Reinstating the Jackson Challenge Cup

The cup is named after Sir Henry Bradwardine Jackson, the Naval Officer who was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet in 1919. An article in the Choristers’ Magazine of 1911 cites Jackson generously giving the cup to the School (while then only Vice Admiral Sir Henry), for inter-events between what was then St Paul’s Cathedral Choir School and Westminster Abbey  Choir School. The first record of the cup is 1910, when it was won by the Cathedral. The March 1926 issue of the magazine again makes reference to the cup, pointing to “letters on the pilasters of the fire place represent victories in football cricket and sports”. Many thanks to Robert Palmer for his research.

And so it remained until the late-1980s, when both schools would come together through the year to pit themselves one against the other, the winner of the cup being the best of three.

In this modern age of ‘too many things to cram in’, the boys still manage to settle their scores in football and cricket. This year, it is a draw – we won the cricket, and the football match is best left unsung.

This is a fine result, and as the cup was so often shared, it seemed to me and Jonathan Milton, Headmaster at the Abbey, to be a fitting moment to reinstate the cup.

While taking the photograph, we did think that we might introduce hockey as the third leg for next year. Meanwhile, the Cathedral has safe-keeping of the cup and as we returned home the Abbey continued to hone its footballing skills on the green of Dean Close.