Wallpaper, 2018: a timeline of sport at Radley College

Organised sport has been central to the life of Radley from the foundation of the school in 1847 when the earliest Fellows included two (Howard and Savory) chosen specifically because they could participate in cricket and boating with the boys. 2016 saw a new development in Radley sport with the appointment of James Gaunt as Director of Sport and the subsequent creation of a Sports Office located on one of the main thoroughfares of the school between Shop and Clocktower.  The new office is shared by the Director of Sport and some of the specialist sports coaches, who include Old Radleian, Nick Wood, formerly of Gloucester Rugby, Olympic rower, Sam Townsend, Hockey Professional Peter Bennett and Cricketer Andy Wagner. But sport already had a long and distinguished career at Radley College and, being keen to uphold and honour that tradition, a decision was taken to decorate the office. Masterminded by James Rock, the Rackets coach, the sports coaches delved through the Archives to identify key moments in Radley sporting history.  They created a timeline which wraps around the room, against a backdrop of world events, and, in the Director of Sport’s office, a wallpaper which is a montage of the many ordinary moments in a school’s sporting life. From sinking boats to early PT, from world champions to the Bash Street Kids, – through the magic of digitisation, all sporting life is here …

School founded 1847. Read Warden Singleton’s diary

1855-57. The Fives players. The earliest photos of Radley sports

1855-57. The Fives players. The earliest photos of Radley sports Fives at Radley

1858. The first Radley crew to challenge Eton over the Henley course. They lost (just). The first crew to wear the Maltese Cross

1860. The Old Gym. Archibald McLaren, the gym instructor, was the first professional sports coach Radley

1861. Cricket XI, WEW Collins (Radley’s first celebrity cricketer) front centre

He got 3 men out with 1 ball: he bowled so fiercely that he drew blood from the batsman; the other batsman fainted at the sight of the blood; next man refused to come in.  Cricket at Radley

1867. Radley Football had its own rules, and teams of 12 Soccer at Radley

1880s. Bat Fives being played on the Clocktower courts. The bat also had a darker side

1880. Social Colours were first invented to identify crews in Social Fours Bumps

1880. Social Fours were Bumps Races – a staggered start because the Thames is too narrow to race side by side

1906. England Epee Team at the Intercalated Games in Athens Fencing at Radley

1898-1906. Theo Cook was a founder of the Olympic Movement. Captain of the England Epée Team, Athens 1906 Radley at the Olympics



1906. Silver plaque awarded to Theo Cook by Queen Alexandra

1908. London Olympics. John Robinson won Gold with the England Hockey Team John Robinson died in WW1

1908. England Hockey won Olympic Gold in London

1913. The last Radley Soccer team until 1997. Soccer at Radley

 1914. ‘Rugby will be played’.

The most controversial notice ever made by a Warden of Radley.

1914. The Serpents Badge first used by the Rugby Team

1914. The earliest Rugby team. The gaps are for two who had already joined up; 7 of the team and 2 coaches, died in WW1. Rugby at Radley

1915. WW1 takes its toll. The Eight could only row in Fours this year

1918. WW1 also showed that the country was unfit. B Social show the way in PT

1921. Boys and Dons worked together to build a new boathouse

1930. Van der Gucht and Vestey – the first Pair to win the Public Schools Rackets Championship

1936. King’s School, Parramatta, Australia was the first school in the world to tour internationally.

1936. Radley won! Only two schools beat Parramatta during the tour (the other was Marlborough College)

1938. The first time Radley won the Ladies Plate at Henley. The victorious crew toured America as heroes

1942. Beagles founded. Nat Sherwood, Boy Master, photographed Starlight, Saucy, Ghostly and Dainty

1948. The last tree to be planted at Century Clump. Each oak commemorates a Century scored in a school match. Cricket at Radley

1950. Cricket XI with Ted Dexter, later Captain of England

1984. Richard Budgett won Gold for GB Coxed Fours at the Los Angeles Olympics. Radley at the Olympics

1985. Golf Course re-founded and re-sited.

1988. James Male holds a sporting record as World Rackets Champion for more than 10 consecutive years

1994. Andrew Strauss. Captain of England. When England retained the Ashes, Strauss and friends brought the trophy to Bert Robinson, Radley’s cricket coach, then in his 90s. © Getty Images. Cricket at Radley

2008. The Real Tennis court opened. The first to be built in the UK in the 20th & 21st centuries

2015. The Rowing Tank

In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these means, man can attain perfection. Plato


A montage of sport at Radley College