University College School

From Academic Kids

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University College School entrance, Frognal, Hampstead
University College School, generally as UCS, is a leading Independent boys' school situated in Hampstead in Northwest London. The current Headmaster of the school is Kenneth Durham.


The School was originally founded in 1830 by what was then the University of London, and now University College London. The University of London had been founded by Jeremy Bentham and others to provide opportunities for higher education to Catholics, Jews, Protestant dissenters &c. - as only members of the established Church could study at Cambridge and Oxford (the only other two universities in England at the time). University College found that the quality of the school education of its applicants was disappointing, due to the fact that the good English secondary schools were largely of Church of England foundation and, like Oxbridge, barred to non-members of the Church of England. The decision was therefore taken to establish its own school on the premise.

The first headmaster was the Reverend Henry Browne. The School opened at 16 Gower Street (from where the sobriquet 'Old Gower' derives) on November 1 1830. By February 1831 it had outgrown its quarters, and in 1832 it was brought within the walls of the College, with a joint headmastership of Thomas Hewitt Key and Henry Malden.

The School was remarkably original - it was never a boarding school, it was one of the first schools to teach modern languages and sciences, and one of the first to abolish corporal punishment. Originally, there were no compulsory subjects and no rigid form system. Most boys learnt Latin and French, and many learnt German. Mathematics, Chemistry, Greek and English were also taught. There was no religious teaching. Under the University College London (Transfer) Act 1905, University College London became part of the federal University of London, and its School was created as a separate corporation, moving away to new buildings on Frognal in Hampstead in 1907.

UCS is a member of the Eton Group of 12 leading public schools.

In 2005 UCS announced a 12 million development programme. In addition the school made a concerted effort to track down Old Gowers, as a result the eminent Old Gowers list may increase dramatically soon. The school is also currently making efforts to become co-educational, with the first steps being introduced in 2008.


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The infamous Organ in the main school Hall - both are noted pieces of Edwardian Architecture.

The Main school site (i.e. that of the Senior School) is located on Frognal, in leafy Hampstead - a suburb of London. The main school premise is a noted example of Edwardian architecture (as pictured at top), in addition to this, the main school hall is another splendid and well-preserved piece of Edwardian architecture. Inside the hall is the magnificent Organ, often used for school concerts and other festivities relating to the school.

Outdoor sports including Rugby, Football, Cricket, Athletics and Hockey take place at UCS's gamesfield on Ranulf Road in nearby West Hampstead. Tennis and Fives take place at the school facilites on the Frognal premise.

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The Eve Pavillion located on the Ranulf Road sportsgrounds.

The Junior branch and the Phoenix school are located on two different campuses in Hampstead.


UCS consists of three main entities.

  • "The Phoenix School", co-educational for ages 3 to 7. This was recently acquired by UCS.
  • "The Junior Branch", boys-only for ages 7 to 11. This is also known as "Holly Hill".
  • "The Senior School", boys-only for ages 11-18. This is commonly just referred to as UCS, it is the largest of all entities.

Year Names

The Senior School (ages 11-18, British secondary school level) itself is divided into three schools by age, these are:

  • Lower School, Years 7 and 8.
  • Middle School, Years 9, 10 and 11.
  • Sixth Form, Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth (Years 12 and 13).

In the Senior School, each year has it's own unique name, see the table below:

Year Names
Year Name Ages Year Equivalent at British Secondary level
Lower School
Entry 11-12 years Year 7
Shell 12-13 years Year 8
Middle School
Lower Remove 13-14 years Year 9
Remove 14-15 years Year 10
Upper Remove 15-16 year Year 11
Sixth Form
Transitus 16-17 years Lower Sixth (Year 12)
Sixth Form 17-18 years Upper Sixth (Year 13)


Students in the Middle School and Sixth Form are arranged into Demes. This is similar to a school house. In the Middle School, each year has one form (class) to each Deme whereas in the Sixth Form there are two forms for each Deme with a mixture of students from both years. There are often inter-Deme tournaments and competitions in sports among other things. In the Middle School the distinctive school blazer carries a coloured school logo on the breast pocket depicting which deme the pupil belongs to. Each Deme takes it name from a former prominent member of staff in the school. There are currently five Demes:

  • Baxters, Blue
  • Black Hawkins, Yellow
  • Evans, Pink
  • Flooks, Green
  • Underwoods, Purple


There are 4 main points of entry for prospective pupils:

  • At Junior Branch entry, at ages 7 or 8, judged by combination of internal exam and interview.
  • At Lower School entry, at age 11, judged by combination of internal exam and interview.
  • At Middle School entry , at age 13, judged by combination of internal exam and interview.
  • At Sixth Form entry, at age 16, judged by subject-specific exams and interviews and conditional upon GCSE results. This is only a point of entry for a handful of boys.

Since the acquistion of the Phoenix School, a pupil transfer between the school and the junior branch is in place at age 7 for those "displaying academic potential".

Former pupils (Old Gowers)

Former pupils include:

Mentioned in the UCS register 1831 - 1891 by Temple Orme (not the full list):

  • Sir Julius Vogel K.C.M.G, Julius Vogel, (Chairman of Old Boys Dining Society 1877), two time Premier of New Zealand

From a list of eminent Old Gowers from the School register of 1860 - 1931 (this is not the full list):

Bart = Baronet (as far as the author can tell)

  • Sir Barrow Ellis K.C.S.I,(OG 1883-37), Member of Governor-General's Council and of the Council of India
  • J.G. Greenwood, (OG1835-37) Principle of Owens College, Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University (UK) and possibly founded it
  • Sir John Heathcote-Amory, Bart (of Tiverton)(OG 1843-45), Textile Baron, builder of Knightshayes Court
  • The Rt. Hon. Lord Romilly, (OG 1843-50), There seem to be some confusion in internet sources; may have had some thing to do with the 1867 Reform Act
  • The Rt. Hon. Lord Burnham, Baron Burnham (OG 1847-50), Principle proprietor of The [[Daily Telegraph
  • The Rt. Hon. J.W. Mellor K.C., M.P. (OG 1844-51), Chairman of Committees, House of Commons
  • Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence, Bart. (OG 1847-52), Professor at University College London, there is to this day a Durning-Lawrence Professor of the History of Art at UCL
  • The Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur Charles,P.C., (OG 1848-54), Judge of the High Court
  • William Frend De Morgan (OG 1849-55), may or may not be William De Morgan, possibly not because his entry in the register says he was a novelist.
  • Edwin Waterhouse (OG 1855-57), President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales and very probably the Waterhouse in PricewaterhouseCoopers, the largest professional services firm in the world
  • The Rt. Hon. Lord Wandsworth Sidney James Stern, 1st Baron Wandsworth, (OG 1857-58), Reason for Peerage unknown, but later founded the Public School Lord Wandsworth College
  • Sir G.C.T. Bartley (OG 1852-59), M.P.
  • Sir Edward Henry Busk, M.A., LL.B (OG 1852-59), Vice-Chancellor of the University of London
  • Augustus Pulszky LL.D (OG 1858-60), Professor of Law, University of Buda-Pesth
  • Numa E. Hartog (OG 1857-61), First Jewish Senior Wrangler, prominant figure in the movement to remove jewish disabilites. His evidence before a committee of the House of Lords helped considerably to secure the passing of the Universities Tests Act 1871
  • Sir Boverton Redwood, 1st Baronet Boverton (OG 1857-61), Prominant chemist and petroleum expert, co-founded the B & R Redwood consulting practice. He also co-founded, and became the first President of, the Institution of Petroleum Technologists, now known as the Institute of Petroleum, in 1913. He was instrumental in persuading the Royal Navy to change from coal fired ships to oil fired ones.
  • Gottfried Kinkel (OG 1859-62), Professor of Greek, University of Zurich. May be a relation of Gottfried Kinkel
  • Admiral Sir Percy M. Scott, Bart., K.C.B. (OG 1865-66), Often regarded in the Royal Navy as "the father of modern gunnery". Scott was also instrumental in developoing other equipment for the fleet such as the masthead flashing lamp (and possibly the masthead semaphore) and the shutter "for the emission of signs" to put on the searchlights so they could be used to send morse code. He was Millitary Commandant of Durban when marshal law was declared during the Boer War. In a controversial letter to the Times he foresaw the vulnerability of battleships to new technology such as submarines. He was made Head of the anti-submarine department of the Admiralty months into the first world war, he is one of three Naval officers who (working independently) are credited with the development of depth charges. [1] (, [2] (, [3] (
  • Professor E.A. Sonnenschein, Litt.D. (OG 1867-68), Philologist, Professor of Classics and Dean of the Faculty of Arts in the University of Birmingham
  • Sir D. Brynmor Jones, P.C., Q.C., M.P. (OG 1862-69), writer of parliamentary reports
  • Sir C.A. Russell Q.C., (OG 1862-71), was probably Charles Russell Q.C. who defended at least one of the three social campaigners in the famous case of Eliza Armstrong (1885): social campaigners proved the existence of under age prostitution by "buying a girl", they were then prosectued
  • Alexander Hill M.A., M.D., F.R.C.S. (OG 1870-72), Master of Downing College, Cambridge
  • Lt.-General Sir Robert I. Scallon K.C.B., K.C.I.E., D.S.O. (OG 1869-73)
  • Sir Wilfred Collett K.C.M.G. (OG 1870-73), Governor of British Guiana 1914-1918
  • Justin H. McCarthy M.P. (OG 1871-73), Member of Parliament and author and possibly son of Justin McCarthy
  • Lucas Barrett, English Geologist and naturalist - Can someone confirm this??


Notable faculty

Former staff include:

Further reading

  • An angel without wings: The history of University College School 1830-1980 by H. J. K. Usher, C. D. Black-Hawkins and G. J. Carrick, edited by G. G. H. Page (University College School, 1981).
  • University College School Register for 1860-1931 : with a short history of the school by Leathes, Stanley with an introduction from S.N. Carvalho (Published 1931)
  • From Gower Street to Frognal: a short history of University College School from 1830 to 1907 by Felkin, F.W. (Published Arnold Fairbairns 1909)
  • University College School Register, 1901-63 compiled by N.Holland (Published 1964)
  • University College School Register for 1831-1891 edited by Orme, Temple Augustus (published H.W. Lawrence [1892?])
  • University College School Roll of Honour and War List 1914-18 compiled by Cockman, Charles Roadnight and Thomas, Cyril Leonard Ross (published St. Albans Campfield Press 1922)

External link


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