VE Day at Wellington

29 April 2020

As the country prepares to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day this week, we look back into the archives to see how the day itself was celebrated at Wellington. The Wellingtonian for July 1945 reports:

… everything was done to help us enjoy ourselves and celebrate in a fitting manner. On Tuesday we had an extra hour in bed and were excused all but one period, and there was also a Service of Thanksgiving at twelve o’clock. That evening there was a film in Old Hall. Next day we were excused first hour to have an extra hour in bed and Corps parades were excused.

In the evening there was a Fun Fair on Rockies. Each dormitory had two or three side-shows and produced some extremely ingenious ideas considering that they had had two days only in which to prepare them. The aim of the Fair was celebration of victory, but such money as was raised went to the War Exhibitions Fund. As usual the cushion fighting on the slippery pole was a great attraction, and the tough fights put up by Messrs. Hincks, Chadwick and Carr were much appreciated. An innovation this year was a refreshment stall organised by the Blucher, which was greatly in demand.

As you may have gathered, this was not the first time there had been a funfair on Rockies – a similar event had been held for the previous two years in aid of the war effort. Other attractions had included an archery range and a slow bicycle race.

Readers may be interested to know that the ‘Messrs. Hincks, Chadwick and Carr’ fighting with cushions on the greasy pole were, respectively: a former champion shot-putter and Wellington Languages teacher for 39 years; a former rugby international who went on to be Regius Professor of History at Cambridge; and a distinguished Oxford academic and Professor of Spanish History!