Historic connections

A number of the schools I visit are housed in modern, purpose built buildings.   Last month, I spoke at Winifred Holtby School in Hull, a well-designed, new school in the heart of Bransholme which has given a boost to the local community.  Some schools are housed in historic buildings, some with notable connections.  The first time I spoke at St Peter’s School in York, on the subject of Parliament, I was presented with a framed picture of its most famous old boy – Guy Fawkes! 

Last Friday, I spoke at Hull Collegiate College and Doncaster Hall Cross School.  Both are housed in historic buildings.  The former has at its heart a former country mansion which had been owned by the Wilson family, owners in the 19th Century of a major shipping company.  The building, Tranby Croft, is pictured.   The room in which I spoke was next to one that witnessed an event towards the end of the 19th Century that led to a national scandal.  Here’s a quick question: what occurred at Tranby Croft that led to a major court case with royal connections?

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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15 Responses to Historic connections

  1. Chris K says:

    A family friend went to St Peter’s School.
    Apparently they’re not very keen on Bonfire Night.

  2. D. F. Rostron says:

    I think it was a gambling scandal around the 1890s, during a game of baccarat, one of the players, Sir William Gordon-Cumming was caught cheating. The guests at that game included the Prince of Wales.

    • Lord Norton says:

      D.F.Rostron: Quite right. Baccarat was illegal at the time. Sir William signed a pledge saying he would never play cards again and assumed that would be the end of the matter. However, when gossip spread in London society about his actions, he decided he had to try and clear his name and sued those who had accused him of cheating. The case ended up in court, with the Prince of Wales called as a witness. It was a major scandal. Sir William lost the case and basically disappeared from society. It was also bad news for Sir Arthur Wilson: the affair meant that he was no longer in royal favour. The Prince of Wales also subsequently moderated his behaviour.

      The affair was known as the Royal Baccarat scandal or the Tranby Croft scandal.

  3. Dean B says:

    If it was late 19th century it would almost certainly have been something to do with the Prince Of Wales.

  4. ladytizzy says:

    Lt Clive Wilson and the Tranby Croft Party, Hull (1902), BFI archive:

    NB comments include, “ignorant and inaccurate commentary”

    • maude elwes says:

      Lady T:

      Fabulous footage!

    • Frank W. Summers III says:

      I do tend to feel with the commentator that the best indication of risk and hardship in a foreign war is determined by measuring the availability of tinned partridges from home. If one has tinned patridges from home this answers as a balance against a great deal on the other side. If Washington had had tinned partridges in Valley Forge, Horatio had stopped for a bit of tinned partridge before entering the bridge or the Light Brigade had enjoyed tinned partridges before their famous charge we could well afford to ignore them entirely. Quite a compelling point there. I am proud to say that my ancestors who have fought over so much of the world have yet to be found in possession of any tinned partridge that I know of — our claims to family honour remain at least plausible.

      • ladytizzy says:

        Frank, while we over here are hand-wringing and navel-gazing our way around the question du jour, ie “What is Britishness?”, you have nailed it – with style!

      • Frank W. Summers III says:


      • Lord Norton says:

        But what about the foot soldiers?

      • Frank W. Summers III says:

        Lord Norton,
        I did in fact wonder as I typed my list intending sarcasm if there is a quanity of tinned partridge where Washington’s status at Valley Forge would be diminished. But while he shared the sacrifice of his men in many ways and paid much of their expenses from his pocket he did not live as their dietary or social equal. In all the other cases I doubt a sane foot soldier would care nearly as much about the culinary luxuries of his officers as he would for their competent and valiant leadership under fire.

        As for my relatives who have served in wars over the centuries they have been of all ranks (with few if any general officers that I know of in recent centuries in regular forces). My most recently killed in action cousin , Severin Summers, was in the higher enblisted ranks although his father was a West Pointer and retired as a relatively high ranking officer. All his sons I believe have spent all or most of their carreer as enlisted men, But in America enlisted men probably have a good chance of tinned partridge as anyone in the Special Forces Command where my cousin served. They are a breed apart here and in some other places their counterparts are as well.

        Each thinking person reaches their own conclusions about the balance of egalitarian and differentiating forces in society. For me the right of a man serving abroad to eat his mother’s tinned partridge is not where I would start equalizing.

  5. Neil M says:

    Is it not Hull Collegiate School?
    Calling something a Collegiate College seems to be trying too hard!

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