Since opening as a teacher training college for Schoolmistresses in 1862, Bishop Grosseteste University has celebrated over 150 Christmases.

This year, History Alumni Ambassador Abigail White has explored the BGU archive to learn more about past Christmas celebrations at the university.

One of the student magazines contains a detailed description of Christmas in 1914 and the impact of the First World War on festive celebrations.

‘It was thought better owing to the great distress caused by the present war not, to have the usual dance at Christmas, so the members of the staff kindly invited us to tea in the dining hall at 5 pm on Wednesday, December 16th’.

Students and staff then engaged in various forms of entertainment.

‘The rest of the evening was devoted to games in the Drill Hall. No trouble was spared to make the evening enjoyable. The programme provided for all kinds of amusements. We began with an Advertisement Competition. How we had to rack our brains to discover the missing names of the gay placards that we see every day in the street! We were in the midst of this when suddenly we found that certain figures arrayed in the familiar red blanket were marching in procession around the room, led by a young lady resplendent in ermine muff and fur, made from a pair of white stockings with the help of a few threads of black cotton. This was the Adaptation Competition.

Then followed dances of various kinds. Miss Bibby very kindly sang an old folk song which was greatly appreciated and which caused much amusement – ‘Oh no! John!’ But what of the Staff Competition. Every member retired during the Highland Schottische behind the green curtains on the platform. The curtains were drawn. Oh the horror! We were greeted with the awful vision of mummies and were given papers and told to name them! Some the girls evidently forgot that although deprived of their human appearance, the Members of the Staff had not lost their powers of hearing. The ‘Silent Cat and Mouse’ game caused much fun. At 10 o’clock we joined hands and sang ‘Alud Lang Syne’. Afterwards, we all tried to show our appreciation of one of the most enjoyable evenings of the term with a hearty cheer.’

To find out more about how you can uncover new adventures on a History or Military History course at BGU, visit our website, book onto one of our Open Events or speak to a member of our Enquiries Team.

20th December 2021

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