School History

Updated March 2017


[In 1709, Henry James Brydges (1674-1747), son of Baron Chandos of Sudeley, bought the manor of Little Stanmore i.e. the east of Marsh Lane, a portion of Great Stanmore and 'Cannons', a palacial mansion house (its modest successor is now home to part of the prestigious North London Collegiate) which, by 1720, dominated the area.  The pillars of the main entrance gates of the surrounding parkland still stand in Stonegrove (in 2005).  The title of the (first) Duke of Chandos was bestowed on James B. in 1719.  (Stanmore Past by Eileen M Bowlt.)  The picture of The first Duke and his family was painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller in 1713.]

The three seaxes in the school crest, short, notched swords - weapons carried by Anglo-Saxon warriors - were incorporated directly from the Middlesex County coat-of-arms - reminding us that although the English may have been busying themselves with farming, they considered themselves, at heart, fighters.

The Boys' School motto, 'Learn to Live', was an inspired choice intended to promote and guide the development of the future clerical and craft-folk of middle-England.  It wouldn’t have held quite the same relevance in latin - as, rather ingeniously, it could also be construed: Learn - to live.

Parts of the following brief history are plagiarized from 'A Scrapbook' produced for the 60th Anniversary of the school (published September 17th 1999).

Also, meander through Park High's 50thAnniversary archive for some fascinating recollections of Chandos.

1930s - Stanmore Thistlecroft Gardens (proposed Council School). … no further info.

1936 - Stanmore, Chandos Council School. … no further info.

1939 - Segregated Senior Schools, each with accommodation for 520 pupils, were built by John Laing and Co.

29 August 1939 - Ceremonial school-opening.  Staffing for both new schools was on 'supply' from other schools in the area. - Anthony Stuart.  The Girls' School started with nine teachers - Sheila Brook.

3 September 1939 - Chamberlain (PM) declared war on Germany.

4 September - it was announced: "all schools should be closed until further notice".

11 September - most schools in the area, were operational again.

Richard Jackson was one of the pupils who was, albeit briefly, evacuated.  At nights, staff were co-opted to firewatch in three shifts.  Air-raid shelters were dug ('on the far side of the upper playground' - according to Keith Tugwell and Joan Claye) 'five or six steps below ground level' - Irene Grimley - and covered with concrete.  'Local residents who did not have their own shelter were allowed to stay in the school during air raids' - Mrs Courtney.  Strips of land between the shelters were cultivated for growing vegetables. - WA John.

Naturally much schooling was lost during this period.  When the school was commandeered by the RAF, pupils had to share St Josephs, Wealdstone with incumbent pupils. - Wyn Mathieson.

1944 - during flying-bomb attacks, thirteen-year-old Harold Dummer and his class-mates (and also Mrs S Gaylor) decanted, with slate and chalk, to sit back-to-back in the shelters.  Also thirteen, Kathleen Goshawk, thought it was all rather exciting and she didn't mind a bit as little work could be done in the shelters.

1945 - to support the war effort, schools collected surplus books.  Harold Dummer, who managed to collect over a thousand books for the Book Recovery Brigade, and those of his fellow pupils who also made a substantial contribution, were commended for their efforts at a ceremony at Harrow County School.

1945-47 - Air-raid defences at the school were dismantled. - Peter Brittain.  The Chandos Youth Club was active.

Post-war air quality tended to the chronic - Chandos Secondary Modern (and Roxeth Manor) was designated an air pollution monitoring station.  Results from measurements of smoke and sulphur dioxide, taken from above the lower playground, are cited in The British Journal of Preventative and Social Medicine 1969, page 78.

1947 - A long association with Muir Mathieson and the London Symphony Orchestra was started when girls attended a special daytime concert for Harrow schools at the Granada, Harrow. - Girls' School Magazine 1948.  'Peter and The Wolf', providing an introduction to every instrument of the orchestra, frequently featured.

A first ever fourth form was run, comprising 16 girls. - Barbara Golding, Joyce Cutmore, Girls' School Magazine 1948.

1948 - The school plays host to the Swedish Olympic Team - as a surrogate hotel. - Mike Dickson.
Chandos, offering a capacity of 120, was one of 25 Olympic Housing Centres around London.

Temporary huts were built (presumably covering the air-raid shelters).  They were not demolished until '95 … a mere 47 years later!

Small gardens were allotted to girls that wanted them.  "My friend, Rita Granger, and I grew a miniature lawn and vegetable patch where we grew radishes, celery and lettuce.  We would then bring slices of bread, pull up radishes, lettuce and wash sticks of celery at the water fountain, then sit on the small patch of grass and eat our sandwiches - much to the amusement of the others all gathered around to watch." - Sheila Bush ('45-'50).

1948-62ish - camping trips to St Mary's Bay Holiday Camp, New Romney (Dymchurch), Kent - organised by Middlesex Education Committee. "We stayed in Nissen huts without any hot water.  I remember our inauspicious first meal - it comprised spam served with cold mashed potato". - Terry Mason.

1950 - some Chandos pupils, presumably those whose travel arrangements were suited, transferred to the newly-built Blackwell Secondary School in Headstone Lane under the stewardship of Herbert ("Bert") Keen Olphin BA.

1951 - to lift spirits in those dark days following WW II, a Festival of Britain was held to celebrate Britain's achievements.  At Chandos one of the events was to build a garden in the quadrangle.  In the centre was a large pond.  On the low wall at the end there is still a metal plaque to commemorate this and there is a photograph in the archives of the proud boys and staff who built it.

1953 - existing buildings were unable to accommodate the increase in population of the school's catchment area - one class of first-year boys even had to be peripatetic. - Allan Cox.  An extension to the building was costed at £48,305. - Electrical Times, Volume 124, page 361.

1954 - the 'Park Block' was built (again segregated).  The building hosted mainly practical activities - girls practiced needlework in their three-storey half while the four-storey boys' half housed a drawing office and, in the bottom floor (below playground-level), a metalwork shop complete with blacksmith's forge.

1957 - the Girls School advertise for two violin teachers, one to provide 21 hours tuition a week and the other to provide 2 hours tuition. - The Musical Times.

1958 - the Boys' School ran its first sixth form comprising six pupils. - Allan Cox.

1959 - as a result of the 'Baby Boom', annual intakes were substantial - the Boys' School alone had five classes - each comprised about 35 pupils.

1961 - Wealdstone Odeon's redundant Compton Organ (two-manual plus a foot-manual, five-rank, 'jelly-mould' console) was bought from the Rank Organisation, dismantled and transported to Chandos.  The two-year project to reassemble it (under the stage of the lower hall) and recommission it, was undertaken by boys guided mainly by Science Master, Leslie Budd, and Art Teacher & Band Master, Brian Harrison.

(I can still see minuscule music-master 'Cornick' perched on the bench, marvelling at him poking-away at the foot-manual with his short legs and wondering how long it would be before he fell-off. - C.P.)

The organ was sold in 1978 and reassembled at 'Sapcote'.

1964 - 500 boys and 490 girls attended the schools. - The Education Committees' Year Book.

1965 - "Miss Renee Grimley outlined the hurdles met in programming three years of compulsory instrumental instruction for every child at Chandos Girls'." - The Musical Times, Volume 106, Page 119.

1967 - 6 November - a black day for both Chandos and Downer.  Two young, teenage girls are killed when the car, in which they were passengers, was involved in a head-on collision and overturns.  Harrow Observer report from Lennie Bradshaw (Downer Grammar).  Staff at Downer, who were familiar with one of the drivers, had already formed the view that his behaviour was that of an irresponsible tearaway.

In addition to the two fatalities, passenger and Chandos pupil Roberta Artis, daughter of a lead violinist at the Royal Philharmonic, was left permanently deaf.  Altogether a thoroughly tragic legacy of an evening's fun.

Legislation making seat-belt wearing compulsory wasn't introduced until January 1983.

1969 - A Youth Club was re-established at the school.  Several pupils from Downer Grammar attended.

420 boys and 390 girls attended the schools - The Education Authorities Directory and Annual for 1969.

1970 - The Girls School advertise: "Required as soon as possible, a suitably qualified string teacher (violin and viola) to take 4 hours of class teaching on Tuesday afternoons." - The Musical Times, Volume 111.

1971 - 470 boys attended - The Education Authorities Directory and Annual, Volume 69.

1974 - Comprehensive Education was introduced across the whole of Harrow in September 1974.
"I was elected to the Council in 1971 as part of a parental backlash against the old grammar school and secondary modern system which was forcing quite a lot of children with reasonable abilities to go to the latter because there were inadequate spaces in the former.  I was Chair of the Governors of Downer, Camrose and Chandos at the ripe old age of 23." - David Brough, (Head Boy at Downer Grammar 1965/66).

The two Chandos schools were amalgamated into co-educational 'Park High'.

Girls Houses:
Brockley (green), Canons (blue), Stanmore (red), Whitchurch (white).

Boys Houses:
'40s - St's George, Andrew, Patrick and David - Peter Brittain (now living in SA)
'50s and '60s - Cheshire (blue), Fleming (red), Hillary (yellow), Whittle (green). - Charles Drakeford ('59-'65)