The History of MGS in 50 Objects – #30 The OMA

Posted by System Administrator on 30 Jan 2015

Modified by System Administrator on 01 Dec 2021

Sketch of OMA London Lunch 1942

The Old Mancunians Association, or OMA, is a grouping for old boys of the school – termed Old Mancunians. The description has also come to include former members of staff.

Even though a formal association was not created until the early twentieth century, Old Mancunians were congregating together as early as 1781 by way of the Old Boys Dinner. It should be pointed out that the Old Boys Dinner was, and remains, a distinctly separate endeavour to the OMA. However, participation of course overlaps. The first dinner was organised by Thomas Egerton and the tradition has continued, nearly without a break, ever since. There was a hiatus in the mid-19th century as Old Boys protested the changes made by High Master Walker, including the introduction of fees. Hence there were no Old Boys Dinners between 1864 and 1878. WWII also precipitated a 6 year break.

The origins of the modern day Old Mancunians Association are fairly straightforward. The first reference in Ulula to anything named the OMA is to an Old Mancunians Association Football Club in 1894. However, the designation must simply have been an informal one, as the OMA itself was not formally constituted until 1904. High Master J.L. Paton called a meeting to discuss the formation of an old boys association and the wheels were put in motion to form the OMA straight away. In fact, officers were elected at this initial meeting. Paton became the first President, and since 1904 the serving High Master automatically assumes the presidency.

Different divisions were created at this first meeting – Football and Lacrosse, as well as making administrative provision for the Hugh Oldham Lads Club and the Old Boys Dinner. A chess section was created later in 1904. As of 2015 there are a number of different regional divisions of the association, as well as chess and football sections.

Membership of the OMA is now automatic for all old boys and staff and the current association is in touch with 10,500 old boys spread across 6 out of 7 continents. Although we currently have no knowledge of any Old Mancunians currently in Antarctica, we do know of at least one former pupil who has worked at a research station on the continent.

Rachel Kneale

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