The Archive Project
By Alex Bateman
(School and OGA Archivist)
From the day that Harrow County School opened in January 1911, material was collected for its archive. Indeed, only ten days later, the School magazine 'Gaytonian' was published for the first time, itself a record of School activities. Over the years the archive grew to included many items connected with every area of School life, as well as many of its distinguished Old Boys, of which there were many. This collection was usually in the care of a senior master.
After Harrow County changed to become Gayton High School in 1975, many of the longer serving members of staff left, and the archive fell in to something of a forlorn condition. Items were lost, or damaged beyond repair, until the worst happened in the mid 1990's. What remained was ravaged by fire, and many unique items, some from the earliest days, were lost for ever.
I was at the School between 1980 and 1984, becoming the Senior Cadet of the School in that time. In October 1999, I joined the 'Old Gaytonians Association', and immediately began writing up the history of the School's Cadet Unit. Realising that the archive was almost non existent, I offered to become archivist, and this was accepted at the start of 2000.
Throughout that first year, I set about gathering items to rebuild the archive, and this has now grown to a sizeable collection (January 2001). The material has come from three main sources, which are:-
There are, as can be imagined, many gaps remaining. This archive is your archive, for your school, and I appeal to you to help us rebuild it, and in turn, to help record the history of Harrow County School and Gayton High School.
If anyone reading this, former Pupil, Master or relative, has any item relating to the School, I would be very interested in hearing from you. If you would consider donating items, that would be preferable, but failing that, if you would allow me a copy of the item, I would still be very grateful, and it might help to fill an important gap in the collection.
I am collecting all items related to the school, no matter how mundane or insignificant they might seem. This includes photographs, uniforms and insignia, newspaper articles and documents, copies of the various School magazines, etc. At the moment, particular items I would like to trace are:-
I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is the Archive of interest to you?
Many former pupils and masters are featured in the archive, through sports reports, 'Cadet' and 'Enquiry' magazine, the drama material, photographs or 'Gaytonian', to name but a few items. Some of the more important pieces are:-
In addition, there are a large number of unclaimed exam certificates from the 1940's onwards, available to the rightful owner, as well as duplicate copies of 'Gaytonian' available for most years, limited copies of the 1932 'Book of Commemoration', 1961 'Golden Jubilee Book' and a good stock of the 1975 'Official History of Harrow County School' by Trevor May. These are available to anyone interested, but we ask that a small donation be made to help with the archive costs (a suggestion minimum donation of a pound per magazine, and five pounds per book). Many items remaining need to be re-bound, re-framed, copied, etc.
If you have any queries, please contact me at the above address, and I'll be happy to help if I can.
The Harrow School Archive Connection
From the earliest days, Harrow County relied on the local photographers, Hills and Saunders' for many of its photographs, the same studio used by our neighbours at the top of the Hill.
In the late 1990's, the Hills and Saunders archive was bought by Harrow School, after being notified of its precarious position by Mr Jim Golland, a former Master of both School's. The result turned out to be an astounding 80,000 glass plate negatives, showing not just scenes of the two School's, but various scenes of Harrow spanning the hundred years from the 1860's. The condition of the plates is quite frail.
At the time of writing, the Harrow School Archivist (Rita Gibbs) is trying to obtain backing and funding to conserve this collection, important both locally and nationally. If you feel you might be able to help in any way, even with written support, please contact her at the school, or on 020 8872 8370.
Within the collection, there are a number of group photographs of Harrow County School, from 1913 to 1946, Staff, Prefects, Sports, etc, and it is hoped that in time, copies will be available to us. The originals no longer survive and it will be our only chance to regain this vital collection. Please support this project if you can.