraser CB is to be promoted Admiral and appointed Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, in succession to General Gordon Messenger;

Biographies

Vice Admiral Tim Fraser CB

Tim Fraser was educated at Lord Williams’ School in Oxfordshire and joined the Royal Navy in 1982. A surface warfare officer, he has had the privilege of commanding four ships: the patrol craft HMS ARCHER
(1989-1991); the T42 Destroyers HMS GLOUCESTER (1997-1998) and HMS CARDIFF (2001-2003; as the Captain Fifth Destroyer Squadron); and the aircraft carrier HMS ILLUSTRIOUS (2006-2007).

He has also served as the United Kingdom Maritime Component Commander in Bahrain (May 2010 to November 2011), commanding Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships in the Middle East, and additionally
serving under the Commander US Fifth Fleet as the Deputy Commander of the Combined Maritime Forces.

In between sea and operations appointments he has served as the Surface Flotilla Staff Navigating Officer, as an Assistant Director in the Navy’s Personnel Strategy Directorate and as the Head of Navy Resources and Plans on the Central Staff (2007-2010). On promotion to
Rear Admiral in January 2012 he led the Navy Command HQ Defence Reform implementation in 2012 prior to serving as the Senior British Military Advisor at CENTCOM HQ in Tampa, Florida (September 2012- January 2014).

On return from the States he spent three years in the MOD as the Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Capability and Force Design), which included SDSR 15. He was appointed as Chief of Joint Operations in June 2017 on promotion to Vice Admiral.

Tim Fraser attended the UK Higher Command and Staff Course in 2006 and the US Pinnacle Course at the Joint and Coalition Warfighting Centre in April 2012. He was made a Companion of the Bath (CB) in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Thame’s town crest and Lord Williams.

In the earlier post about swimming at LWS prior to the construction of the swimming pool, it noted that this took place at Jemmott’s Hole on the Thame river. (Or Jemmett – as the spelling varies in the records.) The Jemmott family owned the land where the river passed through – hence the nickname. (We say nickname as no contemporary map has been found with that name marked.) In the 19 century, John Jemmott’s profession in all the census was land proprietor or land owner. On his marriage certificate he is noted as a farmer, as was his father.

The British History online has a mention of John Jemmott of New Thame a grazier in 1688 so the name certainly can be found in Thame in the mid- 17 century so perhaps the place on the Thame dates back some considerable time. 

A more recent mention of Jemmott’s Hole was in 1943.

THAME GAZETTE – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23RD, 1943

It was a unique occasion in the history of Thame, thanks to Sir C Peers, the design or crest on the plaque (which will probably be adopted by the town ) is of very antique and historic interest, such crest forming part of a ring found by Mr Willcocks Mackenzie, a lorry driver and Thame man, on the left bank of the River Thame (near Jemmott’s Hole ) as recently as April 21st, 1940. He, being an honest man, reported his find to the local police, who in turn reported it to the Coroner for this part of the County, an inquest being held on this and other rings and coins included in the discovery, which valuables were declared to be treasure-trove and duly surrendered to the Crown. On representations being made to the Government, and in view of the local interest in the hoard, these interesting and valuable rings and coins were acquired by the Ashmolean Museum. Experts have decided the ring referred to must probably have belonged to Robert King, who was elected Abbot of Thame in the year 1529. Robert King was a friend of Wolsey and, it is suggested that his appointment was in a sense a diplomatic move to make the surrender of the abbey to the king (Henry VIII) easier than it might otherwise have been. The surrender was made in 1539. Whether the treasure referred to was buried or lost in flight is a matter of conjecture.

The article records that the current Thame crest only came into being in 1943, with the design based on the double barred cross found on the ring. It should be noted here that there are some erroneous on-line accounts such as that by Thame Remembers that claim the crest came into being by 1941. (They are also erroneous in calling it a Patriarchal Cross, which is of a different design. All these things are important in ensuring that the correct facts are recorded for future historians.)

However, it would now appear unlikely that the ring belonged to Robert King and Thame Abbey. The Ashmolean only say that ‘it is suggested’ that it was King’s, and more recent research published in The Society of Antiquaries of London 2016 says ‘A holistic understanding of the landscape, topography, contemporary institutions, places and events is used to interpret the hoarded material. It is advocated that the hoarded rings and coins were probably the property of Notley Abbey in Buckinghamshire, not Thame Abbey as has been thought, and that they were rescued from Thomas Cromwell’s Commissioners in 1538 for burial at a place of cultural significance.’

Thame Abbey was in a dire state at the time, and was falling down of its own accord without the help of Henry VIII and his policy of closing down these hot houses of Popery. Now that doesn’t mean it would not have its treasures of course but it had been a long time since the Abbey flourished.

It seems far more likely that the hoard was dropped (possibly buried) from someone coming from Notley rather than Thame Park, and crossing the river at this point as this was the route from Notley into Oxfordshire. (It does seem strange that a monk from Thame Abbey would chose this place to bury the items (if it was a deliberate act) rather than anywhere around Thame Park.)

On the other hand the ring may have no association with either establishment. The road that crossed the River Thame at this point was an important route and so the hoard’s origins could be from anywhere.

The school archivist notes a possible John Williams connection. If in the albeit unlikely event the ring belonged to Robert King, a Williams connection with the hoard and ring is intriguing and plausible. Williams was involved in the suppression of Thame Abbey. He was certainly interested in money and jewels though it seems a bit far fetched to think that he was party to hiding some of the Abbey’s wealth – unless he was going to get a rake-off! However Abbott King’s brother William was married to Williams’s sister so the two were certainly connected. But both King and Williams would surely not have forgotten the buried treasure and would have recovered it later, so my guess is that it was more likely another monk who buried the hoard and perhaps then died. Neither King nor Williams, both arch ‘trimmers’ were ever short of wealth so probably would not have noticed or bothered about a bit of missing treasure.

Conversely Notley Abbey was significantly wealthier, indeed was one of the richest and largest in the region. By the time of the Dissolution the Abbey lay under the direct patronage of the Crown, and the final act of submission took place in an orderly fashion with pensions and benefices allocated to the abbot and the dozen or so remaining canons. Henry granted the abbey lands to Sir John Williams and others in 1542.

Perhaps the hoard was being taken to William’s residence at Rycote.

This is all conjecture of course, although a reasonable conclusion is that the hoard’s link to Thame, the town, is tenuous if not accidental.

Bathing at Lord Williams’s Grammar School, 1900-1928

From Derek Turner, School Archivist.

This short history, based on entries in the school magazine The Tamensian, begins in 1900 with the first mention of swimming in the Thame river and ends with the opening of the school’s own swimming bath in 1928.

It is probable that that boys swam in the river Thame from the time that the school moved in 1879 to its new premises in Oxford Road but there are no references to swimming before 1900 when The Tamensian was first published.

The first reference is in issue 2, which describes the school’s ‘aquatic sports day’, taking place in ‘Jemmott’s Hole’, a modest size natural pool in the River Thame, a few hundred yards across the fields opposite the school. The nickname was from the name of the farmers, the Jemmott family, who owned the land. The Jemmott name can be found in Thame at least as far back as the mid 17 century.

The sports day was held on 30th July 1900 and established a tradition of holding the sports near the end of July during the last week of the summer term. In 1900 the events included an 80-yard race and a competitive swimming display, which later entries meant putting together a medley of various swimming strokes and termed ‘fancy swimming’.

It is probable that the aquatic sports day was held annually at the same time but the next reference is not until issue 14, July 1906, which states that bathing began on 4th July with the sports day fixed for the end of the month “and was indulged in at every possible opportunity”. Swimming practice replaced ordinary gymnastics – a popular sporting activity at that time. The Tamensian makes no further reference to swimming until issue 28, July 1911, when the sports day was held on 25th July, despite the level of the water being ‘rather low’. The events included 60 and 30 yards races, ‘fancy swimming’, diving – despite the low water level – and a water polo match. There were only two competitors for the fancy swimming, one of whom, the runner up, was a French pupil, Ferdinand Raillon, who later served with the French forces in WW1. Uniquely until the opening of the swimming bath in 1928, the Tamensian gives a detailed account of the sports day.

John Howard Brown, writing in 1929 about the school during WW1 – he was appointed in 1913 – says: “Swimming was indulged in, by permission of Mr H N Castle when weather and the state of the river allowed, in Jemmett’s Hole, and there the swimming sports were held under difficulties. The reference to Castle suggests, wrongly as it turns out, that ownership had passed to him, but the 1911 census shows that Nathanial Merry Castle, though also living in Priest End, was employed as a ‘farmer’s assistant’. Maybe the Jemmett family had handed over the day-to-day running of the farm to him. Interestingly, the term ‘employed’ is not one that was supposed to be used in the census. The alternatives were ‘employer’, ‘worker’, or ‘own account’; his house had six rooms, excluding ‘scullery, bathroom and closet’, and he could afford a servant, so he was clearly something more than the usual agricultural labourer.the next entry in the Tamensian is not until issue 55, September 1923, which records that poor weather delayed the start of the swimming season. The weather in the summer of 1926 was also bad and caused some of the events on the day of the sports, July 27th, to be curtailed.

The year 1927, by implication as there is no mention in the Tamensian was the last in which boys from LWGS used the river Thame for bathing. Construction of the school’s own swimming bath probably began later that year as the grand opening was fixed for the remarkably early date in 1928 of 12th May. The pool was not heated so, unless the weather was unseasonably warm, the water must have been distinctly chilly. The reason for the early date is explained in the magazine. The Athletics Sports Day normally took place at the end of the spring term, late March or early April, and the Aquatic Sports at the end of July. The school felt that parents of boarders who often lived quite far away would not be able to visit the school twice within a few months but would not want to miss the grand opening of the bathing pool. The 12th May date was therefore fixed for both athletic and aquatic sports. The opening ceremony is described in considerable detail in the Tamensian, issue 70, September 1928. Thereafter, the swimming gala is regularly described in the magazine, which lists the results. The most gifted swimmer of the 1930s was another non-English pupil, John Octave Claes, always known as Johnny. His mother was Scottish and his father Belgian. In the early 1930s Johnny won almost all the swimming races, setting and then breaking his own records in three successive years. He later became known as a pioneer jazz band leader and Formula 1 racing driver.

Plentiful photographs exist in the school archives of swimming galas but none unfortunately of LWGS boys swimming in the river Thame. However, a photograph from the 1920s shows primary school boys from ‘Thame Church of England School’ swimming in what is almost certainly Jemmott’s Hole. This photograph is reproduced in Malcolm Graham’s, Oxfordshire at School, 1996, where the caption comments that swimming costumes were later painted on to those boys who were swimming naked, presumably because their parents could not afford a swimming costume; a comment on both the 1920s views of propriety and the standards of living at that time.

Oxfordshire at School also features a photograph of pupils of the Girls’ Grammar School learning to swim; not in the river but in their own school swimming bath, part of the High Street premises where the school was located. This photo is undated but most probably was taken about 1909, as part of a set of photos of the school’s buildings and facilities. If so, the Girls School’s swimming bath pre-dated the boys’ by nearly twenty years.