Kindergarten, noun

Origin:
EnglishShow more Transferred sense of general English kindergarten school for the instruction of young children: in this sense first used by John X. Merriman (see quotations 1902).
historical
A nickname given to a group of young Oxford graduates recruited by Alfred, Lord Milner, British High Commissioner in South Africa, to work under him in the administration and reconstruction of the former Boer republics after the South African War of 1899–1902. Frequently Milner’s Kindergarten.
[1902 J.X. Merriman Case Against Suspension of Constitution 9Lord Milner was good enough to describe the nature of the Government that was to be set up. It was a Council. I wonder what sort of a Council it would be...Was the idea to set up a sort of kindergarten of young Balliol men?]
[1902 Cape Times 12 Sept. 6He (Mr. Merriman) wondered what sort of rag-tag and bob-tail they would have got to sit on that Council...What did he expect to set up? A sort of kindergarten of young Balliol men — laughter — to govern this great country.]
1913 W.B. Worsfold Reconstruction New Colonies I. 259Mr Curtis was one of the most flagrant examples of Lord Milner’s ‘kindergarten’.
1958 Spectator (U.K.) 22 Aug. 244The ideas of Milner and his dedicated ‘kindergarten’ about the treatment of the African.
1958 Listener (U.K.) 6 Nov. 739The group of Englishmen who helped to bring order out of chaos and to prepare the way for the future came to be nicknamed Lord Milner’s ‘kindergarten’.
1964 M. Benson Afr. Patriots 20The British Government was influenced considerably by Milner’s Kindergarten..who lobbied passionately for Union.
1971 Oxford Hist. of S. Afr. II. 331Locally he appointed young Oxford graduates — ‘Milner’s kindergarten’ — to the administrative positions.
1971 Oxford Hist. of S. Afr. II. 346To Selborne and the members of the Kindergarten..unification was desirable.
1979 T. Pakenham Boer War (1982) 484He (sc. Lord Milner) had an exciting task: to recruit imperially minded young men.., his own ‘Kindergarten’ they would be called, for the..task of nation-building in modern South Africa.
1987 G. Viney Col. Houses 198Lionel Curtis, one of the Kindergarten, came to the rescue.
A nickname given to a group of young Oxford graduates recruited by Alfred, Lord Milner, British High Commissioner in South Africa, to work under him in the administration and reconstruction of the former Boer republics after the South African War of 1899–1902. Frequently Milner’s Kindergarten.

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19021987