Tributes to school historian

Mike Burke, the Ashvillian Society's Honorary Archivist. (S)
Mike Burke, the Ashvillian Society's Honorary Archivist. (S)

Harrogate’s Ashville College has paid tribute to its Honorary Archivist, Mike Burke, who died on Sunday following a short illness.

Mike started his long association with the school in 1945 as a boarder, when it had temporarily relocated to the Lake District during the Second World War. The following year, when Ashville returned to Harrogate, he became a day pupil, leaving in 1948.

In 1983, Mike became president of the Ashvillian Society, the association of old pupils, taking an active role in the society and the school, up to a few weeks before his death.

As Honorary Archivist, it was Mike’s duty to document the school’s history from its origins in 1877, right through to the present year.

One of his major achievements was creating a “timeline”, which chronicles key dates in the school’s history. This now adorns the walls leading from the Headmaster’s study to the Lancaster Library, and has been described as Ashville’s ‘Bayeux Tapestry’.

He oversaw the moving of the archives, which were scattered throughout the school, to a purpose-built office and was instrumental in organising a string of successful reunions for former pupils, as well as giving talks to current pupils about the school and its history.

Ashville College Headmaster Mark Lauder said: “Over the last 12 months I got to know Mike well. He was passionate about the school and its archives and would regularly pop into my office for a chat.

“Mike’s memory will live on in the archives he so carefully looked after. The magnificent timeline he dedicated so much time and energy too is a fitting tribute to him.”

Ashvillian Society President David Bulmer said: “Mike was incredibly dedicated to his position of Honorary Archivist and was very proud to be an ‘Old Ashvillian’.

“He was supremely knowledgeable about the school’s history and was always keen to share that knowledge with pupils, both past and present. Mike was a key figure in the Ashvillian Society for more than three decades and will be sorely missed.”