• Blog

    A Document with Teeth

    Article by Elizabeth Wells, Archivist, first published in The Camden 2013 This indenture, dating from 1594, is one of the earliest documents in the school’s archive which refers to the school directly (see the post on William Camden for another).  An indenture is a legal contract between two or more parties.  Written in duplicate on the same sheet, the copies would be separated…

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    George Colman (OW) and the Nonsense Club

    Article by Charlotte Robinson, Archives and Records Management Assistant, first published in The Camden, 2016 George Colman (1732-1794) was a theatre manager and playwright celebrated for his comic farces. He was a King’s Scholar in the 1740s and showed an early talent for lively satire. He was a little man, “without my shoes, little more than five feet in height”,…

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    Vivat! Westminster Scholars’ role in the coronation

    Article by Elizabeth Wells, Archivist, first published in College Newsletter, 2013 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in Westminster Abbey.  This would seem to perfect occasion to take a look at the role played by Scholars in coronation services. The privilege of being the first commoners to acclaim each new sovereign at their coronation in Westminster…

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    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…