It was wonderful to welcome Edwin ‘John’ Carvell (33-37), our oldest OB (on record), back to school after a 84-year hiatus. You may remember our story, from earlier in the year, when we had contacted Edwin, after finding an article about his 100th birthday celebration in a local newspaper, and sent him a personalised birthday card – along with an invitation to come back to his old school.

Edwin, was keen to accept our invitation to return for a special VIP tour and lunch with the Head Master and Hugh Maltby (Director of the Bedford School Association). On his arrival, he eagerly talked about his old school reports, which he treasures to this day. Hugh then showed him an old  British Pathé newsreel dating back to 1933, when the then Prince Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor), visited the school to open the new science block and met with the Head Master – a day he remembers vividly. His memory was definitely on point, as he shared the final conversation he had with Mr. Grose-Hodge (the Head Master at the time) before he left the school in 1937.

During the tour, Edwin enjoyed reminiscing about his time at Bedford and was keen to retrace his footsteps to his old classroom in the science building. He noted that, although much had inevitably changed with the passing of time, so many things had also remained constant. The school felt different but also remained comfortably familiar. Technology has brought about advances in teaching methods, as Edwin found out when Liz Palmer (a current Science teacher) demonstrated the new smart boards, which have replaced the old blackboards and chalk.  As Edwin passed the Glebe Road gates, he pointed out that he remembered making them, with his classmates, in the old school workshop…a bit of unaltered history we weren’t aware of.

“It was a pleasure to welcome Edwin back to the school to reminisce about his school days. Despite the passing years and many changes which have taken place, he opined that the core fundamentals of a Bedford education remain as true today as they did in 1937.”  James Hodgson, Head Master

Back in the 1930s, day boys would often go home for lunch, meaning that Edwin had never enjoyed the culinary delights of a school lunch. As the tour came to an end, we thought it only fitting to serve him his favourite dish of steak and chips. Just before tucking in, the Head Master presented him with his first OB tie, albeit 84 years late, making Edwin a fully-fledged OB!

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