1886 - 1956
A BRIEF HISTORY
L. C. B. SEAMAN
Children in whom was no blemish,
but well favoured, and skilful in all
wisdom, and cunning in knowledge,
and understanding science.
- Daniel, I, iv.
THE QUINTIN SCHOOL
ORIGINAL PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY CHARLES BURRELL AND SON, CHERTSEY, SURREY
THIS EDITION OCRd, RE-FORMATTED & PRODUCED IN 2005 BY A.E. BECK (1939-46) & H.V. BECK (1935-42)
(pdf versions on request)
In 1910 & After the Rebuilding of 1911
From Peter Street, Soho - The Playground (S & N)
Work Begins on the New Building
December1956 - Geography Room
By Dr. B. L. WORSNOP, B.Sc., Ph.D., F.Inst.P.,
We are most fortunate in having as author of our history one of Mr. Seaman's calibre. To the present boys he is 'senior History Master' or perhaps 'Editor of the Quintinian' but to some of us he is known also as an historian of some distinction. In compiling the present most readable story he has had access to records which have been undisturbed for years and thus ensured the accuracy of his accounts of the early days. He has interspersed fact with anecdote and has made the whole story live. When he discusses what I call the 'Abbott era' he is able to supply inside information because he was a boy in the school for some seven years until 1930 when, as a Scholar of Downing College, he went up to Cambridge. After the war he joined the staff and so once more from 1947 has been an actual observer within the walls. As he was not with the school in evacuation he has been able to reduce the account of the school's activities in that period to a balanced length. Actually the doings of the school in Somerset, both serious and amusing, were to have formed the basis of a whole book in the early days after our return-but unfortunately at that time we did not have a Mr. Seaman to write it!
As the school has progressed through the years there has been a significant change in the method of its government. In the early days our Founder was the sole director of its affairs, had a first hand knowledge of all that went on in it and saw that his advanced ideas were put into practice. It was a benevolent one-man control and a period when ideals were set up and the beginnings of a real tradition were established. On his death, Sir Kynaston Studd, who knew his plans and his methods, took over the Presidency of the Polytechnic and with it, of course, the School. At that time the departments of the Poly were growing fast and the direction of the educational side was largely invested in the hands of a Director of Education, and a Governing Body was established to be responsible for the control of all Poly affairs, always under the Chairmanship and guidance of the President, affectionately known in the Poly as J.E.K.
When I was appointed Head of the School in 1938 the Director of Education was Mr. D. Humphrey who was very keen on all sides of Poly life and spent his energy in furthering it in a quiet, unobtrusive and very knowledgeable way. In the absence of a School Governing body all normal school problems such as the appointment of staff etc., were dealt with by the Director and the Head Master, with the guidance of Sir Kynaston, who was ready at all times to discuss any matter concerning our welfare. I found his ever-courteous attention and generous encouragement one of the factors which made my early days at the Poly worth while. His death was a second great loss to the School and a personal one to me.
The next phase in government resulted from the 1944 Education Act, and our need for a new building. In order to obtain from public funds the large sum envisaged for the new premises we changed our status from 'Aided' to 'Voluntary Control'. The fee-paying boy could no longer be admitted and a separate Governing Body for the School had to be set up. The name of the school was changed from 'The Polytechnic Secondary School for Boys' to the 'Quintin School' so that in our old surroundings the new name could become associated with the Poly, in the years of waiting for the New Building.
The Governing Body was made up of Foundation Members and L.C.C. representatives. In this period, Sir Henry Pelham, an educationist of great standing as former Permanent Secretary at the Board of Education, was a great help and among other things, established the principle of having representatives of the Old Boys on the Governors.
The early Foundation members included Mrs. E. M. Wood, the daughter of the Founder, and his grandson, now Lord Hailsham, also Sir Eric Studd and Mr. Bernard Studd, sons of Sir Kynaston. This ensured the continued interest in our affairs of the two families who had done so much in the past.
The constitution of the Board has changed a little even in the short time since then, but we still have an Old Boy and other friends from the Poly joining with the L.C.C. and University representatives. As one who will soon retire as Head, I can freely say that we have a Governing Body, under the kindly chairmanship of Mr. Bernard Studd, of which any school could be justly proud.
May the School long continue to enhance its reputation as one of the foremost London Grammar Schools, producing leaders in science, medicine, commerce and the arts, who will be none the worse if they remember the real meaning of the prayer I have so often used at Assembly:
"Almighty God, we humbly implore Thee to bestow Thy spiritual blessing on this School, and grant that we may ever remember to have as our object, service to our fellow creatures, but above all the honour and glory of Thy most Holy name."
L. B. S.
SOURCES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
THE most reliable guide to the salient events to be looked for by a would-be historian of the school is the brief outline history contributed by Mr. J. W. Andrews to "The, London Teacher" in 1938. For the life of Quintin Hogg and the early days of the Polytechnic one turns naturally to Mrs. Wood's biography of her father, the edition made use of by the author of these pages being the second (Quintin Hogg, by Ethel M. Hogg, Constable, 1904). Wherever possible, however, the writer has made use of contemporary accounts both of the foundation of the school and Quintin Hogg's ideas about it which are to found in the Polytechnic Magazine and its forerunner Home Tidings. Until Q.H. died in 1903, this magazine was published weekly and is of great interest, not merely for its lively and intimate glimpses into the life of the Polytechnic and the mind of Q.H., but also as an illuminating social document reflecting a great deal of the historv ofthe last two decades of the 19th century. In the monthly form it assumed after the death of Quintin Hogg in 1903, the Polytechnic Magazine is of considerably less value to the historian of the school, and the period 1903-1919 is very meagrely documented. From 1919 onwards the school magazine, The Quintinian has proved invaluable; and the period 1921-25 during which The Quintinian was not published has been rescued from documentary obscurity by various Speech Day reports, etc., kindly lent by Mr. B. J. Knifton. Dr. Worsnop was also able to provide various records relevant to the Minehead period and the writer would fail in his duty if he did not put on record the fact that without the Head Master's own firm determination that the idea of writing the school's story should at long last be given practical effect this book could not have been published.
For the rest, the writer has relied on the willing assistance of many old boys and present and former members of the staff. In addition to those whose help is acknowledged in the text, Mr. A. Bangert, Mr. H. Checkley, Mr. A. E. Holbrow, Mr. J. B. Lambert, Mr. F. R. Moser and Mr. W. J. Russell, have also provided various very useful reminiscences. Mr. L. J. Westwood has given most valuable assistance in the tedious but essential tasks of proofreading. To these, and to all others, who have assisted, the writer would record his grateful thanks, at the same time exonerating them from any responsibility for the mistakes he has made.
L. B. S.