Old Trinity: Taking your college time

THE CLOCK above the entrance to the Dining Hall was once the only public clock in college. It’s not particularly remarkable to look at, but it once eschewed standard timekeeping for the nobler, and slightly tardier, college time. College time was 15 minutes later than regular time. After hearing the bells of the city ring the hour, the unhurried undergraduate had a quarter of an hour to attend to his varsity duties before college time caught up with him. The first record of Trinity’s rugger club, in the Daily Express in December of 1855, mentions the university’s way of keeping time: “A match will be played in the College Park today between original and new members of the club. Play to commence at two o’clock college time.” College time was kept until October 15, 1870, when the Dining Hall’s clock reverted to regular hours. But does a submerged memory survive among those students who are always late for everything? The unpunctual undergraduate, ten minutes late for his tutorial, can mischievously insist that he’s five minutes early – college time.

I MENTIONED in February that two DU Football Club men are to be found on cigarette cards of the 1920s. Here they are – Mark Sugden and Denis John Cussen. The former was famous enough to feature three times. Trinity supplied men to the Irish rugby team for much of that decade, with both of these players receiving many caps. Sugden was Ireland captain for a number of years, and became famous as an expert of the “dummy”. Cussen was a formidable sprinter who, as well as playing rugby, won many prizes with the Harriers, and represented Ireland in the Olympics in 1928.

THE HERALDIC theme of the last Old Trinity column reminded me of the badges used by some of the sports clubs. It is sometimes forgotten, even by their members, that some clubs do not use the college arms on the traditional St Patrick’s blue field, but on different colours. Four clubs, to my knowledge, use these badges. The Boat Club uses the college arms on a royal blue shield; its colours are black and white. The Football Club uses a red shield, its colours being red and black. The Hockey Club’s badge is green, the club’s colours being green and black, inherited from its predecessor, the DU Hurley Club. The Ladies’ Boat Club’s constitution specifies a black shield, and its colours are black, white and pink. The DU Cricket Club uses a black shield on its blazer and flag – but, having not read the club’s rules, I cannot say for certain that the cricketers’ badge must always be black. The teams play in black and gold. Lamentably, some other institutions have attempted to poach these clubs’ emblems. The swimmers, for example, brazenly display the Hockey Club’s badge on their website. The Swimming Club’s colours are bottle green, emerald green, and silver, but the badge ought to be St Patrick’s blue.