Looking back, entering into Concord College thanks to a local scholarship from Hong Kong was one of the life-changing moments of my life. It was back in the year 1989, which is exactly 30 years ago. On the third day of our 2019 UK holiday, my wife and I have visited the school that I have spent two years studying for the A-level. The same school that prepared me to enter Oxford University. There are so many things that I have learned and experienced back in those two years beyond the textbooks – the good and the naughty – that has definitely shaped the way I am. In that sense, Concord College is part of who I am.
Click here to view the photo album with captions. The pictures are shot with Nikon Z6 and 35mm Z lens.
Because we have to be escorted during our visit, the Alumni Office has requested Josh to accompany us. I could have met Sara instead who was one year my senior but she was on leave. Maybe next time!
The road trip from Oxford to Shrewsbury was rather long. But we have started early. The drive was pleasant. In fact, more pleasant than I have anticipated. The final stretch from Shrewsbury into Acton Burnell, part of the road was much wider than I remembered. When I shared that with the staffs at the school reception, they were quite surprised. Because many visitors have commented that the road is windy and narrow. The road may have been widened over the last 30 years or it could well be my imagination. Either way, I had a fun drive into Concord College. We reached before 11am.
The old front gate has been relocated to the other end of the college. And it has become a much wider and grander entrance. Even though Sara has warned me in advance through email the night before, following the Google Map instruction, we still ended up at the old front gate. Fortunately, the town is kind of small. We found the new front gate in no time (thank you, Sara)!
Josh is such a wonderful guide. He is young and full of energy. He is so passionate about the school facilities and the changes the school has made throughout the years while mindful with the fact that I come from the dinosaur era. There are bits that I remember and bits that I don’t. And then there are other bits that I am not aware of.
The overall experience was magical. It is as though I have time-traveled from 1991 (when I graduated) into 2019. There are buildings that look more or less the same. Such as the main hall, the old front gate area, the old chapel, the old science lab, and the Old Wall (which is a thin stretch of rooms with one side forming the wall). There are buildings that have been augmented. Such as the all-girl accommodation called Red House (front part has been renovated and I could hardly recognize it), the outdoor
haunted swimming pool that has now become indoor, the extended canteen and Bell House (I once kissed a girl across one of the windows!) that has been enhanced with new structures. There is one building that it doesn’t seem to exist anymore (I think it was called Park Side – my first accommodation in Concord College). And many new buildings were built after my graduation (oh that new Tuck Shop!) that are too long to list here. But one thing I can say is that the students today are very, very fortunate to be in Concord College. The facilities are top-notch. Over the top in a good way kind of top-notch.
To wrap up this entry as it is getting really late here in Singapore (5am and I am jet-lagged), Josh has invited us for lunch in the college. My wife loves the food there. She said it tasted healthy. As for me, I am very amazed that the design of the food tray looks exactly the same as it was 30 years ago. I guess some good things don’t change.
Of course, the food was good. It still does.