Harrow School /ˈhæroʊ/ is an independent boarding school for boys in Harrow, London, England. The School was founded in 1572 by John Lyon under a Royal Charter of Elizabeth I, and is one of the original seven public schools that were regulated by the Public Schools Act 1868. Harrow charges up to £12,850 per term, with three terms per academic year (2017/18). Harrow is the fourth most expensive boarding school in the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.
The school has an enrolment of 821 boys all of whom board full-time, in twelve boarding houses. It remains one of four all-boys, full-boarding schools in Britain, the others being Eton College, Radley College and Winchester College. Shrewsbury, Charterhouse, Rugby and Westminster have since become co-educational. Harrow's uniform includes straw hats, morning suits, top hats and canes. Its alumni include eight former British or Indian Prime Ministers (including Peel, Palmerston, Baldwin, Churchill and Nehru), foreign politicians, former and current members of both houses of the U.K. Parliament, five kings and several other members of various royal families, three Nobel Prize winners, twenty Victoria Cross and one George Cross holders, and many figures in the arts and sciences.
Latin: Stet Fortuna Domus|
("Let the Fortune of the House Stand")
Latin: Donorum Dei Dispensatio Fidelis
("The Faithful Dispensation of the Gifts of God")
|Established||1572 (Royal Charter)|
|Chairman of the Governors||J P Batting|
|Founder||John Lyon of Preston|
Harrow on the Hill|
London Borough of Harrow
|DfE URN||102245 Tables|
|Colours||Blue & white|
|Former pupils||Old Harrovians|
the Harrow Lion|
the Silver Arrow
The school was founded in February 1572 under a Royal Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I to John Lyon, a wealthy local farmer. 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. Evidence for earlier schools, possibly connected with the chantry of St Mary (established in 1324), is weak. 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.
Lyon died in 1592, leaving his assets to two causes: the lesser was the School, and by far the greater beneficiary was the maintenance of a road to London, 10 miles (16 km) away. The school owned and maintained this road for many years following Lyon's death, and the whole school still runs along this 10-mile road in an event called "Long Ducker" every November, whilst some 6th formers opt to do 20 miles – to and from the Albert Memorial in London.
It was only after the death of Lyon's wife in 1608 that the construction of the first school building began. It was completed in 1615 and remains to this day, however it is now much larger. At first the primary subject taught was Latin, and the only sport was archery. Both subjects were compulsory; archery was dropped in 1771.
Although most boys were taught for free, their tuition paid for by Lyon's endowment, there were a number of fee-paying "foreigners" (boys from outside the parish). It was their presence that amplified the need for boarding facilities. By 1701 for every local there were two "foreign" pupils; these generated funds for the School as fees increased. By 1876 the ratio was so high that John Lyon Lower School was brought under the authority of the governors of the Upper School so that the School complied with its object of providing education for the boys of the parish. It is now known as The John Lyon School and is a prominent independent school. It maintains close links with Harrow. The majority of the school's boarding houses were constructed in Victorian times, when the number of boys increased dramatically. Between 1872 and 1877, a Speech Room was constructed to the designs of William Burges. The structure is a Grade II* listed building.
The 20th century saw the innovation of a central dining hall, the demolition of small houses and further modernisation of the curriculum. Currently there are about 850 boys boarding at Harrow.
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. 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. 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).
Harrow has expanded overseas, opening additional schools in Beijing, China (Harrow International School Beijing); Shanghai, China (Harrow International School Shanghai), Bangkok, Thailand (Harrow International School, Bangkok); and New Territories, Hong Kong (Harrow International School Hong Kong).
Boys at Harrow have two uniforms.
Everyday dress, worn to most lessons, consists of a white shirt, black silk tie, light grey trousers known as "greyers", black shoes, an optional blue jumper (sweater), a dark blue woollen uniform jacket known as a "bluer", the option of the School blue and white scarf and dark blue woollen overcoat similar to the bluer on cold days and the Harrow Hat, often erroneously called a boater, made of varnished straw with a dark blue band. Variations include boys who are monitors who are allowed to wear a jumper of their choice, 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.
Sunday dress, which is worn every Sunday up to lunch and on special occasions such as Speech Day and songs, consists of black tailcoats, morning trousers, a white shirt, a black tie, and a black single breasted waistcoat. Boys with sports colours may wear a grey double breasted waistcoat; members of the Guild may wear maroon double breasted waistcoats with maroon bowties; members of the Philathletic Club may wear black bowties alongside grey double breasted waistcoats; school monitors may wear black double breasted waistcoats, a top hat and carry canes.
The Harrow uniform achieved fame in the mid-20th century when a 1937 photograph of two Harrovians in formal dress wear being watched by three working class boys was taken outside Lord's Cricket Ground. The photograph was placed on the front cover of the News Chronicle (now absorbed into the Daily Mail) the next morning under the tagline "Every picture tells a story". The picture was soon reproduced in other national publications and became, and remains, one of the most popular symbols of the class divide in the United Kingdom.
Harrow has been instrumental in the development of a number of sports.
The sport squash (originally called 'Squasher') was invented in Harrow out of the older game rackets around 1830 before the game 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 and is the oldest fixture at Lord's (see: Eton v Harrow). Eton won the match in 2013, and Harrow in 2014 and 2015.
|House name and Colours|
|Bradbys – Purple and White (DJE)|
|Druries – Red and Black (MJMR)|
|Elmfield – Purple and Black (AJC)|
|Gayton – (over-spill house) (NSK)|
|The Grove – Red and Blue (CST)|
|The Headmaster's – Pink and White (SAH)|
|The Knoll – Gold and Black (CO)|
|Lyon's – Green and Black (NJM)|
|Moretons – White and Blue (PJE)|
|Newlands – Yellow and White (EWH)|
|The Park – Red and White (BJDS)|
|Rendalls – Magenta and Silver (SNT)|
|West Acre – Red, White and Blue (JLR)|
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.
House Masters, Deputy House Masters and their families live in the boarding Houses and are assisted by House Tutors appointed from the teaching staff. Every House has a residential House Tutor, who may or may not also be the Deputy House Master. The House Master oversees the welfare of every boy in his care; for parents he is the main point of contact with the School.
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.
There are no dormitories: a boy shares his room for the first three to six terms and thereafter has a room to himself.
Harrow was featured in a Sky 1 documentary series entitled Harrow: A Very British School in 2013.
Harrow alumni are known as Old Harrovians, they include seven former British Prime Ministers including Winston Churchill 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.
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.
Other alumni include writers Lord Byron, Sir Terence Rattigan, Simon Sebag-Montefiore, and Richard Curtis, the 6th Duke of Westminster and the prominent reformist Lord Shaftesbury 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, singer James Blunt and horse racing pundit John McCririck.
Fictional characters who have attented Harrow include Brett Sinclair of The Persuaders!, and Mr. Pocket from Charles Dickens's book, Great Expectations. Margaret Thatcher sent her son, Mark, to Harrow.