Porters and Scouts
As can be seen in this picture, the job of Scout used to be that of a personal servant. Again we direct you to Brideshead Revisited for a glimpse of this life. These days the post of Scout is really that of cleaner. As the job changed the staff has too, and most Scouts are now women. The majority of Porters are still men, but not exclusively.
Proctors have been responsible for undergraduate discipline in Oxford outside college premises since 1248. A Senior and Junior Proctor are elected each year from among the university’s dons, though Pro-proctors can be enrolled should this be necessary.
In the past Proctors had considerable power. Their main duties were to ensure that undergraduates were in their colleges by midnight, and to see that they neither drank in local pubs nor “took up with” the women of the town. The Senior and Junior Proctors each patrolled central streets, escorted by four “Bulldogs” wearing bowler hats and mackintoshes, between 9pm and 4am on many nights. They were particularly in evidence whenever a celebration was likely to occur, such as the end of Eights Week when the winning boat was sometimes ceremonially burned. Their approach to the students was always very gentlemanly, doffing their mortar boards and enquiring “Your name and college, Sir.”
Some English pub signs are interesting in that they refer to the general meaning of the pub’s name on one side, and the local meaning on the other. The Bulldog pub in St Aldates (now the Hobgoblin) exhibited just such a sign, with a four-legged bulldog on one side and the bowler-hatted variety on the other.