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The Gadflies: social disruptors of 1920s SJC

A gadfly is a person who interferes with the status quo of a society or community by posing novel, potently upsetting questions, usually directed at authorities.

Michaelmas term 1921 saw the birth of a new College society, aimed at shaking up the social scene of the College. The Gadflies held their first meeting in Lecture Room V on Thursday the 17th of November.  Over a hundred members turned out for the inaugural meeting that evening.

The 1910s saw the demise of a few College societies, prompting one College member to write in the Eagle that the social life of the College following the end of WWI had been poor despite the best efforts of some societies to popularise their meetings.  It was in this ‘wasteland of social and community spirit’ that the Gadflies made their appearance.

To read the article click here and scroll to page 198:
https://documents.joh.cam.ac.uk/public/Eagle/Eagle%20Volumes/1920s/1922…

Archive material related to some of the societies mentioned in the article is featured below:

Crickets minute book 10 Feb. 1924
Crickets minute book 10 Feb.1924
Portcullis Club meeting card, Michaelmas 1912
Portcullis Club meeting card, Michaelmas 1912
Portcullis Club meeting card, Lent 1912
Portcullis Club meeting card, Lent 1912
Table-Top II: Gadflies revue, 1939
Table-Top II: Gadflies revue, 1939
Table-Top II: Gadflies revue, 1939
Table-Top II: Gadflies revue, 1939
Table-Top II: Gadflies revue, 1939
Table-Top II: Gadflies revue, 1939