Centenary appeal of 1929Participants between King's and University College rarely needed an excuse to trump their rivals in full view of the public and university authorities, but a charitable motive for the encounters and for student rags in general quickly became apparent.
King's charitable foundation celebrations, Commemoration week, in December 1922 included a Scientific Novelties exhibition in aid of the Hospitals of London Combined Appeal that featured cutting edge science including X-ray crystallography, a primitive polygraph or lie detector and a species of robot dog.
Students capitalised on the notoriety of the Tutankhamen excavation in 1923 by dressing in Egyptian themed costumes to collect for the European War Relief Fund.
1937 camp for unemployedStudents of both colleges often sought to help the disadvantaged, not least by operating a work camp for the unemployed in the late 1930s, part of a nationwide pattern that witnessed university students proffering aid to the homeless and dispossessed before and during the Depression.
Collecting in wartimeThe charitable aspects of the rag became especially important in the period after 1945 with scheduled processions, publicity stunts and collections that was popularised as 'Rag Week'.
For example, Rag Week at King's in 1977 chose to support 'The Deaf Children's Support Fund' and in 1979 the 'National Listening Library'.
Good causes remain central to rag activities and of the now more muted rivalry between King's and University College.
In this exhibition
- Origins and mascots
- The heyday of the rag
- Later rags