1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Harrow-on-the-Hill

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HARROW-ON-THE-HILL, an urban district in the Harrow parliamentary division of Middlesex, England, 12 m. W.N.W. of St Paul’s cathedral, London, served by the London and North Western, Metropolitan and District railways. Pop. (1901), 10,220. It takes its name from its position on an isolated hill rising to a height of 345 ft. On the summit, and forming a conspicuous landmark, is the church of St Mary, said to have been founded by Lanfranc, archbishop of Canterbury, in the reign of William I., and Norman work appears at the base of the tower. The remainder of the church is of various later dates, and there are several ancient monuments and brasses.

Harrow is celebrated for its public school, founded in 1571 by John Lyon, whose brass is in the church, a yeoman of the neighbouring village of Preston who had yearly during his life set aside 20 marks for the education of poor children of Harrow; though a school existed before his time. Though the charter was granted by Queen Elizabeth in 1571, and the statutes drawn up by the founder in 1590, two years before his death, it was not till 1611 that the first building was opened for scholars. Lyon originally settled about two-thirds of his property on the school, leaving the remainder for the maintenance of the highway between London and Harrow, but in the course of time the values of the respective endowments have changed so far that the benefit accruing to the school is a small proportion of the whole. About 1660 the headmaster, taking advantage of a concession in Lyon’s statutes, began to receive “foreigners,” i.e. boys from other parishes, who were to pay for their education. From this time the prosperity of the school may be dated. In 1809 the parishioners of Harrow appealed to the court of chancery against the manner in which the school was conducted, but the decision, while it recognized their privileges, confirmed the right of admission to foreigners. The government of the school was originally vested in six persons of standing in the parish who had the power of filling vacancies in their number by election among themselves; but under the Public Schools Act of 1868 the governing body now consists of the surviving members of the old board, besides six new members who are elected respectively by the lord chancellor, the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London, the Royal Society, and the assistant masters of the school. There are several scholarships in connexion with the school to Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Harrow was originally an exclusively classical school, but mathematics became a compulsory study in 1837; modern languages, made compulsory in the upper forms In 1851, were extended to the whole school in 1855; while English history and literature began to be especially studied about 1869. The number of boys is about 600. The principal buildings are modern, including the chapel (1857), the library (1863), named after the eminent headmaster Dr Charles John Vaughan, and the speech-room (1877), the scene of the brilliant ceremony on “Speech Day” each summer term. The fourth form room, however, dates from 1611, and on its panels are cut the names of many eminent alumni, such as Byron, Robert Peel, R. B. Sheridan and Temple (Lord Palmerston). Several of the buildings were erected out of the Lyon Tercentenary Fund, subscribed after the tercentenary celebration in 1871.

A considerable extension of Harrow as an outer residential suburb of London has taken place north of the hill, where is the urban district of Wealdstone (pop. 5901), and there are also important printing and photographic works.