Date Posted... Sep 16th 2021


School Archive

September 1921: A new era dawns



The new school year started on 22 September in 1921. Among the new boys that term was the headmaster Egbert Hockey Magson (TS 1921-46) and several new teachers.

E.H. Magson with the 1st XI football team, Autumn 1921

Magson was introduced to the wider school community through the school magazine:

…The Editor has now the pleasing opportunity of introducing to our readers the new Headmaster. Present scholars have learned to admire, respect and love him, some old boys have had the opportunity of doing likewise: to others, let us present him.

Mr Egbert Hockey Magson, M.A. (Lond.), B.Sc., came to us as Headmaster after a successful career first as Science Master, then as Master of Method and Lecturer in Education, and finally as Vice-Principal of the Westminster Training College. His record is one of strenuous endeavour in the cause of education. He may be said to have inherited pedagogic principles, for he is the son of Mr Thomas Magson, Headmaster of the boys’ school of West Bromwich. As a scholar of King Edward’s School, Birmingham, he gained the Heslop Memorial Scholarship at Birmingham University, where he obtained  the degree of Bachelor of Science in 1901. Entering Westminster Training College as a graduate student he took the Teachers’ Diploma of the London University, and remained at Westminster as Lecturer in Chemistry and Physics. In sport Mr Magson distinguished himself at soccer, and was also a keen hockey player, and yet he found time for interesting research work in collaboration with Dr T.M. Lowry, their various papers on ‘Dynamic Isomerism’ being eventually published by the Chemical Society.

In 1915 we find in the First Class Honours List of the London University B.A. examination the name of Egbert Hockey Magson, while in 1916 the coveted degree of M.A. (London) was awarded him.

Our one anxiety respecting the Headmaster is his health, yet we note that in spite of his rejection from any form of military service by the War Office his war-time activities were many and varied, for in addition to the duties of Vice-Principal of a training college for teachers, he ran the Petersham Russell School, taught science at Tiffins School, was Secretary to the Richmond Education Committee, and yet found time to cultivate an allotment. We may here add that the Cornish air has already had a beneficial effect upon him, and we trust that the cure will be complete.

It is interesting to note that Mrs E.H Magson is really Cornish by birth, for her father was Mr Charles Symmons, of Tregoney. The boys of the College have readily responded to her very kindly sympathy, and her willingness at all times to help has gained for her the unstinted respect and affection of all.

Locally both Mr and Mrs Magson are much in demand in charitable and religious work, and we who were privileged to hear the Headmaster’s sermon at the first school service know that the College is in the guiding hands of a truly courteous and Christian gentleman, that its educational ideals will be upheld and that success in all directions is assured.

C.H. Bray, The Truro College Magazine, December 1921

‘When he came to Truro, in September 1921, he [Magson] found an institution staggering from the effects of the First World War. Boarders numbered 77 and Day Boys about 85 and the Dining Hall, almost its present size, looked lamentably empty. There was no staff to meet him, and he had to bring an entirely new and largely inexperienced staff with him. There was only one boy in the School who to-day would be put in the VIth Form, and he stayed only one term…’

The Truronian, December 1961

Messrs Elliot, Ellis and Groves with Miss Warford in the staff room, 1923.

Other new teachers that term included:

G.S. Elliott (TS 1921-24) joined as Chemistry Master. He gave up his university course in order to join the scientific side of the Army in 1915 and was with the BEF in France from 1918 up to demobilisation. He returned to Westminster College to resume course. He became housemaster of the newly formed Wickett House, played football and hockey, and taught chemistry and elementary science.

C.L. Ellis (TS 1921-27) taught geography and Latin. He studied at Reading University College, before teaching at Redruth County School. He was also responsible for organising the chess and draughts club.

A.C. Groves (TS 1921-23) was appointed the new history teacher. He was formerly a scholar of Kilkenny College and Mountjoy School, Dublin, and studied history at Trinity College, Dublin, gaining his BA degree in 1919 and he became Prizeman in Religious Knowledge. He had a successful career as a rugby player and was a member of the Wanderers Club, representing the ‘colour’ team in 1919 and 1920. He also played for County Dublin in 1921, and represented Cornwall against Devon and Gloucester. Among his school duties he was Form IIIa Master,  and taught history and maths to the  middle years.

George Jervis (TS 1921-29) studied at Westminster College, and joined the Royal Marine Artillery. He served in France as a gunner, then accepted a commission and volunteered for service in North Russia. On demobilisation he returned to France and spent two years at University of Caen, studying the French language and institutions. He was a keen footballer and in charge of the newly formed Smith house, as well as teaching French and Form IIIb Master.

E.B. Willday (TS 1921-60) was an old boy of same school as Magson, though not at school together. After three years at Westminster College and Kings College London, he joined the staff of the Royal Orphanage, Wolverhampton. He was rejected for military service several times, but was finally accepted in 1917 and sent to France with the Royal Garrison Artillery. In March 1918 the Germans broke through the line some miles to the left, and the heavy artillery were captured. ‘It is difficult to get Mr Willday to speak of his experiences in Germany, but those who saw him on his return after the Armistice will never forget it’. After his return home he continued his studies and was awarded a BA in 1919 from the University of London. He came to Truro from Penistone Grammar School, and was given special charge of English, as well as instructing football, and leading the new School house. He was also Form IV Master and took on the role of Second Master or Deputy Head.

Miss Waterhouse, the new matron, came to Truro from Dunheved College, Launceston. She had previously been an ‘energetic worker in a VAD hospital’. It was quickly concluded that ‘her pleasing personality … rendered her a popular member of staff and a worthy successor to Mrs Opie’.

Miss Swanwick who was appointed the new music mistress, came from the High School in Northampton, and was educated in Germany.

W.R. Lobb (OT 1892-93 and TS staff 1921-40) began as the woodwork teacher, primarily form Form IV.

They joined Second Master (Deputy Head) and middle-school Form Master C.H. Bray (TS 1920-22), Form I and II Mistress Mrs F.I. Bray (TS 1921-21), art teachers A.J. Jackson (TS 1920-35) and Mrs M.L. Christien (TS 1921-23), student-teacher, who helped with Form I, C.L. Brewer (OT 1918-21, TS 1920-22), woodwork teacher R.C.O. Cooper (TS 1919-23) and cadet corps instructor J.H. Thompson (TS 1915-22).

Additional staff who joined slightly later, after Christmas, included H.K. Ault (TS 1922-30), mathematician H.F. Marks (TS 1922-24 ) and music teacher S.H. Way (TS 1922-63).

Teaching staff c.1927, with Magson seated in the centre, with E.B. Willday on his right.

The school in the early 1920s

Click here to find out more about

The Truro School Identity

Our school motto, Esse Quam Videri (to be, rather than to seem to be), captures the essence of our identity and is defined by the 5 C's below. Underpinned by strong Christian principles, we are a caring and inclusive community which values, nurtures and develops each individual.

Click on the links below to find out more.