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Westminster School

Shrove Tuesday

Westminster School is famous for the practice of tossing the pancake on Shrove Tuesday. It is thus described in the "Book of Days" (I. 237):—"At eleven o'clock the verger of the Abbey, in his gown, bearing the silver baton, emerges from the college kitchen, followed by the cook of the school in his white apron, jacket, and cap, and carrying a pancake. On his arrival at the school door, he announces himself 'the cook;' and, having entered the school-room, he advances to the bar which separates the upper school from the lower one, twirls the pancake in the pan, and then tosses it over the bar into the upper school, amongst a crowd of boys who scramble for the pancake, and the boy who gets it unbroken and carries it to the Dean claims a guinea from the Abbey funds; the cook also receives two guineas for his performance." Again, on Election Sunday, the Westminster boys who are going up for scholarships attend the service in Westminster Abbey in full dress. On these occasions the boys have the privilege of selecting the anthem.

Source: The Illustrated London News, No.2256—Vol. LXXXI, Saturday, July 29, 1882, p.122