Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, came of age on Sunday the 9th of Nov., but owing to it being on a Sunday it was kept all over the Kingdom (except Westminster) on Monday. That is we did not keep it properly. It being Monday we of course expected leave till 10. This we did not get, so I went with Phillimore (captain) to Scott after breakfast to demand an early play: he would not hear of it, but said he would look at the “Papers” & see if it was to be kept here. We were not content, & went to him a second time, armed with the “Times” which gave notice that all the abbey and two government offices were to suspend business for the day in honour of the Prince’s birthday. He was of course obliged to yield but only gave a half holiday & that with very bad grace. It was very shabby of him, for it is not every year that a Prince of Wales comes of age. In fact it is more than 80 since George 4th arrived at the age of manhood. However, we will hope that when the next Prince of Wales comes of age, the majority may be kept with more loyalty at Westminster & that the School (being a Regia Schola) may be permitted to rejoice, in a sensible way, at any blessing which befalls the Royal Family.
The captain wrote to the Archbishop [Loughley?] the newly made [Private?], an Old Westminster, asking him to come down & beg for an early play for us. He wrote to say that Saturday (29th) was the only day he could come & as Scott had done away with early plays he did not come till 10.10 so we only gained an hour and a half.
Scott told us that for the future (dating from Whitsuntide 1861) early plays would be done away with and that as a compensation for it, the half past seven school during the summer half year would be done away with. It is only an exchange for the worse during the summer half year on account of the cricket matches. Early Abbey is also done away with, and an early service on Saints-days [initiated?] instead.
We had an extra week this time in consequence of this being the tercentenary of the College.
When we came back this half we found that in consequence of the meeting of Old Ws the Boarding* Houses had been painted. The Library has been thoroughly done up the back cases etc. polished, the ceiling whitewashed & new floorcloth laid down. The racket-court has been plastered & the old W.C. by the schoolsteps has been removed and new ones made at the top of the steps. A skylight has been made in the passage opposite the Library door. In College the cubicles have bad red curtains put to them instead of doors & they have new bedsheets in the place of the old wooden ones. It is to be hoped that these improvements will increase the number of the school. I forgot to mention that there have been four new boxes set up in College.
*N.B. There are only two boarding houses now Marshall’s (Grants) and James (Rigauds). Scott’s at the entrance of Gt Deans Yard has been closed some time now.
P. Southby Prin. Opp.
We had an early play on March 1st as usual – no leave out, though it fell on a Monday. Lord Lansdowne asked for one on the 17th. We also had leave out on Easter Monday, as an equivalent to Good Friday.
On the 27th of March the Eight had leave to see the Oxford & Cambridge race.
We had an early play which was asked for by Mr. Mowbray, an Old Westminster who had taken office under Lord Derby; April 10th.
This year the early play which we usually have the day after the last challenge, the Min. can. early play, unfortunately “coincided”, as Scott said, with one that he had promised us to honour Mr. Southey, who has obtained a first class at Oxford; we could not get both from Scott.
A.F. Pope, Prin. Opp.
The fifth of November fell this year on a Thursday. Scott gave leave out from Wednesday at half past twelve till Thursday night.
A.F. Pope Prin. Opp.
This year we had an early play on the Queen’s Accession, Sat. June 20th. It is not I believe a regular thing; it was not asked for, but Scott volunteered it thinking it a matter of course.
A.F. Pope Pr. Opp.
Changes have been made this year in the Challenges. The last challenge takes place about the same time as it has always done; but it is not decisive, as there are examinations for the Minor Candidates after it, which influences the order; consequently we didn’t have chairing until the 27th of April, long after the last challenge. We had the Min. can. early play after the last challenge.
A.F. Pope. Prin. Opp.
This year St David’s day fell on a Sunday: we had an early play on the 28th of Feb.
There was no ditch leaping.
On the fifth of March we had an early play on Gibbert, an Old Westminster obtaining a first class at Oxford. On the 17th we had one asked for by Lord Lansdowne; & on the fourth of April (Saturday) we had one to see the Oxford and Cambridge race. The eight went up to see the race.
This year there was leave out on Good Friday. We had leave out from Sat. at 12 till Easter Monday night instead. I believe this is to be the regular rule for the future.
A.F. Pope Princeps Oppidanus