|1858. 10th February. Wednesday
The Warden looked queer at breakfast and told us afterwards he wished to say a few words. I feared something was coming, and so it proved. When we went into the Common Room he said “Oh! I only wanted to tell you of a little matter ———” He then told us that he had long been convinced of the advisability of constituting a number of boys under the Prefects, with certain privileges, such as taking boys into Oxford when Prefects were not to be had. He was pretty sure we would not agree with him and therefore had not asked our opinion to spare us the pain of going against it! We were immensely astonished at this coup d’état, but could say nothing except that we should probably have objected if we had been asked.
William Wood’s Diary 1855-1861, ed. by Mark Spurrell, is available from Oxfordshire Record Society. These excerpts are presented to give a flavour of life at Radley in the 1850s
William Wood, DD, Sub-Warden 1855-66 & Warden 1866-70 of Radley College