Vol. CXXVIII No. 26 June 6, 2015 SPEECH DAY


Vol. CXXVIII No. 26 June 6, 2015 SPEECH DAY
Vol. CXXVIII No. 26
Speeches on Ambition, 23 May
In Ancient Greek:
Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, 584-599. Dita Jaja, Moretons
In English:
Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men. Louis Wilson, The Head Master’s
Edward Thomas, Ambition. Dan Shailer, Rendalls
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre. Marcus Harman, The Grove
Vera Brittain, Letter to Roland Leighton. Lucas Marsden-Smedley,
The Park
Sherwood Anderson, Tales of Ohio Small Town Life. Edward Bankes,
Shakespeare, Macbeth. Giles Malcolm, West Acre
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein. Callum Coghlan, The Knoll
Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark. Hugh Rowan, The Park
Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman. Edward McGovern, The Knoll
Peter Cooke, One Leg Too Few. James Lane, The Park, and
Louis Wilson, The Head Master’s
The theme chosen for Speeches 2015 was Ambition. In a
break from tradition, the ensemble began with an entertaining
miscellany of one-liners, which embraced the words of Marcus
Aurelius (‘A man’s worth is no greater than the worth of his
ambitions’), Salvador Dali (‘Intelligence without ambition
is a bird without wings’) and WH Auden (‘Routine, in an
intelligent man, is a sign of ambition’). Also referenced were
Oscar Wilde (‘Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the
true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know
more, and be more, and to do more’), Joseph Conrad (‘All
ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the
miseries or credulities of mankind’) and Friedrich Nietsche
(‘My ambition is to say in ten sentences what everyone else
says in a book – what everyone else does not say in a book’).
Interspersed were the thoughts of Steve Jobs (‘Those who are
crazy enough to think they can change the world usually do’),
Elvis Presley (‘Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine. Ain’t
nowhere else in the world where you can go from driving a
truck to cadillac overnight’) and Jeremy Clarkson (‘Ambition
is a very dangerous thing because either you achieve it and
your life ends prematurely, or you don’t, in which case your
life is a constant source of disappointment. You must never
have ambition’). The final words in this opening sequence were
left to Homer Simpson (‘Son, if you really want something in
June 6, 2015
this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They’re about to
announce the lottery numbers’) and Winston Churchill (‘He
who ascends to the mountaintops shall find the loftiest peaks
most wrapped with clouds and snow’).
Solo recitations followed. With impressive clarity, feeling
and assuredness, Dita Jaja delivered Creon’s speech in the
original Greek iambics from Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus.
Creon explains why he does not aspire to take on the trials
and tribulations of kingship. Louis Wilson paid tribute to Terry
Pratchett in an amusing excerpt from The Wee Free Men. The
characters of haughty Miss Tick and timorous young Tiffany
were skillfully drawn. The schoolmarm lectures her charge that
if she trusts in herself, believes in her dreams and follows her
star, she will still get beaten by people who spent their time
working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.
Dan Shailer gave a thoughtful rendition of Ambition by
Edward Thomas. A steam train passes through a valley on a
crisp March morning, carrying with it a motionless white bower
of purest cloud. As the cloud disperses, the poet contemplates
the evanescence of ambition: ‘But if this was ambition I cannot
tell. What ‘twas ambition for I know not well.’ Marcus Harman
sensitively captured the musings of Charlotte Brontë’s heroine,
Jane Eyre: ‘When our will strains after a path we may not
follow – we need neither starve from inanition, nor stand still
in despair: we have but to seek another nourishment for the
mind, as strong as the forbidden fruit it longed to taste – and
perhaps purer; and to hew out for the adventurous foot a road
as direct and broad as the one Fortune has blocked up against
us, if rougher than it.’
One hundred years ago to the day, on 23 May 1915, Vera
Brittain had written from Oxford to Roland Leighton in the
WW1 trenches. Lucas Marsden-Smedley read this poignant
and intimate letter. Brittain deplores the apparent complacency
of passers-by in The City of Dreaming Spires: ‘I can scarcely
bear to look at them and think that you and such as you are
enduring toil and weariness and risking death that they may
remain safe, and that your task is made all the harder & heavier
because the force of the Japanese umbrella refrains from
relinquishing it for a bayonet.’ The writer then explores the
nature of dreams and wishes they were prophetic, pondering
whether to confess the need of someone’s personal presence
is to confess a human weakness.
A young man’s rites of passage are discussed in Sherwood
Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio: A group of Tales of Ohio Small
Town Life. Edward Bankes neatly conveyed the author’s
sentiments. There is a time in the life of every boy when for
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the first time he takes the backward view of life. Perhaps that
is the moment when he crosses the line into manhood. The boy
is walking through the street of his town. He is thinking of the
future and of the figure he will cut in the world. Ambitions
and regrets awake within him. Suddenly something happens;
he stops under a tree and waits as for a voice calling his name.
‘If it were done when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well it were done
quickly.’ Giles Malcolm conveyed the intensity of this powerful
monologue from Macbeth (Act 1 Scene 7) as Shakespeare’s
tragic hero envisions the murder of King Duncan. ‘I have no
spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition,
which o’erleaps itself and falls on the other.’ Callum Coghlan
eloquently recited Frankenstein’s highly moving letter to Walton
from the final chapter of Mary Shelley’s great novel: ‘Seek
happiness in tranquillity and avoid ambition, even if it be only
the apparently innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science
and discoveries.’ Hugh Rowan then gave a robust and flamboyant
performance from Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark.
The Captain regales his crew with the five unmistakable marks
by which you may know, wheresoever you go, the warranted
genuine snarks (the fifth being ambition).
By contrast, Edward McGovern deftly conjured up the world
of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman articulates
his definition of professional and personal success through
an anecdote about his acquaintance with Dave Singleman,
a venerable paragon of salesmanship. At the age of eightyfour, he made his living. And when I saw that, I realized that
selling was the greatest career a man could want. “Cause what
could be more satisfying than to be able to go, at the age of
eight-four, into twenty or thirty different cities, and pick up a
phone, and be remembered and loved and helped by so many
different people?”
As a finale, Peter Cook’s sketch One Leg Too Few explored
the concept of blind ambition. Mr Spigott, a one-legged man,
arrives to audition for the role of Tarzan. James Lane played the
theatrical producer, seeking politely to state the obvious. Louis
Wilson, in the manner of Dudley Moore’s unidexter, hopped
comically across the stage as Spigott. Cook’s characteristically
clever play on words: (‘Need I say with overmuch emphasis
that it is in the leg division that you are deficient’) was much
enjoyed by the audience. ‘Your right leg I like. I like your
right leg. A lovely leg for the role. That’s what I said when I
saw you come in. I said “A lovely leg for the role.” I’ve got
nothing against your right leg. The trouble is — neither have
you. You fall down on your left.’
Head Master’s Address, 23 May
A centenarian woman was asked, ‘What’s the best thing about
being 104 years old?’ She replied, ‘No peer pressure!’ Outliving
one’s peers may be an aim for some of us, but I am not sure
that it is the most honourable ambition – nor the most timeefficient strategy. The boys’ excellent speeches this year have
focused our minds on the subject of ambition.
From the ironic ramblings of Homer Simpson and Jeremy
Clarkson to the profound perceptions of Sophocles and Charlotte
Brontë, we have been caused to think about the diversity of
human ambition and the need to choose one’s aims carefully.
Sound ambition is based on sound values. And currently at
Harrow, we – boys, Beaks, Support Staff and Governors – are
discussing what we think the values of the School are, or should
be, for us to be at our best. At the end of Term I will share
the findings with parents and give them the opportunity to say
what they think too. The best, most effective values are lasting
ones – proven by the exacting tests that time and history bring.
One has had no excuse in this calendar year to avoid the
contemplation of history. 2015 is one of the great years of
anniversaries. It is 50 years since the death of Churchill. One of
the exhibitions that you can see today in the Old Speech Room
Gallery is Portraits of Churchill and alongside the photographs
and paintings is a magnificent terracotta bust of Sir Winston,
sculpted from life in the mid-1950s by Willem Verbon. It has
just been donated to the School, and is well worth seeing. It
is 70 years since VE day, 100 years after Gallipoli, and
two centuries since Waterloo – a battle that involved 58 Old
Harrovians. It is also 200 years since the birth of local boy
and great literary OH – Anthony Trollope; 600 years since
Agincourt – pre-Harrow clearly, so no obvious links other than
our Founder’s passion for archery, which was no doubt inspired
to some extent by tales of the bravery of Erpingham’s archers;
and 800 years since Magna Carta was signed at Runnymede.
Less renowned, but significant for us, was the arrival of the first
Harrow boy in what we now call Old Schools, 400 years ago.
The Vicar’s son, Macharie Wildblud, turned up for School on
his own, in the Fourth Form Room. Whether or not he had a
penknife and any ability in carving, we don’t actually know.
But he was the young man who started it all, along with the
first Master, 27-year-old William Launce.
The School began to operate 100 years after our founder
John Lyon’s birth and 23 years after his death. He was an
ambitious man but surely could not have conceived of the
Harrow of today. And not just Harrow School – also John
Lyon’s Charity and The John Lyon School, and our family of
international schools – Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong and, from
next year, Shanghai. The Harrow that Anthony Trollope attended
had many grim features. He was bullied and despised as being
one of the local poor scholars. He was also beaten frequently
by Beaks, including the then Head Master, George Butler. An
entry in the nine-year-old Trollope’s journal reads, ‘He must
have known me, had he seen me as he was wont to see me, for
he was in the habit of flogging me constantly. Perhaps he did
not recognise me by my face.’ An early glimpse of Trollopian
wit. The day-to-day kindness and warmth of today’s Harrow
School would have been unimaginable to poor young Anthony.
It has been poignant revisiting the beginning of the Gallipoli
campaign 100 years on. There are many Harrow connections.
Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, proposed
the plan for a naval attack on Gallipoli. At the end of the
campaign another Old Harrovian, Brigadier General Herbert
Lawrence, oversaw the evacuation of the peninsula – one of
the few aspects that were well planned and conducted.
About 100 OH’s served at Gallipoli, and around 20 of them
were killed. Some of the survivors went on to very distinguished
careers including: Charles Bruce, President of the Alpine Club,
leader of the first British attempt to climb Everest; Leo Amery,
Secretary of State for India and Burma, a political ally of
Churchill and critic of appeasement in the 30’s, who was a scholar
in West Acre and a Monitor. JRM Butler, Regius Professor
of History at Cambridge who was in The Head Master’s and Head
of School; Vere Ponsonby, the Earl of Bessborough, Governor
General of Canada and Chairman of Unilever was also in The
Head Master’s.
Then, with those leading men, we can juxtapose the stories of
some OH’s who didn’t survive: Arthur Davis, Elmfield, 1st XI
Footballer, Trinity Cambridge, who died in the attack on Chocolate
Hill; Garth Walford, a Monitor in The Grove, died leading
the attack on Sedd-el-Bahr and was awarded the Victoria Cross;
Raymond Shaw, Church Hill at Harrow, Trinity Cambridge, was
shot and killed when going to the help of a wounded friend; and
William Maxwell, another Trinity Cambridge man. Of him was
written ‘Our Officers felt his loss very keenly. We had all got
to love him very much and he had the respect and devotion of
his men, and his life was a model to them. A more unselfish
Christian man I never knew or one more interested in all that
is good.’ A beautiful eulogy – and indicative of how much was
lost when that generation was so cruelly truncated.
Commemorating World War I, a century on, does accentuate
the fact that we are so blessed today, to live in safety and peace
in this country and to be in a place where our young men will
have a long lifetime of opportunity. Harrow’s primary aim
must be to prepare these boys to make the most of their many
privileges, and for what lies ahead.
For most Harrovians, the first major stepping stone beyond
school is an academic course at a top university. Our Universities
team is doing a great job in focusing their advice on and for each
boy and helping them get to the leading universities. During
the last twelve months, for example, Harrovian leavers have
secured places at 23 of the top 40 universities in the world, as
assessed by the QS organisation (which uses academic reputation,
citations for research, and teaching ratios, etc). So boys have
gone to: Cambridge, Imperial, Harvard, Oxford, UCL, Stanford,
Princeton, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Columbia, Johns Hopkins,
Kings College, Edinburgh, McGill, Duke, UC Berkeley, Hong
Kong, Bristol, Manchester, Melbourne, North Western, NYU,
and The University of British Columbia.
Overall, 84% of last summer’s leavers went to Russell
Group universities in the UK, 32% to the world’s top 20
universities, and 49% to the World’s top 40. Those outcomes
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are, I believe, the most important of the quantifiable things that
we achieve. Behind those successes are vast amounts of work
by the boys, and of course the Beaks. Their academic teaching,
their advice and their pastoral care, and their extra-curricular
expertise, all combine to generate those results. Extra-curricular
activities are fundamental to a Harrow education. Through
them the boys derive so much: including leadership qualities,
reliability and resilience; they discover new talents and become,
simply, more rounded. Full lists of all that has been going on and
has been achieved at Harrow this past year can be seen in the
now annual Record and the weekly newspaper, The Harrovian.
I would like to list a few highlights , but what follows is by no
means a comprehensive list: we have the national mathematics
team champions at Harrow, our judo players are double national
champions, public schools and full national championships,
and our Under 15 Eton Fives team also won the nationals. The top
musical achievement? Difficult to assess, but Aristo Sham’s
performance as soloist in Rachmaninov’s, 3rd Piano Concerto last
weekend redefined my understanding of what can be achieved by
schoolboys. Another highlight was the orchestra’s performance
of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite.
So many excellent theatrical productions have been put on
during the year, including the hugely entertaining Little Shop
of Horrors, and a brilliant modern dress staging of Measure for
Measure. On the sports field, our Junior Colts played the best
rugby I have ever seen from under 15s. We had a fine win at
Lord’s (let’s hope for a similar outcome on 20 June) and great
seasons for our Harrow footballers and 1st XI soccer players.
Meanwhile, Shaftesbury Enterprise grows and new projects
involving local state primary schools (Welldon, Vaughan and
Roxeth – founded by two 19th-Century predecessors of mine,
and the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury) have flourished. Our boys are
mentors to the children, help them with reading and teach them
Chemistry, Classics and Fives. We also encourage our boys to
stretch themselves academically in super-curricular fashion and
several Harrovians have entered and gained success in national
competition – science and mathematics Olympiads and essay
competitions run by the universities and Royal Societies.
In this technological age, universities have become very aware
of the rise of plagiarism as a consequence of Internet research
and use of the copy and paste functions. So they now have
sophisticated software that spots key phrases and runs them
past a huge international database of research material, so they
can spot the cheats. However, sneaky software developers have
produced programmes that will take a plagiarised gobbet
of text and ‘Rogetise’ it – in other words, run all the words
through a thesaurus.
This hit the press earlier this year when Middlesex University
went public about this variation on the plagiarism trend. Students
studying business degrees had been rumbled by their lecturers
because the auto-thesaurus wasn’t doing its job. In one essay, the
phrase ‘legacy networks’ became ‘bequest mazes’. ‘Current big
players’ changed to ‘common mature musicians’.‘New market
leaders’ was adapted to become ‘modern store guides’. There
was an almost classical perversion of ‘powerful personalised
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services’, which in translation became ‘Herculean personalised
liturgies’. But best of all, the innocent everyday phrase ‘left
behind’ reappeared as ‘sinister buttocks’. That sort of thing
wouldn’t happen at Harrow of course and in our weekly
publication, The Harrovian, it is all original work, written
mostly by the boys – without a hint of Rogetism – that we
have detected, at any rate.
When reading The Times Educational Supplement recently,
I was interested to see a piece on Richard Curtis, Old Harrovian
(Rendalls 1970-75). Regular readers of the TES will know that
there is a weekly feature ‘My Best Teacher’. Famous people
talk about the most inspiring teacher during their school days.
Richard Curtis focused on Mr James Morwood, the editor of
The Harrovian at the time, as being his most influential Beak.
It was through The Harrovian that James Morwood made his
impact. He encouraged Curtis’ creativity and satirical bent
through regular writing as well as in directing plays. Richard
Curtis picked up so many of the skills that would serve him
well in writing Blackadder, Four Weddings and Love Actually.
He has devoted much of recent time to philanthropic work and
is a regular advocate for the needy – through Comic Relief
and other global development charities like Project Everyone.
These altruistic attitudes were seen and developed in him
at Harrow to a great extent. He saw Harrow as unhealthily
hierarchical, didn’t approve of fagging and as Head of House
banned it. He did his best to eradicate the authoritarian spirit
that he thought was so damaging and he took the opportunity
to speak in Chapel because he was outraged that the charitable
collection of the previous week had been mostly halfpennies,
pennies and buttons. He addressed the School: ‘Are you really
saying when this collection that helps people’s lives comes
around you want to put in a button? You spend a quid in the tuck
store and you are willing to part with a button for the starving.’
Good for him. We are proud of what he has achieved since he
was here. An exact contemporary of Richard Curtis is Richard
Compton, our Chairman of Governors. He was in West Acre,
and, like Mr Curtis, Head of School for part of his final year. A
triple blood – 1st Cricket and Football XIs, and 1st XV rugby.
Mr Compton has been a huge supporter of Harrow since
leaving, not least in sending two sons here, but particularly as
an outstanding Governor since 1997. He has been Chairman of
Governors from 2008 until now. And at the end of this term,
his tenure as Chairman and Governor comes to an end.
Not many people get to see how much the Governors do
behind the scenes, and the Chairman and those who sit on the
General Purposes Committee are particularly busy. Mr Compton
has put extraordinary energy, huge insight and sheer love for
Harrow into 18 years of unstinting support.
As well as the termly Governors meetings, he has attended
over 50 GPC meetings. And this past year, whilst being President
of the Historic Houses Association – an onerous role in a time
when referendums and general elections are taking place – his
support and availability to Harrow has not dipped one bit.
On behalf of us all here, we thank you for your great service
to this great School. And may I also thank you Mrs Compton
for allowing your husband to spend so much time with his old
School and also for being so supportive personally. We wish you
both well as you embark on a new period, with Harrow appearing
less frequently in the diary. You will be always welcome here,
and alongside any cricket match that Harrow plays in.
When we consider these great people, their great lives and
contributions, as we have during these reflections, we catch
a sense of what Harrow ambition is all about. This School is
preparing boys for life – to be great young men, middle aged
and older men – people who make a difference.
David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, made this
comment: ‘we tend to live for our résumés when we should
live for our eulogies’. A résumé – or CV – is a list of skills and
achievements, which may well be impressive. But an eulogy
is a more profound statement about someone: who they are,
the nature of their relationships, their deeper reasons for being.
This year’s Shaftesbury Lecture was given by the current
Earl of Shaftesbury, the 12th, Nick Ashley-Cooper. He ended
his talk by reminding us of the inscription on the statue of
Anteros in Piccadilly Circus. On that monument to the life of
the OH 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, it says this “Died October 1st
1885 – During a public life of half a century he devoted the
influence of his station, the strong sympathies of his heart and
the great powers of his mind to honouring God by serving his
fellow men. An example to his order, a blessing to this people
and a name to be by them ever gratefully remembered.” Quite
a eulogy. I am ambitious for our boys, for their success, their
results and their happiness, but more than anything that they
would be a blessing to others and gratefully remembered by
the people who encounter them during their lives.
Speech Day Debut at St Mary’s
For the past two years, a small number of Removes have taken
up bellringing as a component of the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze
award. The ancient art of campanology is alive and well across
the English-speaking world. In a tradition unique to England
that evolved some 350 years ago, ringing has an appeal (sorry!)
for all comers. It’s a very special blend of music and maths,
as the bells “ring the changes” in their precise permutations.
There’s something for the musicians, obviously, although
it’s completely different from traditional notation, dynamics
and musical forms. It’s a great sensory experience. You don’t
just “hear” bells. They’re big instruments – you feel the sound
through your feet, your bones, your very flesh and blood.
For mathematicians, the fascinating ways in which ringing
“methods” and “principles” are generated, all complying with
mathematical and campanological rules laid down in the 17th
century, offer mental challenges as fascinating as the hardest
sudoku or cryptic crossword. For budding engineers, there’s the
attractive and majestic precision of bells, wheels and frames
working smoothly together, enabling bells up to three tonnes
to be rung by any relatively fit individual.
There is a wonderful sense of community celebrated and
maintained by the ringing of bells. Ringers are the “external
choir” of any community, calling out to acknowledge special
events. Whether that be Sunday service, a village or royal
wedding, a local funeral or state funeral, significant birthday
or diamond jubilee, church, civic or personal events, ringing
and ringers are there to give public affirmation to community
occasions – it has a great sense of keeping us connected.
During 2015, there are plenty of requirements for ringers – in
particular, ongoing commemorations for the First World War,
the re-burial of King Richard III, the 800th Anniversary of the
signing of Magna Carta, the 70th anniversary of VE Day, and
the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.
Closer to home, it was a great privilege for the current (D
of E) group to ring for the opening of Speech Day. Seven boys
and 12 parents and mentors gathered in the belltower for 45
minutes of commemorative ringing – a joyful noise indeed.
Remembering Speech Days Past
On Speech Day this year, stationed in the Vaughan Library was
Head of School book (1899-1965) which covers both World
Wars, royal visits, and various other 20th-century excitements.
Also on display were photographs of Harrow life taken in 1980
by a South African photographer, Fred Salaff, and a scrapbook
compiled by a boy during his time at Harrow (1902-1906).
The Head of School books offer a glimpse of old handwriting,
Head of School signatures and tales that did not make it into
The Harrovian. The photographs, as noted by many on the day,
could have been taken at any time during the last 100 years (if
you discount some of the unfortunate haircuts), giving them a
timeless quality. Many people commented on the day: ‘not much
has changed, has it?’ The scrapbook shows us what individual
boys thought was important. Looking at which newspaper
articles, photographs and invitations they deemed worthy of
preservation offers us a window on to their time here.
This year, the Vaughan welcomed many visitors and I had a
large number of interested parties visit the Archive table. People
were particularly keen to don the white gloves and take my
position, turning over the pages of the books gently and running
their covered fingers over the words. They asked me questions
and in turn shared their stories of their time at Harrow. One
gentleman, who was a Monitor in the 1950s, told me how the
Eton/Harrow rivalry had intensified in the weeks leading up
to Speech Day one year. The Etonians had decorated the Hill
with Eton paraphernalia. Harrow retaliated at Eton. Harrow
staff feared a reprisal on Speech Day, and so the Monitors
were deployed to roam the Hill the night before, looking out
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for suspicious looking public schoolboys. Fortunately, thanks
to their efforts, Speech Day went off without a hitch.
Perhaps my favourite part of the whole day was right at the
end. Just before 4.00pm, a family stopped by to look at the
documents. As I had previously done with other visitors that
day, I showed them my favourite passages from the Head of
School book, one of which was an extract from 1941 about the
Blitz. This entry, which describes how the Blitz is raging over
London and how the air raid sirens are ‘continuous’ is interesting
for a few reasons. Firstly, this somewhat personal account is
written by a contemporary schoolboy rather than some official
to whom we cannot relate. Seeing the handwriting of a Head of
School whose name is on memorial boards, whose photograph
we may find in the archive, who we may even still have the
chance to meet, makes the situation he describes more tangible;
it makes us realise that what we read about in the history books
affected real people including those who walked the Hill before
us. Secondly, in this extract, whilst the war rages around him,
he laments that the discipline at School is only ‘satisfactory’.
Despite the horror occurring in the world, there was still no
excuse for lack of discipline on the Hill. The way in which the
boys carried on ‘as normally as possible’ offers a reflection of
how the rest of British society was dealing with the war. It hints
at the morale so often discussed in history books. For these
reasons, this extract would clearly be poignant enough on its
own, but the fact that my latest visitor turned out to be the son
of the writer of this extract gave the interaction another, more
emotional dimension. Imagine unexpectedly uncovering the
writing of your own father or grandfather who had experienced
a particularly difficult time – it would be hard not be moved.
When you work with historical documents every day, you
can sometimes forget how precious they are and the impact
that they can have upon people. The Harrow School Archive
is full of fascinating documents like those mentioned above,
some dating back to before the existence of the School, but
it is when visitors interact with the items, offering their own
stories, that they become ‘real’. This is why it is a priority for
the Archive to showcase some of our most prized items as often
as possible. There will be a new Archive display every term in
the Vaughan Library, so do nip down to the mezzanine level to
explore our latest offerings when you get chance – you never
know what you might discover.
15 May, Mike Payne
Before Half Term, the Da Vinci Society was fortunate to welcome
Professor Mike Payne to give a talk on ‘Quantum Mechanics
and Physics at the Cutting Edge’. Professor Payne is currently
the Chair of Computational Physics at Cambridge University
and also Admissions Tutor to Pembroke College.
Speaking on a notoriously difficult concept, Professor Payne
began by giving an introduction to the history and underlying
principles of the topic. Beginning with Max Planck’s proposition
of the idea of photons (particles of light) which accounts for the
fact that existing scientific predictions asserted that ‘black bodies’
such as the sun should emit infinitely intense radiation, he soon
moved onto Einstein’s application of this to the photoelectric
effect, which ultimately won him the Nobel Prize.
Following this, he covered De Broglie’s discovery of
particles such as electrons behaving paradoxically as waves,
as well as Niels Bohr’s revolutionary (although incomplete)
quantum description of atoms, with electrons existing only at
certain quantised energy levels around the nucleus, in order
to account for the fact that electrons do not constantly give
off radiation and so fall into the nucleus. He then covered
June 6, 2015
Dirac’s relativistic interpretation of quantum mechanics, before
pointing out that all of these scientists had significantly failed
in accepting the consequences of quantum mechanics, recalling
the famous Einstein quote, “God does not play dice,” referring
the quantum mechanical principle that complementary variables
such as momentum and displacement or energy and time of
an object can never be known with complete certainty. It was
only Schrodinger, it seemed, who was able to fully embrace
the principles of quantum mechanics, with which he was able
to derive the famous Schrodinger equation, which in principle
yields exact solutions for any physical system, such as the
hydrogen atom.
However, for more complex systems, Professor Payne showed
that the large number of combinations of various quantum bits of
information, or ‘qubits’, lead to solutions that take huge lengths
of time to achieve, even for the most advanced supercomputers.
This leads to approximation techniques being required, such as
Density Functional Theory (DFT) which not only yields exact
solutions for low information or weakly interacting systems,
but allows approximate solutions to be generated for stronger
interactions requiring a far greater number of qubits. As a result,
this technique is useful in many areas of computational physics.
Professor Payne proceeded to expound on the current areas
of his research that utilise DFT. These calculations can be used
to theoretically predict the properties of hypothetical systems.
Examples of this included the breaking of atomic materials
(e.g. layers of silicon) in a non-linear manner. The resulting
predictions were in direct contradiction to previous theories but
they have now been experimentally verified; thus demonstrating
the power of the method.
Professor Payne finished his talk by taking questions from
the large audience, including discussions about the many worlds
interpretation of quantum mechanics; that quantum mechanical
processes create parallel universes accounting for each possible
outcome, and the prospect of reconciling quantum mechanics
and Einstein’s theory of general relativity. He then concluded
the talk and kindly took the time for individual questions about
university admissions afterwards.
Many thanks must go towards Professor Payne for delivering
such a fascinating talk, as also MR and LJW for once again
organising such an interesting event.
Quips from Around the Hill
“If you have any urgent problems you can come in tomorrow
morning.” “Sir not everyone wants to find out about your social
life.” “There is not much to find out. I don’t really have one.”
Harrovians in WWI
Captain J H Christie, Royal Irish Regiment, Druries 18933963, killed in action at the 2nd Battle of Ypres, on 24 May,
1915, aged 35.
Trooper A G E Fisher, King Edward’s Horse, The Grove
012-052, killed in action in the Battle of Festubert, on 25 May,
1915, aged 27.
Trooper C. J. O. Wrigley, King Edward’s Horse, Moretons
073-113, killed in action in the Battle of Festubert, on 26 May,
1915, aged 21.
Spy Glass on one life: Lieutenant T R Mills, Manchester
Regiment West Acre 002-052 aged 29. He was the only son
of T H Mills, of White Bank House, Stockport, and of Mrs
Mills. He was at Trinity College, Cambridge. Lieutenant Mills
went out to Egypt with the 4th Battalion, of the Manchester
Regiment. He spent many months there training and was then
sent on with his Regiment to the Dardanelles, where he was
killed in a bayonet charge on 4 June, 1915.
Captain Holberton, his Adjutant, wrote, ‘Previous to the attack
he was put on to organise the difficult task of getting supplies
to the front line. He did excellent work and was priceless in all
the work of pushing forward to take new ground. He was killed
during the attack on June 4th, not far from the most forward
point reached by the Battalion. Tommy Mills and Donald both
lived a few minutes, in, each case telling their men to go on
and leave them.’ His Colonel wrote, “one can and need add
nothing to this, except a word as to his cheery and attractive
character, which made him beloved both by officers and men
during the long period of training in Egypt. He was very keen
and capable and at the same time had an unfailing fund of fun
and humour. His Pierrot Company, which was an immense
source of pleasure to the whole Battalion, was characteristic of
the combined humour and energy that he put into everything.
He was from the first keen to see service, and whatever he did
he put his heart into, and he carried that right out to the end.”
Letters to the Editors of The Harrovian
Dear Sirs,
Over the Half Term I was fortunate enough to be given an Apple
watch. Some would say that it is a useless piece of tech with
no real need for it. However, having used it I would disagree.
I believe that we are witnessing the beginning of a new era,
where the wearable technology market grows exponentially.
I believe that technology and smart devices can be used for
greater effect and can improve teaching if embraced. I feel
like the School is almost scared of it, with the internet heavily
blocked and with the policy on having mobile phones outside
the House being so tight.
Technology will not disappear; it will only become more
prominent and I think that it is time Harrow School provided a
clearer description on how it allows technology in classes. I do
understand that it can be distracting and disruptive to teaching.
However, the interactive potential and the other benefits of using
these devices more frequently leads me to believe that if we
can harness the positive benefits of them then the School will
be in a much more powerful position. Thus I would like to ask the IT Department, will you change
the current stance the School takes in regards to technology?
Will we see looser regulation around the usage of these devices?
I think that only good can come from these electronic devices if
they are respected and used maturely. It is time for Harrow to
take a fresh and modern outlook on mankind’s most powerful
tools of the future.
Yours sincerely,
Gus Machado, The Knoll
JLR was invited by Professor Philip Hardie (Trinity College,
Cambridge) to give a paper at the Cambridge Neo-Latin
Society. His paper, entitled, Paratexts and Praise: Laudatory
Poem in the Prolegomena of La Cerda’s Virgil Commentary,
aligned itself with Genette’s theory that the paratext is at the
service of a more pertinent reading of the text and that these
understudied and largely ignored liminal texts in La Cerda’s
monumental work are both important as creative pieces in their
own right but also significant documents for establishing La
Cerda’s intellectual aims and achievements in his great Virgil
commentary. Continuing to carve himself out as a Virgilian
scholar, JLR was also the keynote speaker at the annual AGM of
The Virgil Society. His paper will be published in the scholarly
journal The Proceedings of The Virgil Society in a slightly revised
format later next year. In it, JLR dealt with the concept of
Renaissance humanism in Spain and traced the influence of both
Jesuit education and Spanish imperialist identity in La Cerda’s
Virgil commentary. In further academic work by beaks, MEPG
has published a new book. Teaching the Holocaust: Practical
Approaches for Ages 11-18 has been published by Routledge
and contains chapters on defining the Holocaust; confronting
Holocaust denial; tackling antisemitism; using literature and film
to teach the subject; as well as schemes of work, lesson plans
and resources for History, Religious Studies and Citizenship.
Congratulations to Hein and Anton Jurgens, both Newlands,
who have been selected by the English Schools Ski Association
for their August training camp in Holland.
Farri Gaba, Lyon’s, has been offered a prestigious President’s
Undergraduate Scholarship at Imperial College. It’s offered to
students who demonstrate the highest academic excellence and
potential. Congratulations to Louis Wilson, The Head Master’s,
for being selected from thousands to join the National Youth
Theatre this summer.
Copenhagen Cup, Guards Polo Club, 17 May
Won, 3-2
In Windsor Great Park, lie the vast pitches that mark out Guards
Polo Club, made all the more glorious by the attendance of the
four schools Eton, Harrow, Wellington and Stowe at this year’s
annual Copenhagen Cup. The parents of the players enjoyed
a sunny, clear day as their sons and daughters played in this
most prestigious schools tournament. Harrow’s team consisted
of D’Artagnan Giercke, Rendalls, the captain, who learnt to
ride and play in the Mongolian Steppe at the Genghis Khan
Polo Club and is playing at Emsworth Polo Club this Summer.
Charles Cadogan, Druries, learnt to play through the Pony Club,
and is a new face around Guards Polo Club having joined this
year. James Emlyn, also Druries, grew up in Scotland and has
been a member of Guards now for 2 years. Finally the youngest
member of the team, Hugo Taylor, Druries, currently a Remove,
but already a member of Guards.
On Saturday Harrow were drawn against Stowe in the quarter
finals. It was a closely fought game with Stowe taking an early
lead. Charlie Cadogan amazed the crowd by scoring three
plenty 60’s to take Harrow into the lead and eventually win
with a score of Harrow 8 Stowe 5. This took Harrow through
to the finals on Sunday were they were to face Wellington who
beat Eton on Saturday. This was a very close game with Hugo
Taylor and Cadogan scoring one goal each in the first chukka
June 6, 2015
and Izzy Macgregor scoring one goal for Wellington to bring
Wellington to 2 and 2 to Harrow. Harrow had it all to play for
in the fourth chukka as no goals were scored in chukkas 2 and
3. Its was Emlyn who scored a beautiful back hand to win the
match and the Copenhagen Cup for Harrow 3-2.
Speech Day Swimming
Swimmers must be congratulated for a riveting set of Ducks
and Ducklings races. The Ducker Cup initiated proceedings with
a thrilling Lyon’s-based clash between Hugo Tse and Aaron
Pullen with Pullen clinching the win in just over 54 seconds.
The Senior races proved to be unpredictable and exciting with
Lyon’s gaining a third place position, The Knoll winning second
place and Newlands winning the Overall Senior House Swimming
trophy. In the Junior Category, The Knoll came third, Bradbys
second and Newlands scooped their second trophy of the day.
Swimming prizes were awarded as follows:
Junior Swimmer of the Year: Ben Bradshaw, Newlands
Senior Swimmer of the Year: Hugo Tse, Lyon’s
Sonia Newstead Cup (Most Improved): Pawit Kochakarn,
The Park
Chris Lai Trophy (Swimmer of the Year): Hugh Riches, West Acre
Hamilton Cup (Commitment and Contribution): Nana Antwi,
The Knoll
The Roger Uttley Cup (for most improved swimmer this season)
was awarded to Daniel Shailer, Rendalls
The Speech Day Water Polo final was hotly anticipated as
two of the School’s major swimming Houses battled it out
in an intense match. Newlands represents the majority of the
School side but Lyon’s enjoyed the advantage of welcoming
Hendrixk Robyns back to the pool after his long bout of
illness. Despite some strong goals from Oli Rosson-Jones and
Robyns, Lyon’s could not keep up with Newlands’ organised
and cohesive approach to the game, leading to a 7-2 win for
the Newlands boys thanks to goals from Toby Aldridge, Euan
Barr, Jake Speed and Brandon Plumb. Well done to Newlands
for winning the Cock House Water Polo Cup. The trophy for
Player of the Year goes to Jake Speed, Newlands.
June 6, 2015
The Athletics Club was delighted to have Mr Peter Yates to
present the trophies. With a personal best of 85.92m, it is clear
that Peter can throw the javelin! He was a GB International
from 1978 to 1991 and an England International until 1999,
and is a former British record holder. In 1978, he represented
England at the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada,
earning a bronze medal. Peter went on to become a highly
respected coach in his field, both with the national squad and
the British team between 1995 and 2008. We are privileged to
have had him on our coaching staff since 2012. With 1st or 2nd
places in nearly every school competition our javelin throwers
can attest to his amazing ability to help everyone progress, be
it beginner or stalwart.
After some keenly contested House matches throughout April and
May, with the usual suspects fighting it out, The Knoll maintained
a narrow lead over Newlands during the relays on Speech Day
to win the overall Inter-House athletics competition for 2015.
The trophy winners were:
Yearlings 100m
Ben Cooper, Bradbys
Torpids 100m David Edevbie, West Acre
House 100m Callum Sirker, The Knoll House High Jump
Mark Freeman, Bradbys
House Middle Distance Louis Clarke, Bradbys
Yearlings Victor Ludorum Daniel Adebayo, The Head Master’s
Ben Cooper, Bradbys
Torpids Victor Ludorum Elliott Obatoyinbo, The Knoll
House Victor Ludorum
Cameron Chritchley, Lyon’s House Relays
Yearlings Inter-House Torpids Inter-House
House Inter-House Inter-House relays Champion House Bradbys
The Knoll
The Knoll
The School XI v OHs, Won by 27 runs
The first XI beat a strong OH team by 27 runs in a hard fought
game on Speech Day. Choosing to bat first on an excellent
wicket, Freddie Ruffell, Rendalls,(75) and Anshy Rath, Lyons,
(43) scored freely before Sachin Wijeratne, The Head Master’s,
(35) and James Cleverly, Elmfield, (63) continued their good
run of form to help the boys post a competitive total of 271
from 45 overs. In reply Ewan Jenkins made a well timed 100
and there was good support from Fricker and Turner. It wasn’t
until the introduction of Rath in the later overs that Harrow
began to take control of the game. His dismissal of the century
maker was the key, from an excellent diving catch at extra cover
by Kellock. Shailen Assani, The Grove, (3 for 49) and Rath (4
for 34) then polished off the innings to give the boys a more
comfortable victory than the scoreline suggests. The boys broke
for half term with 10 out of 11 wins and Harrow Wanderers
will enter Cricketer Cup season knowing they have plenty of
available talent and some players in good form.
In the week before half term there were matches against St
Edwards, Highgate and Stanmore CC on Thursday and Friday.
The School v St Edwards 1st XI won a t20 game by 52 runs
Harrow scraped their way to 117 off their 20 overs, thanks
to some sensible middle order batting. But from the moment
Freddie Ruffell, took a wicket from the first ball of the St
Edwards reply they never looked like being in the chase, with
the Harrow spinners Miles Kellock, Rendalls, (3 wickets),
Alexander Nevile, Bradbys, and Rath (2 wickets a piece)
bowling particularly well to bowl them out for just 65.
Elsewhere, against St Edwards there were wins for the JC
C and E teams as well as the Yearlings Cs, but narrow losses
for the 2nd XI, and Yearlings A.
The other games were against Highgate, where our JCBs
lost by seven wickets to their A team, but the JCDs beat their
B team by 15 runs (an excellent game in which Martini Sui,
Bradbys, continued his good season with 51 runs). Our Yearlings
B played Highgate under14A and lost by five wickets, despite
a 50 from Edward Lewis, Rendalls, and our Yearlings E team
beat Highgate under 14B.
The JCAs lost their Taverners Cup game against Magdelen
College, by 14 runs, thus ending their fine run in the Cup.
The other team to play was the 3rd XI who beat a Stanmore
CC team by seven wickets in a t20.
Ways to contact The Harrovian
Articles, opinions and letters are always appreciated.
email the Master in Charge [email protected]

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