Category Archives: Educational texts

Westminster School===========================================



Westminster School is in the centre of London. This area of London is called ‘Westminster’ because it is beside Westminster Abbey. St Paul’s Cathedral is the main cathedral in London. St Paul’s is 10 km to the east of Westminster. Then a new cathedral (‘minster) was built in the 11th century. It was to the west of St Paul’s. This new cathedral became known as Westminster. Originally London and Westminster were separate cities. In Mediaeval Christendom every city had a cathedral. A city could not have two cathedrals. A very large town was a town and not a city if it did not have a cathedral.

In the 1530s Henry VIII closed down many schools. This was part of his Dissolution of the Monasteries. Religious houses were suppressed. These were places that monks and nuns lived. They provided education. Henry VIII said that the monks and nuns were continuing the old form of Christianity – Roman Catholicism. Henry VIII had set up the Church of England. This form of Christianity was called Anglicanism as in it was founded in England (Anglia).

In 1558 Elizabeth I became queen. She decided to fill the educational gap created by his most illustrious father. She set up many schools. One of these is Westminster School. It is right beside Westminster Abbey. This is the royal church. Coronations take place there. Kings and queens are laid to rest there. Royal weddings have taken place there. The tomb of the Unknown Soldier is there. There is poets’ corner in which poets are memorialized. The throne there is St Edward’s Throne – as in it was sat upon by Edward the Confessor. Some have called it a national Valhalla. It is inspiring indeed for a young historian. Westminster scholar are allowed to take part in the coronation.

Westminster Abbey is one of the most historic places of worship in the realm. Edward the Confessor built it in the 1050s. The coat of Arms of the Saxon kings is etched into its stone. There were Benedictine monks there. The large community of monks was called an abbey. The head monk had the title of abbot. The abbey was closed in the 1530s and the monks were sent away. Despite that the word ‘abbey ‘ still applies to the cathedral there.

Those who win scholarships to Westminster care called Queen’s Scholars. This is because of Elizabeth I. There are also pupils who pay fees. At first the school was for boys only.

The curriculum was originally about Latin and Ancient Greek. There was some history and divinity. These were taught through Latin. Over time other subjects assumed greater importance such as Maths, the sciences, modern languages, art, technology and drama.

Many boys from the school went on to the two great English universities. This was a school for well to do professionals. It was unusual for the sons of the gentry to attend this school but some did.

Old boys of the school are called Old Westminsters. Many most distinguisher personages have attended this estimable school. Among them are Sir Christopher Wren, Kim Philby, St John Philby, Samuel Pepys, Cowper, Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne.

The school is very close to Parliament. Therefore there is a strong political connection.

For the past few decades girls have been able to attend the school in sixth form. There is a prep school called Westminster Under School.


  1. Which city is Westminster School in?
  2.  How did the City of Westminster get its name?
  3. What is an abbey?
  4. Is this school well regarded?
  5.  Do any of the pupils go to university?
  6.  Are there girls at the school?
  7. What is the name of the prep school?
  8.  Is the school near Parliament?
  9.  Name three famous pupils?
  10. Who founded the school?

Winchester College=============================



Winchester College is one of the most renowned schools in the Commonwealth. This school is located in the City of Winchester which is in the United Kingdom. Winchester is in the County of Hampshire. Hampshire is on the southern coast of England. It is a very historic city. In the 9th century it was the capital. The royal treasury was held there for centuries afterwards.

Winchester College is for boys aged 13-18. The word ‘college’ can mean a secondary school in the UK.

William of Wykeham (pronounced WIK um) was a bishop in 14th century England. He was known as ‘of Wykeham’ because he came from the town of Wycombe (pronounced ‘WIK um’). A bishop is a high Christian religious leader. Well-educated people were almost all clergy (religious leaders) in those days.

Richard II was the king at the time. He decided to found a new school. He gave a charter to the school set up by William of Wykeham. The college was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The motto is ‘manners maketh the man.’ This is ‘manners make the man’ in modern English. Richard II founded New College, Oxford. Boys from Winchester would finish the school and go on to New College, Oxford to complete their education. Those who attended Winchester were called Wykehamists because of the founder.

There is a large chapel in Winchester College. This is because the purpose of the school was partly religious. The school mainly taught Latin and Ancient Greek. It was founded for poor scholars. However, soon wealthy boys were allowed to attend but had to pay fees. In time other subjects gained more importance such as Modern Languages, Science and Mathematics.

This school developed its own form of football. It was known as Winchester College Football. People call it Win Co Fu. Cricket and mainstream sports are popular there.

By the 18th century it was a very distinguished school. However, it did not have as much cachet at Eton and Harrow. Aristocratic families tended to have their sons at one of the duopoly or Westminster School. Moreover, Winchester was too far from London.

Only one Prime Minister attended Winchester. He was Joseph Addington. He was the son of a doctor. Physicians were not considered upper class back then. They had to touch patients and do unhygienic things. Addington went on to Brasenose College, Oxford. From there he was called to the bar. Addington was mocked for his father’s profession.  He was eclipsed by Pitt the Younger who was a far more celebrated Prime Minister. There was some doggerel about him ‘Pitt is to Addington / As London is to Paddington.’

In the 19th century the college became known for producing senior civil servants by the dozen. Solicitors, accountants and solid but unimaginative people were said to attend Winchester.  New College, Oxford started taking non-Wykehamists in the 1860s. Now there is not much of a connection between New and Winchester.

In the early 20th century some leading socialist intellectuals emerged from Winchester College. Among these were Tony Crosland and Stafford Cripps. They were Labour Party politicians.

John Betjeman wrote a ditty about Wykehamists ‘Broad of church and broad of mind/ Broad before and broad behind’.

Sir Oswald Moseley attended the college. He served with enormous heroism in the First World War. He was elected to Parliament aged 22.  He then founded the British Union of Fascists. Moseley was imprisoned during the Second World War. Moseley was a hate figure for many. The college would prefer to forget that he ever attended.

In recent years the college has been short on star names. Geoffrey Howe was there. He was Deputy Prime Minister under Thatcher. There is one Hollywood actor who attended and that is your lot.

The school is exceedingly academic. It is not thought to be fabulous at sports or theatre. There are some Chinese pupils. This is a boys only school. Most pupils are boarders.


  1. Which country is Winchester in?
  2. Which county is Winchester in?
  3. When was Winchester the capital?
  4. Why was it important after the capital shifted to London?
  5. What is a bishop?
  6. Which bishop founded Winchester?
  7. Which king granted a charter to the college?
  8. What is Win Co Fu?
  9. In which century was the college founded?
  10.  Are there boys at the school?
  11. What other subjects are studied there?
  12. Which Oxford college was connected to Winchester?
  13. Which prime minister went to Winchester?
  14. Name two Labour MPs who went there?
  15. Which fascist went there?
  16. Which deputy prime minister went there?
  17. How do you pronounced Wykeham?
  18. What is the motto of Winchester?
  19. Are there day pupils?
  20. Are there any Chinese there?’
  21. What is your opinion of this college?

communication lesson 8


Be honest

crime verbs. Crime.

Second conditional

I wish/ If only



Honesty means telling the truth. It also means telling it in a way that is not misleading.

A person asks a man, ”Are you divorced?”

He could say ”no”. That might be literally true. But if he is in the process of getting divorced then it would be misleading to say ”no”. It would be more honest to tell the whole truth and say, ”No, but I am in the process of divorcing.”

There is a saying ‘honesty is the best policy.’ This adage is there because it is unwise to acquire a reputation for dishonesty. If people mistrust you then they will disbelieve you even when you are telling the truth. That is like the story of the boy who cried wolf.

However, some people consider there to be noble lies. The philosopher Immanuel Kant gave this example – if you are in your house and your friend runs in and says ‘help there is a man chasing me trying to kill me!’ and your friend hides behind the sofa. A moment later a man with a knife runs in and says ‘Did someone just come in here?’. Should you lie to save your friend? For most people it is a no brainer. Of course you should lie to save someone’s life! This is called a noble lie.

Imagine a relative gives you a birthday present that you dislike. It would be rude to say that you do not like the present. If your relative asks ‘did you like the present?’ should you say ‘no I hate it’? That would hurt the person’s feelings. So is it acceptable to say ‘thank you so much yes I like it’? Most people say that lying in this situation is acceptable.



  1. What is the saying about honesty?
  2. What does it mean to be misleading?
  3. Who came up with the story whereby a friend asks you to hide him or her?
  4. What is a noble lie?
  5. Why do people claim to like a present even if they dislike it?



Steal, assault, burgle, murder, kidnap, rob, defraud and embezzle are all crime verbs.

Steal is to take someone’s possessions without permission.

Assaulting someone is to hit or kick a person.

Burgling is to break into a building with the intention of stealing.

Murdering is to intentionally kill a person without lawful excuse.

Kidnapping is to take a person against his or her will and to hold that person as a prisoner.

Robbing is stealing by threatening violence or actually using it.

Defrauding is to trick someone into giving you money or something of value.

To embezzle is to steal some money from a fund that you are looking after.


Answer these questions and explain your answer each time.

  1. Is it robbery to take someone’s wallet?
  2. Is it burglary to steal an item lying on the street?
  3. Is it fraud to sell drugs?
  4. Is it stealing to buy water?
  5. Is it assault to hit in self-defence?
  6. Is it murder for a soldier to kill an enemy in a battle?



Crime is illegal activity. Laws are passed to protect people. People can do what they want so long as they do not harm others.

A crime involves a guilty act and a guilty mind. Stabbing someone is a crime. However, if a doctor injects you this is not a crime. The guilty act has been committed since he or she put a sharp object into your skin. However, the mind was not guilty since he or she did this with permission. The doctor is legally authorized to inject patients. She or he is injecting a person to benefit the patient’s health.

The police try to fight crime. They walk around to deter criminals. This means that criminals see the police and are scared off even trying to commit crime. Once a crime has been committed then the police are informed. They follow up the report and try to apprehend the criminal. A  suspected criminal will be arrested and taken to a police station. He or she shall be questioned. The police will gather evidence such as fingerprints and DNA. If there is enough evidence then the police will charge the person with a  crime.

A crime is sometimes called an offence or a criminal offence.

  1. Is it lawful to commit a crime?
  2. What are the two elements of a crime?
  3. Why is it not a crime for a doctor to inject someone?
  4. What is the role of the police?
  5. When someone is arrested where is he or she taken?
  6. If someone is arrested does that prove that he is guilty?

===================Second conditional. 
“Second conditional” or “conditional II” refers to a pattern used to describe hypothetical, typically counterfactual situations with a present or future time frame (for past time frames the third conditional is used). In the normal form of the second conditional, the condition clause is in the past tense (although it does not have past meaning. That is use of the past subjunctive), and the consequence is expressed using the conditional construction with the auxiliary would:
If I liked parties, I would attend more of them.
If it rained tomorrow, people would dance in the street.
The past tense (simple past or past progressive) of the condition clause is historically the past subjunctive. In modern English this is identical to the past indicative, except in the first and third persons singular of the verb be, where the indicative is was and the subjunctive were; was is sometimes used as a colloquialism (were otherwise preferred), although the phrase if I were you is common in colloquial language. For more details see English subjunctive § Use of the past subjunctive.
”If I (he, she, it) were rich, there would be plenty of money available for this project.”
”If I (he, she, it) were speaking, you would not be allowed to interrupt like that.”
When were is the verb of the condition clause, it can be used to make an inverted condition clause without a conjunction. If the condition clause uses the past tense of another verb, it may be replaced by the auxiliary construction were to + infinitive (particularly if it has hypothetical future reference); if this is done, then inversion can be applied here too:
If I were rich, … / If I were to be rich, … / Were I (to be) rich, …
If I flew, … / If I were to fly, … / Were I to fly, …

Write ten sentences in the second conditional.


I wish I were smart. I wish I had a PhD. I wish I had married Judith.

Write three ”I wish” sentences.

If only I had passed the M Stud. If only I had been called to the Bar. If only I had stayed at Oundle.

Write three ”if only” sentences.






communication lesson 4.


communication lesson 4

live forever

time conjunctions; if, unless, when , until, as soon as

verbs as prepositions

future conditionals

first conditionals- if unless



Some people like the idea of living forever. Religious people often believe that after they die they will go to heaven if they have been good.

In Ancient Greece there was a myth about someone who asked the gods for eternal life. This was granted. However, this person became decrepit and lived to the age of hundreds of years. Eventually this person asked to be released from this suffering and his wish was granted. Eternal youth was said to be more desirable than eternal life. The Greeks believed that there was a special potion called elixir which ensured a person would stay young forever.

The Bible has a story of Methusaleh living to the age of 800. In recent times scientists have been able to manipulate the genes of mice and feed them a healthy diet to make them live several times longer than normal. They were called Methusaleh mice.

A Frenchwoman lived to the age of 122. There are tales of people living to fabulous figures of hundreds of years. But this woman had a birth certificate and there is no doubt that she really was 122 when she died.

In highly developed countries women live longer than men. This is because men tend not to take care of their health so well and they do dangerous things. In less developed countries the men usually live longer than women. This is because women there tend to have several children and it is a strain on their health.

Countries with very long life expectancy include Denmark, Norway and Japan. Superb healthcare, a seafood diet and plenty of exercise help increase longevity. The Mediterranean diet is said to be the best in the world for this – fish, olive oil, fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Having a loving family and plenty of friends also extends lifespan.

In the most advanced countries life expectancy is 81. This does not mean that everybody dies in their 81st birthdays! The average is affected by a few infants dying. There are plenty people who live much longer than 81. Some people live to over 100. In Denmark becoming a centenarian is a banality. In the United Kingdom anyone who reaches 100 will receive a telegram from the Queen. The Queen no longer signs them personally because there are so many of them.

  1. What do religious people believe will happen to them once they die if they have been good?
  2. Who was Methusaleh?
  3. What is the Mediterranean diet?
  4. What is elixir?
  5. What was the nationality of a woman who lived to 122?
  6. Name three countries with a very long life span.
  7. What do British people receive on their 100th birthday?
  8. In advanced countries do women live longer than men?
  9. Would you like to live forever if it were possible? (Five sentences)



‘If’ is a conjunction and it relates to conditionals. The word ‘if’ precedes a condition to be fulfilled. Here are some examples:

‘If you eat well you will live long.’

‘I would not go there if I were you.’

‘If she studies hard she will pass.’

‘Have some fruit if you like’

Write four more ‘if’ sentences.

‘Unless’ is also for conditionals but it is about saying that a certain condition needs to be satisfied for else something else shall occur. Here are some examples:

‘Come here unless you want trouble’

‘Do not turn on the alarm unless there is a fire.’

‘Do not buy it unless you need it.’

‘You must be on time unless you have a good excuse.’

Write four more sentences with unless.

‘When’ is about the time that something occurs. Here are examples:

When I was young I was good looking.

When it was his birthday he received a gift.

When the plane took off I was relieved.

When did you last meet him?

Write four more ‘when’ sentences?

‘Until’ means ‘up to that time.’ Here are some examples

You must stay at school until you are 16.

I did not learn Spanish until I went to Spain.

Until you behave you will get no pocket money.

I could talk until the cows come home.

Write four more until sentences.

‘As soon as’ means ‘when a condition is fulfilled another thing will happen immediately.’ Here are examples:

As soon as you hear the alarm evacuate the building.

As soon as my dad comes home I hug him.

I will buy a car as soon as I can.

I will lose weight as soon as I can afford to join the gym.



Prepositions are words about position or place.

Some examples are; under, over, above, through, to, from and beside. These do not have to be physical positions or places but sometimes they are physical. There are well over 100 prepositions.

Here are sentences using verbs with prepositions.

Go over there.

Come up here.

She is reading a book by Mike Hazelhurst.

He is with his aunt.

Write four more preposition sentences including a verb.



Future conditionals are about ‘if’ something happens later then another thing will happen as a result of that first happening. It is about a condition being fulfilled in future.



“First conditional” refers to predictive conditional sentences (see above section); here, normally, the condition is expressed using the present tense and the consequence using the future:
If you make a mistake, someone will let you know.
if + present tense + future tense

If she gets it wrong she will be upset.

If Hector is petulant he will regret it.

If the princess is petulant I shan’t be surprised.

If Mehetabel gets married I shall be elated.

Write four more sentences using this grammatical structure.






“Third conditional” is the pattern where the condition clause is in the past subjunctive form of the present perfect (now identical with the past perfect even for the verb “be”), and the consequence is expressed using the conditional perfect. This is used to refer to hypothetical, counterfactual (or believed likely to be counterfactual) situations in the past
if + had + would have + 3rd form of verb
If you had called me, I would have come.

Here are examples

If she had been wiser she would not have gotten into trouble.

If he had been cautious he would not have been caught.

If they had been another race the police would not have shot them.

If he had not gone to the hospital he would have been fatally ill.


Write four more sentences like these ones.





Harrow School===================================



Harrow School is one of the most celebrated schools in the British Isles. The schools is located in the London suburb of Harrow.

In the 1570s a businessman named Sir John Lyons approached Queen Elizabeth I. He requested her permission to found a school. Her Majesty was graciously pleased to accede to his humble petition. The country needed schools to be founded. 40 years earlier King Henry VIII had closed many schools as part of his Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Sir John founded the school. Harrow was then a village in the County of Middlesex. It was a dozen miles from London. The school was built on a hill. The school was for boys only. Back then perhaps a third of boys went to school. Most boys never learnt to read. Very few girls went to school.

The school was connected to the Church of England. The Church of England was the official form of Christianity. Other types of Christianity were not permitted. Almost every boy at the school was an Anglican – a member of the Church of England. A chapel was built at the school. The boys were required to attend divine worship daily.

The school was primarily for boys from the parish of Harrow. A parish is an area of land which belongs to a particular church. All the people living within a few miles of that church were supposed to worship in that church on Sunday. The parish was also the smallest unit of land for the purposes of governance. Those who were not from the parish were permitted to attend the school but were called ‘foreigners’. Boys from the parish went for free. Foreigners had to pay.

The curriculum chiefly consisted of Latin and Greek. People read the Bible a great deal. The brightest boys learnt Hebrew so they could read the Old Testament in the original. English was not considered a respectable language. Higher education was in Latin. Law courts operated in Latin. Governmental documents were composed in Latin. Diplomacy was conducted in the Latin language.

The school soon acquired a reputation for excellence. Within 200 years it was considered one of the most distinguished schools in the realm. It had a healthy rivalry with Eton which lay 20 miles to the south-west. Aristocrats sent their sons to Harrow.

Boys came to Harrow aged about 10 and stayed on till perhaps 15. Some went on to the two great English universities.

Sir William Jones was a celebrated philologist and jurist who studied here. The first Prime Minister who have been a schoolboy at Harrow was Spencer Perceval. He was assassinated in 1812. He is the only Prime Minister to have been assassinated. The man who killed Perceval was John Bellingham. John Bellingham’s descendants went to Eton.

In the 19th century Harrow expanded considerably. It came to have several boarding houses. The oldest one is called the School House. The headmaster was housemaster of the School House. He no longer is since the school is so huge that he cannot perform that duty now.

There was a French invasion scare in the 1860s. The school therefore founded a cadet corps. The boys did military training.

The boys often went hunting. They had horses at the school.

The school developed its own form of football called Harrow Football. However, in the late 19th century boys began to play Association Football – as in the sport that is known as ‘football’ in almost every country. Rugby also became popular. There was an outdoor pool. Boxing was also allowed. Cricket was played in the summer. There is no rowing here. That is because the school is far from the River Thames.

Harrow began to play cricket in a three sided competition against Eton College and Winchester College. This was played at Lord’s – the main cricket stadium. This was a three day event and a date on the London social season. In the late 19th century the Wykehamists (boys from Winchester) disgraced themselves so badly that Winchester was kicked out of the tournament. Eton and Harrow still play each other at Lord’s in June.

In the 19th century some boys from Scotland came to the school. They were Protestants but usually not Anglicans. They were mostly members of the Church of Scotland. They were welcomed by the school.

At the end of the 19th century Roman Catholics and Jewish boys were permitted to enter the school. Hindus and Muslims later entered the school. At first the non-Christians were a tiny, tiny proportion of the school.

Prime Ministers who attended this school included Sir Robert Peel, the Earl of Aberdeen and Viscount Palmerston. Later Sir Stanley Baldwin became Prime Minister too.

In 1905 an Indian boy named Jawahar Lal Nehru enrolled at Harrow. He was diffident and very well behaved.  He became Prime Minister of his nation.

Sir Winston Churchill was also at this school. He was considered an academic laggard. Like dull witted boys he went to join the army. He enlisted in the cavalry which was for the dimmest of the dim.

The school has a farm. Many boys go and run their family’s estates.

In the late 20th century Harrow lost its political edge. It has expanded though. It has boys from China, Nigeria and Malaysia.

Harrow has schools in Beijing and Bangkok. It remains all boys.

The colours of the school are black and white. Boys who have been here are called Old Harrovians. The school song is Forty Years on.  Famous old boys include Alan de Boton, Lord Butler of Brockwell, Lord Guthrie, Richard Curtis, James Blunt and Benedict Cumberbatch.


  1. When was Harrow School founded?
  2. Which man founded it?
  3. Which queen gave him permission?
  4. What did a ‘foreigner’ mean at Harrow in the beginning?
  5. Which philologist attended the school?
  6. The headmaster was housemaster of which house?
  7.  Which two languages were the basis of the curriculum?
  8. Which Christian denomination is this school attached to?
  9. What geographical feature is the school on?
  10.  What are the colours of the school?
  11. Harrow played a three sided cricket competition against which two other schools?
  12. Where does Harrow play against Eton?
  13.  Does Harrow row?
  14.  Name two other sports played here?
  15.  Name five British PMs who have been there?
  16. Which Indian PM was an Old Harrovian?
  17. Harrow has schools in which other lands?
  18. Which non-British nationalities attend Harrow?
  19.  Are there girls at Harrow?
  20.  What is your opinion of Harrow? Five marks.




Cambridge University



Cambridge University is one of the most distinguished universities on the planet. Sometimes it has been ranked top. Cambridge is located in the United Kingdom.

In the 14th century some academics and students fled from riots in Oxford. They went to the fens in Cambridge and founded a university there.

There are about 30 colleges in Cambridge. The oldest of these is called Peterhouse. Notice that it is always ‘Peterhouse’ and never ‘Peterhouse College’. The colleges vary in size. All of them are mixed now. Cambridge has a federal system. The colleges are like states in a federation. Colleges have slightly different characters.

At Cambridge undergraduates usually do just one subject. If they do two or even three these tend to be closely related. At this university people can read all the mainstream subjects such as English, Maths, Biology, History, Geography and Information Technology, Religious Studies, Drama etc… One can study almost any language that you care to name. Some people do Classics – Latin and Greek. People can study subjects that lead directly to a profession – Medicine, Law and Architecture. Veterinary Medicine is not available at Cambridge. There are subjects that are combination such as Social and Political Sciences (SPS). SPS include Politics, Economics and another subject from this area which can be Philosophy, Sociology, History or Geography.

Most colleges do most subjects. It is not the case that one college is for Spanish, another is for Music and another is for Physics.

Trinity is the most magnificent of Cambridge colleges. It is also very large. King’s College is another very noble college. King’s was founded by Henry VI. He set up King’s the year after he founded Eton College. King’s scholars would go to Eton and after a few years go on to King’s College, Cambridge. After some time King’s took boys who had not been to Eton. The coat of arms of Eton and King’s are almost identical. However, the connection has long since been severed. Almost nobody from Eton goes to King’s these days. King’s gives its name to the nearby street – King’s Parade.

Women were admitted to Cambridge in the 1870s. They could attend lectures like male undergraduates. The female undergraduates did all the work that boys did and sat all the exams. However, they could not be awarded a degree. They were given a letter saying that they had satisfied all the conditions of graduating but had not been awarded a degree. This was an absurd situation. Only in 1949 did Cambridge University award degrees to women.

There were boys colleges and girls colleges. In the 1960s they started to go mixed. The majority of students at Cambridge are women.

There is a Chancellor of Cambridge University. He is elected for life by the graduates of the university. The incumbent is Prince Philip – the Queen’s husband. A woman could hold this office but thus far no woman has ever been elected to it.

King’s College Cambridge holds the most famous carol service in the world. It began in 1919. The chaplain of the college started a new style of worship. He had been an army chaplain in the First World War. He found a more innovative and entertaining style or worship engaged his congregation. The carol service at King’s commence at eleven o’clock. It consists of nine lessons and nine carols. The ‘lessons’ are Biblical readings. The readings and carols are always the same. It is broadcast live across the Commonwealth. The choir includes boys from King’s College School – as in they have unbroken voices. The opening hymn is ‘Once in Royal David’s City’. Three boys are trained for this. The one who has been picked to sing is told only seconds beforehand.

There is a friendly rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge. They are collectively known as Oxbridge. Take the ‘Ox’ from Oxford and add it to the ‘bridge’ of Cambridge and you have Oxbridge. Sometimes they are called Varsity. This is an abbreviation of ‘university’. Then change the ‘e’ to an ‘a’.

There are Blues matches. These are sports matches between Oxford and Cambridge. They are called Blues matches because both sides wear blue. Oxford wears navy blue and Cambridge wears light blue.

The Varsity match is the first Saturday in December. It is a rugby match played at Twickenham which is the English national rugby stadium.

The University Boat Race is rowed on the Thames in London. It is held on the Sunday before Easter. This is the oldest rowing race in the world. It started in 1829 and has been held every year except during the world wars. It was sometimes held at Henley-on-Thames and sometimes at Westminster. For over a century is has been rowed starting at Putney.

The city is bisected by the River Cam. The name is pronounced ‘kam’ to rhyme with ‘ham’. However, the city’s name is pronounced ”CAME  bridge” with the first syllable rhyming with ‘tame’.

There are gorgeous meadows called the Backs. People punt up and down there. The land is very flat. Cambridge is a town and not a city. It has a science park.

Someone who studies at Cambridge is a Cantabrigian. This is derived from the word ‘Cantabrigensis’ – the Latin for ‘of Cambridge’. Oxonians sometimes called Cantabrigians ‘tabs’ which is a contraction of ‘Cantabrigensis’. Tab is mildly cheeky.


  1. Which country is Cambridge in?
  2. Where did the first students at Cambridge study before they arrived in Cambridge?
  3. What river bisects Cambridge?
  4. What are the Backs?
  5.  Which is the oldest college in Cambridge?
  6. Who founded King’s College?
  7. Boys from which school used to go to King’s College?
  8. What is a Blues match?
  9. Which blue do Cambridge wear?
  10.  What is the Varsity match?
  11. What is the University Boat Race?
  12. Where does this race start?
  13. When was the race not held?
  14. Which was the first year for the university boat Race?
  15. Name five subjects that can be studied at Cambridge?
  16.  Are men allowed to go to Cambridge?
  17.  Which Latin word means ‘of Cambridge’?
  18. What is the slightly mocking word that Oxonians use in relation to Cambridge students or graduates?
  19. Who is the chancellor of this university?
  20.  How many women have served as chancellor?
  21. What is your opinion of Cambridge University? Five marks.
  22.  What does Oxbridge mean?
  23.  What other word means the same as Oxbridge?

Bruce Reynold comprehension========================================



Bruce Reynolds was born in 1931. Reynolds was a Londoner. He came from a working class family. He lived by the River Thames in an area called Putney. His mother died young. His father then remarried.

In the Second World War Bruce was evacuated to the countryside. Children were sent out of big cities to prevent them being killed by bombs. It is there that he began petty crimes. He returned to London. He stole from his mother-in-law’s purse.

As a teenager he left school. He worked as an office boy for a newspaper. One of his friends drew him into stealing from shops. They broke in at night and stole cigarettes. These could be easily sold. Eventually he was caught. Bruce was sent to Borstal. This was a special prison for those under 18. He escaped but was soon recaptured. He was released at the end of his sentence.

The army called him up for service. Bruce soon absconded. He walked along the railway lines at night to London. Bruce went to Lyons Corner House. It was a foolish place to go. It was open 24 hours and the police often went there to see if there were any wanted criminals. Bruce was apprehended. He deserted from the army a second time.

Bruce became involved in organized crime. He liked to use ladders to climb into the houses of the rich. He stole jewelry and suchlike. Bruce was motivated by status as well as greed.

Sometimes Bruce was caught and spent terms in gaol. He was above average intelligence. He felt no sympathy for his victims.

In 1963 he planned the Great Train Robbery. He and 15 accomplices hid out in the county of Buckinghamshire at Leatherslade Farm. In the middle of the night they donned army uniforms. They drove in lorries painted like army lorries. The gang went to near Bridego Bridge. They changed the signal light to red. This made the train stop. Bruce and his gang had inside information. The train was carrying millions of pounds.

Bruce#s gang climbed into the train cab. They assaulted the train driver. The gang brought their own train driver. The gang managed to get the locomotive and the High Value Packages car to separate from the rest of the train. They moved the locomotive and the HVP 2 km down the track.

The gang then assaulted the HPV. It had no locks on it. The gangsters wore army uniforms and balaclavas. They waved iron bars. The postal workers lay on the floor to surrender. The gang formed a human chain. They lifted the mail sacks full of cash out. They passed them down their line to their two trucks. The gang then drove off.

The trucks drove slowly. They did not want to attract too much attention. Within an hour the police received a report. The gangsters used their police scanners to listen in. A police officer said, ##You are not going to believe this. Somebody just stole a — train!##

The gang had stolen a train but only for a few minutes. The gang were delighted with their haul of 2.5 million pounds. They planned to sit tight until the police passed by. However, the train robbers listened to the radio and realized that the police were closing in. The criminals abandoned their hideaway. They drove to Thame and stayed at Brian Field’s house. Thereafter Bruce went to London. He stowed much of the ill-gotten gains in a garage.

After a few days Bruce discovered that the police had found their hideout. The train robbers became demoralized and jittery. Bruce went to ground. He and his wife farmed their child out to relatives. Bruce and his wife Angela moved address and adopted assumed names. Later they went to live in a flat in an alleyway in London. This alleyway did not appear on maps of London. They stayed in all day and only ventured out at night even then in disguise. How much fun was that? Despite all their lucre they were virtual prisoners and had to cut off contact with people who knew them.

After some months most of the train robbers were in custody. They were indicted. They were brought to trial before a jury at the Buckingham Assizes. The court found almost all of them guilty. They were sent down for sentences of up to 35 years. These were extraordinarily lengthy sentences that were awarded as a reflection of the enormity of the crime.

Bruce obtained a passport in a false name. He then flew to Belgium. From there he flew to Canada and thence Mexico. There he obtained residency. He spoke no Spanish but acquired a smattering. His money went far there. He lived like a king. Later he sent word for his wife to join him. A year after the robbery Angela and their son Nick came to Mexico.

The Reynolds family lived high on the hog. They also invited another train robber and his wife to come too. However, Bruce grew bored. He considered venturing into business but did not. He also visited Canada and the United States.

In 1968 funds were running low. Bruce flew to France to case joints for robbery. However, he did not effect any heists. He made the fateful decision to return to the United Kingdom. He had not set foot there for four years. He contacted old criminal acquaintances.

There were places in Wales that Bruce tried to steal from but without success. The underworld started to tell the police that Bruce was back. Some criminals had an understanding with the police. These malfeasants kept the police abreast of events among the criminal fraternity. In return the cops would sometimes let a malfeasant off a crime. The coppers got rumbles that Bruce was back in town.

In November 1968 Bruce was residing in the town of Torquay. The police burst into his flat. He was arrested. Tommy Butler was the arresting officer. Bruce was then charged with the Great Train Robbery. Bruce knew that the case against him was unarguable. He pleaded guilty. He was sent down for 25 years. However, his wife was not charged with receiving stolen goods. Nor was his child sent to an orphanage.

In 1977 Bruce was set at liberty. He had served only 9 years. He did some odd jobs. Bruce later published a self-aggrandizing autobiography. He died in 2013.


  1. When was Bruce Reynolds born?
  2. In which city was he born?
  3. What happened to his mother?
  4. Which London suburb did he grow up in?
  5. Why was he evacuated as a child?
  6. Which member of his family did he steal from?
  7. What stolen item did he sell on the street?
  8. Which year did he die?
  9. In which year was he finally released from prison?
  10. What was his wife#s name?
  11. How many children did he have?
  12. Which farm did he hide at before and after the Great Train Robbery?
  13. How much stolen?
  14. Which country did the robbery take place in?
  15. How did he avoid police detection in the months after the robbery?
  16. Which country did he spend four years in?
  17. Which police officer arrested him?
  18. Did Bruce plead guilty?
  19.  Did he write his life story?
  20. What is your opinion of him?