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Tom Quad at Christ Church College

Tom Quad at Christ Church College

Photo: Lawrence OP, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr.

Bullingdon Club in 'Orgy of Destruction' at Christ Church

The Bullingdon Club is an all-male student society that has existed at Oxford University since 1780.

Originally founded as a sports club for those interested in hunting and cricket, it later became a 'dining club' where the sons of the wealthy and powerful could get riotously drunk and cause trouble, safe in the knowledge that their positions of wealth and privilege would shield them from the consequences of their actions.

Former and present Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and David Cameron were both 'Buller men', and journalists have uncovered stories from their student days that both men would prefer to be forgotten.

Come for the dinner, stay for the destruction

More recent indiscretions, however objectionable, can not compare to the events of 12 May 1894, when a dinner party of the Bullingdon Club culminated in what contemporary newspapers described as 'an orgy of destruction.'

Drunken Bullingdon Club members went on a rampage through Christ Church College, smashing all 468 windows in the main quad, as well as many lights, doors, blinds and other items.

The appearance of the quad the next morning was compared to that 'which might be expected to follow the explosion of a bomb.'

As a result, the 17 members of the Bullingdon Club involved in the violence were temporarily expelled and were forced to pay for the damage.

Bullingdon Club banned

Thirty-three years later, members of the Bullingdon Club clearly decided that a repeat was in order, and in 1927 a case of after-dinner window-smashing at Christ Church saw the club being banned from meeting within 15 miles of Oxford.

Find out more

  1. 'A Grim Almanac of Oxforshire' by Nicola Sly (The History Press, 2013, ISBN: 978752465814)
  2. The Bullingdon Club, 1984 (skittishlibrary.co.uk)

Christ Church College, St Aldates, Oxford

Region: Oxford City

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