Library & Archives
The Special Collections at Radley are comprised of printed material relating specifically to the School and its members, such as the books belonging to William Sewell, founder of Radley, early printed books and manuscripts, and the Archive of documents and unpublished records of the School.
History of the Library
The first Library at Radley was established by Warden Singleton in 1847. It was stocked with an assortment of 500 books uniformly bound in leather with the school crest in gold. The first boy librarian was elected in 1848. The site of this earliest Library is unknown. Many of the books survive, still in their distinctive bindings, as part of the Special Collections. In 1854, it was moved to the newly built Octagon, and the stock had grown to just over 3,300 volumes, all listed in the College Inventory. This became a favourite place for relaxation and for writing letters home.
The Wilson Library was opened in 1898 in a temporary home in the present Common Room. Initially, this was reserved for Scholars and boys in the Middle Fifth and above. Annually, one of the School Prefects was appointed Wilson Librarian, and new acquisitions were regularly listed in The Radleian magazine. In 1924, a new home for the Wilson Library was opened for it by the Prince of Wales, located in the three rooms on the ground floor of the Mansion, now known collectively as the Wilson Rooms. It was equipped with bookcases, tables and chairs designed by an Old Radleian. It became the central library for the whole school. The Wilson Library remained in use until 1996, when the new Library, now The Richard Morgan Library, was established in the building known as School.
The Antiphonal is a musical manuscript from around 1500.
A selection of books about Radley, including the three published histories of the school, and the earliest fictional accounts of schoolboy life.
The Library contains a collection of books from the Natural History Society, which was active at Radley for almost a century.
The Radleian Collection contains works by and about Radley and Radleians from before 1847 to the present.
William Sewell’s collected works.