The story of Andrew Hume, an assistant master at Dulwich College, and his 1877 High Court libel action against the undermaster, the Rev James McCall Marshall, is well told by Jan Piggott in his ‘Dulwich College, a History 1616-2008’. The school organisation at the time appears to have been quite dysfunctional, with two opposing factions constantly fighting against each other, one supporting the Governors and one supporting the Master, Canon Carver. Hume’s case against Marshall was that he had falsely accused him of drunkenness. ‘Hume v Marshall’ divided the staff, even wives were involved, and reportedly took to ‘lowering their parasols’ when they met members of the opposing faction out walking. In court Carver claimed that the only reason the case had been brought against Hume was because he was ‘loyal’ to him and his plans for the College. However, local residents, including a clinical lecturer at Bart’s, testified that Hume had been seen coming home from London, night after night, the worse for drink, and pupils gave evidence that he drank spirits in the buttery (the boys’ nickname for him was ‘B&S’ - Brandy and Soda). In fact, it appears that Hume was not the only master who drank on duty, some were known to imbibe at morning break in full view of their pupils. Hume’s sister, who kept house for him, also gave evidence and said she had never seen him the worse for liquor. In the end, the jury accepted Hume’s version of events and he won the case - but was awarded only 40 shillings damages against the £1,000 he had asked for. Not surprisingly the Governors sacked him, though Canon Carver, appreciative of his support, gave him a golden goodbye of almost £300, a reasonable sum in the days when that figure bought a good-sized house in East Dulwich.

Born in Donegal, Ireland on 21 April 1840, Andrew W Hume was the second son of William ‘Lord’ Hume, JP (1784-1849), an oppressive landlord who clashed with the local Catholic clergy and once only escaped an assassination attempt because he was wearing a protective coat of chain mail. The family lived in some style on the Glen Lodge Estate at Glencolmcille, Donegal - it was just under 11,000 acres in extent and extended three miles along the coast and included the beautiful Silver Strand - considered today to be one of Ireland’s best beaches. ‘Lord’ Hume died in 1849, just after the end of the Great Famine, leaving the family in substantial debt. The estate was finally sold in 1857 through The Encumbered Estates' Court - established by an 1849 Act of Parliament, to facilitate the sale of Irish estates where owners, because of the Great Famine, were unable to meet their financial obligations. Hume was educated at Trinity College Dublin (taking first class honours in the classical tripos) and in 1861 he sat, and passed with high marks, the Indian Civil Service Examination - he was related to Major General J J Hume of the Bengal Army and perhaps he had thoughts of going to India but, in the end, he remained in Ireland, becoming a classics master at Ennis College in County Clare.

He joined Dulwich College in January 1871, initially as form master for the Upper Third. He was also the School Secretary from 1875-76 and, for a brief period in 1877, he was Captain of the Rifle Corps. He first lived at 30 Knowle Road in Brixton along with his elderly mother and two sisters, Annie and Rebecca Sarah (nicknamed Raby), but in 1875 he took over the lease of No. 1 Allison Towers, a tall semi-detached house on the north side of Dulwich Common almost opposite the Millpond. It was here, following his dismissal from the College, that he set up his own school. He was joined by two of his younger colleagues but, in reality and despite his aspirations, it was more of a crammer to prepare boys for entrance to Sandhurst and the Civil Service - as this advertisement in the South London Press on 12th December 1877 confirmed:

‘Mr A W Hume MA, late Second Senior Assistant Master, and School Secretary of Dulwich College INSTRUCTS RESIDENT and NON-RESIDENT PUPILS in all the branches of a liberal education, and prepares them for the Universities and Public Schools, and for the Army, Civil Service, and other examinations, and for Business. Mr Hume will be assisted in the higher classics by Messrs R R D Adams MA and J T Hutchinson, both first classical tripos, Cambridge, and late of Dulwich College: and in all branches by experienced and competent teachers, including a resident foreign master.’

Hume was an active Freemason, and a member of two local lodges, the Beadon and the Ionic. A rather biased article written by a fellow Freemason in the South London Press in June 1878 implied that the new school was a great success, saying ‘those who sympathise with Bro Hume, among them many Freemasons, will learn with satisfaction that all the success which might have been anticipated from his high character as a gentleman and a scholar has attended his new start in life as a tutor for the army, civil service and other examinations. Among many others, Bro Horatio Lloyd PPGSW Cheshire, and Bro Henry Parsons PPGSW Surrey have withdrawn their sons from the more pretentious Dulwich College, to place them with Bro Hume.’

Over the next two years Hume placed regular advertisements in local newspapers, one in 1879 gave the fees for resident pupils as 50-65 guineas, and for non-resident pupils 16-25 guineas in the senior department, and 6-12 guineas in the junior department, per term of 13 weeks. Hume encouraged sport and there were certainly enough pupils to field a number of teams. In November 1880 the rugby team was reported to have won seven out of nine matches although, much to Hume’s annoyance, Dulwich College had refused to play them. The same month saw a series of newspaper articles on his pupil’ exam successes - a Lieutenant Galt placed fifth in order of merit for the exam for lieutenants of militia while five others passed the Sandhurst preliminary examination.

The 1881 Census showed him living at No 1 Allison Towers, along with his sister Raby, 13 pupils, five servants and two teachers. Directly across Allison Grove, at No 3 Allison Gardens, was his 79-year-old mother, with his other sister Annie, and a further five pupils and two more teachers. On 16th December, at St Giles Camberwell, Raby married one of the teachers, Captain Ferdinand Wollenhaupt, a former captain in the Prussian Army. He was five years younger than her and, prior to coming to England, had served in the 1st West Prussian Grenadier Regiment No 6. He had been awarded the Konigsgratz medal for service in the Austro-Prussian war of 1866 and had also served in the Franco Prussian War of 1870-71, taking part in the battle of Weissenburg. He was severely wounded at Worth - where he was awarded the Iron Cross. From 1871 to his retirement from active service, he was a maths Instructor at the German Military College in Potsdam. Wollenhaupt was made a partner in the school early in 1882 and the South London Press advertisements remained optimistic:

ALLISON TOWERS, Dulwich Common, SE, Army examinations etc. Mr A W Hume MA, First Class in Classical Honours, Trinity College, Dublin, high place at the open competition for the Indian Civil Service, 1861, and Captain Wollenhaupt, late of the 1st West Prussian Grenadier Regiment, No. 6, assisted by an exceptionally strong staff of professors and lecturers. PREPARE for all ARMY and other Examinations at their residence, Allison Towers, Dulwich Common SE. In the last two years one hundred and thirteen have passed, one hundred and four on first trial. Work has begun.

Unfortunately, the final line was wrong, work was ending rather than beginning. On 30th December 1882, the South London Press reported on A W Hume’s bankruptcy, describing him as an army tutor with estimated debts of £7000 (his assets were only £650). The article added that the court had recently appointed a receiver and granted an injunction restraining proceedings by creditors, specifically the Vestry of Camberwell. Despite his bankruptcy Hume continued to run the school though his advertisements in 1883 were in a lower key, this example is from April:

Allison Towers, Dulwich, SE. Thoroughly practical education and preparation for any examinational career. Terms moderate. The list of successes, references etc - apply to A W Hume MA.

The school finally closed early in 1884, Hume auctioning his household furniture in June - included a semi-grand piano by Broadwood & Sons, a cottage piano by Cramer & Co, various plated articles, 650 school books, and numerous effects. Captain Wollenhaupt and his sister Raby moved to Guernsey where, early in 1886 he joined the staff of Elizabeth College in St Peter Port to teach German and military instruction - the couple were still there in the early 1900s. As to what happened to Andrew W Hume and his other sister Annie after 1884, there is no record.