University Archive

Archive Item of the Month – April 2012

University Archive reference D464/1/4
Our item this month is a student scrapbook from the University Archive. Claude Blogg (nicknamed “Tiger”) was a student at St Paul’s College (now FCH campus) from 1922 – 1924 where he would have trained to be a teacher.  During his time here he compiled a scrapbook containing letters, lyrics, photographs of students and buildings, postcards, cuttings, concert programmes and information on reunion services. All of these illustrate student life in the roaring twenties.



One page includes a letter purporting to be from an anonymous female student at St Mary’s College. During the Victorian era and into the twentieth century, male and female students were kept strictly separate from each other, although this is an example of one of the many ways the students could have flouted these rules. A transcription of the letter is below:

St Mary’s Hall
Dec. 11th

Dear Mr Blogg,

By judicious questioning I have found out that your name is Claude Blogg (I think it sounds ever so romantic). I sincerely hope I have got the right name or I shall be properly in for it.

I hear you are from Eastbourne and that there are two or three of your fellows from there also. I come from the south coast too. If I might be so bold as to give it, my address is 13 Princess Avenue, Bournemouth. You may possibly find time to write during the vacation. I shall be very pleased to hear from you. I am scribbling this hurriedly in P. S. time so will you excuse the brevity of this note.

Yours sincerely

G. R.

Further letters show that this was not all it seemed. Another letter written to Claude from his fellow St Paul’s student Fred “Cocky” Perkins adds another dimension to the mystery:

I went to Trowbridge last night and saw Miss Dixon. By dexterous and judicious questioning I managed to glean some tidings of the fair Miss Ripon without arousing any undue measure of curiosity. Among much information I find one or two points which will no doubt be of some interest to you. Here they are then.

1. That the name “Claude Blogg” has become a household word and a name to be revered across at the Hall

2. N.B. That the note you received was probably a hoax. Miss Dixon does not swear to it but she has every reason to believe that the girl comes from London…

3. That she is nearly engaged. She has a boy who kisses her on the station when they meet…

4. That in the eyes of Miss Dixon, “Miss Ripon” is “a bad bad girl”

After supplying Miss Dixon with the handwriting of the first letter, she writes to Fred to confirm his suspicions:

I am sure that Gertie Rippon had nothing to do with that letter; it is not written by her, for it is not in her handwriting, neither do I believe that a girl wrote it, for it is a boyish style. I wonder if that is a fictitious address, or whether one of the “Paulites” lives there. How Gertie would laugh if she knew! By the way, all the girls who had P. S. on the day when this letter was supposed to be written, had to help with the social, which was taking place that evening. Gertie Rippon had no P. S.

To view this and other examples of student scrapbooks, please contact the University Archives and Special Collections.


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