Waste Court to be renamed Austin House
25 June 2015
From September 2015, Waste Court which is currently the home for Davies’ House, will be known as Austin House and the housemaster will be James Golding.
The decision has been debated over the last ten years and with the change in housemaster it is an opportunity to make the house name permanent in keeping with other houses that contain boarders; School House and Crescent.
Why “Austin House”?
Alan Murray Austin was the first Old Abingdonian to lose his life in the First World War when his ship, HMS Hawke, was torpedoed in the North Sea on 15 October 1914. It is therefore fitting in the centenary of the First World War to commemorate Alan Murray Austin.
The Austin family stand for all families devastated by the 20th Century’s wars: Alan’s brother, Walter, died of enteric fever in South Africa during the Boer War, a nephew, William Piercy Harragin died in Dar-es-Salam on 1 November 1918 and another nephew, Ambrose Theodore Wentworth Austin, was killed in action on D-Day, 6 June 1944.
In searching for an appropriate memorial to commemorate its war dead, the School wanted to not only make a fitting tribute to their sacrifice but also to “help in a practical manner the School that had trained them up to manhood”. The Waste Court estate not only provides a still much-needed boarding house but also the Sports Centre and 1st XV rugby pitch stand on the nine acres of ground that were part of the purchase.
In 1929 the editor of the school magazine declared, “there can be no fitter memorial to the illustrious dead than a building and estate like this, which bear the potentialities of a great future. The memorial of their sacrifice is based on a more abundant life”. In 2015 this memorial is still fulfilling its original purpose and by changing the name of the House from Waste Court to Austin House the School is still acknowledging the duty, loyalty and sacrifice of all these young men.