Canons Life - Spring 2014

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    Canons LifeThe Spring Term 2014 at North London Collegiate School

  • HistorY FocusMessage FroM tHe HeaDMistress

    With such a rich past, it is no surprise that history and tradition are very important at NLCS. Each Spring Term this is evident at Founders Day, when the school community comes together to celebrate its heritage and to commemorate its founder, Frances Mary Buss. To coincide with the centenary of the First World War, the focus at this years Founders Day was NLCS during the Great War and

    the many ways that North London girls and Old North Londoners took part in the war effort.

    Much of the information that we have about the Schools history is held in our extensive archives. In this Canons Life we learn about the wealth of historic materials held at NLCS from an interview with Mrs Morgan, who tells us about her role as Chief Archivist.

    This Canons Life also looks at the subject of History at the School. We feature an interview with Nicky Robertson, the Chair of the History Society, and find out about historical activities the girls have undertaken this term. These include the Story Box project set up by the library and Year 7s code-breaking project, in which they used a real-life Enigma machine from the Second World War. Girls have also had the opportunity this term to learn about history further afield on trips to Florence, Berlin and Washington.

    As always, there have been numerous enriching and engaging activities taking place at NLCS, from talks by notable speakers to challenging problem-solving workshops. The second annual Philosophy Conference, attended by eminent speaker A.C. Grayling, also took place this term, along with exciting and unique activities organised as part of Classics Week and Maths and Science Week.

    The ambitious and exciting Senior School production of Earthquakes in London produced some highly professional performances as well as an extraordinary transformation of the PAC! The student-directed production of Jumpy was engaging, funny and sensitive, and Years 7 and 8 gave a compelling performance of Willy Russells Blood Brothers. The Arts Celebration, the South East Schools Chamber Music Competition and the many other music concerts have once again delighted us and given the girls a chance to demonstrate their talents!

    This term we have been delighted to welcome two groups of NLCS Jeju students to Canons; a large group of Year 6 boys and girls spent time here with their Junior School peers in early March and a group of exchange students from Year 9 joined us in mid-March. Hosted by our own pupils from Year 9, they were able to attend Founders Day along with all students and staff and celebrate our shared heritage. We also bade farewell and thank you to our departing Senior Students, known as the Big Six, who have led the School admirably, lending great energy and enthusiasm to their role as well as sound judgement.

    At the end of another busy term, I wish you all a restful holiday.

    Bernice Mccabe, Headmistress

    interview with Mrs Morgan Head Librarian/archivist

    What is the NLCS Archive?

    The NLCS Archive houses

    material reflecting the history

    of the school since its

    foundation in 1850 by Frances

    Mary Buss. The other major

    collection contains books

    and documents on Canons

    and all its owners, especially

    the Duke of Chandos in the

    early 18th century. Between

    them these two collections

    number thousands of items

    and a range of media such as

    books, letters, diaries, and

    photographs, and artefacts

    such as historical uniform and

    pupils work.

    How do you receive


    In addition to the wealth of

    material collected by Miss

    Buss and her family, and by

    previous generations of pupils

    and staff, I receive donations

    from ONLs or their families,

    and sometimes acquire

    items I spot on the Internet.

    I also collect contemporary

    documents and other

    items, and always welcome

    suggestions and donations

    from the school community.

    How do you preserve

    historical material?

    Photos and documents are

    stored in acid free plastic

    pockets and boxes, which

    protect them from damage,

    and the room in which they are

    stored has no windows and a

    constant temperature. As an

    extra precaution we even wear

    special white gloves when

    handling some items!

    What is the most satisfying

    thing for you?

    I love the contrast and the

    variety, and using important

    collections with a wide range

    of people from outside the

    school, such as academics

    and the media. Even more

    satisfying is working with

    staff and pupils to make the

    Archive a living collection

    which we can all enjoy. Every

    day I learn something new,

    and the highlight of the year

    is Founders Day, when the

    Archive comes into its own.

    With the help of the other staff

    in the department, I research

    a different topic every year,

    and every year new light is

    shed on our illustrious past.

    It is also amazing to employ

    21st century methods with

    historical items. One moment

    Im carefully handling an 18th

    century letter, and another Im

    scanning it and viewing it on

    an iPad!

    History trip usaTwenty girls from Years 10 and 11 visited New

    York and Washington as part of their study of the

    history and politics of twentieth-century America.

    The trip took in historic sights relevant to the civil

    rights movement, the Cold War and 9/11. As part

    of the tour, students visited the UN building, Wall

    Street, Harlem and Ground Zero in New York and

    the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Memorial,

    White House and National Holocaust Museum in

    Washington, but of course they also found time for

    shopping in Times Square, a visit to the Hard Rock

    Cafe and a trip up the Empire State Building!

    enigma Machine As part of this years annual Maths and Science Week, Year 7 had the unique opportunity to take part in an Enigma code-breaking project presented by Dr Grime from the Millennium Mathematics Project in Cambridge. He demonstrated an actual Enigma machine from WW2, one of only very few remaining.

    story Box Project Story Boxes were created by Archives staff to

    enable pupils to experience the excitement

    of using primary historical material. They

    include copies and transcriptions of original

    NLCS archival

    documents based on

    topics covered in the

    curriculum and on

    extracurricular subjects.

    The original documents

    and photographs are

    also available for pupils

    to see and handle.

    The first four boxes

    were launched to

    coincide with National

    Archives Awareness Week, and covered: The

    Great Exhibition 1851; The British Empire;

    Sophie Bryant and Irish Home Rule; and 18th

    Century Life at Canons. The boxes are available

    in the Library and can be borrowed in the same

    way as a library book.

    Sports Day 1917

    Miss Collet and t

    he pupils of the

    winning Senior F

    lag Team. The

    prize money was

    donated to three

    charities, and on

    e Form sent

    money to its priso

    ner of war

    Pupils wait for the Wagonette August 1917, On the Land in Briantspuddle

    The North Londoners, Briantspuddle, August 1917, Pupil

    Lucy Parker with NLCS friends

    Going Home at 6 oclock August 1917, On the Land in


    On the Land, August 1917 Pupils shocking the crops,

    stacking them upright to dry ready for the harvest

    Sports Day 1918-1919Instead of awarding prizes at Sports Days, money was donated annually to war charities

    Pupil Lucy Parkers photograph of her

    friends Molly, Ida and Irene at work

    On the Land in Briantspuddle,

    August 1917

    nLcs during ww1This years Founders Day celebrations looked at NLCS during WW1 and the impact the war had on the school, its staff and girls. Mrs McCabe also spoke of ONLs who made a contribution to the war effort.

    nicky robertson chair of History societyWhy did you become Chair of History Society?

    From studying the localised history of the

    site of our school to learning about Northern

    Iberian law in the 10th Century, NLCSs

    History Society has never failed to delight

    me. I began attending the weekly lectures in

    Year 10, and every week, my passion grew.

    As I moved up through the School, there were

    more opportunities to get involved with the

    Society. Mrs Brown and the History Department

    encouraged me to explore history outside the

    school syllabus, for which I will always

    be grateful.

    What have you enjoyed most in your role?

    Weve had a variety of incredible speakers

    and it has been a privilege to host them and

    have them share their knowledge with us. The

    highlight of my time with History Society was

    the History and Politics Week we held last

    term, particularly exciting was having Lord

    Hennessy, the noted historian, speak at our


    What activities have you got planned for the Summer Term? We will go to a lecture on the Nazi regime

    during the Second World War given by the

    famed military historian Richard Overy held by

    Birbeck University and we are currently planning

    an event for November to commemorate the