Our archives have uncovered a record of a debate about vegetarianism that students had…over 100 years ago.

Posted in the then bi-monthly Sedberghian Magazine, was a record of a debate on vegetarianism that was held in April 1st, 1919.

The debate had two students on either side with the motion being; “A non-meat diet is in all respects superior to a meat diet.”

The two students, Mr Willan and Mr Wood, who proposed the motion based their argument on how meat is dangerous for the body and that “out of 58 million pork eating Huns only 78 lived to be 100.”

Opposing the motion was Mr Cruickshank and Mr Lucas who said that “the meat queues through the war show the importance of meat” and that without meat “pigs would be useless: they are not drawing-room pets and don’t lay eggs.”

The debate 100 years ago was unsurprisingly won by the meat eaters who won by 16 votes.

Our school archivist, Katy de la Riviere, explained that The Sedberghian magazine “came out six times a year at that point and it recorded all the clubs and societies in the school and everything that happened.”

“It was routine that they would record the debates and who said what on what side.”

From the archive, Katy managed to find more information about the students who proposed the motion.

Hubert Scott Wood played on the 1st XV rugby team for his final three years at school and went on to work in cotton manufacturing in Yorkshire.

William Hunter Willan won the Greek Verse Prize and Latin Prose Prize and went on to be a Stapledon Scholar at Exeter College, Oxford.

For the 100 year anniversary, Sedbergh’s Head of Sixth is interested in restaging the debate or else have the topic researched and form an open discussion about how the attitudes of meat eating have changed over time.

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