Oxford MailPotty put on memorial by student pranksters (From Oxford Mail)

Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us

Potty put on memorial by student pranksters

Oxford Mail: Potty put on memorial by student pranksters Potty put on memorial by student pranksters

JUST looking at this picture is likely to give you the shivers, but spare a thought for the brave volunteer who had to climb to the summit.

He is perched precariously on a ladder at the top of Martyrs’ Memorial, with no apparent protection.

This was the scene at the southern end of St Giles, Oxford, in November 1913 after a student had put what looks like a chamberpot high up on the monument.

The Oxford Journal Illustrated newspaper, which published the picture, couldn’t bring itself to name the object, simply referring to it as “an article which is not usually paraded in public”.

The paper reported: “A feat which required a large amount of agility and nerve – and it is said was accomplished in the short time of 10 minutes – was perpetrated by a junior member of the University.

“The article was placed on a pinnacle within a few feet of the top of the memorial. It remained there a couple of days before the authorities, with the aid of ladders and a man accustomed to building work, succeeded in removing it.”

The picture was sent in by former councillor and Lord Mayor Ann Spokes Symonds, of Davenant Road, Oxford, who tells me: “I have been up the memorial twice, but only to inspect it.”

No doubt, with health and safety rules, it was a good deal safer for her than it would have been in 1913.

This was not the first or last occasion on which students attached unusual objects to buildings, as the other two pictures show.

In June 1959, in an end-of-term prank, members of the Phoenix Club, a college dining group, put a clothes’ dummy on top of a dome at Brasenose College, and also used bricks left behind by builders to block a staircase to undergraduates’ rooms.

Oxford Mail:

In the other picture, dating from June 1961, a bicycle suddenly appeared on top of one of the Bodleian Library’s 100ft high pinnacles.

Oxford Mail:

High jinks were also evident in 1980 when members of the University College Rugby Club, after their end-of-season dinner, decided to give the city an extra zebra crossing – they painted zig-zag lines across High Street late one night.

That time, the authorities did not see the funny side. One student was arrested and accused of causing criminal damage to the highway.

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:23am Wed 19 Feb 14

bcole says...

Reading the above story about objects being placed on the tops of Oxford buildings, I do recall many years ago that some people, maybe undergraduates, placed an austin 7 car on the top of one of the colleges or some very tall building, and to remove it they had to disasemble it ( from memory ). I recall at the time, that the aurthorities did not know how they did it, and no one owned to it.
Reading the above story about objects being placed on the tops of Oxford buildings, I do recall many years ago that some people, maybe undergraduates, placed an austin 7 car on the top of one of the colleges or some very tall building, and to remove it they had to disasemble it ( from memory ). I recall at the time, that the aurthorities did not know how they did it, and no one owned to it. bcole
  • Score: 2

10:08am Sun 23 Feb 14

Zaxharias Ziegla says...

Ah, great days of yore, when our intrepid superiors ruled the roost. Before the oikish masses, comprehensively unschooled under the ridiculous notion of equality, were shoveled into the University, in order to inhabit the pubs, clubs, college bars, brothels and houses that sprang in their wake; and most importantly, to spread the word of Marx, Lenin and more recently the Frankfurt School in myriad forms to the masses.
Ah, great days of yore, when our intrepid superiors ruled the roost. Before the oikish masses, comprehensively unschooled under the ridiculous notion of equality, were shoveled into the University, in order to inhabit the pubs, clubs, college bars, brothels and houses that sprang in their wake; and most importantly, to spread the word of Marx, Lenin and more recently the Frankfurt School in myriad forms to the masses. Zaxharias Ziegla
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree