Delve into our RGS treasure trove

Old Rips president Derek Crookes gives a tour of the RGS archives, packed full of fascinating tales and interesting photographs, which pupils and staff can now easily access online

DID you know that an RGS boarding student once absconded from school before being caught in York, as reported in The Yorkshire Post in 1891? Or that our arts block was originally a science block, built in 1906 at a cost of just under £2,000, raised largely from donations. (times have not changed!).

This information, along with a range of fascinating photos of everything from school plays to sports days, copies of school magazines and budgetary revelations stretching back to the 1700s, are held in our very own RGS archives, boasting 35,000 documents and now easily available for current pupils and staff to search online.

A quick delve reveals that boarders in Johnson House paid £50 per term in 1964, the same amount as the first prize in a 2005 quiz night, and the cost of fencing off the school along Clotherholme road was around £35.

Ten years have passed since the school and Old Riponians committee agreed to begin preserving the Ripon Grammar School and Ripon Girls’ High School archives in an electronic database accessible to all in school or via the RGS web for those who have a RGS email account.

Many thanks to those who have sent us photos, school notebooks, exam papers and other fascinating records of school life over the years.

We would be grateful for more documents or photos from past pupils, to help enhance our records further.

Below we outline our progress to date and highlight where all those old photos and information we send out to Old Riponians are stored.

The first serious attempts to archive RGS documents were instigated by history teacher Bill Petchey just before his retirement in 1995.

He arranged with the foundation governors for the significant and delicate hardcopy archives to be housed and catalogued in the Borthwick Institute at the University of York.

The York archive is open to the public and the includes the original copy of the school’s Royal Charter of 1555.

A significant number of the documents in York have been photographed and added to the school’s e-archive. Some of the e-archive documents are also available onsite as hard copies which can be accessed in the RGS archive room in school.

The RGS e-archive has been built for access via the school’s Microsoft 365 servers and we have tried to index the information in a way which we hope offers all easy access to relevant documents.

Why not dip into the archives yourself and see what treasures you can unearth?