Harrow County School for Boys


The School Film

By Alex Bateman

In the photograph, left to right: Hugh Skillen, Jim Broadrib, Geoff Lambert. 

With Harrow County School approaching its 50th Anniversary in 1961, the suggestion was put forward that a film record be made of the more important events of the Golden Jubilee Year, to supplement the Jubilee Book that was to be produced. Dr. Simpson, the Headmaster, put this proposal to Major Hugh Skillen, one of the Masters and something of a film maker, to which he readily agreed. He had already shot a number of things for his own interest over the preceding six years, and combined, they made up the film, 'Highlights of the Golden Jubilee Year'.

This was first shown in January 1961, the occasion of the School's 50th birthday. The interest shown by parents encouraged Major Skillen to seek further advice from two H.M. Schools Inspectors, who in turn suggested dividing the film into various sections, and to add more footage of some of the Greek or Latin classes to balance the rather scientific bias of the laboratory and workshop scenes.

On March 1st 1962, the first two of these films were shown to the Governors, Staff, Old Boys and representatives of the Parents Union at the Kodak Works Recreation Building in Wealdstone, accompanied by a lavish buffet supper. Later that month, three films, 'The School Day', 'Remembrance Day', and Speech Day' were shown at the Ministry of Education.

To complete the project, the record of a Grammar School, a further 3000ft of Maj. Skillen's own film of the Cadet Force, and overseas trips was included. The whole thing was helped greatly by Mr Ernest Amor, Managing Director of the Kodak Harrow Factory, and a former Old Boy of the School. In addition to providing some of the latest cine film, he also helped with titles, and further copies of the finished article.

The completed film, 'Makers of Men' consisted of the following eight parts:-

  1. The School Day
  2. "In Corpore Sano" – Sports
  3. Remembrance Day
  4. Music and Drama
  5. Continental Exchange Visits
  6. Speech Day
  7. Highlights of the Golden Jubilee Year
  8. The Combined Cadet Force

It was premiered in full for the first time at the National Liberal Club, Whitehall Place, London on January 11th 1963 (the Schools 52nd birthday). In later years, the film was shown to the parents of prospective new boys around November each year, and has since been shown in Lyons, Barcelona, and Stuttgart. Part has also found its way into the National Archive, after the Imperial War Museum in London requested a copy of the film of the CCF.

It is intended that the film will be available on VHS and possibly the NTSC system in the near future should there be sufficient interest.

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