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Discovering our past

A group of students have spent their lunchtimes discovering the lives of past students.

An image of two students looking through the QMC School Archives.
Lucy Poole and Isabella Barber in the QMC Archive room.

The Archive Club was started in 2018 by Head of Humanities Nadine Allen. The club gives students the chance to be involved with College history through the school archives.

Year 12 student Isabella Barber is one of the foundation members of the group and says she was interested in joining because of her passion for history. “I find history really interesting, and I was very excited to be able to take it as a subject,” she says. “I thought joining the Archives Club would be a really cool opportunity, especially with the centenary coming up.”

“You make so many fascinating discoveries,” Year 13 student and fellow foundation member Lucy Poole adds.

“There are so many funny and interesting things in here. For example, we found a list of the things students used to get in trouble for. It included things like eating raisins in class. You really get a feel for what school life was like when you look through the books and photos.”

Other fascinating discoveries for the club include learning the history of the school buildings.

“I think one of the most interesting things we’ve discovered was that there was a fire here in 1996. I never knew there had been one, and it really affected a lot of our archives,” Lucy says.

“You can still see and smell evidence of he fire on some of the objects, which is pretty incredible seeing as it happened 20 years ago,” Isabella says.

The group has been putting their knowledge to use by helping with displays for the centenary. So far, they have researched documents in the archive room, organised old school uniforms and selected photos for displays.

“Last year, we interviewed lots of really interesting Old Girls; we really want to do something with these interviews,” Lucy says.

“One of these women has now had three granddaughters go through QMC, as well as her daughters. She was also a boarder here for a while too, so it was interesting to hear what her life was like boarding compared with what it’s like today.”