The Ashe School Cricket XI, Ashe House, Etwall, Derbyshire

Nigel Aspdin found this photo postcard, apparently of a schoolboys’ cricket team, blind stamped in the lower right hand corner with W.W. Winter‘s characteristic signature, amongst a collection of loose old photos of his late father and grandparents.

Click here for a more detailed version - Images © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin
The postcard design (see reverse below) is similar to examples in my Winter studio profile and portfolio which I have estimated were taken in the 1920s.

Click here for a more detailed version - Images © & courtesy of Nigel AspdinNigel writes:

On the back, in my father’s handwriting, was written “A Obolensky is seated second from right.” This immediately prompted me to look at it more carefully, and a quick search came up with the Wikipedia entry. Prince Alexander Sergeevich “Obo” Obolensky (February 17, 1916 – 29 March 1940) was a Russian prince and an international rugby union footballer who played for England. He was popularly known as just “The Prince” by many sports fans. (Note that the Wiki entry for The Ashe and Brasenose College were added by me). What I really want to rub in, just in case you have adopted a recent affinity to the All Blacks, is his part in the first ever England defeat of the All Blacks, a feat you can view on YouTube.

My father was at a private boys’ preparatory school, The Ashe, at Ashe Hall near Etwall, Derby, and so this was the first easy clue, although I never remember him mention Obolensky. I took a trip out to the hall, now a Buddhist retreat, and sure enough the photo is taken on the path in front of the hall.

Click here for a more detailed version - Images © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

In order to attribute Obolensky as a pupil (as opposed to a member of a visiting team…unlikely but just possible) I managed to extract a very poor blazer badge from the photo. It is this that has occupied me to date.

Can you identify this blazer badge?  Was it The Ashe school blazer badge? Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

Huge efforts at contacting people locally trying to track down former pupils have failed, as have efforts in local archives. The school only existed between the wars, during both world wars the building was used by the military. I got a response from an Obolensky I found in USA, and from her information from another family member, and established that his college at Oxford was Brasenose. The archivist there gave me good information, but sadly only his secondary public school, Trent College, was recorded by them, an already published fact. Trent College archives have no information except of course his sporting achievements.

I wonder if any readers might be able to identify either one of the boys in the photograph (Click here or on the image above for a more detailed version) or the badge on the blazer? Perhaps we can find someone who went to The Ashe School? Please get in touch with me if you can help.

Advert from 1935 Directory - Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin
P.S. Nigel found the advertisement shown above in a 1935 edition of the “Derby County Borough & District Directory.” It includes a facsimilie of the crest, which looks very similar to that shown on the boy’s blazer.

Advert from 1935 Directory - Image © & courtesy of Nigel Aspdin


~ by gluepot on Tuesday, February 12, 2008.

7 Responses to “The Ashe School Cricket XI, Ashe House, Etwall, Derbyshire”

  1. >Most exciting !! A couple of days ago it was a beautiful morning here, and I planned to go out to Ashe Hall again, for a coffee at the Peace Cafe run by the Buddhist retreat there, and see if I could check around for the school crest on any old award boards that may have survived. But first I suddenly decided to check out my 1935 Derby Directory, and hey presto ! I found a full page advert for the school and the crest, two Ash tree twigs and leaves. So in effect my Oblensky evidence is now beyond reasonable dispute, Obolensky must have been a pupil there. I sent you the page by email; will you add it?

  2. >Well done, Nigel, and thanks for the image. I will add it to the post. Regards, Brett

  3. >i had attended ashe hall school between 1988 and 1994 it was a great school i loved it

  4. >i also attended ashe hall in the late 80's and loved it too great school shame it closed

  5. >To put the record straight, the Ashe School mentioned in this blog article is not the same school as mentioned by the last two commentators who attended the school in the 1980/90s. The school in the article was run by the Corbett brothers as a private boys preparatory school between WW1 and WW2, see County Council ran a school at the same Ashe Hall after WW2, and it is this school to which the commentators refer.

  6. >Hello – Alexander Sergeevitch Obolensky was my first-cousin, his mother Ljuba Alexandrovna was the sister of my father Vadim Alexandrovitch Narishkin. It was nice to find this photograph, thanks. :)Vera Narishkin

  7. >I was at Ashe hall to between 1990-1995 when it closed it was so sad

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