Harrow on the Hill – South Harrow Walk – 03.03.2013

“Up on Harrowdown hill
Where you went to school
That’s where I am
That’s where I’m lying down” © Thom Yorke, 2006, Chrysalis Music

What a great thought to lie down, sit back, relax and enjoy “Harrow On the Hill” where we were heading today. Unfortunately, Thom Yorke, was referring to another Harrow in England, it is just a coincidence that this “Harrow on the Hill” also has a school! The hill is not too steep to walk and provided some charming views whilst we made our way up. As we seemed to near the top, our paths crossed with the “Capital Ring”, a footpath which we have encountered previously. We thought that we would follow some of the “ring” for our walk today, but not as far as some of the sign suggested, particularly as Crystal Palace was just over 30 miles!

As I turned around from the sign I noticed a small wooden emblem engraved “Old Music Schools – Museum of Harrow Life” on the brick building behind us. The school was built in the late 1800’s when the need arose for a separate building for the Music Department. The Architect ensured that the structure had a band room, practice rooms and a concert hall with amazing acoustics. I can just imagine the melodious sounds that would have emanated from this building! I am not surprised that the original name of the lane where the school was built, was known as “Music Lane”. Today the building houses a museum and the rooms are used for lecturing, a far cry from its initial use. As the building no longer makes beautiful music, the name of the lane is now “Football Lane”, probably due to the lane leading to school football fields.

From 2013 – 03.03.2013 – Harrow On The Hill – South Harrow Walk

I looked up to see a statue of Queen Elizabeth 1 which adorns the side of the School. Harrow on the Hill School as it stands to day, was founded in February 1572 under Royal Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I to a local Farmer John Lyon. However, construction of first school was not started until 1608 after John Lyon’s wife sadly passed away. The School was completed in 1615 and some of the original school still stands today! The School has produced some notable students in its time such as former prime minister Winston Churchill, first prime minster of India Jawaharlal Nehru, Lord Byron, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and FA Cup founder C.W. Alcock. The school is very active today and I am sure still produces outstanding students in a variety of things. However, I am not sure that “Charms Class” would are on the school curriculum, Professor Flitwick’s, Charms Class, was filmed in one of the form rooms of Harrow Old School.

One student, Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury, has the following inscription on the side of the school –

“Blessed is he that considereth the poor”

It was here on the hill he saw with shame and indignation a pauper funeral which was to awaken his lifelong devotion to the service of the poor and oppressed. During his political career he worked tirelessly to have acts passed in parliament to ensure life would be improved for people. These Acts included the Ten Hours Act in 1833 , Mines and Collieries Act in 1842 and Chimney Sweepers Act in 1875. These acts would make changes to people lives for the better ensuring that children would not work long hours or work deep underground.

Finally passing on by the School we had reached the very top of the hill and the church which is perched prominently on of it. A church has been on the hill since the C11th, although the Church has been rebuilt and renewed many times in it’s lifetime. With the spire reaching in to the sky and its wonderful and peaceful location, this church certainly does have some great advantages. Although being so high the church is used as a navigational reference for aircraft approaching RAF Northolt! I was not surprised to learn that one of the Harrows more prestigious students, Lord Bryon used to while away the hours in the church yard gazing at the amazing view that we stumbled across when we walked the other side of the church.

“Again I behold where for hours I have ponder’d,
As reclining, at eve, on yon tombstone I lay;
Or round the steep brow of the churchyard I wander’d,
To catch the last gleam of the sun’s setting ray.”

On a Distant View of The Village And School of Harrow On The Hill, Lord Byron, 1806

As we sat gazing across the view it was very easy to see how Lord Byron would sit for hours. We were strongly thinking the same as we sat there eating our sandwiches. On a clear day, apparently you are able to see Windsor Castle in the distance from here, but I am not quite so sure –

From 2013 – 03.03.2013 – Harrow On The Hill – South Harrow Walk

We did eventually walk on and leave the beloved view behind. We rejoined the path to take us on the other side of the hill. This part of the path was not so inviting to walk as it was a little dark and dingy. Particularly as it walks past what seems like the abandoned Cemetery of St Mary’s Church. I was quite glad when the path came out onto open ground. We were a little disappointed not to be able to find any further signage of the “Capital Ring”, which we had found earlier, which was shame as that seemed like a logical path to follow at this point. Therefore we decided to make our own route for the rest of the walk.

The way were walking now was to take us past the “John Lyon School” Office. As mentioned before, John Lyon was the founder of the Harrow School after Queen Elizabeth issued a Royal Charter in 1572. However, in 1876, a further school was founded when it was deemed that the Harrow School had pupils from outside of the area outnumbering locals. Just past the school I noticed that they were renovating a cricket field, which I presume had been damaged by all the bad weather that we had have had. As we walked around the fields, I noticed that the tiny scoreboard building had a small inscription stating that the Cricket Nets were laid in memory of “Mark Tindall” who was in charge of Harrow XI from 1946 – 1969.

From 2013 – 03.03.2013 – Harrow On The Hill – South Harrow Walk

Mark Tindall MBE studied in Harrow School and while he there he was able to play Cricket. A few weeks after leaving Harrow, he made his debut for Middlesex and he was hit 85 against a Nottinghamshire. He made a century in his Freshmen’s Match at Cambridge, passed 1,000 runs in all in 1936 and was made captain in 1937. Unfortunately, things changed in Cambridge during 1937 and his own form declined. After this time he did not play cricket again until 1946 when he master-in-charge of cricket at Harrow XI, until 1959.

We continued on with the walk, but this time it was mostly along roads. We found that our walk had taken us to South Harrow. We passed by the Tube Station and we carried on down the high Street. We were heading for another destination, Alexandra Park, which is not far from the main road. We discovered a concealed entrance to the park from the main high road, not your usual park gates that you would find. A bit disappointing if you ask me as the park seems to be hidden from the main road and house, which is a shame as it is rather nice.

“Alexandra Park” was opened in 1940 and was named after Queen Alexandra who was wife of Edward VII, and was a frequent visitor to the area. The park is pleasant to walk around and as we walked further into the park we came across some artwork. The sculpture was “Inner View” by Lorraine Benton, it was certainly interesting to look at and if we had time could have provoked some discussion as to what it represented. As we walked a continued around we found the park had a little Millennium garden as well which could have sat down and enjoyed too. However, it really was time to finish our walk as the afternoon was drawing in for us.

For all the afternoon walks photos, please click on the photo below –

2013 – 03.03.2013 – Harrow On The Hill – South Harrow Walk

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2 responses to “Harrow on the Hill – South Harrow Walk – 03.03.2013

  1. Pingback: Mill Hill Broadway – Mill Hill Village Walk – 29.03.2013 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

  2. Pingback: Sudbury – Walthamstow Marshes – Via Capital Ring « Karen's Sponsored Walks

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