Part of the buildings and grounds of Westminster Abbey contain Westminster
School. This is a relatively small Public School (private), which has a
number of rather odd features.
Firstly, of the cabinet of the governement of GB for the last 100 years,
over 60% are 'Old Wets'.
Secondly, the debating society of Westminster was started by an obscure
gentleman named John Locke.
Thirdly, every Easter, the most peculair ritual is enacted "Up School"
(in the hall where most assemblies happen). This is called the Grease Pole.
A metal pipe stretches across the hall at about 15 feet. The cook to the
Dean of Westminster makes a large pancake, and, on the signal (a whistle
blast fro mthe Dean of Westminster), tosses this pancake over the 'Grease
Pole'. Originally, at this point, all the boys of the school would try
to fight over getting the largest portion of the pancake as it landed.
Due to the number of deaths, the ritual now only involves boys (and girls)
selected from each house (a House, e.g. Ashburnum, Liddels, College, is
a bit like a College in Oxford
After a few minutes fighting, the Dean blows another whistle blast,
and all the contestants gather in a line. The Cook to the Dean of Westminster
now walks along with a set of silver scales and weighs each contestant's
portion of pancake.
The one with the most is given a silver thruppence (three penny piece),
known as Maundy money, which he/she must return the next year.
Although a High Church of England institution, psalms are still sung
every morning in Latin, in the ice cold abbey.
Lastly, the school is often credited with inventing the game of football
(soccer) in roughly its modern form, in around the 11th century.
Some people believe that the school is the figment of the imagination
of Mervyn Peake, author of the Gormenghast trilogy.