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[Image description: Tom Hiddleston’s Eton yearbook photo, captioned “Tom Hiddleston, House Captain.”]
I did a little research into what exactly a House Captain is, for anyone interested! The etoncollege.com glossary defines it as “the senior prefect in an Oppidan House.” Here is how Wikipedia explains “Oppidan House”:
One boarding house, College, is reserved for seventy King’s Scholars, who attend Eton on scholarships provided by the original foundation and awarded by examination each year; King’s Scholars pay up to 90% of full fees, depending on their means[….]The original school consisted of only seventy scholars, half of whom had previously been educated at Winchester College, and all of these boys were educated at the king’s expense[…]
As the school grew, more students were allowed to attend provided that they paid their own fees and lived in the town, outside the college’s original buildings. These students became known as Oppidans, from the Latin word oppidum, meaning town. The Houses developed over time as a means of providing residence for the Oppidans in a more congenial manner, and during the 18th and 19th centuries were mostly run by women known as “dames.” They typically contain about fifty boys. Although classes are organised on a school basis, most boys spend a large proportion of their time in their House.
Wikipedia also explains that “In addition to the housemaster, each house has a House Captain and a House Captain of Games.” It was implied, although I couldn’t confirm this 100%, that captains are elected.
Being a prefect means you are “entitled to exercise school discipline,” and also “entitled to wear winged collars with bow ties.” (As, I assume, seen in this photo. The ordinary uniform uses “a white tie that is effectively a strip of cloth folded over into a starched, detachable collar.”) House Captains in particular are also “entitled to wear a mottled-grey waistcoat.” (!!!)
The Eton website says:
There are a number of important senior boys with responsibilities in the house, the first of whom is the house captain. He will do his best to make sure a boy enjoys his time in the house and participates fully in the various activities on offer in the wider school. Another important senior boy is the captain of games. He will encourage everyone to play a range of games, and will expect every boy to participate in house teams regularly. The senior boys will have the answers to lots of day-to-day questions about Eton life. Every boy will also be encouraged to take part in plenty of other house activities: concerts, plays, musical and debating competitions, and so on.
Imagine Tom Hiddleston encouraging you to participate in extracurricular activities. The mind boggles.
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