No 482

The consequence of my having been shown up for tanning a fellow (which he most justly deserved), Liddell told me that the only way a Head Townboy or Head of a House had of keeping order was by showing up to the Masters; I told him that it never had been the custom of Westminster to do so, and therefore I could not think of being the first to break through an old rule. He said however that he did not care about fellows being tanned for any blackguardly or beastly action-

JohnGray Pr. Opp.

No 475

The other morning Liddell called me up and said he was surprised to hear that Bishop’s Boys were not considered TBs, nor allowed to exercise authority over them (TBs) as Pr. Opp. when above any other TB in the Sixth, at the same time saying that when he made the BBs leave off their purple gowns, he then placed them on the same footing as TBs – I argued with him some time, and showed many instances where BBs , though above any TBs in the Sixth, yet, were not considered Pr. Opps. He summed up by saying that he should see Weare (the Under Master and an Old Westminster) about it. He has not spoken to me since counting it, and thus, I suppose, ends the matter; but I hope that all future Pr. Opp. Will not surrender up his or any other TB Ledger to any Bishops Boys.

J. Gray Pr. Opp.

No 449

Liddell has during the holidays carried his alterations up School still further by painting all below the gas pipes which was plastered last Bartholmy & also adding an extra coat of paint to the old Coat of Arms over the shell.* The Sixth Forms have also been removed & oak ones put in their stead corresponding with the rest of the forms, & instead of sitting in his former place as of old Liddell has removed his chair and table to the middle of the Sixth, round which is a sort of octagon shaped form matching the rest of School & behind his chair is a sort of wooden canopy painted oak which looks as if it could be a door and is not. To add to all this the old examination table has been placed I suppose to make it look new; and all the names on the top most of which were, as will be remembered, exceedingly well cut, have been demolished by putting a new board covering the whole of them. What the meaning of all this unnecessary trouble and expense is not at all evident, for if our predecessors were able to sit at the old forms why should not we? The only trace of the old forms is the upper shell, the humanities table, & the last boy which I have no doubt will soon share the fate of the rest, and undergo the same renovating system which has destroyed so many old names of Old Westminsters. When this will stop I cannot venture to assert but I am afraid not until the whole of School has had and perhaps of everything else pertaining to Westminster has been converted into a sort of “Private Academy for the Education of Young Gentlemen.” I for my part, & I hope my readers will sympathise with this, like to see old customs kept up and old memories both of forms & houses to be left as they have been for so many years.

*now being sort of gingerbread coloured shield supported by green dragons

O Salvin. Princeps Oppidamus.

No 409

Today (Ap. 30/51) our elevens played a match at Fields with an Old Westminster eleven in wh. we were victorious, the game being decided by the first Innings (v. Cricket Ledger). It may here be mentioned, that Liddell who it seems had led us to believe that we were to have an early play, sternly refused to grant it when the time came. He however at the petition of the Captain, with great liberality (?) granted us a late play.

J.M. Murray

Prin. Opp.

No 408

Another addition to the many grievances which arouse the indignation of all Westminsters has lately been made. On the Friday before Good Friday, a rumour was afloat that no leave out was to be given from Thursday till Easter Tuesday night, as has always been the custom. This, I am sorry to say turned out too true. Leave was given from Thursday night to Good Friday night, & again from Saturday to Sunday but we were required to come into school Easter Monday & Tuesday. When Liddell came up school some fellows hissed him without intending him to hear. But I suppose that his sense of having done us an injury caused him to be on the look out, and sharpened his ears, for he afterwards sent a polite message, intimating that the captain was to loose his election, & that I was to be expelled, if any more demonstrations of sulkiness was made. I of course could do nothing but laugh at this empty threat, for I can hardly suppose that he could think I shd endeavour to impress on the fellows, that ‘‘obedience to your master is your first duty’’ & ‘‘that whatever your masters do is all for the best’’ with such like moral effusions, to save myself from an expulsion in which for such a thing I shd rather glory. Another thing in which I thing Liddell behaved badly is this. He did not come forward publicly & declare that the Easter Holidays were stopped, & I give his reasons for so doing, but as it were, let the affair be bruited about, & indeed I can hardly tell how it was made known to the school. One feels, I think, that when a Head Master declaims to speak openly about a thing like that, that he must be conscious that he has rather overstepped his proper bounds, or that he is consulting his own interests instead of those of the school, which, I fear, is how a course of proceeding wh our present master seems resolved to adopt. It is reported that we are to have an extra wk at Whitsuntide, or Bartholomew tide, but I really think that we have a right to a voice in a matter wh concerns us chiefly, & I do not see why we are to go home, & come back, at the call of a ‘‘fashionable’’ master, in defiance of the rules & customs. Besides most of us if not all wd greatly prefer a break in a long uninteresting term, to an abbreviation of our best term; & next, supposing he does give us an extra wk at either of the above named vacations as far as I can learn, we have already become entitled to one, wh was obtained at the end of the Xmas half/50. I believe that, in extenuation of this abolition of the Easter holiday, it was brought forward by the masters, that many parents complained that they were so bothered by their sons to allow them to come home at Easter, as all the others did so, that it was distressing to them to refuse them, though they did not wish to have them home. However, I suppose this was but a lame excuse, got up for the occasion, for I think that out of every ten parents, nine would wish the Easter holidays to be continued. I may however be wrong, but I leave my readers to judge.

J.M. Murray

Princeps Oppidanus

No 399

At the end of last half (Xmas ’50) a very unpleasant melée took place between the T.B.s and QS.  As it had for a long time been the custom to tan the T.Bs, as they ran up to the gods on the play nights, I spoke to the captain (Blagden) about it some time before the play, and he promised me it should be discontinued.  When however the T.Bs went to try the gods, several were licked, and when I spoke to Blagden he again assured me it was contrary to his orders, and that he wd tan those QSS who had touched the TBs I was quite satisfied with this , and on the first play night all went off very quietly – On the second play night several TBs were standing round the College doors waiting to be admitted, and I went to speak to some of them, when to my great surprise I met a QS running after some fellows, who had managed to screw themselves into the doorway, with a knotted rope I stopped him and told him that the Captain had promised me there shd be no tanning, but he said he knew what had been told him, and refused to tell me what that was.  Upon this I went away, and fetched all the sixth fellows, and steward who was in the Upper Shell, and we agreed to stop the tanning, if any were intended.

We did not however say anything, but kept ourselves in the background, to be ready for any emergency – In the meantime I had to speak to one of the seniors, but failed and soon after it struck six.  The T.Bs then began to go up, and we saw the two QSS who kept the first bar, make them stoop down and go under the bar instead of through it, and repeatedly strike them – We then thought fit to interfere, and a rush was made wch ended in the two QSS getting bowled over, and the whole bar with its appendages coming down.* Some of us then ran all the way up to the gods, and saw the smaller TBs safely up – All the sixth fellows then went to dress but on presenting ourselves at the first bar we found that the Captain had given orders that none shd be admitted.  I insisted on being allowed to speak to Blagden, and at last managed to gain access to him, but he refused to listen to me, saying we had all behaved in a blackguard manner, and that he shd show the whole thing up to Weare the next morning.  I then said I wd have all the TBs down, but some of the sixth TBs asked me to wait ten minutes while one of them spoke to another of the seniors to try and arrange it amicably.  Before that time had expired, Liddell came in and what with the noise of the band and the clapping, and the crush of people, it was impossible to get the “gods” down.

Next morning Weare sent for me, and the Captain, and two monitors, and in a stern voice asked what complaint I had to make; I said I did not come to him to complain of anything, but that he had sent for me.  He then cross-examined me upon the events of the previous night, taking down all I said on paper and abusing me the whole time.  He then sent me out of his house and told me to send in another sixth T.B.  I went straight to Liddells, and showed up the whole thing and said I thought Mr W. was not doing the T.B’s justice, and he told me to send Mr W. to him.  I then went back to Weare’s house and he told me he thought fit on acct of my very injudicious conduct to prohibit me from going to the third play – I angered him by telling him that it hadn’t been my intention either to go myself or let any T.B go and finally exasperated him, when, upon his declaring he wd report me to the Head Master I told him I had just been and showed the whole affair up.  The two bar holders  were then had in and severely punished and the whole of us dismissed from the august presence of Mr Weare.  In the afternoon, L and Whitaker and myself sent to Mr W and when he made me a kind of apology and acknowledged he had no right over the TBs.

He behaved I think very unhandsomely to say the least of it, for he abused me before the QSS, and made it up when they were not present.  The next morning great was the silence that prevailed along the sixth side of the school, nobody conversing above a whisper, and as we were going down school Blagden told me he wished to speak to me.  He said he was extremely sorry it had ever occurred, and that he had thought it best to show it up to Weare, for fear either of us, being each prejudiced in favour of our own party, shd not do one another justice, and finished with ‘hoping to see us at all at the play, and offering his hand, wch I of course took and so the affair was finished.  Afterwards Liddell had Austen and myself with the Capt and monitors to his house and said he was sorry anything had happened to disturb the general harmony, and when he had sent the QSS away he told me he thought I had been rather hasty and that I ought to have gone to Weare at once instead of getting up a row.  Liddell of course spoke like a gentleman, but Weare quite the contrary, and I am not surprised at the dread of him and dislike wch all the QSS exhibit, and wch is not less felt by those unlucky fellows who are in the under school.

In the evening, we all went to the Play and parted in friendship with all the QSS.  I think this has done the TBs good, as it will show we are resolved to make a stand against the supremacy of the QSS and my thanks are due to * all the sixth and upper shell who so willingly backed me on this occasion.  I may perhaps have been too hasty, yet I do not see what else I cd have done, and I think that all T.Bs who read this acct will agree with me.

Jan 4 / 51

J. Murray Murray
Princeps Oppidanus

* I have since heard that the QSS have always boasted that no TBs have ever invaded college, and in fact still do so.  Let this contradict them –

*The following is a list:

6th

Murray
Whitaker
Milman
Berens
Waterfield
Henty

Up. Sh.

F. Steward

No 387

In consequence of the TB & QS boats being continually annoyed by scis throwing stones from the shore – a policeman was set to watch where upon some of the offenders were taken before the magistrates & punished. It is to be hoped that the boats for the future will be free from further annoyance & if occurrences of this nature happen to take place I should advise future heads of the water to make immediate application to the police.

W.C. Macready
Prin. Opp.