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Granddaughter of first Rycotewood principal pays a visit

Three generations of a family connected to the Rycotewood Furniture brand paid a visit to City of Oxford College this week.

Stephanie Goodger is the granddaughter of Christopher Goodger, who became the first principal of Rycotewood College in the 1950s.

On Tuesday she visited the Rycotewood Furniture Centre, which is now part of City of Oxford College, with her uncle, Brian Goodger, husband Arnaud Perat and three-year-old son Bram Goodger-Perat.

During the visit the family were able to hear more about the history of Rycotewood from Chris Hyde, director for creative arts, and see a painting of Christopher Goodger by Rycotewood founder, Cecil Michaelis.

Rycotewood was established by Michaelis in the late 1930s as a school dedicated to developing skilled craftspeople. In the 1950s it became Rycotewood College – an institution more like the further education colleges we know today – and Christopher became its first principal.

Stephanie said: “My family history really interests me and my grandfather told me a lot of stories about his working life and time at Rycotewood. I am an art teacher so I feel there is a connection between what he did and what I am doing now. This is a great opportunity to visit, to see the painting of my grandfather and to hear more about his involvement in the organisation.”

Rycotewood College was originally based in Thame, but the Rycotewood brand continues to this day with furniture design and making courses now delivered by the Rycotewood Furniture Centre. Programmes range from Level 1 and learning for leisure courses all the way up to full-time degree programmes.

During the family’s visit, they were also able to see items from the Rycotewood archives, including a Country Life article featuring Christopher from 1952, and items from the 50s still being used today – including a circular saw and a trophy which is presented to students each year.