Harrow School
The Old Schools photographed in 2013
Address
5 High Street, Harrow on the Hill

,
London
,
HA1 3HP

England
Coordinates51°34′21″N 00°20′06″W / 51.57250°N 0.33500°W / 51.57250; -0.33500Coordinates: 51°34′21″N 00°20′06″W / 51.57250°N 0.33500°W / 51.57250; -0.33500
Information
TypePublic school
Independent school
Boarding school
MottoesLatin: Stet Fortuna Domus
(Let the Fortune of the House Stand)
Latin: Donorum Dei Dispensatio Fidelis
(The Faithful Dispensation of the Gifts of God)
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
Established1572; 450 years ago (1572) (Royal Charter)
FounderJohn Lyon of Preston
Department for Education URN102245 Tables
Chairman of the GovernorsJ P Batting
Head MasterAlastair Land
Staff~200 (full-time)
GenderMale
Age13 to 18
Enrollment~830 pupils
Houses12
Colour(s)    Blue and white
PublicationThe Harrovian
School fees£41,775
Former pupilsOld Harrovians
BadgesThe Harrow Lion
The Silver Arrow
Websitewww.harrowschool.org.uk Edit this at Wikidata

Harrow School (/ˈhær/)[1] is a public school (English independent boarding school for boys) in Harrow on the Hill, Greater London, England.[2] The school was founded in 1572 by John Lyon, a local landowner and farmer, under a Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth I. Harrow's history and influence have made it one of the most prestigious schools in the world.[3][4][5][6][7]

The school has an enrollment of about 820 boys, all of whom board full-time, in twelve boarding houses.[8] With Eton College and Radley College, Harrow retains status of an all-boy, full-boarding school. [9] Harrow's uniform includes morning suits, straw boater hats, top hats and canes.

Its list of distinguished alumni includes seven former British Prime Ministers: Aberdeen, Perceval, Goderich, Peel, Palmerston, Baldwin and Churchill, as well as the former Indian Prime Minister, Jawarhalal Nehru; numerous former and current members of both Houses of the UK Parliament, several members of various royal families, three Nobel Prize winners, twenty Victoria Cross holders and many prominent figures in the arts and sciences.

History

The original Old Schools at background, as they were in 1615
The original Old Schools at background, as they were in 1615

The Foundation

The school was founded in February 1572 under a Royal Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I to John Lyon, a wealthy local farmer.[10] The charter described this as a re-endowment, and there is some evidence of a grammar school at Harrow in the mid-16th century, but its location and connection with Lyon's foundation are unclear.[11] Evidence for earlier schools, possibly connected with the chantry of St Mary (established in 1324), is weak.[11]: 13–17  In the original charter, six governors were named, including two members of the Gerard family of Flambards, and two members of the Page family of Wembley and Sudbury Court.[12]

Speech Room in 1900
Speech Room in 1900

The founder John Lyon died in 1592, bequeathing his estate to two beneficiaries: the school and the maintenance of two roads, the Harrow Road and the Edgware Road, both going to London, 10 miles (16km) away. The Road Trust received by far the greater share, the school's share providing just for the salary of The School Master and some minor provisions. This situation, reasonable at the time because of the need to transport merchandise to market, continued until 1991 when the considerable assets of the Road Trust were reassigned to John Lyon's Charity, a charity to provide educational benefits for the inhabitants of the boroughs through which the roads pass.

John Lyon's school was founded to provide a free education for 30 (later extended to 40) poor boys of the parish. However the School Master was permitted to accept "foreigners" (boys from outside the parish) from whom he received fees. It was the need for the foreigners to find accommodation that led to the concept of boarding. As in all schools of the time, education was based on the languages and culture of the ancient civilisations of Rome and Greece.

As the reputation of the school grew through the 19th century, the number of foreigners increased, but the local families became increasingly reluctant to impose on their children a classical education and the number of free scholars declined. In 1825 there were 17 free scholars and 219 foreigners. In 1876 the Lower School of John Lyon was founded under the authority of the Governors of Harrow School to provide a modern education for local boys. It is now knows as The John Lyon School and is a prominent independent school; it remains part of the Harrow School Foundation.[10]

Buildings

It was only after the death of Lyon's wife in 1608 that the construction of the first school building began. Known as the Old Schools, it was completed in 1615 and remains to this day, although it was extended and re-designed by architect Charles Cockerell in 1818. It is a Grade I listed building.

The majority of the school's boarding houses were constructed in Victorian times, when the number of boys increased dramatically.[11] Speech Room by William Burges (1877), the Chapel (1855) and Vaughan Library (1863) both by Sir George Gilbert Scott are all Grade II* listed buildings.[13] There are 27 School buildings that are Grade II listed, including Head Master's House (1843) by Decimus Burton; Museum Schools (1886) by Basil Champneys; and Music Schools (1890) by Edward Prior.

The school War Memorial building, marking the substantial loss of former pupils in the First World War was designed by Sir Herbert Baker and completed in 1926. Various other buildings such as a central dining hall, sports hall and classroom blocks were added in the 20th century.

Cartel

In 2005, the school was one of fifty of the country's leading independent schools which were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel, exposed by The Times, which had allowed them to drive up fees for thousands of parents, although the schools said that they had not realised that the change to the law (which had happened only a few months earlier) about the sharing of information had subsequently made it an offence.[14] Each school was required to pay a nominal penalty of £10,000 and all agreed to make ex-gratia payments totalling £3,000,000 into a trust designed to benefit pupils who attended the schools during the period in respect of which fee information was shared.[15] Jean Scott, the head of the Independent Schools Council, said that independent schools had always been exempt from anti-cartel rules applied to business, were following a long-established procedure in sharing the information with each other, and that they were unaware of the change to the law (on which they had not been consulted).[16]

Academic

The main function of a school is to teach, and for pupils to learn. At Harrow, there is an array of highly qualified academics, who have the talent to inspire young men.[citation needed] The aim is to achieve excellence in scholarship, research, reflection, debate and other intellectual pursuits. Apart from the curriculum, which enables boys to study the full range of academic subjects, there are also seminars and society meetings that widen the opportunities available. Because of the School's reputation and close proximity to London, it is able to attract frequent visits from eminent speakers from all walks of life.

The School aims not only to enable boys to achieve excellent examination grades; it also aims to develop articulate, well-rounded characters: people with the freedom and confidence to think and speak independently.

The academic diet is not just for the intellectual elite. The School aims to challenge and stimulate all pupils, wherever they stand in the spectrum of ability.

Most boys go on to selective universities and trouble is taken to ensure that each boy has the best preparation for this next step in his education.

School traditions

Uniform

House name and Colours[8]
Bradbys – Purple and White (DJE)   
Druries – Red and Black (BTM)   
Elmfield – Purple and Black (AJC)   
Gayton – (over-spill house) (NSK)
The Grove – Red and Blue (CST)   
The Headmaster's – Pink and White (CTP)   
The Knoll – Gold and Black (CO)   
Lyon's – Green and Black (NJM)   
Moretons – White and Blue (RSMJ)   
Newlands – Yellow and White (EWH)   
The Park – Red and White (BJDS)   
Rendalls – Magenta and Silver (SNT)   
West Acre – Red, White and Blue (HAH)    

Everyday dress for boys at Harrow consists of a dark blue jacket known as a "bluer" with light grey trousers known as '"greyers". With these are worn a white shirt, black tie, black shoes and an optional blue jumper (sweater). Boys also wear a Harrow hat, a straw hat with a dark blue band similar to a boater, but shallower in crown and broader in brim. The School blue and white woollen scarf and dark blue woollen overcoat may be worn in cold weather. Variations include boys who are monitors who are allowed to wear a jumper of their choice of colour, and members of certain societies who may earn the right to replace the standard school tie with one of a variety of scarves, cravats, neck and bow ties.[17]

Sunday dress, which is worn every Sunday up to lunch and on special occasions such as Speech Day and songs, consists of a black tailcoat, a black single breasted waistcoat and striped trousers, worn with a white shirt and black tie. Boys with sports colours may wear a grey double breasted waistcoat; members of the Guild (a society for boys who have achieved distinction in art, music or drama) may wear maroon double breasted waistcoats with maroon bowties; members of the Philathletic Club (a society for boys with achievements in sport) may wear black bowties alongside grey double breasted waistcoats. School monitors (prefects) may wear black double breasted waistcoats, a top hat and carry canes.

School houses

Harrow School divides its pupils, who are all boarders, into twelve Houses, each of about seventy boys, with a thirteenth house, Gayton, used as an overflow. Each House has its own facilities, customs and traditions, and each competes in sporting events against the others.

Until the 1950s there existed what were known as 'small houses' where only 5–10 boys stayed at one time while they waited for a space in a large house to become available (hence the use of the term large house in this article). A twelfth large house, Lyon's, was built in 2010.[8]

House Masters, Assistant House Masters and their families live in the boarding Houses and are assisted by House Tutors appointed from the teaching staff. The House Master oversees the welfare of every boy in his care; for parents he is the main point of contact with the School.[8]

Each House has a resident matron and sick room. The matrons are supported by the School's Medical Centre where trained nursing staff offer round the clock care. The medical centre is under the direct supervision of the school doctor who is available on the Hill every day for consultation.[8]

There are no dormitories: a boy shares his room for the first three to six terms and thereafter has a room to himself.[8]

Harrow Songs

House name and Colours[8]
Bradbys – Purple and White (DJE)   
Druries – Red and Black (BTM)   
Elmfield – Purple and Black (AJC)   
Gayton – (over-spill house) (NSK)
The Grove – Red and Blue (CST)   
The Headmaster's – Pink and White (CTP)   
The Knoll – Gold and Black (CO)   
Lyon's – Green and Black (NJM)   
Moretons – White and Blue (RSMJ)   
Newlands – Yellow and White (EWH)   
The Park – Red and White (BJDS)   
Rendalls – Magenta and Silver (SNT)   
West Acre – Red, White and Blue (HAH)    

The School has a book of songs, of which the best known is Forty Years On. In the 19th century, most schools had a school song, usually in Latin, which they sang at the beginning and end of term. Harrow had a master, Edward Bowen, who was a poet and a music teacher, and John Farmer, who was a composer. Between 1870 and 1885, these two wrote a number of songs about school life. The inspiring, wistful, amusing and thought-provoking words and the attractive tunes, made the songs very popular.[citation needed] Successors to Bowen and Farmer have added to the collection. The Songs are sung in House and School concerts several times a term. Winston Churchill was a great lover of Harrow Songs and when he returned for a concert as Prime Minister in 1940, it was the first of many annual visits. Churchill Songs is still celebrated in Speech Room each year, and every five years at the Royal Albert Hall.

Sport

Football team of 1867
Cricket team of 1868
Football match at the School footer field, painted by Thomas M. Henry
Tennis courts include acrylic, hard and synthetic lawn surfaces

The sport squash (originally called 'Squasher') was invented in Harrow out of the game rackets around 1830.[18][19][20] It spread to other schools, eventually becoming an international sport.

An annual cricket match has taken place between Harrow and Eton College at Lord's Cricket Ground since 1805. It is considered to be the longest-running cricket fixture in the world[21] and is the oldest fixture at Lord's (see: Eton v Harrow). Eton won the match in 2013, and Harrow in 2014 and 2015.

Harrow has its own unique style of football called Harrow Football.[22]

Fagging

As in most boarding schools, for many years there was a system of 'fagging' whereby younger boys carried out duties for the seniors. At Harrow this was phased out in the 1970s and completely banned by 1990.[11] In his detailed history of the school, Tyerman recorded that in 1796 fagging was compulsory for boys up to the fourth form, and that 50 out of 139 boys were then fags. In 1928, Harrow Master, C.H.P. Mayo said of fagging: "Those who hope to rule must first learn to obey... to learn to obey as a fag is part of the routine that is the essence of the English Public School system... the wonder of other countries".[11] Up until the First World War, most Harrow families would have had servants - in many cases this would have continued until WWII.[citation needed]

Media coverage

Harrow was featured in a Sky 1 documentary series entitled Harrow: A Very British School in 2013.

In February 2016, the actor Laurence Fox claimed Harrow threatened legal action to prevent him discussing the racism, homophobia and bullying he allegedly encountered as a pupil at the school.[23]

Old Harrovians

Main article: List of Old Harrovians

A modern view from the library to the Old Schools, one of the sets of the Harry Potter films
A modern view from the library to the Old Schools, one of the sets of the Harry Potter films

Harrow alumni are known as Old Harrovians, they include seven former British prime ministers such as Winston Churchill, Stanley Baldwin and Robert Peel and the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. Twenty Old Harrovians have been awarded the Victoria Cross and one the George Cross.[24]

The School has educated five monarchs: King Hussein of Jordan, both Kings of Iraq, Ghazi I and his son Faisal II, the current Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Ali bin Hamud of Zanzibar.[citation needed]

Harrow is one of the few schools in the UK to have educated several Nobel laureates: John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1904; John Galsworthy, winner of the 1932 Nobel Prize in Literature; and Winston Churchill, who also received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953.

Future Indian prime minister Nehru in Harrow cadet uniform.
Future Indian prime minister Nehru in Harrow cadet uniform.

Other alumni include writers Lord Byron, Anthony Trollope, Sir Terence Rattigan, Simon Sebag-Montefiore, and Richard Curtis, the 6th Duke of Westminster and prominent reformist Lord Shaftesbury, military commanders such as Earl Alexander of Tunis and Sir Peter de la Billiere, and business people (including DeBeers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer, Pret a Manger founder Julian Metcalfe) and the big game hunter and artist General Douglas Hamilton, as well as Island Records founder Chris Blackwell. In sports, the school produced the first two Wimbledon champions (Spencer Gore and Frank Hadow) as well as FA Cup founder C.W. Alcock and current England rugby international players Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje. Alumni in the arts and media industry include actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Cary Elwes, photographer Count Nikolai von Bismarck, singer James Blunt, pianist James Rhodes, and horse racing pundit John McCririck. Margaret Thatcher sent her son, Mark, to Harrow.

Fictional characters who have attended Harrow include Brett Sinclair of the TV series The Persuaders!, Withnail and Uncle Monty from the film Withnail & I,[citation needed] Herbert Pocket from Charles Dickens's novel, Great Expectations,[citation needed] and Geoffrey Charles Poldark from Poldark.[citation needed]

Notable staff

Caricature of the Rev. Joseph Wood DD, Headmaster at Harrow (1898–1910) by George Algernon Fothergill ("GAF")Caption reads: "Harrow"
Caricature of the Rev. Joseph Wood DD, Headmaster at Harrow (1898–1910) by George Algernon Fothergill ("GAF")
Caption reads: "Harrow"

Directors of Music

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (March 2021)

Head masters

See also

References

  1. ^ Wells, John C. (2008), Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.), Longman, p. 368, ISBN 9781405881180
  2. ^ "Harrow school threatens to drop A-levels". The Guardian. London. 31 October 2006. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  3. ^ Reporters, Telegraph (24 May 2019). "The world's most exclusive boarding schools". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  4. ^ "The world's most elite boarding schools". Archived from the original on 24 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Top Ten of the UK's Best Private Schools".
  6. ^ "The Best Boarding Schools in the World | World Schools". 2 August 2020.
  7. ^ Kong, Tatler Hong (22 July 2020). "10 Outstanding British Public Schools To Consider". Tatler Hong Kong.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Houses". Harrow School. Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  9. ^ Rae, John (18 April 2009). "The Old Boys' Network". The Spectator. London. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
  10. ^ a b Cockburn, J. S.; King, H. P. F.; McDonnell, K. G. T., eds. (1969). "Schools: Harrow School". A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 1, Physique, Archaeology, Domesday, Ecclesiastical Organization, the Jews, Religious Houses, Education of Working Classes To 1870, Private Education From Sixteenth Century. London: Victoria County History. pp. 299–302 – via British History Online.
  11. ^ a b c d e Tyerman, Christopher (2000). A History of Harrow School. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-822796-5.: 8–11 
  12. ^ Harrow School. Edward Arnold, London. 1898. p. 29. Retrieved 5 December 2009. harrow school page family.
  13. ^ Historic England (9 July 1968). "SPEECH ROOM (HARROW SCHOOL), Harrow (1193321)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  14. ^ Halpin, Tony (10 November 2005). "Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees". The Times. London. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  15. ^ "OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement". Office of Fair Trading (archived on nationalarchives.org.uk). 21 December 2006. Archived from the original on 2 April 2014.
  16. ^ "Private schools send papers to fee-fixing inquiry". The Daily Telegraph. London. 3 January 2004. Retrieved 15 March 2010.
  17. ^ "Harrow Terminology". Tradition. Harrow School. Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
  18. ^ "History of squash". squashplayer.co.uk. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  19. ^ "History". worldsquash.org.uk. Archived from the original on 10 November 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  20. ^ "History of squash". talksquash.co.uk. Archived from the original on 29 September 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  21. ^ "The oldest fixture of them all". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  22. ^ "Harrow Football: The Game". Tradition. Harrow School. Archived from the original on 17 February 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
  23. ^ Leon Watson (23 February 2016). "Laurence Fox: Harrow tried to silence me over racism, homophobia and bullying". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  24. ^ "History of the School". Harrow School. Archived from the original on 20 September 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  25. ^ Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed & Official Classes, Vol. 38 (Kelly's Directories, 1912), p. 1,838

Further reading

Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Harrow School.