Come, and take choice of all my library

… and so beguile thy sorrow  (Titus Andronicus)

An era ended on Thursday this week …

One of our school buildings, the enigmatically and exotically-named Todbusk building (bear in mind our other buildings are A, B, C block, etc), was finally shut down.  Todbusk has for many years been used for our Sixth Form. But the incessant march of progress means that it’s about to be levelled.  Lots of staff – some who were there as students, let alone as teachers – went to say goodbye to the beautiful Victorian building over the past week. Guess who was the very last one in – and out – from the teaching staff?

 Our revels now are ended. These our actors,

As I foretold you, were all spirits and

Are melted into air, into thin air:

And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself,

Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve

And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind.

(The Tempest)

I was on two missions. I didn’t have a prolonged relationship with the place, but it was the building I sat in for my first session as a trainee teacher at the school, what already seems like a lifetime ago.  A part of me wanted to pay my respects.

My second mission was a charitable one – to save as many books as I could!

My colleagues had already been over to salvage what might be useful for the department, and kindly brought me back a few morsels too, but I felt a moral compulsion to see for myself. So I took advantage of a ‘free’ during period 6 and before a Y9 Parents’ Evening to mount a raid, armed only with the key (courtesy of the site manager) and some canvas shopping bags.

Those bags are now full …

What have I saved? Well, the things that might be of interest to patrons of The Boar’s Head might include the following. Some are ‘nice’ duplicates, others new friends. Many seem to have been living in Todbusk, and to have passed through the now-ghostly hands of many students, for 50 years or more:

Bradbury: Shakespeare and his Theatre

Bradbrook:  Themes & Conventions of Elizabethan Tragedy

Brown:  Antony and Cleopatra (Casebook Series – critical essays)

Clark:  The Tempest – A Critical Study (Penguin Masterstudies)

Drakakis (ed):  Alternative Shakespeares

Fluchere:  Shakespeare

Greer:  Shakespeare (Past Masters series)

Marlowe:  Complete Plays

Marlowe:  Edward II

McIlwraith (ed):  Five Elizabethan Tragedies

Middleton and Rowley:  The Changeling

Muir and Wells:  Aspects of Hamlet

Murray:  Shakespeare

Nicoll (ed):  Shakespeare in His Own Age

Shakespeare:  Henry IV part one

Shakespeare:  Othello (Arden hardback)

Shakespeare:  Richard III

Stoppard:  Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Tillyard:  The Elizabethan World Picture

Wain:  The LIving World of Shakespeare

Brodie’s notes:  Middleton and Rowley’s ‘The Changeling’

York/Coles notes:


Henry IV part 1 (York and Coles versions)

King Lear

Much Ado About Nothing (York and Coles versions)


Richard II

The Tempest

Twelfth Night

Following Parents’ Evening, my friend and I went for a beer in a pub just by the school’s back gate, whilst he waited for his train. When we parted, I distinctly heard a bird, repeatedly hooting from the thicket that currently surrounds Todbusk, and thought of Macbeth:

Hark! Peace!

It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bellman,

Which gives the stern’st good-night.

The stern’st good-night‘ of all, I thought. How fitting …

Author: Boar's Head, Eastcheap

Hyperactive English Teacher and Tutor; Shakespeare-obsessed 'Villainous abominable misleader of youth'; 'old white-bearded Satan'; Friend of the Orangutan

One thought on “Come, and take choice of all my library”

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