Miscellany | Published:


Nature volume 52, pages 249252 | Download Citation



THE meeting at which the Prince of Wales presided in St. James's Palace on Tuesday, ought to further the interests of the British School at Athens, in support of which it was held. A distinguished and representative company was present, among them being many well-known men of science. The Prince of Wales has concerned himself with the existence and welfare of the School from the time of its foundation in 1883, and we are glad to notice that in his remarks to the meeting he drew attention to the fact that the scantiness of the means provided was out of all proportion to the valuable archæological work carried on. The School only has a precarious annual income of £500, whereas the French School at Athens has an assured income of over £3000 a year, and the German School more than £ 2000 a year. Owing to this state of affairs, it is quite impossible for the British School to enter into competition with such undertakings as the explorations of the Germans at Olympia, the French at Delphi, the Americans at Argos, or the Greeks at Eleusis and Epidaurus. The sum required to bring England approximately into line with other nations is at least £1500 a year. Fortunately, as the Prince of Wales remarked at the meeting, there are hopeful signs that matters will soon be placed on a more satisfactory footing. A petition for support addressed to the late Government, met with a ready response; and before leaving office Sir William Harcourt took steps to use some portion of the public funds devoted to the encouragement of scientific investigation for the support of the School, and it is understood that the present Ministers are willing to confirm the action of their predecessors. One of the colleges at Cambridge, which has been most severely tried through the agricultural depression, has generously made an annual appropriation out of its reduced funds, and three colleges at Oxford have voted annual grants. The public schools are also moving in the matter. The Prince of Wales suggested that perhaps some of our City Companies, whose funds are devoted not only to local charities, but which have extended their sphere to the support of educational and scientific institutions, may see their way to encourage research in Greece; and he hoped that our colonies, which are so intimately bound up with our own culture and our higher national aspirations, will recognise the fact that all the privileges of the Athens School are open to their qualified students, and will make some effort towards securing its adequate efficiency. Lastly, he appealed to the liberality of private individuals, and expressed himself convinced that the appeal would find a response throughout the country. Every year excavation, both in Greece and elsewhere, is becoming more important to science. The following resolutions, confirmatory of the object of the meeting, were carried unanimously:—(1) “That the British School at Athens has already done excellent work during the nine years of its existence, and is well deserving of increased support.” (2) “That this meeting pledges itself to use every effort to place the School upon a sound financial basis, so that in point of dignity and efficiency it may worthily represent this country among the other foreign institutes in Athens.”

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