Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Harrow School is a British public school, located in Harrow on the Hill , in North West London. It was founded in 1572 under a Royal Charter granted by Elizabeth I to John Lyon , a local yeoman, for the provision of education to local boys (Lyon was particular about keeping Harrow single-sex, a tradition that is still maintained). Harrow currently has approximately 800 pupils spread across 11 houses, all of whom board full-time. The majority of boarding houses were constructed in Victorian times, when the number of boys increased dramatically and the school began to resemble something similar to the current institution in terms of size and uniform.
In keeping with the wishes of the founder, Harrow founded John Lyon School in the 1870s in order to provide education for local boys.
Harrow also has a purpose-built feed school Orley Farm School, which was founded twenty years earlier, in 1850.
Harrow has a rich heritage of tradition, which manifests itself in a variety of ways. The most well-known public example is probably the Harrow hat, which resembles a boater in materials and shape. This hat is worn to all lessons. Weekday dress consists of a white shirt, black tie, grey trousers, blue jumper and a bluer (see Harrow Slang below). Sunday dress consists of a black evening tailcoat, pinstriped trousers, a black waistcoat, black tie and a white shirt. Variations include a grey waistcoat for those in the top sports teams, a hat with black speckles for boys in the top cricket team, and various society ties worn to meetings of the respective societies (The Guild, Philatheletic Club and Monitors all have their own uniform variations discussed in their separate sections).
One of the most distinctive Harrow traditions is the singing of School Songs. In the vein of the Eton Boating Song, many were written by teachers (commonly called 'beaks') about Harrow life in general in the latter half of the 19th Century. The School celebrates Songs once or twice a term, and Songs are sung with a similar frequency on a house level. The most famous is Forty Years On, which has become something of a catchphrase, and the title of a play by Alan Bennett. Many of the most popular songs were written by John Farmer and Edward Bowen. Indeed, it was they who first started the tradition.
New songs are occasionally written, although some feel that nostalgia cannot be ready-made and that "the old ones are the best ones"! The most recent addition to the collection is 'The Vaughan' by the current Master in Charge of Music, Richard Walker, and the lyrics by Tom Wickson. It describes the school library, recently refurbished, and the many pleasures that may be found there. However, many have criticised it for being too modern, and it was received with hissing at a recent Songs.
Harrow has two major sporting traditions, the first being Harrow Football. It is played with a large leather ball, used to score bases (goals) and is something of a cross between rugby and football. Tackling can be violent, as there are no restrictions as in rugby. As a result, injuries often occur, despite the game being played on the muddiest and softest pitches, and games kit often ends up dirty and torn. As no other schools play this unique game there are fiercely contended inter-house competitions and teams of Old Harrovians often return to play a school team.
The second tradition is the annual Eton versus Harrow cricket match played at Lords, and celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2005. It has more often been won by Eton in recent years.
Harrow is also acknowledged by most historians as the inventor of the indoor racket sport Squash, in the mid-nineteenth century. The game is derived from the older game Rackets, which some assert was codified at Harrow in the early nineteenth century. The first recorded squash courts were constructed at Harrow in 1864.
As with many boarding schools, Harrow has a large number of societies, most of which are run by the boys. They include:
- The Archives
- Biology Society
- Bridge Club
- Canoe Club
- Circus Skills
- Classic Film Society (not classical)
- Comedy Society
- Debating Society
- Duke of Edinburgh's Award
- Film Society
- Flambards & Bible Studies
- Gore Society (Theology)
- Jewish Society
- Marmots (Climbing / Mountaineering)
- Nehru Society (Indian Culture)
- Old Speech Room Gallery Art Society
- Photography Society
- Rattigan Society (Drama)
- Sixth Form Club (Social)
- Sub Aqua Society
- Ten Miles To London (Creative writing to go into a school magazine once a year)
- Universal Challenge (Inter-House version of the TV show University Challenge)
- Wine Tasting (Sixth Form)
- Young Enterprise
There are many more. Indeed, every aspect of academic life has a society devoted to it - from the Alexander Society for military history to the Oriental Languages Society. Each society has its own signature tie for consistent members.
Monitors are chosen from boys who are deemed to have the best qualities in leadership and achievement. They have the power to give lines and other such punishments to boys who misdemean. Each house has at least one monitor, who is made "Head of House" (the most senior boy in house). On a school-wide level the best monitor is made "Head Boy" and a deputy is appointed to assist. Monitors wear top hats and carry black canes when in Sunday dress and wear a blue tie bearing the school crest. This crest is also printed on the bands of their hats. The head may wear a white bowtie and white waistcoats when in Sunday dress.
This is a small group of selected boys in the top year, deemed to be leaders in artistic and cultural fields within the school, whose role is to promote music, art, drama, and other such activities. It is a highly prestigious position. Guild members may wear a maroon waistcoat when in Sunday dress or a maroon tie with rampant lions when in everyday uniform.
The Philathletic Club
This is akin to the guild, but its members are all players in the top sports teams in the school. It is their job to promote the sport side of Harrow life. Again membership is an honour, and in many boys eyes, more so than being in the Guild. Their privileges include wearing a black bow tie instead of the usual black school tie, and giving punishments to teachers who misbehave in sports matches, though this power is rarely used seriously.
Below are a few examples of vocabulary used by Harrovians today:
- Beak - Master (often named by their initals only i.e. the Head Master is BJL)
- Flicks - Lights out (only used in some houses)
- Ducker - Swimming pool
- Reader - House library
- Yarder - Small play area in each house
- Bluer - Blue jacket worn by Harrovians
- Greyers - Grey flannel trousers
- Eccer - Games
- Double - Writing lines as a punishment done on special "double" paper.
- Chit - A note, depending on its colour may be good or bad
- Fez - A cap for sport
- Tolly up, Extension - Permission to stay up late to work
- Custos - The caretaker
- Tosh - Bathroom or showeroom
- Bill, Call Over - morning or evening registration in houses
- Existing Customs - The school rule book
- Bill Book - A small, blue book published each term containing a list of boys and masters as well as other useful information
This differs from slang in that it describes official activities. It is divided into two main groups - timetabling and year groups.
The everyday timetable at Harrow may at first seem illogical. From morning to evening, the lessons are denominated as follows:
2a 2b 2c 2d 2e 3 4 5
The reason for this is that originally there was early morning school (1A and 1B) before breakfast, and so morning lessons were '2'. 3, 4 and 5 were later additions to the timetable and are in the afternoon. Period 5 is also known as 'X' as only boys in the first two years at the school have it.
The first year at Harrow is for 13-year-olds going on 14. It is called the Shell and is equivalent to Year 9 in the State system. After that there is the Remove and the Fifth Form, or V2s (five-two's). The two years after that are the Sixth Form, which is made up of the Lower Sixth or VI3s, and the Upper Sixth or VI2s. Once there were also VI1s and these were pupils who stayed on to study for Oxbridge.
Sports teams are organised according to year. The Shells are known as Yearlings in both House and School competitions. The Removes are known as the Junior Colts in School competitions, and the Fifth Form are the Colts. For House matches these two years combine to form the Torpids, and the Torpids seconds team is the Shags. School matches in the Sixth Form are called the Sixth Form Game and in House, they are simply the House and House Seconders teams.
There are 11 boarding houses in Harrow, each with its own house master, resident tutor, tutor team and matron. Each house also has its own colours. A single house will hold around 70 boys. Below is a list of houses together with housemasters and colours:
West Acre - Mr M. E. Smith, Red, White and Blue
Newlands - Mr R. D. Burden, Yellow and White
Bradbys - Mr P. G. Dunbar, Purple and White
The Park - Mr P. D. Hunter, Red and White
Moretons - Mr S. P. Berry, Blue and White
Druries - Mr D. R. Ellery, Red and Black
The Headmasters - Mr W. J. McKinney, Pink and White
The Grove - Mr P. J. Bienemann, Red and Blue
The Knoll - Mr C.J. Farrar-Bell, Yellow and Black
Rendalls - Mr K. M. Wilding, Magenta and Silver
Elmfield - Dr J. E. Holland, Purple and Black
In addition to these there is also Gayton House. Boys may move here, for up to a term, if their house is over full. Its housemaster is Mr Wilson, but boys retain allegiance to their own house while there.
- Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis
- Stanley Baldwin
- George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron
- Winston Churchill
- Marmaduke Pickthall, renowned Islamic and Middle-Eastern scholar
- Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury
- John Harington Gubbins
- Patrick Lichfield
- Jawaharlal Nehru
- Sandy Wilson
- William Fox Talbot
- Spencer Percival
- Sir Arthur Evans
- Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
- Richard Brinsley Sheridan
- Terence Rattigan
- Faisal II of Iraq
- Victor Rothschild, 3rd Baron Rothschild
- Robert Peel
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