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A relic from the past: Newspaper discovered hidden behind Gordonstoun mirror almost 100 years to the day after being printed

Year 6 students at Gordonstoun crowd around the 1922 newspaper.
Year 6 students at Gordonstoun with 1922 newspaper.

Renovators doing maintenance work at Gordonstoun have uncovered a pristine newspaper hidden behind a mirror – nearly 100 years to the day since it was printed.

Old and dusty artefacts are commonly discovered amongst the walls of the private boarding school near Elgin where Prince Charles and Prince Philip were educated.

However, the January 12, 1922 edition of the Daily Mail predates even the school itself, which was established in 1934.

At the time, the buildings were part of a large private estate owned by the notorious Sir William Gordon-Cumming – who had been ostracised from “polite society” in a scandal about cheating at baccarat with the then Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VIII.

And the newspaper itself features the royal, who famously abdicated from the throne, while on a tiger hunt in Nepal, including him standing over a dead tiger he reportedly shot.

An insight into scandals from the past

The newspaper featured stories about consumers benefiting from cheap butter at the time following a price cut from less taxes.

However, it also includes an insight into scandals from the era – including a 50-year-old aristocrat marrying his 19-year-old secretary.

There are also reports of a “university sex war” with female students “fighting control by men” and the account of a woman who was bound and gagged after being attacked in her home by “sham workmen”.

And, in what is familiar today, there are reports of deaths following a virus outbreak of flu in England and Wales.

The newspaper, which will be kept in the school’s archive, has been shown to Year 6 students at Gordonstoun to give them an insight into life 100 years ago.

Students remarked at being shocked at seeing a photograph of a dead tiger on the back page and being surprised at seeing adverts for cigarettes.

‘When I looked at the date I couldn’t believe it’

Discoveries of historic artefacts hidden amongst the walls of Gordonstoun are not uncommon.

Nearby Duffus House, which was part of the school for 80 years, revealed a multitude of secrets from when it was used as a Second World War barracks during a recent refurbishment.

Gordonstoun project manager Nathan Humes said: “As this is such an old estate, it’s not unusual for us to find old newspapers and magazines left by students and staff over the years, but when I looked at the date I couldn’t believe it.

Gordonstoun principal Lisa Kerr.

“The newspaper is very nearly 100 years old but is in perfect condition, having been pressed flat against the back of a mirror and hidden out of the light for all these years. It must have had a very dear meaning or date to whomever tucked it away.”

Principal Lisa Kerr said: “We were all very excited to see this relic from the past history of the Gordonstoun estate.

“We might reflect how little has changed over the last century, this ancient edition of the Daily Mail features an outbreak of influenza, a scandal about a 50 year old aristocrat who married his 19 year old secretary and a ‘sex war’ at a university with women ‘fighting control by men’.

“The newspaper will now be kept in our archives so that the children can step back in time by looking at this one hundred year old snapshot of life in 1922 whenever they want.”

More relics unearthed at Gordonstoun…

Historic home in Moray reveals its secrets amid restoration work to convert it into holiday accommodation

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