[Spelling Bee competitions in Victorian Kennington and Guildford.] Eleven items, including an advertisement, a programme, tickets of entry and competitor's ticket, newspaper cuttings, compiled by T. W. Williams, manager of Kennington competitions.

Spelling Bee competitions in Victorian Kennington and Guildford [T. W. Williams, manager; The Impartial Spelling Bee Association, Williams & Rhodes, Kennington; F. Ridgway; J. Irving Dixon]
Publication details: 
Competitions in Kennington and Guildford, 1876. Manager of Kennington competitions: 'Mr. T. W. Williams, 149, Lower Kennington Lane, S.E.'
SKU: 22766

The eleven items are in fair condition, lightly aged and worn, laid down on two heavily-worn leaves removed from an album. An interesting slice of social history, relating to introduction into England of a phenomenon which began in the Unites States in the 1850s. Nine of the items relate to spelling bees in Kennington, managed by the compiler of the material T. W. Williams, and one to a 'Grand Spelling Bee' in Guildford. It is interesting, a little suspicious, to note that Williams also boasts of having won a gold watch at a spelling bee which 'was not (for some unknown reason) reported in the local journals'. Williams shares his address with Williams & Rhodes of the Impartial Spelling Bee Association. ONE: Leaflet advertisement for 'A Spelling B' at 'S. James, Kennington', 17 March 1876, which 'will be held at the Schools, Regency Square, White Hart Street, Lower Kennington Lane'. 'S. Bache Harris, M.A., (Vicar of the Parish) in the chair' and 'Interrogator: Mr H. C. Goodchild, M.C.P., (of the Stockwell Educational Institute.)' 1p, 12mo. Printed by Noon & Lucas, Steam Machine Printers, 152, Lower Kennington Lane, Lambeth. Four prizes advertised, the first being 'A Handsome Gold Watch in Case'. The 'Manager' is named as 'Mr. T. W. Williams, 149, Lower Kennington Lane, S.E.' TWO to FIVE: Newspaper cuttings relating to the competition, comprising three advertisements and one report, headed 'Hanover Assembly Rooms, Kennington Park-Road'. Williams acknowledges his composition of the article with his initials. Thirty-six lines of text in small print, beginning: 'On Monday, a "bee" settled on this spot, and attracted some 30 competitors for orthographical honours. SIX: Printed card from the Impartial Spelling Bee Association. Reads: 'Under this System a series of these popular competitions will be held in various localities. | Competitors allowed to verify their spelling by any Standard Dictionary. | Technicalities and foreign words avoided as far as practicable. | All particulars of the Mangers, | Messrs. Williams & Rhodes, | 149, Lower Kenningto Lane, S.E.' SEVEN to NINE: Three invitations, uniform in layout, each on card printed in a different colour, for the Spelling Bee at Hanover Assembly Rooms, 334 Kennington Park Road, 'opposite Kennington Church', 'Dr. John Muter, M.A., F.C.S., in the chair'. Two shilling ticket in pink; one shilling ticket in blue; sixpenny ticket in buff. TEN: 'Spelling Bee. | Competitor's Ticket.' Dated 1876. 'Admit Bearer to the Platform'. Not filled in. ELEVEN: Programme for 'A Grand Spelling Bee Competition, (Under the Management of the Spelling Bee Association,). To be held at the Large Borough Hall, Guildford, 2 March 1876. 3pp, 8vo. Bifolium. In small print, giving 'Rules for the guidance of intending competitors. | The Competition will be open to both Ladies and Gentlemen).', details of prizes, with short report of 'Spelling Bee at Kenington', from the Hour, 26 January 1876; and full-page report of 'The "Spelling Bee" at the Horns', from the South London Press, 29 January 1876. A note reads: 'All the Spelling Bee Competitions held under the management of the Association have proved unqualified successes. Thousands of persons composing the various audiences before whom the competitions have been held have testified by the ringing cheers with which they greet the successful, and the hearty peals of good-natured laughter with which they receive the less fortunate competitors, to their satisfaction at the mode in which the contests are conducted. While successful compeitors in proposing votes of thanks to the Association for the handsome and valuable Prizes given, testify to the liberal manner in which the enterprise is conducted.' A list of 'the names and addresses of a few ladies and gentlemen who have carried off Prizes at recent Spelling Bees held under the management of the Spelling Bee Association' follows, including, among 'First Prizes - Gold Watches', 'Mr. T. W. Williams, 149, Lower Kennington Lane, S.E.' An ANS by Williams beneath the item reads: 'The Gold Watch and Case won by me (as above) was at the Competition held by the Association at the Horns, Kennington, on Friday, 4th. February, 1876. (This meeting was not (for some unknown reason) reported in the local journals. | T. W. Wms.' A twelve item is a transcription in Williams's autograph of 'The Song of the "Reader" by 'W. G. S.', from 'The Times. Aug - 1869'. Beneath this Williams has written out a 'Spelling Test'.