• Blog

    William Camden (1551-1623): Head Master and Antiquarian

    Article by Ruth de Wynter, Archive Volunteer, first published in The Camden, 2013 William Camden was born at the Old Bailey, London, the son of Sampsen Camden, a painter-stainer and Elizabeth Curwen. He firstly attended Christ’s Hospital School in the City of London but after suffering from Plague in 1563 was removed to Islington.  Upon recovery he attended St Paul’s School,…

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    Me and my dead, white men…

    Article by Elizabeth Wells, Archivist, first published in The Camden, 2017 My childhood took place in the window between the collapse of the Berlin wall and the 9/11 attacks. There was much that was wrong with the world in the 90s, but there was also a sense of optimism – a feeling that many of the problems of the past…

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    Ties, Ties, Ties

    Three Fifth Form pupils, inspired by the plethora of school colours around them, were keen to know which of the school’s eleven houses was the first to have a house tie. Elizabeth Wells and Tom Edlin set out to investigate… Initial research indicated that ‘the modern necktie emerged around 1860 when men began knotting their scarves like the reins of…

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    Robert Hooke’s Euclid?

    ‘He went to Mr. Busby’s, the schoolemaster of Westminster, at whose howse he was; and he made very much of him…There he learnd to play 20 lessons on the organ. He there in one weeke’s time made himselfe master of the first VI bookes of Euclid, to the admiration of Mr. Busby (now S.T.D.), who introduced him’ Biography of Robert Hooke, John Aubrey’s Brief Lives.…

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    The Latin Play, 1560-2010

    Origins of the Latin Play Two beliefs produced and sustained the early tradition of Latin Plays at Westminster in the sixteenth century.  First was a faith in the training such performances would offer in deportment and elocution for young gentlemen needing the tools for public life.  Second – and it generally came second – was the conviction that such an…

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    The King’s Scholars’ Pardon by Charles Low

      In 1949 Viscount Davidson (OW) purchased at Sotheby’s and presented to the School the so-called King’s Scholars’ Pardon. For many years this hung on the wall of College Library, and it has now been transcribed and translated. In the document, dated 8th October, 1679, Charles II pardons all forty scholars for the murder of one Robert Rowley. In its…

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    Reel History

    Article by Elizabeth Wells, Archivist, first published in The Camden, 2012 In the early 2010s, the medium of film came to the cultural foreground. Travelling Light, Nicholas Wright’s 2012 play, directed by Nicholas Hytner at The National Theatre, considered the very beginning of cinematography through the memories of a successful Hollywood director; The Artist, having had unprecedented success at the Oscars, recreated the…

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    Price, Worth and Value

    CECIL GRAHAM.  What is a cynic? LORD DARLINGTON.  A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. CECIL GRAHAM.  And a sentimentalist, my dear Darlington, is a man who sees an absurd value in everything, and doesn’t know the market price of any single thing. Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan Around 2 years ago I visited…

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    Goodnight, sorry for sinking you…

    One of the most enjoyable aspects of my work as School Archivist is learning about some of the fascinating events in the lives of Old Westminsters.  In 2016, thanks to Ian Petherick (HB 1941-1946), I found out about the incredible journey of the Almond brothers (Basil, David and Francis) from India to the school, then out in Herefordshire, during the…

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    The Challenge

    This year we will be starting a new feature on our twitter feed @WSchoolArchives, Challenge Tuesday. We will be tweeting questions from over 150 years of scholarship examination papers, which provide a fascinating insight into changing expectations. ‘The Challenge’ is the intimidating name of our scholarship examination. Following the dissolution of the Monastery at Westminster Abbey, Henry VIII established a…