‘On an Eminence’
The centenary of the founding of Framlingham was celebrated by the opening of the Athlone Hall by Queen Victoria and Albert’s granddaughter, Princess Alice, the 125th saw the opening of Borrett’s, and the 150th sees the ‘reinvigoration of the heart of the College’, with major building work to enhance facilities behind the old mock-Gothic façade. For some reason, histories of Framlingham have come out at sixty-year intervals, with John Booth’s definitive record of the first sixty years, and Bob Gillett’s characteristically dry take on the second sixty. Brandeston Hall has more recently been covered by Norman Porter and John Maulden has written on the College’s late twentieth-century links with the Society of Old Framlinghamians. However, somewhere between the 120th and the 180th anniversaries it seems fitting to publish a book of a slightly different kind, more on the lines of Sellar & Yeatman’s 1066 and All That, a history of what the authors and more recent generations of Framlinghamians can remember about their time at the College.
Many OFs have made remarkable written, photographic and artistic contributions to this book, along with a wealth of fascinating artefacts. As well as the usual suspects, Messrs Porter, Pitcher and Martin, Professor Marsh and Drs McGuire and Bull were particularly quick to respond to our request for suitable material, while others were equally prompt to let us know that their memories of their time at the College were too ‘scarce and uninteresting’ to mention. True to form some Framlinghamians promised much, but delivered nothing, while others were horribly late with their essays – we might sigh like the Protestant martyr, John Bland, who wrote of a former pupil officiating at his trial for heresy in the 1550s: ‘though I was never able to do him good, yet once I was his tutor’.
The authors have also struggled with the chaotic state of the College archives – like the Foulstons searching on Southwold beach, turning up small pieces of amber amongst a mass of pebbles, and the OF diaspora means that materials are still coming in from all over the world. We hope this book at least stems the tide of loss and provides a fitting record of the College’s recent past: perhaps the 150th anniversary will spark a new interest in collating and organising the archives.
Inevitably many people will find themselves omitted from this record and the authors have faced a difficult task of selection and interpretation. When Robinson and Gallagher wrote their seminal history of the British Empire in 1953 they tried to move away from a Eurocentric perspective: Robinson and Cooke have been more narrowly Framlocentric, but we are only too well aware, as Sir Walter Raleigh wrote in the Tower shortly before his execution, that ‘whosoever in writing a modern History, shall follow truth too near the heels, it may haply strike out his teeth’. Even so, we hope most readers will enjoy this history. We have tried to capture the essence of the place, we’ve tried not to be boring and we trust that the combination of Robinsonian hyperbole and Cookeian litotes has produced a golden mean.
Mark Robinson & Michael CookeBuy Our Book