This week the College Archivist, Mrs Rebecca Jallot, received an exciting letter: “One of the joys of being the Epsom College Archivist is the process of adding to the collection,” she explains. “I often search for interesting items but it is even more of a thrill when they find me. Recently, Mrs Linda Wagstaff got in touch.”
Mrs Wagstaff told Mrs Jallot that her recently deceased husband – Mr Colin Wagstaff – had been a builder, working on house restorations. As he dismantled old buildings, he would often find curios beneath floorboards and behind plasterwork. “Some things hidden deliberately, others not”.
Over the years, Mr Wagstaff built up a large collection, including decorative bottles, love letters and even a Jerusalem Pilgrim’s Cross which added to The British Museum’s collection.
“Mrs Wagstaff has been diligently rehoming all the found items and when she spotted two tickets to the opening of Epsom College in 1855,” said Mrs Jallot. “Mr Wagstaff discovered the tickets under the floorboards of a house in Camden Passage, Islington in the 1960s.”
“These are the first examples of this kind to enter the Epsom College Archive. The opening of the College was reported in the press at the time: The ceremony of opening this institution took place on Monday 25 June at half past 3pm amid a large concourse of four or five thousand persons. Mr Propert having issued no tickets but to those whose company was desired; forwarded them to us printed in blue. His Royal Highness Prince Albert presided over the duties of the day, and was attended by the Prince of Wales.”