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Home Articles Things you may not know about Harrow’s most famous institution

Things you may not know about Harrow’s most famous institution

Covering a leafy 300 acre estate, Harrow School has been a feature of Harrow on The Hill since 1572 and is known for being the educational launch pad of many people of note, including celebrities and Prime Ministers.

While you may know a thing or two about this legendary institution, such a long and rich history means there’s always a thing or two to learn and, in this article, we’ll share a few things that you may not know about Harrow School.

 

Hats off

While strolling around Harrow on The Hill, you have no doubt seen Harrow School students on the street wearing their distinctive straw hats.  What you may not know is that each student is responsible for lacquering their own hats with varnish when joining the school.  In many cases, these unique hats are passed down from generation to generation and, today, some students wear hats which belonged to their fathers and grandfathers.


Right off the bat

Harrow School is thought by many to be the birthplace of the game, Squash. As far back as the early 1830s, a game known as ‘Rackets’ or ‘Mini Rackets’ was played at the school, whereby balls would be hit against wire covered windows, corbels and other parts of the school building.  Just to make the game even tougher, students would often puncture the ball, making it harder to reach its target.  Lord Dunedin, who attended Harrow from 1863, reported that the game was largely played in ‘The Corner’ which separates the school from the church precincts.  In fact, Lord Dunedin himself won the champion racket in 1867.  Sport is still a major feature at Harrow School and, the institution has some pretty impressive facilities including four squash courts and 12 tennis courts.

A focus on values

Harrow School and the surrounding areas are a treasure trove of plaques and statues.  Although you may have noticed this one, you might not know the story behind it.  Legend has it that, in the early 1800s, a Harrow student by the name of Anthony Ashley-Cooper was standing on Church Hill when he witnessed two drunk men transporting a coffin in the most disrespectful manner – even, on occasion, dropping it on the ground in their inebriation.  Horrified, the boy vowed that, when he grew up, he would do everything that he could to quash such behaviour – and, that’s just what he did.  That young Harrow schoolboy grew up to become the great philanthropist, Lord Shaftesbury.

Top of the food chain

We all know that it’s pretty expensive to attend Harrow School – £14,555 per term, to be precise but, what’s it like to be a student there?  While many former students talk about strict discipline and tough initiation ceremonies, it’s not all bad.  The menu for boarders at Harrow School reads like that of a posh hotel with numerous options for breakfast, lunch and dinner