From the Archives: 1866 Pewter Stein from Trinity College Athletics Day

A fascinating artefact made its way to Trinity College late last fall:  a pewter stein inscribed ‘Trinity College Athletics / Steeplechase / Milburne / S.S. Simon & Jude 1866’.

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In the early years of Trinity College, an athletic day was held on the day of the patron saints of undergraduates, St. Simon and St. Jude (for whom two of our towers are named).  One of the main events of the day was the steeplechase.  According to T.A. Reed, author of A History of Trinity College 1852-1952, ‘by the late sixties, a definite one-mile course was followed, down the Garrison Creek ravine from north of Bloor Street to the finish line east of the College. For three years of his College course, a record (five minutes, fifteen seconds) was made and maintained by Edward  F. Milburn,  ’69…”(p. 31).  A festive dinner followed the days’ events, to an accompaniment of toasts and songs.  No doubt the pewter stein came in handy, as beer was part of College dining until it was banned by Provost Macklem. 

Edward (Ned) Milburn went on to become the principal of the High School in Belleville.  He was also a close friend of William Osler, whose letters were published in 1968 as A Continual Remembrance: letters from Sir William Osler to his friend Ned Milburn 1865-1919, edited by Howard L. Holley.  Both attended Trinity College School; Osler spent one year at Trinity College before switching from Divinity to Medicine at McGill. And the rest is history…

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