Date Posted... Oct 26th 2021


School Archive

Archive Attic: The School Houses

100th anniversary of the present House system

Smith, Vinter, School, Wickett

Governors, Staff, School, Parents, Pupils


The names used today for the school houses – Vinter, Wickett, Smith and School – were introduced in the autumn term of 1921.


Houses were first introduced at the School in 1904, with East, Hall, Tower for boarders and Town for day boys.

‘It will be noticed in the result of the Competition for the Perry Shield that the school is now divided into four ‘Houses’. From the enthusiasm with which the new system has been welcomed it seems likely to prove an important feature in future competitions.’

Before this there were form competitions, the Perry Shield for football for example, which were won continuously by Form V or Form VI; it was hoped that the new system would be fairer in sporting competitions.


By the summer of 1906 the four houses had become three.

‘Another attempt has been made, by the amalgamation of Hall and East to put the House system on as satisfactory footing. This does not appear by any means to have solved the problem. The difficulties are very great, but it is to be hoped that some brilliant suggestion will soon be forthcoming to prevent the preponderance of any particular House making the results of the various competitions a foregone conclusion.’

Truro College Magazine, July 1906

A few years later in 1910 the houses were reshuffled again, to be Tower and Hall for boarders, and North and South for day boys.


House Competitions

Perry Shield

This was donated by J.A. Perry (TS 1891-94) a keen footballer at school, as an inter-form football prize, to Form VI. After the introduction of houses in 1904, Tower House dominated the competition, winning 13 times in 18 years.

‘We are sorry to say good-bye to Perry at half-term. He had developed into a very fine back, and was certainly the hardest and solidest man to charge into that one could expect to meet. tradition says that some time ago, an entire team of our opponents rebounded from him mangled, bruised, and bleeding, but it is not perfectly certain that this is quite correct. Mr Hunter on behalf of the Games’ committee presented him with a cap, making reference to the arrival of a very delicate boy some years ag. Very few recognised this description until the speaker explained that Perry was that boy. Mr Vinter and E Rowe also spoke at some length. Perry, in the course of a reply, expressed a hope that he might soon realise a wish that he had long cherished, of presenting a shield to be competed for in house matches in forthcoming seasons.’

Truro College Magazine, April 1894

Vinter Cricket Shield

This trophy was given to the Headmaster, H.W. Vinter (TS staff 1883-1921), by the school, to celebrate his birthday in 1910.

‘To mark the Head’s birthday a handsome shield to be called the ‘Vinter Challenge Shield’ was presented by the School for the House Cricket competitions. This will help to perpetuate the memory of one who has done so much for the College. At the same time we hope that Mr Vinter will be spared for at least another 25 years to complete his half century.

The South Day boys handsomely won the Football Shield, and we have congratulated Whitworth and his team.’

Truro College Magazine, April 1910

Thrall Rugby Shield

This was given by Truro solicitor Edward A. Thrall in 1932, whose son John (TS 1924-34) attended the school. Rugby had recently been re-introduced to the school in 1930.

‘During the Winter Term Rugby Football has been played. The matches against local teams have been very successful and the Rugger House Competition for which a Challenge Shield has been kindly presented by E.A. Thrall, Esq., aroused keen competition and was won by School House.’

Truro School Speech Day Report 1931-1932

The house competition was reformed in 1921 to incorporate all aspects of school life, not just sport. The new names of the school houses reflected the early life and origins of the school as well as honouring prominent figures in the school’s history – the long-serving Chairman of the Governors Sir George Smith (1845-1921), Herbert Vinter who retired as headmaster in 1921, and James Wickett (1841-1921), a long-time governor, who sent his five sons, and two of his grandsons to the school.


Bert Willday (TS staff 1921-60) in the Truro College Magazine, December 1921 reported that

‘It is with very great regret, and after much hesitation, that it was decided to change the House system of Truro College, and substitute for it an entirely new arrangement. No one cares to sweep away old established customs and usages, but in this case the attitude of the boys towards their Houses had become one of indifference. The football and cricket matches were looked upon as duties rather than as pleasures, because it followed as a matter of course that Tower House won. Again, it was thought advisable to try and devise a scheme by which every boy, however small, could do something for his House.

We therefore, as equally as possible, divided the boys into four Houses, each House to be in charge of a house master and governed by a house committee of its leading members. To commemorate the names of three old friends of the College it was decided that the House should be known as Smith House, Wickett House, Vinter House and the fourth one School House. Each House has also its separate colour, and House ties will be worn by the boys next term.

To decide the form and nature of the competition for the House shield was the last problem, and here as many activities as possible were introduced so that all boys should be able to win points for their Houses. After much discussion it was determined to allot the points in the following proportions:-

Football           20                                Cross Country              6

Cricket             16                                Cadet Corps                 20

Tennis              6                                  Chess                           6

Swimming       6                                  Athletic Sport              8

The Shield will be awarded to the ‘cock’ House every twelve months.

Practically every boy in the School will take part in the football and cricket matches, as each House is expected to field three teams – twelve teams in all. Again in the Cadet Corps the youngest members of the House platoon can earn just as many valuable points as the older ones. Swimming points will be awarded, not for speed in the water, but for the ability to swim varying distances.

The School received the announcement of the change with very great excitement, and the first House meetings held immediately afterwards, made one thing that each individual House had already won the shield. Such enthusiasm is fine. Let us see that it is also boundless.



The Opie Shield was first awarded for the house competition in 1922, in memory of the school matron, Mrs Emma Opie (TS staff 1894-1921) who died in 1921, shortly after retiring.

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