"The best thing I can say of the school was that it worked. It embedded in me habits of reading and thinking as well as an enduring curiosity about just about everything."

Bryan Appleyard - award-winning journalist and author

Read more testimonials

The President's Blog

President of the Old Boltonians' Association for 2009-10 is Charles Winder.  His blog is below:

December Finale 

The Annual Dinner was well attended. Food and drink were excellent and the event was enhanced by its setting in the Arts Centre. It was a great pleasure to greet Peter Knowles (1980) as guest speaker; he and the headmaster were appreciated by everyone.  My own last duty was to hand the chain of office to Peter Acton, whose achievements and range of interests promise an outstanding presidency. The year has been consistently entertaining and interesting for me and conversation, which continued till past midnight, was a congenial climax to it all.                                             

November 2010

I have a letter of thanks from Mr Rossetti for sending "The Boltonian" which contained the article about his father and uncles.  Coincidentally there has been a series of programmes about the Pre-Raphaelites on BBC4 and in Oxford, where we gathered for the Old Boltonians' Dinner, there was an exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum.  The Dinner was at St Edmund Hall and it was a particular pleasure to see Andrew Craston, School Captain 1970, back in his old college.  He lives now in Schleswig-Holstein and continues his commercial work while sharing the running of a small-holding with his wife.  I was reminded by David Williams, School Captain 1999, that he and I had a common interest once in churchyard maintenance and so we extended the agricultural theme.  It was as always a convivial evening and I enjoyed the company of Peter Knowles, to be speaker at the Annual Dinner, his contemporary Catherine Kneafsey and, of a later group, Mark Jagasia.  Roger Smith was entertaining with tales of his work in planning, Matthew Syddall on teaching and cricket - and all the thirty others who made the occasion what it was. 

At the OBA General Committee Meeting the Headmaster commented on the importance of the relationship between the Association and the School.  The minutes will reveal new ways into the future, plans for 2015 and thoughts about the golf and football sections which continue to flourish.  Peter Syddall was nominated for the presidency in 2012, was later contacted and said at the lunch on 8 November that he was happy to accept nomination.  There were almost eighty old boys at the lunch.  Daniel Sliwinski spoke to us about the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and the Headmaster spoke about new buildings and the proposed sixth form centre whose plans are on the website.  I enjoyed talking with retired surgeon Derek Davies and arranged with David Shaw to visit Haslam's the printers in Chorley to discuss our photograph project.  Our consequent conversation with David Haslam resulted in satisfactory initial agreement about format and timescale.

The School photographic competition, celebrating one hundred years of the society, was topical.  It showed the range of skills and achievement of all age-groups and there were attractive, original choices of subject.  The event was enhanced by a display of work by two local camera clubs and entries from a local primary school.  Old Boltonians, Mark Power and Mike Watkinson, represented the clubs and were at lunch with the judge,  Ian Jones, another Old Boltonian, who is now the royal photographer and had fascinating stories to tell about work in Afghanistan, Iraq and, earlier, Sarajevo with Princess Diana.  Among the guests was Colin Chambers, previously Head of Science, whose enthusiasm for photography was an important feature of Ian's school career.  Another guest was Bob Maxwell, at school in the nineteen-forties and an experienced, gifted photographer whose work Ian inspected with great interest.

Probably my last engagement before the annual dinner was another dinner at Cambridge, this time at St Catharine's, a college which has some memories for me and was also Ian McKellen's college.  The setting, meal and company were excellent again and this time there were more undergraduates, particularly most recent leavers.  I enjoyed conversations with other, older guests as well and the overnight in Downing was a pleasure.

Apart from invitations and gatherings, I have continued to meet people informally, and sometimes see them on TV. Robert Lambert had a significant role in "Birds Britannia" on Channel 4 and I have recently received another SF novel from Jennifer Kirk who has established a following. There have been favourable comments on the recent Newsletter, which I have passed on to Jenny Salerno, and she has received some herself. 

Now there is only the great occasion of the year to come. 

 

October 2010

During the summer there was some reviewing and writing to be completed. I received a long letter from Norman Harper (Staff 1974-85) about his life in music and teaching since leaving and about old pupils he is in touch with. There is a summary in the current Newsletter. In early August Mike Tatman drove me to Molly Dickinson's funeral in Harrogate. This was a quiet, thoughtful event, organised by Stella Leigh, daughter of Leslie Jones (Staff 1934-69). Stella gave the address and afterwards we assembled as a small, congenial company in a local teashop. Molly, over a hundred years old, was remembered with pleasure as F.R.Poskitt's secretary and as a friend and godmother. There was further contact with the past when Colin Chambers called with photographs of staff meetings led by David Baggley and of a mysterious Miss Burke in academic dress, dated 1931. We have not been able to identify her and the name does not appear in the Boys' Division staff register.

In September events began again. The 1990/2000 Reunion was a great pleasure. It is always interesting to hear the variety of experiences old pupils bring with them and to hear their views on current issues they are involved with. They in their turn are interested in the School, in changes and developments, but particularly in things that have remained the same and have old associations. The reunion was followed two days later by the Monday lunch and there was a large gathering for this. Guests heard of recent deaths, Frank Collier, Ian Black, David Gracie and Ian Hindley. Trevor then outlined future events and activities. In the evening, at School, there was the Tillotson Lecture, presented by Sue Palmer on the theme, "Twenty-first Century Boys". This was about the impact of technology on childhood and the Vice-Captain's vote of thanks indicated that her words had impact. The School Captain's introduction, emphasising the contribution of Marcus Tillotson to the life of the School, was similarly excellent. It was a good and interesting evening. On the Wednesday we saw Amy Nuttall, daughter of Andrew Nuttall, as Stella in "A Streetcar Named Desire" at the Octagon. I don't know whether Amy was a girl at Bolton School. Her father, now a barrister, was here and a considerable actor, playing the part of Edgar in Allan Sharples' memorable "King Lear" of the early 'seventies and Crichton in "The Admirable Crichton" a year later. During the interval a lady introduced herself. This was Mrs Taylor, wife to David Taylor, formerly the School Doctor and for a long time a guest at retired staff lunches.

Cycling by the river in late September I met a past pupil, Martin Graham, accompanied by two whippets. He has ceased to be a North Sea helicopter pilot and now lives off Beaumont Road. We had a lively conversation in which he referred to Georgei Gurdijeff, Armenian thinker and healer, whom he has been reading, and to his own growing interest in the role of the Shaman. There were further interesting encounters at the Bristol Dinner - Eric Tyson (1979), organist and engineer, John Sharples (1974) of 5 Alpha long ago and Richard Coward (1954) who had an agreeable memory of meeting a Bolton School mathematics teacher in a country lane near Cadbury Castle. As the teacher's son was an officer in the Fleet Air Arm, this was clearly Jim Dawson (Staff 1966 - 89) and I have written to Jim, who has spoken to me since. Another guest was Oliver Dearden, who sent his best wishes to Roger Kirk, former president. They joined the School together, with Mrs Saxelby, as their form-mistress, known far beyond Bolton as a teacher of languages. Like all the dinners I have been to, Bristol was congenial, welcoming and, in a new venue, it attracted about forty guests. We are grateful to Andrew Watson (1964) for the arrangements he made. 

More outdoor activity followed. I walked the moors between Lead Mines Clough and White Coppice with former English staff, Ralph Britton and Mel Shewan, who is now in Edinburgh. Most recently I watched the beginning of the President's Bursary Golf Day at Bolton Golf Club and returned for dinner, presentation and prizes in the evening. Frank Millhouse's initiative has continued with great success from the period of his presidency and this year the tournament raised £3000 which helps support a sixth form pupil. The Golf Day is a leading fund-raising activity amongst the many generous donations of old pupils which have amounted to a million pounds in the last two years. The day was bright and beautiful, competition was good and the evening meal and celebrations were most enjoyable. It was one of those days when the School recognises the strength of support which is freely given by old pupils and their many friends - and in this case by present pupils because the boys entered a team as well. 

 

July 2010

Old Boltonians enjoyed outstanding events in June and early July. On a sunny early evening we gathered at the Lindeth Howe Hotel before the Cumbria Dinner. At last we left the garden for the dining room and enjoyed an excellent meal with a variety of choices. In my own speech I mentioned John Blakey and his hundredth ascent of Scafell Pike with a large group of teaching staff. His daughter, Sian, was at the dinner - amazingly, because it was the first she had ever attended in the years since she left the School. The event grows in popularity and we are grateful to proprietor and Old Boltonian, Stephen Broughton, for its continuing success. 

There was a cloudy start to the 1st Xl match against the MCC but the weather brightened and the rest of the day was hot. A good crowd of spectators enjoyed some high scoring. There were two centuries, one from Old Boltonian John Ratledge, a Cambridge Blue playing for the visitors and one from first eleven batsman, Giles Makinson, who wins a day at Lord's as guest of the MCC. Amongst other notable visitors were Jack Bond and Florence, his wife, Alan West, ex-teaching staff, now Lancashire's scorer, and a more recent Lancashire Captain, Mike Watkinson. Lunch and tea were excellent and made the setting for further conversation about cricket and Bolton School. Oxford Blue and Old Boltonian, David Sandiford, spoke at the lunch and deftly expressed the spirit of the occasion. After the match, we saw there was a competition for local primary schools on the top level. Cricket is one of the many activities which enable the School to enjoy its relations with the community.

Another is music. This year the music department invited local primary schools to take part in the summer concert at the Bridgewater Hall. Every item was skilful and disciplined, involving both choral and instrumental work. The primary schools sang with our own first year boys and their contribution complemented the more advanced skills of our instrumental groups and the pianist, Ben Smith, whose playing and composition I earlier heard at the Christmas Festival. The evening at the Bridgewater was thoughtfully and humorously introduced by Stephen Martin, Director of Music, to a large audience of parents, friends and Old Boltonians, who joyously took part in choral singing.

I was sorry to miss Prize-giving but the cause was good. We were making our annual visit to see Richard Wilkinson (Staff 1965-74) and Ann, his wife, in Aysgarth. There we were joined by David Adshead (Staff 1965-68) and Lorna. As always it was a happy day. Now, during the summer, there will be fewer events. The Girls' School magazine has just arrived, a colourful, detailed review of the year with a long absorbing biography of Margaret Higginson. I have some reviews of books by or about Old Boltonians to get on with and I look forward to a resumption of activities in September. 

 

June 2010

There was a brief silence before the May AGM to honour the memory of Morton Bruckshaw who had recently died. Morton was one of our most loyal supporters and a veteran of the Second World War when he served in the RAF.

The business of the AGM was quickly despatched; Peter Acton was elected President for 2010-11, the appointments of Secretary, Treasurer and Committee Members were confirmed. The President thanked the Secretary and Treasurer for their services and the Treasurer thanked Keith Acton for his work as Auditor.

More than seventy of us enjoyed lunch together and I was fortunate to sit with Jack Bond, formerly Captain of Lancashire CCC, who will visit us again for the MCC match and cricket day on Thursday 24 June. Another attender was a recent leaver, the GB breast stroke record-holder, Daniel Sliwinski, introduced to me by Trevor Pledger, whose daughter, Sian, another athlete and recent leaver, is in serious training as a sprinter and has a blog on this website. The annual lunch for retired staff followed on 12 May at Smithills and I enjoyed the company of Mike and Leonie Welch whom I had not seen in thirty years. After leaving Bolton, Mike spent most of the rest of his career teaching Chemistry at Ripon GS and Leonie was Head of Polam Hall School. I also spoke briefly to Andy Sumner (Staff 1963-7) about his biography of the boxer, Brian London, now in the School Library. Brian London now lives in Blackpool, whose recent sporting glory reflects the moment in 1953 which is still vivid in the memory of most who attend these lunches.

Then it was Edinburgh. The dinner, arranged by John Markland, was in a fine university setting. Food and conversation were excellent - I discovered that Peter Nightingale was there when the Ingham trekkers made their legendary call on Gracie Fields at her home on Capri; most people stayed until long after the meal and this long-established occasion promises to continue and continue. It was a pleasure to meet Laura Henstone, the newly-elected Chair of the Old Girls' Association and to see her again at the decade reunion the following day in Bolton. This large gathering of people who left in 1960, '70 and '80 was a great success. There were many personal reunions, recollections of friends, exchanges of news and recollections of teaching staff. The 1970 generation from the Boys' Division was to meet again later at the De Vere Hotel and continue a regular habit of occasional reunions. As has become the practice, the afternoon event was enhanced by power point displays of what happened long ago.

David Shaw and I continue our investigation into the School's photo archive and have most recently looked at drama where there are some vivid representations of recent and long past productions. Work on the Rossetti family has advanced and, trawling through past copies of "The Boltonian", I came across an obituary for Mr Lyde, Headmaster in the very early twentieth century, and passed this on to Mel Shewan, whose fine display of portraits, accompanied by brief biographies, is now on B corridor south. According to the obituary there was once a portrait displayed alongside the Lyde Cup but this, unlike the cup, has long since disappeared. Another, after some searching was provided for Mel by University College, London, where our Headmaster became Professor of Geography and where two of the current professors - of Russian History and genetics - are Old Boltonians. In London we have always had a thriving company and I am sorry to record the death of one who was  prominent in London events, Frank Collier, over many decades a generous supporter of the School. We hope to publish obituaries of Frank and of Martin Bruckshaw in the Newsletter. 

 

May 2010

Many Old Boys and Old Girls were singing and listening at the performance of "Carmina Burana" in the Victoria Hall. The Choral Union has flourished for many years under the leadership of Michael Greenhalgh and the inclusion in the first half of songs from "Les Miserables" recalled the School's own recent, wonderful production. During the interval I spoke with Elsie Peel, formerly Head of German in the Girls' Division, who gave generous, unceasing support to Margaret Higginson during her retirement and last years. Elsie told me that a collection of Margaret's letters is being assembled for the website. This will be a rich contribution to the history of the Foundation.

I was drawn willingly but in some confusion into "The Battle of the Bands" in the Arts Centre. Jeremy Bleasdale and Stephen Martin, of the Music Department, invited me and I was very glad to meet Mark Radcliffe (1966-76) again. He participated in the 'seventies in the Song Contest, precursor of Battle of the Bands, with his group, Berlin Airlift. Boys and girls were dressed for the event, which for me was a wholly new, vibrant and colourful experience. Sky TV is to produce a documentary of Mark's life and the afternoon was fully recorded. We are grateful to him for his adjudication and amusing memories of the swimming bath, and to his friends, Ross Warburton and Andy Wright who shared his music long ago and came to support him once again. Over lunch Mark had to confront the record that he spent too much time on music when at school but the consensus was that no real harm had come of it. Despite my spending little time on music, I felt prompted to pick a winner and was delighted to find at the end of Mark's adjudication that he agreed. The presidency continues to present unexpected opportunities.

Stephen Holland, Librarian, Donald Hardy, Old Boltonian, and I have continued our investigation into the Rossetti family of Bolton and its connections with Dante Gabriel and Christina. The three boys had distinguished careers at school, in sport, a wide range of society activities and academically. This continued at Cambridge, and Caius College has added a little to what we know. In addition I have spoken to a descendant, Nicholas Rossetti, son of H.F.Rossetti (1921-28), who said his father had enduring, joyous memories of the School. There is certainly enough material for an article in "The Boltonian". Stephen proposes a small library exhibition and Donald reminded us of the Ford Madox Brown exhibition to be held in Manchester in 2011; he has made many contacts. Lord Leverhulme had a substantial interest in the Pre-Raphaelites and everyone will remember the painting from that period in the School Library, The Boyhood of Raleigh.

David Shaw and I continue to review the School's archive of photographs and most recently have been looking at records of music and drama. The range is immense, there are photographs of outstanding dramatic quality and selection will be difficult. David's expertise with the computer helps enormously. The School continues to give opportunities for every kind of activity and I was reminded recently of the responsibilities it carries. Joanne in Reception was phoning parents to say that none of our party had been near the explosion in the Moscow Underground in April and a few days later she was dealing with the consequences of the Icelandic ash cloud for the German parties from both divisions. The problems were addressed by our transport management with rapidity and resourcefulness and everyone was home in time. The cricket on a recent Saturday afternoon was less dramatic but I look forward with great interest to the Cricket Day on 24 June and have heard that Jack Bond, Captain of Lancashire, will be there and at our next lunch and AGM on 10 May. 

 

March 2010

The Cambridge and London dinners were friendly, enjoyable occasions. At first I was unable to find my way into Queens' College, where the Cambridge dinner was held. I met an Old Boltonian in a similar plight and at last we crossed the Mathematical Bridge into the College. The hall was a dignified and formal setting which at the same time enabled informal conversation to flourish and reunions to be enjoyed. There was a range of people from undergraduates, including a water polo blue, to veteran Old Boltonians, who lived in the region, and everyone mixed with everyone else. Malcolm Howe made an unusual brief addition to the speeches when he described the amusing origins of the Old Boltonians' Cambridge tie in the early 'sixties. This year's dinner was a revival - and an extremely successful and promising one. 

In a similarly dignified setting, the Royal Society of Arts, the London Dinner, organised by Peter Acton, was a similar success, attracting old boys and old girls from the young to the very experienced who had a common interest in the school. Everyone was happily entertained and, as at Birmingham and Cambridge, the last diners only reluctantly left. The following day I returned to Cambridge for fifty-years-since-graduation at my college, Downing. This was organised by Alan West (Bolton School Staff 1965-68) who, since retiring from his professional life, has been for many years the Lancashire scorer and is well known in cricketing circles. We hope he will be able to come to the MCC Day on 24 June when, as it happens, Lancashire are not playing and for which Trevor has already contacted Jack Bond, Duncan Worsley, Geoff Ogden and others. This was my second visit to Downing in a week, because I stayed there the night of the Cambridge dinner, walking to and from Queens'. The presidency takes you to many places. Back in London, where we stayed a few days, I walked through Aldwych on Sunday morning and there completely unexpectedly I met an Old Boltonian, a lawyer who now lives with his wife and family on Aldwych. This was a bonus and a great pleasure and it reminded me of the incident, which I described at the dinner, when a jogger on Blackfriars Bridge turned into a pupil of twenty years past. 

I have just read the draft of the next Newsletter and there is a great deal of interest about individuals and activities. There is more about LivLife, an article by our world mountain-biking champion and vivid reminiscences by a foreign correspondent. Old Boltonians have written fully about school friends, who have recently died, and these biographies are of exceptional interest. David Shaw and I continue our trawl through the photo archive and have discovered cricket photographs from the 1880's and some of the very earliest camps. Eventually we hope to include some of these and others ranging from 1900 to the present day in the book we are planning. At the same time I read through the minutes of the Swimming Club from 1905, when the original baths was built, to 1945. Initially the club was organised entirely by boys, who defined competition rules, recorded by a succession of secretaries, the best of whom was George Glasgow, later political editor of   The Observer. Not even he could provide a definition of "novice" which satisfied everyone and, after several years of rolling discussion, the novice race was abandoned.

When recently in school I had a conversation with Mel Shewan, who has organised the display of Headmasters' portraits on B corridor south and has at last discovered a photograph of Mr Lyde, headmaster very early in the twentieth century before becoming professor of geography at University College, London. Mel found that UCL had photographs and other details. He is also interested in the school's paintings, particularly those by Miss Lipscomb (sister to W.G.Lipscomb, Headmaster 1903-24) who, he thinks, may have been taught by the French Manchester artist, Adolphe Vallette. This period coincides with the lives of the Bolton Rossetti family; we are on the point of discussing the possibility of  an exhibition in the school library though there is yet more to be discovered about the Rossetti boys and Lucy at school and afterwards. 

At recent dinners the Headmaster and Headmistress gave details of current achievements. I was glad to hear that the U-13 had won a hard-fought Independent Schools Final by two goals to one at the Burton-on-Trent ground, despite evident careful planning by Forest School. Last night, 17 March, was the first night of Les Miserables and there were many old pupils in the audience, delighted to see that opportunities to be in such dazzling productions continue .Neither artistic director nor producer, educated respectively in the girls' and boys' divisions, will remember - in one case not at all and in the other not at all clearly - the last time scaffolding was mounted on the Great Hall stage. The space available was used wonderfully well for a large cast in a wide variety of sometimes brilliantly coloured costumes and the musicians ensured the tempo of the action. The teachers of the current French Exchange party were in the audience. One of them, addressing the local French Circle a few days earlier, had mentioned the original novel by Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, in her talk about the investigative journalist, Albert Londres, educated at her school early in the twentieth century. The previous week at the Octagon Theatre And Did Those Feet, co-authored by Old Boltonian Les Smith, began a revival. This poignant and animated play celebrates Bolton's victory in the 1923 Cup Final, whilst recording struggle, poverty and the shadow of the First World War. It presents a powerful image of the Lancashire town, its traditions and setting, and the joy experienced by everyone when the cup came to Bolton. As a place to live Bolton has many advantages.

 

February 2010 

Recent events I have attended include the U-13 victory by 6-0 over Millfield School in the Independent Schools Cup. I look forward to the final at Burton-on-Trent on 4 March. This will be followed the next day by the London Dinner for which bookings are being taken by the Development Office now. Recently I was at the Birmingham Dinner and enjoyed the revival of this gathering in the Botanical Gardens. There were about twenty people there and it was a congenial, comfortable animated evening. Conversation included recollection of trek camps and Jim Garbett's Italian trips in the early 'sixties. There was talk, too, of the reunion of the 1970(?) boys' year group which has gathered several times before. Many thanks to Elizabeth Mullinger and the Development Office for organising this gathering in Birmingham. 

Trevor has spoken to me recently about the next Newsletter and I have done a little proof-reading. One writer of an obituary says his friend "was proud and grateful for his years at Bolton school and for the free-place system which enabled boys like us to attend."  There are continuing records of such bonds between people and the school.  The Memorial Service for Mrs Daphne Tillotson at St Andrew and St George was attended by many Old Boltonians from both divisions. Peter Tillotson presented a lively series of recollections of his mother - his father as well - both of whom did so much for many groups and communities in Bolton. More sadly, because they were younger people, there was a Halle Memorial Concert for Michael and Dorothy Hall at the Bridgewater.  Mike was in my form at the time when he was debating the choice between a possible career as a professional musician and another more obviously secure route. He left school in about 1974 and after college had more than thirty years as a violinist with the Halle. Keen climbers, he and Dorothy were victims of an avalanche in the Pyrenees. The concert was full of life, "Petrushka", "Billy the Kid", "Rhapsody in Blue". It was a tribute to outstanding members of the orchestra, in whose memory money is being raised to buy a first-class violin for Buskaid, an African musical charity they supported. 

We heard more of funds directed to Africa when Sam Yates spoke to the Old Boltonians lunch about LivLife, a charity founded by him and the school. Following a period of voluntary service, they have put great effort into construction and education on a site in Tanzania and Sam's illustrated talk indicated that the community was thriving. More details were published in a recent Newsletter. Growing numbers attend the Old Boys lunches and informal contacts continue as well. Recently an old boy, visiting Bolton, rang the school and was directed to the Howcroft where he enjoyed an hour with former staff. 

Work on our photo archive continues, led by David Shaw, and there is fascinating material in the Library Office, including a 1906 photograph of members of Blackburn House, the cadet corps, Bill Brookes teaching in 1950, Richard Poskitt in Uganda, camps and journeys and so on. I expect many of those on the very early photographs have their early deaths in battle recorded in Eric Macpherson's "Remembered with Honour", a poignant recent record of the lives of Old Boltonians. It is probable that Geoffrey Rossetti is included in the photograph of the cadets; by the time he left school he had been promoted to sergeant. Our research into that family continues. I have found that Geoffrey had the same academic tutor, F.R.Leavis, at Cambridge as I did forty years later. Leavis then extended his teaching career by another fifteen years. Geoffrey was also quite close to the philosopher, Wittgenstein and edited "The Cambridge Review", testimonies to his outstanding promise and ability. All this reminds me that it is fifty years since I graduated and I shall be attending reunion the day after the London Dinner, arranged by Alan West (Bolton School Staff 1965-8). Staff and Old Boltonians are everywhere.

 

December 2009

At the Annual Dinner I spoke of writing an occasional diary on the website; proximity to the school and long association give me opportunities. The dinner, as always beautifully served and presented, was friendly and well attended in support of David Jenner and his guest speaker, Peter Boardman, who reflected in an entertaining way on pupils, teachers and events of fifty years ago. My installation was followed by a week of involvement in school and OB activities. 

I met Roger Milne at the Turton football ground and left when the B team were leading Bury GSOB 2-0, including Dan Barratt's dramatic shot from an accurate cross. Though I knew very few at the gathering of recent leavers in the Arts Centre I was made welcome by different groups of young people and was interested by the range of things they were doing: music, medicine, languages, engineering, information technology, English.… 

The Christmas Festival was moving, accomplished and exhilarating. As well as full choir and congregation, there were, amongst many other items, solos, verses of Silent Night in four languages, clear expressive readings, Rhapsody for harp and piano by Ben Smith, who played at the OBs' dinner and the senior chamber choir's In the Bleak Midwinter, which recalled the Rossetti connection with the school. 

At the end of term I visited the Development Office and established more facts about the school's branch of the family as well as doing a little more Boltonian research. in the same week I was invited to the common room for the end of term gathering and it was a pleasure to meet old and new colleagues. Amy Liptrott, an old girl, now teaching English in the Boys' Division, had played beautifully with Ben in Rhapsody and told me she is now to direct Les Miserables in the Great Hall next term. This is one of many events to look forward to.