With November the 5th coming up, here at Hull University Archives we thought a warming wander through student bonfire nights past might be a nice diversion.
So we turned to the University of Hull’s student newspapers for inspiration. And it was only then that the serendipity of the situation struck us – the first student magazine was aptly (for our purpose) named The Torch!
Lighting the Torch
First issued in December 1928, it has gone through several iterations, initially as The Torch, then as Torchlight, and it continues to this day as HullFire. These names draw inspiration from the University’s motto:
From the Latin for ‘Bearing the torch’, our motto is a play on the name of the University’s first benefactor, Thomas R. Ferens.
At the beginning of the first issue of The Torch is a foreword written by the University’s principal. This sets the tone and highlights the hopes of those involved for the future of the University:
The Principal’s message is echoed in a short poem included at the end of the first issue:
And so The Torch was lit. But back to our original purpose…
Remember, remember the 5th of November
In the third issue of The Torch we find our first reference to bonfire night. A report describes the events:
With such fun to be enjoyed, and perhaps a late night dancing, the following morning appears to have been a bit of a come down. The very next piece in the issue seems to have been inspired by a ‘morning after…’ type feeling in one of the magazine contributors:
Skipping a few years, we find that celebrations have moved on and now include a torchlight procession through the village of Cottingham:
Though a nice idea in principle, the sight of a large group of students boldly parading through the streets seems to have inspired a town and gown type rivalry with the local youth:
But a year on and things seem to have calmed down, with no mention of any such unpleasantness being repeated:
If you’ve enjoyed this brief spotlight on our early student magazines look out for further Hull University Archives posts on the Library blog!