William Reginald Dibb Childhood in England and Canada
W.R. Dibb’s early childhood in England
William Reginald Dibb was the youngest son of Rev. Ashton Dibb. He was born in Chalk Farm, London on October 18th, 1876, three days after his father died. When he was a few years old, he lived with his mother Mary Jane, his two teenage brothers, Ashton Wilberforce and Frederick Thomas, and Rev. John Davies’ son John Llewelyn, who is his cousin, together with a servant. His other brother Hugh McNeile was already sent to Trent College boarding school in Long Eaton, Derbyshire. Another temporary resident in this house at the time was his uncle Thomas Edward, who came over from India. This house was at 26 Gayton Road, Hampstead, London.
During his childhood William Reginald went to Schorn College boarding school in north Marston, Buckinghamshire. By that time, his mother moved to another house at 36 Connaught Road, Willesden, staying with her eldest child, Ashton Wilberforce, who was studying at King’s College, and later at Oxford. Mary Jane’s another son, Frederick Thomas, already left for Canada to take a course at Bishop’s college, Lennoxville, in Quebec.
William Reginald Dibb received his confirmation in Aylesbury, Oxford, in 1891. About a year after that, on July 2nd, 1892, at the age of about sixteen, the young William left England to visit his elder brother, Rev. Frederick Thomas Dibb, who was by that time a missionary at Ernesttown, Ontario, Canada. He was on board a ship called the S.S. ‘Lake Superior’ in the saloon class.
Victorian terraced houses on Gayton Road, Hampstead, northwest of London. Second from left is the house where Mary Jane Dibb and her family used to live in, more than 140 years ago.
Schorne College on the north side of the St. Mary´s churchyard, north Marston. The college was pulled down by the village builder during the late 1920s, after it was closed down in 1910. (https://northmarstonhistory.org.uk/schorne-college/)
As a teenager in Canada before returning to England
After arriving in Ontario, Canada, William was later registered at Trinity College School in Port Hope, on September 29th, 1893. During his time in Canada, he had adopted his brother, Rev. Frederick Thomas Dibb, as his parental guardian. At Trinity College he was a well-known athlete, especially in cricket.
He came back to England and entered the University of Oxford in October 1894, just after the death of his mother, Mary Jane, on September 14th, 1894. At Oxford he was registered as a Non-Collegiate Student. Being Non-Collegiate Student enabled him to be a member of the University without being a member of a college, thus avoiding the prohibitive costs of an Oxford college. (Non-Collegiate Students later formed a society called St Catherine’s Society and in 1956 it was transformed into St Catherine’s college, a fully residential college.)[i]
Due to his interest in sports and a very good athlete himself, he and his three friends, who were then at Oxford (J.G. Browne, O.L. Bickford, and H.F. Hamilton), presented to Trinity College school in 1896 “The Oxford Challenge Cup” made of sterling silver about one foot height, to encourage running and to assist football training. A competition has been held for The Cup annually since then and continues to this day.
During the early days, the race was essentially an obstacle course, with students running almost seven kilometres, all the while hacking through brambles, scrambling over fences, hopping over the divots in farmers' fields, and manoeuvring through Gage's Creek. The school Record of 1911 writes that for "weeks before the race the Flats… echoed with the groans of tortured runners."[ii]
Later, before leaving Oxford, William Reginald Dibb had proven his ability in sport once again by winning the open cross-country run.[iii]
[ii] Viola Lyons, Assistant Archivist, J.D. Burns Archives, Trinity College School, personal communication; The School on the Hill, Trinity College School 1865-1965, p. 298; https://www.tcs.on.ca/who-we-are/john-d-burns-archives/schools-history/oxford-cup
[iii] Full text of "Trinity College School Record, February 1898- December 1908"
Trinity college school and gymnasium in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada, looking from the playing field.
(Photo from Full text of "Trinity College School Record, February 1898- December 1908")
W.R. Dibb (standing 2nd
from right) on the cricket team and won a prize for best fielder in cricket, 1894, when he was at Trinity College School. (http://cricketarchive.com/cgi-bin/player_oracle_reveals_results1.cgi
; Photo from J.D. Burns Archives, Trinity College School, courtesy of Viola Lyons)
The donors and the original rules for the first Oxford Cup Run in 1896. This hand written manuscript survived to this day because it was kept in the Headmasters house during the school fire of 1928 (The manuscript from J.D. Burns Archives, Trinity College School, courtesy of Viola Lyons)
Trinity college students at the starting point of the cross-country race, competing for 'The Oxford Cup', during the early days. (Photo from J.D. Burns Archives, Trinity College School, courtesy of Viola Lyons)
The original Oxford Cup (which was destroy in 1928 when the school was burned to the ground) won in 1903. (Photo from J.D. Burns Archives, Trinity College School, courtesy of Viola Lyons)
The new Oxford Cup with the four original donors’ nameplates mounted at its based, replacing the original one, which was won on Nov 2012. (News, Nov. 20th,
2012, Trinity College School, Ontario)