Odds and quads - 14 March 2013

March 14, 2013

This slice of college pudding, dating back to 1897, is now in the archives of Oxford Brookes University. It was originally served at the notoriously frugal Westminster College in London, a Methodist teacher- training institution that took perverse pride in its awful food, and seems to have been kept as a joke.

Its consistency meant that it soon dried out and became almost as hard as wood, so it was attached to a board with a velvet mount, and an enamel college badge was nailed into place.

Since “dick” (as in “spotted dick”) used to be slang for “pudding”, the lewd nickname proved impossible to resist.

Despite wartime bombing raids, the pudding survived in the Westminster archives and moved to Oxford with the college in 1959. The institution became the Westminster College of Education, and a school at Oxford Brookes, in 2000, with its holdings transferred to the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History.

“Stiff Dick” often proves a popular item when it is brought out and shown to Old Westminsterians.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com

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