I am grateful to my blogging friend Brenda for pointing me in the direction of the X Society for the twenty fourth post in my Virginia Vignettes A to Z. The letter X is always difficult in any alphabetical list. Apart from X-ray, xylophone and Xmas what else is there? X doesn’t even take up half a page in the dictionary.
So, I was so relieved when Brenda told me about this society. I thought I was going to have to find out whether Virginia ever had Xmas dinner, or indeed whether she ever played the xylophone. Seriously though, there are currently over 700 societies at Cambridge University. These societies add to the enrichment of students’ university lives and there is probably a society for any subject you may be interested in. Societies range from the Amateur Boxing Club, the Ancient Literature Society, Badminton, and Bridge, right through to the Vegan Society, Volleyball and the Yacht Club.
In 1899 Lytton Strachey arrived at Trinity College, the same time as Thoby Stephen. Lytton introduced Thoby to the Reading Club. The Reading Club had five members and they all met in Clive Bells’ rooms. The five men (Lytton Strachey, Toby Stephen, Clive Bell, Leonard Woolf and Saxon Sydney Turner) later became founders of the Thursday Club, which became the Bloomsbury Group. This same circle of friends were also members of other clubs; the Midnight Society and the X Society.
Brenda tells me that the X Society was a play reading group of undergraduates at Trinity College. It devoted itself to reading drama. Groups such as this provided further opportunities to learn, visits were organised, perhaps there were guest speakers and lectures. Students would meet with a shared interest and debate their subject. Societies would be (and probably still are) formal, there would be rules regarding aims and discipline, together with procedures regarding finance, subscriptions and complaints.
Very little specific information about the X Society exists and I don’t believe it exists under that name today but I reckon that somewhere in the current list of 700 societies, there will be something pretty close.
Brenda has a fabulous blog. Please visit.