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NEWS > Alumni News > First & Second Editions of The Juddian Magazine

First & Second Editions of The Juddian Magazine

Enchanting nuggets of history revealed in our first two ever Juddians - July and December Editions 1909.....

12 May 2021
Alumni News


Browsing through our substantial collection of Juddian magazines over the years, these first two editions evoked so much history and knowledge of the time I just had to share them with you all! 

Many of the pages of these first two magazines weren't even cut and so are closed at the top, meaning I had to peep between the pages to read them!  The page numbers seem to continue on from the first magazine to the 2nd edition -  rather than starting from page 1.  They evidently came out twice a year during those early years.

On the first page of the first July edition we learn that 30 copies had been ordered by the governors! (Think how many we order to circulate today!)

You can actually feel the raised type-face on the yellowing pages so they are a beautiful item to behold.  Some of the content you can read in the photo album below is so similar to today's day-to-day news 112 years on, and some is so thankfully different. 

On p.2 of the July edition, it mentions that the School thought,

"it was desirable to direct attention by weekly contributions to the needs of those who live under less favourable conditions than ourselves.  The contributions from 1889 to 1891 were devoted to Dr. Barnado's.....and the third to the Crippled Boys' Industrial home.... these amounted to £5. The Country Holiday Fund makes provision for children who otherwise would not be able to do so, to get into the country at a cost of 5s a week.  The Schools' contribution to this fund to July 2nd is only £1 18s. 1d., so that we are a long way short of last year's contribution to the same fund, which was £4 11s. 11 ½ d. and still further from our best of £7 1s. 0 ¼ d. in the corresponding term of 1904…Next Term it is proposed to devote the subscriptions to the…. Training Ships for Homeless Boys”. 

The old terminology of the pre-decimal currency system and the difference in relative value of what money is worth now is amazing to hear about; the charities that were cared for and the need in society for these charities in Victorian times are eye-opening – for example the homeless boys being sent to work on the training ships at the coast. (

On page 8 we see the Football report – do our readers think this was rugby football or football? as it seems this is the exact period (46 years earlier) that the two sports emerged as separate entities with some schools favouring carrying the ball (rugby was born) and those who outlawed it (football was born) - Ref:

Judd were already playing Skinners and Maidstone Grammar school – just as we still do today! I don't think Ashford Grammar School exists any more? 

The following pages detail their Annual Excursion – mentioning all the places we still recognise today – Otford, Sevenoaks and Borough Green train stations, the North Downs scenery and travelling from Gad’s Hill to Rochester.

I greatly enjoyed the amusing write-up of the Children’s pageant on the final pages of this edition:

“For several weeks the Children’s Pageant has been the chief topic of conversation.  During the luncheon hour weird sounds have been heard, and mysterious processions with downcast eyes and devoutly crossed hands could be seen wending their way slowly round the Big School.  But upon enquiry our fears were dispelled by the discovery that forty of our boys were assiduously rehearsing the Te Deum in Latin, set to a Gregorian Chant.

The Pageant consisted of ten Episodes, representing various events in the History of Kent, and especially of our ancient town of Tonbridge.  The second episode, entitled the Dawn of Christianity, was allotted to our School, and immediately amateur carpenters were eagerly plying their hammers and chisels, whilst our budding artists busied themselves in painting the altar and the other stage properties….”

The first paragraph of Edition 2 in December is just wonderful – expressing the editors’ joy at how unexpectedly popular the magazine would be!

“Our first number was accorded such a reception as only makes us ask ourselves tremblingly how we shall be able to justify it.  Every boy in the School subscribed for the year.  The Old Boys’ Society at once took one hundred copies, and made arrangements to supply it to all their members.  Now we only ask Present and Past to support with their pens what they have encouraged with their purses, and make the Magazine a living record of all the activities of our little world." 

This last sentence resounded with me as it's just like how I ask you to do the same for us today for the OJ Community website, and how The Editors of The Juddian magazine today also ask for contributors! 

Page 26 in the photo album below, where you can see the photos more clearly and zoom in, (have to be logged in to see albums) mentions the first time the School was formed into three houses and what the role of the house would play,

“....But now the School has been formed permanently into three Houses, each with its own Captains and House-Masters; a boy will remain in his House during his whole school career, and his brothers will follow him.”

Interesting that they were keen to get students swimming again after some years of neglect in this area of sport, and that a swimming pool in Tonbridge had yet to be built:

“It is hoped that if we have open-air baths at Tonbridge next year, every boy will make up his mind to learn to swim during the season”.

On page 31 below, we see OJ News called, “Old Boys’ Notes” which mainly comprises an impressive athlete aged 19 similar to the sorts of news we would still write today. 

Markedly different today however, I found that reading about two deaths at the ages of 27 and 25 indicates that it must have been quite common then – one of which from the dreaded typhoid fever – and they received the news of his passing via telegram or letter all the way from British Colombia (the hospital who treated him still stands today!)

On p.33 is a list of the very first boys who attended the school from September 17th 1888 and thereafter Judd produced the little Year Books of students at the school during each year - most of which we still have in our archives today.

The Old Commercial Tonbridgians’ Society report is interesting to see – I wonder if it was the pre-cursor to the OJ Society with it’s AGM and Dinners?

Pages 44 & 45 give a thorough overview of matches with Skinners and Maidstone Grammar amongst others and the following pages a House Run which sounds very like The Great Judd Run today.

The Correspondence pages are a fascinating insight into the politics of the time with a letter from a reader warning about a foreboding event, which, unbeknownst to the readership, was about to materialise in the impending doom of World War I which was due to occur within the next 5 years.  The old fashioned spelling he uses (or was it his misspelling that was published?)  is intriguing to see on P 46. 

[Although, as a rule, politics have no place in this Magazine, we hope we shall not be accused of political bias in publishing the following, written as they are from opposite standpoints. – Ed]

To the Edditor.

Dear Sir,

            Your valuable paper has a lot of intresting news in it, but you ought to put in something about the simply orfull state to which the present Cabinet has brought the country.  The Germans are building up a mighty armada, and will, in the near future, hurl it at our shores.  What I say is: Brittons, are you prepared? ….I will conclude by calling on all who admire the British Consitution to raly round the flag next January, when we shall shew the world that the heart of this might Empire is sound to the core.  Besides, The Daily Mail says that Tariff Reform is the only alturnitive policy, and things would be much cheaper to buy then, and my father would get more money for his corn and hops… “

The opposing standpoint in the 2nd letter is concerning Lloyd-George’s government of the time, legislation on tax, The House of Lords and Free Trade. 

The final photo on the back cover shows how the front of the School hasn’t changed much at all in the last 112 years - except the lime trees along the drive are now much bigger, and look how small the big oak tree was then! (love that photo alignment hadn't been considered then!) 

I hope you enjoyed these insights into Judd as much as I did.  Please feel free to browse the pages scanned in to the album below which are easier to see and zoom in on and please do comment in the comments section below.

 If you have anything from the archives please do take a good quality photo and send it in with the corresponding story:



To view this photo gallery

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