The Oliver Prior Society celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1979 during the annual meeting held at Emmanuel College, Cambridge on 30 and 31 March.

Committee Meeting Minutes provide a breakdown of Society Membership for that year in rather entertaining detail:

  • Schoolteacher members – 205
  • Cambridge Faculty members – 33
  • Members at other universities – 13
  • Members of associate institutions – 11
  • Members abroad – 4
  • Lady Members – 28

Of these 266 Members, 132 turned out for the 1979 meeting, including 104 teachers, 19 Faculty members and 9 ‘Lady Members’.

Among them were:

  • Walter Strachan – Founder Member in 1925 (the year of Inauguration)
  • O.J. Pask – Invited as a Founder Member
  • Alfred Foster – Member since 1929
  • Arthur Rider – Member since 1931; Joint Secretary 1946-53
  • John Stirland – Began teaching in 1919; Oliver Prior Society Member since 1936

OPS 1979

Minutes for the Oliver Prior Society Meeting 1979


Friday 30 March

2.30pm           Committee Meeting

4.15pm            Business Meeting

4.30pm           Presidential Address: A Snake and Ladders!, Dr T.G.S. Combe (Pembroke College, Cambridge)

The Society asked its oldest member, Walter Strachan, to chair the address.

7pm                  Gala Dinner

Dr Ronald Gray (Emmanuel College, Cambridge) proposed the toast to ‘The Oliver Prior Society’. Records show that the Society’s second oldest member, a Mr A. Rider, was invited to reply.

9.30pm            Soirée Musicale: a short programme of European Music provided by Miss Penelope Howard and Mr Robin Morrish

Saturday 31 March

9.30am            Professor I.D. Macfarlane, Oxford University’s first Professor of French Literature, addressed the Oliver Prior Society for the second time – his first lecture was given in 1956. Professor Macfarlane retired his role in 1983, and the Professorship was not officially filled again in 2001; Professor A.W. Raitt held the post on an ad hominem basis between 1983 and 1997. 

11.30am         A lecture by Professor Joseph Peter Stern, University College London

A former student and fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, Joseph Stern was a distinguished professor of nineteenth- and twentieth-century German literature and philosophy. He was also editor of the influential Cambridge series Landmarks of World Literature.

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