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See also History 1852-1928

See also, History 1929-1956

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Victoria College School:

College Activities 1852-1928 by E.C. Cooper

(Editor's Note: I have retained unusual spellings such as "socker" for "soccer". AMB)


No history of the College -would be complete without some account of its games. Of these Cricket was naturally the first, and matches were played on a ground at St. Clement's, on Gorey Common, and elsewhere. Later the present ground was made out of a disused brickfield. From the first Dr. Henderson and some of his masters took great interest in College cricket and often played themselves. The history of the College cricket however centres chiefly round the matches with Elizabeth College. No other regular inter-school matches have been possible, and cricket clubs in the island have seldom had other than a transitory existence. The regiments stationed here have provided worthy antagonists, but other matches have generally been against scratch elevens. Matches with Elizabeth College were soon begun.
The first took place in Guernsey in 1861, but, as masters and outsiders played, it is not included in the series. From 1862 onwards two matches a year have been played with very few exceptions, though only ten matches were played in the years 1873—87. Till the first match in 1870 the matches were one-day fixtures, and counted drawn unless played to a finish. ' Two-day matches were played till 1880, and since then the encounters have been limited to one day, and decided by the rules for one-day matches. At the moment of writing 112 matches have been played, of which Victoria College has won 53, and Elizabeth College 51, whilst 8 have been drawn. There have been exciting finishes. Guernsey has twice won by 2 runs, Jersey twice by 7 ; in 1889 the last Elizabethan hit his wicket in attempting to play the last ball of the last over before time.
Matches have been played at all times of the year between early in April and November 29th, though latterly they have always taken place in June and July. For a long time centuries were rare. In 40 years only three were made, the first by S.C. Newton, who played in 13 matches and afterwards got his ' blue.' With the improvement in grounds they have become more frequent. Twice two have been made in the same innings ; in 1910 B. J. Meade and E. G. Le Sueur made hundreds for Victoria College and helped to compile the highest score (425 for 7) in the series. In 1914 J. V. Blad and C. E. Blad retaliated for Guernsey, putting up 200 for the first wicket. In the return match J. V. Blad made 209 not out, which is the highest individual score up to date. The lowest score for an innings was made by Jersey in the first match, bat they have dismissed Guernsey for less than 50 oftener than they have themselves succumbed.
Many good bowling feats have been accomplished, though no one has yet taken all ten wickets in an innings. In 1869 W. Le Cornu, afterwards a master at the College, clean bowled 9 Guernseymen, the 10th being run out, and in 1921 F. G. Faed took 9 wickets and caught the 10th man off his brother's bowling. W. Le Cornu played in 11 matches and took 74 wickets. E. Breaut in two matches took 26 wickets for 101 runs. In 1898 H. Turnbull did the hat trick, taking 6 Guernsey wickets for 9 runs. In 1892 R. Metcalf took 5 Jersey wickets in 6 balls, four of them consecutively.
In late years an attempt has been made to get fixtures with schools in England, and two successful visits have been made to Canford, but we are still waiting for a visit to Jersey by an English School XI.


Until 1879 the School year was divided into four terms, and cricket was played from Easter to Michaelmas. From the latter to Christmas football was the usual game. In early days the rules, the numbers, and the costumes of the players varied greatly; sometimes you might only kick the ball, sometimes you might run with it if you made a fair catch, or if you caught it ' first bounce ' ; ' off-side ' was a perpetual mystery. But by 1880 things had settled down, and the College began to play regular matches under Rugby rules. These were against Highlands College (which was generally too strong for us) and various scratch teams, such as ' the Island,' ' the Buffaloes,' etc.
In 1886 the first match was played against Elizabeth College, and from 1889 onwards two matches a season were played regularly, in which honours were fairly evenly divided. But in both islands the difficulty of finding opponents became increasingly great. Association clubs sprang up and the Channel Islander decided against Rugby. The officers of regiments stationed in the islands helped for a time to keep the game alive, but ' Tommy ' preferred ' Socker.' The game therefore died out. Elizabeth College changed over first, and, though we struggled on for a time, we had to follow suit. Matches under Association rules were started against Elizabeth College in 1903.
In these we had the worst of it at first, for the game was a new one to us, but Victoria College scored its first victory in 1907, and since then has more than held its own ; in the last ten years Elizabethan victories have been very rare. In 1927 our team went over to England for the first time, and gained a handsome victory over Ardingly. It is hoped that such visits will become annual.


For many years what we call the Spring Term, but what used be called the Christmas Term, was a dull time for games. Football was off, as the field had to be rested after ' Rugger.'
Runs and paperchases were held at times, but the Sports were finally brought off in September, and the early potatoes interfered with cross-country work. Hockey was played spasmodically on the sands, and attempts to form a regular club were made, the first in 1882. It was not however till 1911 that it became recognised as the regular school game after Christmas.
For a dozen years the boys played the game among themselves, and against various clubs and scratch elevens. Then in 1924 it became possible to arrange an annual fixture with Elizabeth College, and this has taken place with one or two exceptions due to spring ailments or Father Neptune.


Athletic Sports were first held in 1860 on the field at St. Clement's, and became a regular annual event. At first they were held in April as now, but later for many years in September. This was possible as the school year was then divided into four terms, and there was not much doing between the summer holidays which always began on Midsummer-day and Michaelmas.
In early days competitors were divided into three classes—open, under 15, under 12—and races were over 150 yds. 440 yds., and a mile. There were also hurdle races, jumps (high, broad, pole), throwing the cricket-ball, and some lighter entertainment, such a sack-race, a hopping-race, or a Siamese race. The sack-race curiously has continued to the present time. Prizes were few, though varied, and such times as have been recorded do not look formidable.
As time went on races were multiplied and it became difficult to conclude the programme in a single day. Competitors chose their own colours with a result best left to the imagination, and every attempt was made to decorate the field, flags even being borrowed from the fort. Still the competitors were in deadly earnest and records were gradually established. The mile and the pole-jump were regarded as the two great events, and even now many regret that the latter has been stopped, for it was much enjoyed by spectators.
Shortly after the school year was divided into three terms the Sports were transferred to April, and have been held in that month ever since. The weather has not always been kind; rain and cold have interfered with their enjoyment, and sometimes even compelled postponement, but there have been many good
days. The programme has in late years been spread over three afternoons, an arrangement which saves competitors from over- fatigue, and lessens the risk of bad weather. The organisation has been perfected, and especial gratitude must be shown to the masters who have helped in so many years, particularly Mr. Whitley, Mr. Holland, Mr. Lattimer, Mr. Belk and Mr. Tatam.
A Senior and Junior Cross-Country race is held before the regular Sports, and a number of Challenge Cups for House and Individual performances have been given to the school. The list of school records is as follows :—
From time to time proposals were made for a match against Elizabeth College, and in 1893 one was at last arranged. This took place in Guernsey, and was won by Victoria College. Jersey won again the following year, and after this the match was dropped for twenty years. It was revived in 1924, and, with one exception for quarantine, has been annual since then. Up to date Victoria College has had a good deal the best of it.


Under the old law of the Island all Jersey-born boys had on reaching the age of 16, to keep their drills for the militia. This necessitated their attendance at the various arsenals one morning each week on the average, and must have interfered considerably with their school work. This practice continued till 1884, when, thanks to the Lieutenant-Governor, a College Militia Cadet Corps was formed, attached to the South Militia Regiment. This enabled the drilling to take place at more convenient times, and gave College boys the chance of taking a share in rifle shooting, which was then so popular in the island. It gave us a close tie with the Militia, and thereby helped many boys to enter the army.
The cadet corps went on the even tenor of its way for twenty years, but when Mr. Raymer joined the staff improvements rapidly followed. The old ' gym ' was converted into a miniature range ; a shooting camp on the Crabbe range at Easter time was initiated ; and an eight was sent to Bisley in 1905. The shooting camp has become an annual event and has proved a great success. In the third year of the war it was transferred to Les Landes, where the huts have provided more comfortable shelter, for, even in Jersey, life under canvas in early April was sometimes rather bleak.
Before 1905 regular shooting matches had begun, and an annual fixture with Guernsey arranged. For this Mr. Haines designed and presented a challenge shield. It has been shot for every year, though in the war the competition could not be ' shoulder to shoulder ' nor on the open range.
In 1908 the Cadet Corps became the O.T.C., and thereby ceased to be attached to the militia. A detachment was sent to the Public Schools Camp at Aldershot, and in 1909 the eight gained 4th place at Bisley. In 1912 they gained the 2nd place, but they still have to reach the 1st.
At the end of 1912 Mr. Raymer left us for Clifton, and Mr. Worrall took command. Then came the war. The Corps immediately volunteered to take a share in the defence of the coast, and their offer was accepted by the G.O.C. Thus the Corps has the almost unique distinction of having been on active
service in the war ; this honour we believe is enjoyed by only one other school corps. The duty consisted in taking over a sub-section of the East Coast for Night Outpost duty. At first the Corps took over every fifth night and had to find from forty to fifty officers and men. Later it took over every Saturday night, and the number of posts manned was diminished. In spite of winter nights and ramshackle guard-posts the corps continued its outpost duties till the disbandment of the militia in 1917. After that it furnished guards at the harbour and at Government House. Besides morning parades and outpost duty, half-holidays were devoted to corps work, and field-days and route-marches were frequent. The Easter musketry camps were held, and though the War Office would not allow us to go to Aldershot, summer camps were held in Jersey, and once in Guernsey. Mr. Worrall had gone on active service in 1915, and under the command of his successor, Capt. Parnell-Smith, the corps more than maintained its high standard of efficiency.
Of its history since the war there is little of outstanding interest to record, save that it furnished a guard of honour and was personally inspected by His Majesty on the occasion of the Royal Visit in 1921. Major Dawson on being demobilised succeeded Capt. Parnell-Smith in the command which he has just resigned.
The corps, besides its regular drills, has had plenty to do with field-days, camps, musketry, signalling, guards of honour and Certificate A. exams, to say nothing of the band which is now an institution of long standing. The corps has been fortunate in its instructors, of whom especial mention must be made of Q.M.S. Bricknell, C.S.M. Smith, C.S.M. Rowe, and C.S.M. Arrigonie.
During the last three years its shooting has benefited by the possession of a proper miniature range built on the ground to the south of the cricket ground.


Swimming, Boxing, and Gymnastics are further sports in which the College has taken its part. For nearly thirty years College Swimming Races have been held at the Havre-des-Pas pool, and the individual and house competitions have been very keen. A very large percentage of boys annually pass the swimming test.
In the early days of the College there was a gymnasium on the site of the present building. It was open to the air on one side, strewn with tan, and contained a certain amount of apparatus. But no instruction was given, the apparatus was not renewed, and few boys used it. Later the building was converted into a miniature range, and gymnastics ceased till the present building was opened in 1913. Since then ' gym ' has been part of the regular school time-table, and senior and junior competitions are held annually.
Organised boxing was started at about the game time and has proved a great success. Annual competitions are held, in which the rivalry between the houses is very keen.
The opening of the gym drove out the miniature-rifle shots, and for years they had to carry out their practices in the open air, generally in the College House yard, but, as noted elsewhere, they found a permanent home in 1926.
Suggestions have been made from time to time for the formation of a Boat Club, but the proposals have found no favour.


The School has in course of time developed a number of activities outside the regular curriculum of work and games. .For over forty years it has produced its own Magazine with regularity. The School Magazine however was not established without difficulty. It was first produced in May 1871. It was published monthly, and besides School news contained many original articles and poems. But it was too ambitious and appealed to too small a circle; consequently after a year it ceased to appear. The next attempt was made ten years later ; this was on a less ambitious and more popular scale ; the paper appeared every fortnight, and besides School news contained a summary of the news of the day with occasional general articles.
Even though helped by advertisements however, it failed to pay its way, and died out in 1882. A year later a third attempt was made on somewhat similar lines, except that only two numbers were issued each term. This effort lasted for over a year and then succumbed like its predecessors.
Finally in 1886 the present series of ' Victorians ' was successfully launched, and in spite of editorial and financial difficulties has enjoyed an uninterrupted existence, and provided a valuable record of College history.


The College has its Debating Society, which meets every week in the winter terms. It has had a long and successful career, for with occasional intervals it has existed since 1882. Time and distance have been difficulties, as they must be with a school that is chiefly a day-school, but the Society has helped to produce three presidents of the Oxford Union, as well as numerous Advocates and members of the Jersey States.
In late years the College has built up an orchestra, which plays no small part in the annual concert which is now a feature of the school year.
Other societies for the pursuit of science, chess, photography, etc., have been formed from time to time and enjoy periods of success, but the outstanding activity is undoubtedly the College Play. Amateur acting has always been popular in Jersey and the College has reflected this taste. For more than fifty years, almost without exception, it has produced a play or plays every winter. Dramas by Shakespeare, Sheridan, Goldsmith, and more modern authors have been the rule, and the entertainment has generally been given in the College Hall, though at one time the theatre was used. A strong dramatic tradition has been created, which may be trusted to continue the success, though mention must be made of the assistance given by members of the staff, not least by Mr. A. G. Somers.

(This report is taken from the 1852-1929 College Register.)