On August 5th 1844 as a prince was born Williamson generously resolved not to add a week to the Bartholmewtide Holidays; as he knew always had been customary – alleging that there was no reason for such an extension. Surely Eton must laugh at us & yet it no fault of ours (I mean the Westminsters individually) that we fare so badly.
We had hitherto had a week’s holidays extra for the Princesses; therefore there was still more reason for one now a prince was born.
I have enclosed an account of all the proceedings between Eton & Westminster on paper, for amusement & information to my successors. And I hope if anything worth recording or that might be of any use to Sixth TB or QS as a point of reference or authority will be inserted by the Head Town Boy boarder in this ledger; as it may amuse, perhaps profit others; but certainly can do no harm beyond filling the pages of the ledger; which can be at any time replaced by 10 or 20 shillings. I have taken this liberty & wish others also to avail themselves of it; acting upon the reason, I have given above. I have had several opportunities of sincerely regretting that these annuals of Westminster’s proceeding had not been more fully & copiously kept.
J. Preston Aug 4 /44
Concerning the Eton Correspondence this year, & the legacy of a pair of Silver Sculls to be annually rowed for in wager wherein see Water Ledger
J. Preston. O.P.
The race referred to over leaf came off on Aug 1t 1843 in which Westminster was beaten for particulars see Water Ledger
J. Preston Prin. Opp.
A Challenge was sent us this year from Eton, but was refused on account of the coming Election, since it interfered with the studies of the Major Candidates.
March 1 – 1842
A quarrel between the TB & QSS which lasted some time began this day in consequence of Beasley a Bishops’ Boy in the Sixth having licked a Second Election.*
The facts are as follows –
The Captain* having head that this fellow in the 2d Election has been licked, sent to Beasley saying that he wished to speak to him. He went accordingly alone and unarmed, not the least suspecting what the QSS were about to do. When he arrived at College doors the Captain met him & hit him several times with a stick. Most of the QSS were there ready as they said afterwards to set on Beasley if the Captain had not been sufficient of himself with his stick to lick his unarmed enemy whose only offence was wearing a purple gown instead of a black one. But Beasley seeing about 30 to 1* thought it better to refer to Williamson at once & after a great deal of palaver & bother it ended in the Captain sending an apology to the Head of the T.B. Peace was now nominally restored, but the QSS refused to have Beasley in the boat which was to race with Eton which again occasioned a deal of quarrelling & letters were sent to Eton to say that the boat which was preparing to race them was not the Westminster proper boat unless Beasley rowed in it.
Several letters appeared in Bell’s Life upon the subject but as Beasley was taken ill about a week before the reach took place it at once put an end to any doubt concerning his rowing in the boat.
W.G. Andrewes Prin. Opp.
* W.K.R. Bedford, but who stepped in [&] impeded him whilst running after some other Boy.
It was not however Bedford’s fault at all that this disgraceful occurrence came to such a height, but of some other Under Election.
* He had offered to fight anyone of them on the spot, singly, but as in all probability they did consider themselves a match whilst alone, they preferred the unfair and disgraceful way related here.
This year Eton did not send us any challenge to row them. Probably they did not challenge us because there was a great deal of scarlet fever in the school, which must have greatly hindered their rowing. Roberts had just built us a beautiful new boat, suited to our strength. And people who had seen the Etonian crew, allowed that we should have had a very good chance with them.
The eight was then as follows:
Prout Stroke QS
Hallet steerer TB
This year, (1840) The Etonians sent us a challenge to row them from Westminster to Putney. Although the crew was not so good as it was the last time we were prevented from rowing them, yet we wished for the race. Knowing however, by past experience, that it was useless to attempt the race without Williamson’s consent, Richards, our stroke, went off to obtain it. Being however refused, and two of the crew leaving unexpectedly, we were obliged to send an answer to Eton to say that several reasons (which were mentioned) prevented us from rowing them at the time they mentioned, but offering to do so in our holidays. This however, they declined, and the match was therefore broken off.
The eight was then as follows:
Richards QS stroke
Osborn TB Steerer
A challenge from Eton was sent to the Heads of the Water which was at first accepted, and everything determined on, but it was afterwards refused on the plea that we could not form a boat in readiness for the time appointed the match was therefore broken off.
F Byron H.B.