Iffley History Society

September 2021

Planning for the next programme year (2021-2022) is well under way. Members will be receiving a Newsletter in September with further details.
The evening talks will resume in October. It is to be hoped that the state of the pandemic/endemic and any resulting Covid guidance will be such that it is possible to return in numbers to the Church Hall. If this is not the case, we will continue via Zoom.

Court Place

Oxford University announced on September 3 plans to “improve the woodland between the site [of Court Place Gardens] and the river, with the aim of creating a more diverse and wildlife-friendly environment that local people can enjoy.”

One of the previous occupants of Court Place was Sir Alan Gardiner, gentleman scholar, philologist of ancient Egyptian languages.* Alan achieved a more popular celebrity when he had been invited by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon to add his skill set to the Tutankhamun excavation. (The Griffith Institute’s website has a digitally colourised photograph of Carter and Gardiner side by side)**

A recording of Egypt Exploration Society’s Oral History Project is of Professor Harry Smith of UCL, retelling an amusing account of his only personal encounter with Sir Alan. It also gives a brief glimpse of life in the big house. Harry Smith had been one of three Cambridge students suggested to the great man as suitable candidates to take on an initiative he had proposed for the Society: “… so we all went, in great fear and trembling, with our dinner suits to Iffley Lodge [sic] outside Oxford to be entertained by Gardiner …. we played croquet in the afternoon …. and after dinner Gardiner said to us “Now, would you like us to read some Egyptian texts together? Or would you like to play bridge?” …. effectively [our response] downed us all!”‘

* Gardiner’s Egyptian grammar : being an introduction to the study of hieroglyphs (1927 with 2 subsequent editions) still gets an honourable mention in a 2020 online seminar on learning Egyptian language and learning. RO Faulkner, ‘Sir Alan Henderson Gardiner’ (1964) 50 Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 170-172
** 1923, Thebes | Standing outside tomb KV 6, of Ramesses IX, are (left to right) Arthur Callender, Arthur Mace, Harry Burton, Howard Carter, Alan Gardiner and Alfred Lucas. | Photograph TAA.ii.6.59 (photographer not known) © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford, colourised by Dynamichrome