A 1894 Version of Tom Brown’s Schooldays

As some of you might know ever since I moved to England I developed a fascination with old books. So back in the UK about a month ago I got myself this 1894 version of a once-famed (and very, very English) novel about a schoolboy in Rugby School, Warwickshire.

But that’s not nearly the most interesting part of this book. As I opened it (I presume the book’s first opening for LITERALLY a century) I discovered a whole deck of…Genuinely century-old, graded test papers (Pictures 3 and 4) These papers stuck within this book for so long that it is clearly visible that the page in which these papers were found was actually tinted and yellowed by the writings on the test papers (see Picture 5). Each of the papers were of a different student, of a Form 4 school (one of the students noted that down), and it was presumably a coeducational school because the names range from Ann to Michael. One thing also worth mentioning is the quality of handwriting back then (bear in mind they are from 4th Form (This classification is no longer use but since A Levels are Sixth Form this is presumably pre-GCSE-equivalent; Thus most likely 11, 12-ish year-old children), it’s simply striking how they’ve easily trumped virtually all adult handwritings nowadays…

Inferring from the aforementioned, it is more than likely the book was previously owned by a teacher, who tries to study about his/her contemporary English boarding schools, and one who collected and marked her students’ work, but didn’t end up returning them back to the students.

Of course that’s just pure guesswork…There’s virtually no way I can tell what ACTUALLY happened…

Alas, times have changed, and while such traces of history as this may remain, forever lost are the myriad fascinating stories behind them…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *