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A Snapshot in Time

Happy New Year! As another year passes and we enter 2021, many of us will be looking forward to the future and (hopefully) a much happier year than 2020. However, we in the archives love to also look to the past and reflect on how much has changed over the years. Therefore, to kick off the year, we are travelling back 100 years through our Oakhamian Magazines to look at how the school was in 1921.

The year was a time of prosperous change for Oakham. The school was attracting ever more pupils so much so that the school was “overflowing”. Additionally, we see the school continuing its fundraising efforts for the new Memorial Chapel to commemorate those Old Oakhamians who had died in the Great War.

Below is the list of Oakham School students who occupied notable posts within the school:

  • Head prefect – W. P. Dutton, R. O. Brooks
  • Prefects – C. F. Brockington, S. S. B. Fowler, R. A. Graff, R. O. Brooks, F. N. C. Dwyer, J. H. N. Hills, W. J. Thompson, W. A. Dixie, G. E. Black, R. M. Dutton, M. T. Crick, J. P. Bristow, G. O. Brooks, C. H. Ezechiel, H. J. Sturton
  • Captain of Cricket  - W. P. Dutton
  • Captain of the Football – R. O. Brooks
  • Captain of the 2nd Lot – G. E. Black
  • Captain of the Fives – M. T. Crick
  • Hon. Sec of the Games Committee – R. O. Brooks, G. O. Brooks
  • Games Committee – W. P. Dutton, R. O. Brooks, C. F. Brockington, F. N. C Dwyer
  • Head Librarian – C. F. Brockington, G. O. Brooks, C. H. Ezechiel, W. J. Thompson, J. P. Bristow
  • Librarians – R. O. Brooks, W. J. Thompson, R. A. Graff, G. W. Taverner, G. O. Brooks, C. H. Ezechiel, C. H. Moseley
  • Head Swimmer – S. S. B. Fowler
  • Chief Musician – R. O. Brooks, G. E. Black
  • Assistant Editor of the Magazine – J. P. Bristow

The houses that boys were members of at the time were:

  • Hodge Wing
  • School House
  • Pullinger’s House
  • Wharflands
  • Junior House
  • Day Boys

The School Museum

W. L. Sargant, headmaster of Oakham School in 1921, had been instrumental in setting up a museum for the pupils in the Old School building. During 1921, several new acquisitions were made for the collection including flint and stone implements such as arrow heads and spears from East Yorkshire (kindly donated by Mr. G. F. Ball), a stone quern, a fine bronze celt, a kingfisher’s egg, and an example of Old English writing on the topic of 'The Reign of Mary and Phillip.'

Debating Society

The debating society was most commonly held in the spring term or each year. During the year of 1921, the following debates were held:

  • "That this house is of opinion that the Education of the Working Classes is being Overdone” – 25 in support and 9 against although it is noted that “the speeches in support of the motion were all scrappy and quasi-humourous”.
  • “The life of to-day was preferable to the life of 100 years ago” - 16 in support 10 against.
  • "That in the opinion of this house, professionalism is detrimental to sport” -  12 in favour to 18 against votes.
  • "This house considers that a miser is a greater curse to his friends than a spendthrift” - 6 votes in favour to 14 against.

Trips

On the 16th March, the boys were taken to London Zoo in Regents Park with the aim of showing them "the various situations of mammals on the tree of life". It seems that they covered the zoo extensively, seeing animals such as ant-eaters, hippos, polar bears, lions, gorillas, and red deers.

Boxing

In a sport that perhaps few knew Oakham School pupils could get involved in, boxing competitions took place in 1921. On the 20th March, heats were held in the garden of School House. The semi-finals and finals were held on the 6th and 7th April.

The winners of each division were:

  • Heavyweight - Olney
  • Lightweights - Saunt
  • Featherweights - Gibson
  • Bantamweights - Tyler

Sports Day

Sports day in 1921 took place on the 4th April in “unfavourable weather. There was a strong wind and it rained for the greater part of the time.” The following are the results from all of the races held:

100 yards handicap u13

1)      R. P. Fielders      2) A. E. Hargrave

120 yards handicap

1)      W. H. Weston    2) R. M. Dutton

Quarter Mile Handicap

1)      R. A. Castle         2) R. P. Fielders 3rd) A. W. Berry

Relay Race

1)      Castle

 Senior Steeplechase

1)      W. P. Dutton      2) C. E. Clarke     3) R. J. Clarke

Junior Steeplechase

1)      W. H. G. Saunt           2) F. W. Burman                3rd) E. L. Makey

Kicking the Rugby Football

Drop Kick) R. M. Dutton                 Place Kick) E. A. Glover

Quarter Mile U14

1)      R. P. Fielders      2) C. F. Brocking

Long Jump U16

1)      J. Duncan             2) F. N. B. Johnson

100 yards (U11)

1)      J. W. Mackichan                2) G. E. Newton

Quarter Mile open

1)      R. A. Castle         2) F. N. C. Dwyer               3) C. F. Brockington

220 yards handicap (U15)

1)      R. P. Fielders      2) F. Senior

High Jump open

1)      W. H. Weston    2) F. T. Doleman

Half Mile Handicap

1)      A. W. Berry         2) F. Senior         3) G. O. Brooks

High Jump (U15)

1)      W. H. G. Saunt   2) R. F. Whittle

220 yards handicap U12

1)      R. P. Fielders      2) S. H. Lee

Long Jump open

1)      R. A. Castle         2) W. H. Weston

100 yards (U15)

1)      G. E. Buckle        2) R. A. Fox

1 mile open

1)      W. P. Dutton      2) R. J. Clarker    3) H. J. Sturton

Cricket

The summer term saw the school play its cricket fixtures.

Cricket Fixture 1921

The list of cricket fixtures for the 1921 season as featured in the Oakhamian Magazine. 

  • 26th May 1921 Oakham School v. I. L. Grist Esq’s XI – school won by 5 wickets.
  • 31st May 1921 Oakham School v. Uppingham Master – school lost by 8 wickets.
  • 11th June 1921 Oakham School v. Trent College - lost by 29 runs.
  • 18th June 1921 Oakham School v. Oakham Town - school won by 169 runs.
  • 28th June 1921 Oakham School v. Uppingham 2nd XI -  school won by 2 wickets.
  • 9th July 1921 Oakham School v. Bedford Modern - match drawn.
  • 23rd July 1921 Oakham School v. Old Oakhamians - Old boys won by 137 runs.
  • 4th June 1921 Oakham School v. Ivanhoe – school lost by 102 runs.
  • 9th June 1921 Oakham School v. Gentlemen of Leicestershire - school won by 51 runs.
  • 16th June 1921 Oakham School v. Notts Amateurs - match drawn.
  • 25th June 1921 Oakham School v. Burghley Park - school won by 11 runs.
Characters of the XI

A list of the 1st XI team along with comments on their abilities (from the Oakhamian Magazine). 

1921 1st XI

The 1921 1st XI cricket team.

The U14 team included the following matches:

  • Oakham School v. Stamford GS - 39 runs to 67.
  • Oakham School v. Stoneygate - 119 runs to 74.
  • Oakham School v. Nevill Holt - 108 runs to 56.
  • Oakham School v. Nevill Holt - (return match) 37 runs to 44.

Camp

1921 saw the first OTC camp held after the Great War. Described as being "hotly anticipated", pupils travelled to Strensall station for a ten day camp, and were put into columns with other contingents and then “marched along a hot and dusty road to the camp”.

Once there, the boys organised the camp by putting down floorboards and ensuring that pillows (made of straw filled bolsters) were issued.

Cadets were lucky enough to have demonstrations by and access to RAF equipment such as a wireless station and photographical sections.

The camp was a great success and it is stated in the Oakhamian Magazine that “From the very first parade our eyes were opened to the intricacies of military tactics, and with every subsequent parade our eyes were opened wider”. In all, the camp was a “wonderful success”.

Speech Day

Speech Day took place on the 24th July with prizes being distributed by Major John H. Beith in Victoria Hall. Beith was an author who went under the pseudonym of Ian Hay.

The proceedings opened with the school choir singing Britons Strike Home, England, In These Delightful, Pleasant Groves and Nymphs And Shepard’s.

The speech given by the headmaster congratulated the pupils and the school on the past year’s achievements as well as referring to the new planned chapel.

The list of prize winners that year are as follows:

  • Dr. Wood’s English Prize: Graff
  • Dr Wood’s Latin Composition: Dutton i
  • Trustees VI Classics: Dutton i
  • Trustees VI Science: Brockington, V Science: Ryley and Clarkson, IV Science: Perkins and Newton, III Science: Loweth and Daveport, II Science: Mackichan and Eayres, I Science: Pattinson
  • Lower school reading prize: Mackichan
  • Drawing: Bond and Young
  • Music: Dixie
  • Form IV Maths: Thompson
  • V Waite Memorial: Riddett
  • Form V Latin: Ryley and Rear
  • Form V Maths and Science: Burnam i
  • Form V French: Riddett
  • Form V Mathematics and Science: Whysall
  • Form V English: Cole
  • Form IV Latin: Burman ii
  • Form IV Mathematics and Science: Cattell
  • Form III Latin: Mackichan
  • Form III Maths: Pope ii
  • Form III English: Mackichan and Artus
  • Form II Latin: Brader
  • Form II Maths: Eayres ii and Yates
  • Form II Latin: Matthews ii and Manby ii
  • Form I Latin: Skingley
  • Form I Maths: Wells
  • Form I English: Newton ii
  • Shooting Cup: Lowe

Term ended on the 26th July.

Rugby

The winter term saw the majority of the 1st XV rugby matches take place.

Rugby Fixtures 1921

The fixtures for the rugby 1st XV team in 1921, as recorded in the Oakhamian Magazine. 

  • 22nd October 1921 Oakham School v. Chesterfield – Chesterfield won 18 – 9.
  • 29th October 1921 Oakham School v. R. H. Keppel-Compton’s XV – 18 – 6 to the school.
  • 5th November 1921 Oakham School v. Bedford Modern School – 23 – to in favour of Bedford.
  • 10th November 1921 Oakham School v. Loughborough College – 12 – 0 in favour of Loughborough.
  • 26th November 1921 Oakham School v. Notts ‘A’ – 9 – 3 to the school.
  • 1st December 1921 Oakham School v. Nottingham University – School won 9 – 0.
  • 3rd December 1921 Oakham School v. Newark R.F.C – School won 40 – 11.
  • 7th December 1921 Oakham School. V. Trent College.
  • 10th December 1921 Oakham School v. Bromsgrove School – 15 to 16 in favour of Bromsgrove.
  • 21st December 1921 Oakham School v. Old Oakhamians – 51 – 3 in favour of the school.
  • 9th November 1921 Oakham School U14 v. Neville Holt – 8-5 to the school.
Characters of the XV

A list of members on the 1st XV rugby team alongside comments on their abilities (featured in the Oakhamian Magazine).

Concert

The school held a concert in the winter term, which included performances from staff and pupils alike. Some of the highlights noted by the Oakhamian Magazine include Mr Silvester (staff of masters) playing the Prelude and Allegro by Pugnani- Kreisler, and Brooks ii and Crick playing two piano solos.

Concert Programme

The programme from the 1921 school concert. 

Lectures

Below is a list of the lectures given by external speakers during 1921:

  • ‘Wild Life in the Tree-Tops’ – English birds and their habits by Captain Knight
  • ‘The Land of the Humming Bird’ – Colonel Benson about Robinson Crusoe’s island being Tobago
  • Mr Frank Speaight gave a recital from the Pickwick Papers – “a most merry evening”
  • 5th November – ‘Nature at Work and Play’ by Mr Kearton in Victoria Hall.
  • 3rd December – Lieutenant Leo Walmsely gave an account with lanternslides of the war against Germany in East Africa. Walmsely had served in the RAF during the war. He showed the boys pictures of the area and its landscapes such as Kilimanjaro as well as some of the German camps in the area. 

It seems like a lot was packed into 1921 just like there will be for 2021. We would love to hear from you regarding your favourite year at school and whether you took part in any of the activities that

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