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March 21st 2018

1918 evening

The 1918 evening celebrated the end of the First World War and the (partial) award of women’s suffrage. At this cross-curricular and cross-generational event, students and staff collaborated on presentations and performance related to the era, covering topics as diverse as the influence of the classics on war time literature, women in football, developments in psychology due to ‘shell shock’, and the (unsuccessful) scientific efforts to train seagulls to spot German submarines!

We also enjoyed performances of pieces by Puccini and Debussy, as well as a highly engaging performance of an extract from the play ‘Blue Stockings’ by the Sixth Form Year 12 Drama students. Mrs Chandler-Thompson reflected upon the fascinating diaries of the politician and socialite Alfred Duff Cooper, and we welcomed back alumna Liz Isaac who spoke about the devastating 1918 flu outbreak. Karoline (Year 10) shares her thoughts on the evening...
"Although the evening was filled with amazing performances and presentations, for me, a few were particularly memorable. These included 'Mapping the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak' by Liz Isaac and the engaging presentation on ‘The Search For Truth' from the A-Level mathematicians, which told the story of Cantor’s set theory and Russell’s paradox. In the presentation on the Spanish flu, we learned that the flu actually originated in Kansas, America — despite it being called the Spanish Flu, and that it spread worldwide in the course of only a few months, killing 40-50 million people. 
This evening was made even more unique by the fact that it brought together all the exciting and important aspects of 1918, since normally one only hears about the Great War or the Suffragette movement, yet rarely in the same context and never alongside other fascinating topics, such as the success of women’s football in the era.

To finish the evening, Larkin’s 'Never Such Innocence Again' was read by Emerald, with Zoe playing a piano piece by Claude Debussy (who died in 1918), and a slideshow of photographs of the period were shown. This included a picture of Ms Chandler's own great grandmother, who died from the Spanish flu, which made the evening a little more personal, as sometimes historic events can seem so far away and so removed from oneself."


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