Harry spent all his working life teaching History at Harrow County School, and in that role, he was a “one-off”. He was passionate about History, and had an outstanding academic team in his department. He really got-on with young people, and the relationship with them grew as they moved up the school. He taught right across the ability range, and had that unique ability to motivate everyone, irrespective of their background or ability. Furthermore, he could take those that lacked self confidence and bring them out of their shell through his Scout and Stage activities. School kids adored him. He had “intellectual respect” from past pupils who went through university and reflected – why isn’t he teaching History at University?
Harry was born in Cheltenham on 15th January 1920 into a Great Western Railway family and educated at Cheltenham Grammar School. In 1938 he won a scholarship – the highest route of entry – to Pembroke College, Oxford to read history. This was an incredible achievement: but there were to be significant social challenges for him to meet. In those days very few entrants were from “state” schools. Nevertheless Harry excelled. Importantly, this experience was to later set the way in which he operated at Harrow County School. He always understood his roots and because of this was never an intellectual snob. He always had equal respect for all ranges of ability and was able to operate and gain respect from all corners of society.
Dr. Simpson took over as Headmaster of Harrow County School in 1946 and Harry was one of Dr. Simpson’s earliest appointments in 1947. He loved Harrow County School from the start. He threw himself into the life of the school becoming Master in charge of Rugby and tentatively staged his first play in 1951. When Dr. Simpson virtually forced all boys into either the Scouts or the Combined Cadet Force (CCF), Dad formed a fourth Scout troop, the Foresters, to create enough places in the Scouts for those boys who didn’t want to join the CCF.
Quote from an ex Scout:
“Had Harry not become a Scout Master, there would have been no abseiling into the Inner Quad or from the top of the New Gym. Bridges and Aerial Runways would not have magically appeared at the annual Camp on the School Field every September. A whole raft of other such activities would not have happened and much of the richness of what the Scout Group was able to provide would have been missing. All of them are impossible today, of course – think of all the forms and permissions that would now be necessary for something that we thought of as routine.”
Harry retired from teaching in 1982.