Wellington History on Display at Wellington College Hangzhou

It is with great pleasure that we are able to present a range of artefacts from The Wellington College in England, to be on exhibit at Wellington College Hangzhou. The artefacts are currently on display on the 2nd floor of the main building, right above the lobby.

The exhibit includes a range of caps belonging to Old Wellingtonians, and three trophy cups; the Kingsley Cup, the Football Cup and the Boxing Cup.

Like many traditional British schools, caps played an important role in the history of Wellington College. In fact, a boy could be awarded corporal punishment – “beaten” by masters or prefects – if they were caught bare-headed out of doors. Life was tough at Wellington, and it was expected to be so as part of growing up to be ready for a man’s world. In order to make the artefact display as meaningful as possible, the Archivist at Wellington College, Caroline Jones, conducted in-depth research on each of the caps. As a result of this research, we are able to build up an intriguing story of the men to whom those caps belonged, as well as putting world events into context through their fascinating stories. Indeed, while they may look like simple caps, these artefacts actually play an important role in the historical record of Wellington College.

We encourage everyone who is interested in the history of Wellington College, and the traditions that endure between the family of schools – corporal punishment not being one of them – to visit the artefact gallery.

Cap, probably cricket, from Royal Military College Sandhurst. It doubtless belonged to a Wellington pupil who went to Sandhurst, but without a name in it, we cannot say who it was.

Wellington College rugby cap belonging to Edward Montagu, signifying that he played for the First XV.

Wellington College cricket cap, First XI, with name ‘Shakespear’ inside. Probably belonged to G F C Shakespear, who was in the First XI in 1907.

Rugby First XV cap, probably also belonging to G C F Shakespear, as seen in this photograph of him as Captain of the XV in 1907. The skull-and-crossbones is the symbol of his House, the Hill. Shakespear was also Head of Gymnasium, a Prefect, and Head of School (Head Boy).

Rugby cap belonging to R G S Hobbs.

Another cap belonging to R G S Hobbs. It’s uncertain why this cap has no House badge on the front. The photograph below shows R G S Hobbs as Captain of Rugby in 1925-6. The double-headed eagle on his pullover is the symbol of his House, the Orange.

Kingsley Cup 

One of the originators of the Kingsley Cup was the famous clergyman, author and social reformer, Charles Kingsley. The participation in the Kingsley Cup is now considered a “rite of passage” to become a “true Wellingtonian”.

Football Cup

From the start of Wellington College “Football’ meant “Rugby Football”, “Rugby Union Football”. “Rugger” or “Rugby”.  Invented at Rugby College (where the first Master, E W Benson, taught before coming to Wellington), it uses the elliptical ball which can be handled or kicked.

Boxing Cup

Boxing from the early days was compulsory for most junior boys even before they came to Wellington from their “prep schools”. Fighting with padded gloved fists, it was enjoyed by some senior boys at Wellington, being a “manly sport”, preparing them for military service. Many regiments encouraged officers to box as well as soldiers. It is not a sport at Wellington College today.