First name/s: Edward
Last name: Traynor
Known names / nicknames: Teddy
Date of birth:
Year of birth: 0
Life before Ruskin
Date and place of birth: Yorkshire (probably)
Politics/Trade union activity: Unknown, but possibly ILP and presumably NUM.
Trade Union membership (at time of entry to Ruskin)
Life at Ruskin
Dates at Ruskin: 22 February 1899 to November 1990 (claimed to be the first student through the door)
Source of funding: He was probably a ‘working’ student. This was a scheme of Walter Vrooman’s to allow students to ‘pay’ for board and tuition by work in the office, garden, etc.
Campaigns/political activity: Spoke on behalf of Ruskin Hall movement. In the college, he was involved in forming the Ruskin Hall Fraternal League, to keep former students in touch with each other.
Subjects studied at Ruskin: The syllabus included Industrial History, History (he would have been taught by Charles Beard), Sociology (Dennis Hird on evolution), and Economics.
Life after Ruskin
Work: He had lost a leg before coming to Ruskin, so could not go back to mining. He seems to have been attempting to make a living on the labour lecture/education circuit.
Politics/trade union activity: Involved in building RH movement, including the setting up of a Plymouth Ruskin Hal (with George Melhuish) in 1901. After that, unknown, except that he supported the Plebs League, and was present at their 25th anniversary celebrations in 1935.
Place & date of death: unknown
Date of death:
Year of death: 0
Achievements / Publications
At Ruskin, he had a reputation as a poet and orator. He published a couple of articles in Young Oxford:
‘A Farewell Trip Down the River’ (Vol 2.14 November 1900, 57-8)
‘Mines, Meadows and Moonlight’ (Vol 2.23, August 1901, 400-1).
Material in archives or already published articles
Notes on Image/s
Comment of contributor/s and sources
My main source is Young Oxford, including the monthly column, ‘Ruskin Hall Fraternal League News’ which featured letters from students who had left Ruskin. It ran from September 1900 to August 1902.
‘The Early Days at Ruskin’ by George Melhuish in The Plebs, 2 February 1935, and ‘The NCLC’s Exhibition and Anniversary Dinner’ in the same issue, mention Trayner’s presence at the 25th anniversary celebrations, as well as his claim to have been the first student through the door.
A list of the early students in the General Assembly Minutes Book (Ruskin College Archives) lists Trayner as the third student (of 18 who enrolled on 22 February). He is also pictured in a photo of the first intake of students in the Ruskin archives (the picture is signed, and the names can be checked against the list in the minutes book).