Bedales Historians visit Russia

Grand Palace Kremlin 1

By Nicholas Meigh, Teacher of History

The 6.2 History tour to Russia seems, on paper, a short visit of six days, but the content and variety of places visited means that the students experienced a huge amount.

A select group of 22 historians led by myself, Alison Mason (Professional Guidance) and Jane Shannon (Learning Support) set off for Moscow on 2 April. The focus of the visit was naturally historical and the group visited many of the sites of revolutionary Russia. Perhaps the highlight of this city was the extensive visit to the Kremlin; here the group not only trod the usual tourist trail but had the privilege of visiting parts of the Grand Palace that are usually off limits. We were treated to a private tour of the oldest surviving 15th Century parts of the original fortress and to the lavishly restored state rooms.

We travelled by overnight train to the imperial capital, St Petersburg, where we experienced the artistic riches of Russia in the State Hermitage Museum whilst also remembering the role of the city in the revolution with a visit to the Political History Museum. A favourite venue of St Petersburg is the sumptuous Yusopov Palace, infamous now for being the place in which Rasputin was murdered in a variety of ways.

The group experienced the full range of Russian culture in the evenings from watching the traditional folkshow – with special guest star, student Orlando Goffin – to attending a production of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty in the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St Petersburg.

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6.2s’ grand Russian tour

IMG_1265

The 6.2 tour to Russia, seems, on paper, a short visit of six days – but the content and variety of places visited meant that the students experienced a huge amount.

IMG_1136A select group of 23 historians and Russian language students led by Nick Meigh, Annabel Smith and Frances Vigars set off for Moscow on 26 March. The focus of the visit was naturally historical, and the group visited many of the sites of revolutionary Russia. Perhaps the highlight of this city was the visit to the Kremlin, here the group not only trod the usual tourist trail, but also had the privilege of visiting parts of the Grand Palace that are usually off limits.

We were treated to a private tour of the oldest surviving 15th century parts of the original fortress and the lavishly restored state rooms. We travelled by overnight train to the imperial capital, St Petersburg, where we experienced the artistic riches of Russia in the State Hermitage Museum while also remembering the role of the city in the revolution with a visit to the apartment of Kirov.

A favourite venue of St Petersburg is the sumptuous Yusopov Palace, infamous now for being the place in which Rasputin was murdered. The group experienced the full range of Russian culture in the evenings, from an evening of curling, watching dancing elephants in the Moscow Circus to attending a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake  at Catherine the Great’s Hermitage Theatre in St Petersburg.

By Nick Meigh, Teacher of History

Lest we forget

Librarian Jane Kirby and I wanted to commemorate those Bedalians who died in WW1.  I suggested we marked the 100th anniversary of their deaths and we agreed this should include a small presentation in the Bedales Memorial Library, the School’s War Memorial, designed by Ernest Gimson and opened in 1921. We have very limited archival resources but close study of The Bedales Record (published annually in September) and, from 1907, The Bedales Chronicle, produced information about most of the OBs. I use my membership of Ancestry.co.uk and other genealogical sites to begin research into family backgrounds and regularly consult surviving material at The National Archives, The British Library and the Bodleian.  Many of the OBs feature in published works (usually to be found in our Library), and in several cases I have been loaned material by surviving descendants.

Bedales is unusual in commemorating an ex-pupil, Ferenc Bekassy, who died in the Hungarian Hussars, and an ex-teacher of German, Herr Hinne, who was killed in the German infantry.  I have added to the 63 ex-students and 2 members of staff, two ex-members of the domestic staff, previously ignored.  17 people have already been acknowledged (go to History of Bedales: WW1 on the website) so there is still a large task to be completed.  If any readers of this Bulletin have information about ancestors who were at Bedales and died in WW1 we would be delighted to receive it.

By Ruth Whiting