French History Study Trip
12th February 2015

From the martyrdom of France's patron saint in the mid-third century to the violence and destruction of the commune of 1871, the annual Oundle School History study visit to Paris took in the full breadth of French history during five busy days in December.  Sixteen Upper Sixth Form Historians braved the winter weather to witness some of the places where history was made. 


The group took in the splendour of the religious architecture of the Middle Ages, visiting the first ever gothic edifice at St. Denis and viewing the stunning pinnacle of the movement at the Sainte-Chapelle. The horrors of the Revolution and the Terror were brought home in the prison cells of the Conciergerie, while the violent upheavals of 1871 were marked by a trip to the commemorative basilica of Sacré-Coeur. 




A series of walking tours took the group to many of the key sites in the city's history, including the Île de la Cité and the Place de la Bastille, and diversions into the History of Art were made through visits to the Louvre and the Musée D'Orsay. 


The trip ended with a journey to the magnificent monument to Bourbon absolutism: Louis XIV's palace of Versailles - after which the pupils could look back with satisfaction on covering almost 1600 years of French history in just a few days.


Pupil, Flora Scott-Barrett (18) commented, From the three course suppers every night to the insight we gained into Paris' array of historical monuments and art galleries through the teachers’ brilliantly narrated tours, our trip was hugely rewarding. Mr Mather's explanation of modern art starting from Duchamp's 'fountain' outside the Musee D'Orsay and Mr Allard's talk about Saint Chapelle particularly stood out. However, the highlight of the trip was undoubtedly our trip to Versailles.”



Background Information on Oundle School

Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.


The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.


At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2007, SciTec - a major and ground-breaking new science complex - opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art laboratories. The School is now embarking on a large SciTec Campus development project which will see a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to SciTec as well as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. Due for completion in September 2016, the development will unite Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. A concurrent Sports Masterplan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, including a new 1st XI cricket pavilion due to open April 2015. 


There are currently 1110 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 850 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day School for children aged 4 to 11. 

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