Abingdon News No.58

The Abingdon Foundation, Park Road, Abingdon, Oxford OX14 1DE 01235 521563 • Edited by Jane Warne – communications@abingdon.org.uk 01235 849123 • Design – www.petergreenland.com Abingdon Out of the Past @abingdonschool @abingdonschool @ abingdon_school linkedin.com/school/abingdonschool Earlier this year the newspapers reported the sale of memorabilia relating to some rather different Old Abingdonians. Going Going Gone … On a Friday An online sale at Omega Auctions in January saw a demo cassette sell for £6,000. Titled ‘Gripe’, the cassette was recorded in 1987/8 by a band calling themselves ‘On a Friday’ who in 1991 changed their name to Radiohead. All five members of the band – Thom Yorke, Ed O’Brien, Phil Selway, Colin and Johnny Greenwood – were pupils at Abingdon during the 1980s. The name ‘On a Friday’ came from the fact that it was on a Friday that the band rehearsed in a music room at the School. Signed lithograph of the explorer David Livingstone presented to General Rigby by the Royal Geographical Society. © Bonhams ‘Gripe’ inlay card decorated by Thom Yorke At Bonhams’ Travel and Exploration sale earlier this year, the papers of Major- General Christopher Palmer Rigby (1820- 1885) sold for £130,000. Interest in Rigby’s papers arose mainly from his time as the British Consul at Zanzibar, 1858-63, and his consequent relations with the explorers Livingstone, Speke and Burton. Educated at Abingdon in the 1830s, Rigby’s career owed much to his linguistic brilliance. His daughter, in the biography she wrote of her father, claimed that he could ‘read and converse in fifteen different tongues’. These included Hindustani, Marathi, Kannada, Gujerati, Persian, Arabic and Somali, as well as Italian, German and Russian. After his retirement in 1866, Rigby became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. In April 1874, the Society appointed him as its representative to receive Livingstone’s body on its arrival at Southampton eleven months after his death in Central Africa in May the previous year. Centuries of Boarding at Abingdon As the School develops plans to renew its boarding facilities it is interesting to look back and see that Abingdon has been a boarding school for at least 639 years. Evidence comes from a legal judgment of 1372 which concluded that ‘the master of the Grammar School at Abingdon and the servants and scholars lodging with him and in the house of a certain Dionysia Mundy’ belonged to the parish of St Nicolas as opposed to St Helen’s. This means that in 1372 the School had not just one but two boarding houses. Dionysia Mundy’s house was and still is in Stert Street. The headmaster’s house was demolished some time ago. Our Man in Zanzibar Dionysia Mundy’s house is to the left of the Missing Bean, the site of the headmaster’s house. © Bonhams © Omega auctions