OD and Development Archived News
London Drinks Evening 2013
Over 150 Old Dragons from 1953-1958 returned to the Dragon on Friday, 22nd March 2013 for a reunion dinner and a chance to reunite with old friends. ODs came from all over the world to see the school again, some of them for the first time in 60 years. Headmaster John Baugh welcomed everyone and Grace was said by Bishop John Snape (OD 1954). Journalist Stephen Jessel (OD 1956) then spoke warmly of his Dragon years and his contemporaries.
After dinner, the ODs had an opportunity to mingle and meet old friends, during which time a souvenir booklet produced especially for the occasion was handed out to everyone. The booklet includes photos of all of the ODs who attended the reunion, and recalls their time at the school with photos of them from the 1950s. Hard copies of the booklet can be obtained from the OD Office.
OD Cricket Match 2012
On Sunday, 27th May, a stalwart side of OD sportsmen faced off against the cream of the staff cricketing crop for the 2012 ODs vs Staff cricket match. The two teams refused to let the soaring temperatures affect their game, with many holding onto long-held rivalries from their previous encounters. Fortified by unending refreshments, the ODs batted first and scored a very respectable 158 runs. All the ODs played well, despite several pre-game confessions of rusty batting and bowling. However, the Staff side pressed their home advantage and by the end of the afternoon had almost levelled the score. A final thrust from the Staff left them victorious by only a few runs. At the end of the match, the scoreboard showed 161, and the two teams determined to play again next time.
1970-75 Reunion Dinner
March 2012 saw 180 enthusiastic ODs and former staff return to the Dragon for the 1970-75 Leavers’ Reunion. This popular and immensely enjoyable evening began with drinks in the Forum – a building new to most.
ODs came from all over the world to reunite with old friends and to see the school again, some returning for the first time in 40 years. Before a very convivial dinner, Grace was said by Canon Ron Lloyd (former Chaplain 1969-82). Headmaster John Baugh then gave a warm welcome and remarked how much the ethos of the school remains intact. Afterwards Arthur Somerset (OD 1973) entertained with an amusing speech featuring a wealth of memories, staff nicknames and school vocabulary known only to Dragons.
Guests were given a special souvenir booklet recalling their time at the school and including many of them in photographs from the 1970s. Later, Deputy Head Ed Phelps (OD 1978) and Lynams Senior Mistress Mary Kinnear led many of the crowd to continue their celebrations into the early hours at the ‘Rose and Crown’ pub on North Parade.
London Dragon Debate 2012
'Educating the 22nd Century Child'
The inaugural London Dragon Debate took place on 14th May, kindly hosted by Hogan Lovells. Chaired by Barnaby Lenon, former Headmaster of Harrow School and Chairman of the Independent Schools Council, a panel of professional educators discussed education for an unpredictable future. Joining our Headmaster, John Baugh, on the panel were Claire Oulton, Head of Benenden School, Patrick Derham, Headmaster of Rugby School and The Rt Revd. Peter Hullah, the Former Bishop of Ramsay, Former Headmaster of Chetham’s School of Music, and Former Principal of Northampton Academy.
Questions gathered from the audience in advance formed the basis for the panel discussion on both the contemporary curriculum and what education and learning might mean in the future. The importance of various skill sets against the global backdrop of a future job economy was hotly debated by both the panellists and the audience. This led to a more philosophical discussion on the core purpose of education and the key values inherent to teaching both now, and in years to come. Following the debate, discussion continued over drinks, also at Hogan Lovells, where the panellists and audience members could enjoy a spectacular view over the City of London.
Old Dragons in the Varsity Rugby Match
The Dragon has a strong reputation for rugby and has produced a string of international players and England captains. In a year in which two former pupils of the Dragon featured in the Varsity Rugby Match between Oxford and Cambridge Universities, it is fitting to recall the long tradition of Dragon involvement in the fixture throughout its one hundred and thirty year history.
(The image on the right shows four Old Dragons snapped at the 1945 Varsity Rugby Match)
Prior to this year’s match, twenty seven different ODs have played a Varsity match, and due to several of them having played in more than one Varsity match (indeed, four have played in three matches and eight have played in two), the Dragon has been represented a total of thirty times on the Varsity pitch. Four Dragons went on to captain a Varsity team – Ronnie Poulton (OD 1902), John Pearce (OD 1938), Philip Moore (OD 1934) and Giles Bullard (OD 1936) – and ten Dragons have been awarded Blues. A further nine Blues were awarded “Wartime” Blues in the unofficial matches held between 1940 and 1944. ODs have predominantly played for Oxford in the Varsity Match; only twice have Old Dragons represented Cambridge during the history of the Varsity Match. Brian Jones (OD 1937), whose grandson Gus, also an OD, played this year for Oxford, played for Cambridge in 1949, while James Foster (OD 1980) did so in 1988. It is not unusual for more than one Dragon to play in one Varsity match; like in 2012, two Dragons played in the 1927, 1947, 1949, 1950 and 1956 fixtures, four ODs played in the 1940 fixture, and three ODs were joined by an OD referee, Cyril Gadney, in the 1945 fixture.
The most notable of Dragon rugby players are Harry Vassall, Ronnie Poulton, Bernard Gadney and Cyril Gadney. Vassall – later known as ‘Jugs’ – was early connected to the Dragon through his friendship with influential Dragon headmaster, Charles (“Skipper”) Lynam, which was forged when Skipper played three-quarter under Vassall’s captaining of the Oxford University team in 1882-3. Vassall gained his first sporting ‘Blue’ during the 1879 Varsity Match, and went on to lead Oxford to victory in the 1881 Varsity match with a performance in which ‘picking up close to the line [he] went over like a traction engine’. He is recognised as one of the most important figures in the early development of rugby.
Ronald (‘Ronnie’) Poulton left the Dragon in 1902 and played for Oxford in three Varsity matches from 1909, captaining the last one. During the 1909 match, he led Oxford to victory by scoring five of the game’s nine tries. This remains the individual record for the fixture. Poulton went on to captain England in 1913/14 and was killed in the First World War, aged just twenty-five. He was one of the most notable players of his time, and considered by many contemporary observers as perhaps the greatest-ever attacking rugby union three-quarter.
Bernard Gadney left the Dragon in 1923 and was a scrum-half for England's rugby team in the 1930s. He won 14 international caps, captaining the side eight times, and led England to win the Triple Crown in 1934, and to their first victory over New Zealand, in 1936.
Cyril Gadney, who left the Dragon in 1919, became an international rugby referee and was made President of the Rugby Football Union in 1962.
This year’s Varsity Match (2011) saw recent ODs Will Rowlands (OD 2005) and Gus Jones (OD 2007) bolstering the Oxford side in the fixture’s 130th incarnation, continuing on the long and proud tradition of Dragon Varsity players.