First World War: Silver Medal for Military Valour

In November 1915, several Old Boys were working in the Italian Unit of the Red Cross Ambulance Unit, along with Mr. G. M. Trevelyan, the historian of Garibaldi.  An urgent appeal for help reached the headquarters of the unit when a small building used as a cholera hospital in the village of San Florian was bombarded by Austrian guns.  Mr. Trevelyan and some men removed the inmates to a place of safety.

The story is reported in the March 1916 issue of “Bootham” magazine, and continues as follows:

“Two days later a similar thing happened. Mr. Trevelyan and six ambulance cars came to the rescue. The rear half of the building was already a mass of ruins, among which lay a dozen dead; the Italian officer in charge of the hospital was killed whilst standing side by side with one of the unit. All surviving patients were successfully carried off in the British cars. Augustine N. Grace (1890-91) and J. H. Gray (1897-1902) were in the rescue party.

In recognition of the gallantry displayed, King Victor Emanuel has decorated Mr. Trevelyan with the silver medal for military valour, “partly for this action, partly as representing his colleagues and collaborators, and in his capacity as Commandant of the First British Ambulance Unit for Italy .” “

Stories from the Archive – Leisure Activities (Part 2 – cricket)

In February 2016 I gave a talk about the archives as part of the Thursday lunchtime Recital Room series (click here for the full programme). I’ll put the talk on the blog in a series of posts. The second installment is below. Click here for the first installment (about Arthur Rowntree’s views about leisure activities).

I’ll start with sport. Cricket seems to have been played from the very early days of the school. Here are some of the rules of the cricket club about 1834 when the school was still at the Lawrence Street site – the question of who paid for broken windows appears to have been particularly important.

  1. That the Club shall pay for no windows broken by non-subscribers.
  2. That all non-subscribers playing when a window is broken, shall pay 1d. for a 1s. window, and 3d. for a 3s. 6d. window.
  3. That the Club will pay for no windows broken at single wicket, or when less than four subscribers are playing.
  4. That if a subscriber breaks a window or bat, or loses a ball, he shall pay half, and the Club the other half, but if a non-subscriber he shall pay all.
  5. That the balls or bats shall not be lent to play at any other game but cricket, under penalty of one penny.
  6. That if any other subscriptions should be afterwards wanted, those subscribers who do not pay them shall be subscribers no longer.
  7. That no non-subscriber shall play when there are more than eight subscribers playing, unless he is particularly wanted to make sides.
  8. That whoever throws any of the bats shall be fined the sum of 1d.
  9. That none of the bats and balls shall be used, except there are two subscribers playing.
Sketch of Lawrence Street site (by Edwin Moore).
Lawrence Street site (by Edwin Moore)

Walter Sturge, who was at the school between 1844 and 1846, therefore was at both Lawrence Street and Bootham, didn’t play cricket until the school moved to the Bootham site, suggesting that at some point after the rules had been written, cricket was banned.

George Scarr Watson, at the school between 1853 and 1858 remembered that “Cricket was permitted; but we played no outside matches, and had to be content with the mild excitement of playing against ourselves. No flannel cricketing suits relieved the monotony of our black jackets, waistcoats and caps. No brilliant blazers, ribbons, ties or badges transgressed the Quaker rule.”

The earliest minute book we have for the cricket club starts in 1865 and runs till 1867, and the first outside match listed in that is against Ackworth in May 1865, although all the matches listed in that minute book are either internal matches, matches against Old Scholars or against Ackworth. The next record we have is a score book that runs from 1886, which contains a much wider range of opponents.

Photograph of the cricket team setting out to Ackworth, 1924.
The cricket team setting out to Ackworth, 1924

First World War: The Belgian Bazaar

Photograph of Gymnastics display at the Belgian Bazaar.
Gymnastics display at the Belgian Bazaar

In the First World War, many thousands of Belgian refugees came to Britain and relief committees were established to help them. Quakers in York played an important role; several families were housed at the garden village of New Earswick, founded by the York philanthropist Joseph Rowntree, and money was raised both to support them and towards Belgian Relief Funds. It has already been mentioned in earlier blog posts that Bootham school supported a Belgian refugee family See previous posts from September 1914 and January 1915.

By Spring 1916, Bootham School was involved in further fundraising for Belgian relief. From the Annual Report:

“For many weeks the School worked hard in preparation for the Belgian Bazaar. Things were made in the workshop, knitting became popular, voluntary gymnastic classes were held, dramatic scenes were rehearsed, and friends all over the country were importuned to contribute goods and money. ”

The report for Spring Term Jan and Feb 1916, in Bootham magazine tells us:

“THE exceedingly mild weather of January and the prospects of some novel excitement in the shape of a Zeppelin raid have served to reconcile us to some extent to the deficiencies of the average Spring Term, and the work that we are doing in preparation for the great Belgian show has not allowed much time to hang idly on our hands. The knitting operations, in fact, and the generally busy atmosphere of the workshop and other such places, are a constant reminder to us of the determined way in which everybody is setting to work to make this event an unprecedented success.”

The event was a huge success. Bootham magazine reported afterwards:

“On the 25th (March) our great event took place, when the major part of the leisure-hour work of the term found its culmination in the long-awaited Belgian Bazaar. We anticipated an unprecedented success, but even more, if such is possible, was the case. Practically speaking, there was nothing left on the stalls; everyone was at his best, and not a hitch occurred throughout. From the stall-keepers dispensing of their wares to the extra singing-class masquerading as a “wall” all played their parts nobly, and the results exceeded our most sanguine hopes. A sum of well over sixty pounds was realised and has been divided, at the discretion of the Finance Committee, amongst the several Belgian Relief Funds in which we are interested.”