Saturday 19 November saw the triumphant return of St Andrew’s Day in all its usual splendour. Boys, staff and parents were all welcomed to displays of sporting prowess, musical and artistic talent and the Eton College Collections were open once again.
After a moving service in College Chapel, during which the College Chapel Choir sung a piece by Judith Weir (current master of the King’s music) composed specifically in memory of an Old Etonian, Edmund Bridges, the day kicked off with the Eton College Music Scholars (ECMS) concert. The pipers played in the cloisters to a large crowd whilst senior boys sold magazines, ranging from science and technology to classics and philosophy.
College Library, the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Eton Life, the Museum of Antiquities, and College Hall were all open too, showcasing their displays to hundreds of visitors. The Verey Gallery, located in School Yard, was host to the new exhibition The Nijūichidaishū: Japan’s Imperial waka poetry anthology. School Library exhibited Drawn to War: The War Art of Eric Ravilious, and the Drawing Schools and Design Schools also opened their doors to showcase the boys’ creations.
On the sports pitches, the first XI beat the Old Etonians 2-0 in association football, but the Eton Penguins basketball team narrowly lost out to the Old Etonian side. Eton’s fencers triumphed against St Paul’s School in the usual format of three matches per sword in the Whitely Hall, winning Sabre 45-14 and Foil 45-39, but narrowly losing Epée 38-45. The Badminton Hall also played host to demonstrations of kickboxing and kung-fu, thanks to boys who have been training hard all Michaelmas Half (Autumn term).
At the Wall, proceedings kicked off with a Year 9 Wall Game demonstration, warming up the crowd for the big showdown. Amidst chanting fans in purple and orange or white face paint, socks and caps, the annual College vs Oppidans Wall Game was a spectacle to behold, yielding an actual result for the first time in years. The sun was out all day, and it was a celebratory event for all, concluding with drinks in boarding Houses and a much-needed rest over the weekend.
Many thanks to Eton College Photographic Unit members, Oliver B, Harry C, Ahnaf K, Oscar L and Matthew L for capturing the atmosphere of St Andrew’s Day across the site. Their photography is featured in the below gallery.