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College, the home of the Queen’s Scholars and the oldest house at Westminster, was effectively founded in 1560 when the school’s charter stipulated that there should be 40 Queen’s Scholars. Special weight in their selection was to be given to ability, good character and poverty. To become Scholars, boys had to pass an oral examination known as ‘The Challenge’, which shifted to paper in 1856.
Scholars had special privileges not accorded to other boys, such as the right to enter the Palace of Westminster.
The Scholars include John Dryden, the first Poet Laureate (1631-1700); John Locke (1632-1704), the empiricist philosopher; A. A. Milne (1882-1956), creator of Winnie-the-Pooh; and Kim Philby (1912-1988), of the Cambridge spy ring. The first female scholars were admitted to College in 2017.
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Dryden's was established in 1976. It is named after John Dryden (1631-1700), a King's Scholar and the first Poet Laureate. An official magazine, Private Parts: Dryden’s Organ, ran briefly in 1981.
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Thumbnails of some maps and plans are made available online for research purposes. If an image is not available it may be possible to obtain a digital version by contacting the Archivist, or to arrange a visit to view the item in person.
Conditions governing reproduction
A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the item. Copies are supplied in accordance with Westminster School's Policy on Archive and Heritage Collections, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of items in the custody of Westminster School must be sought from its Governing Body.
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