Hill House School
Hill House School is a preparatory day independent school based in the Knightsbridge district of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London. It was founded in September 1949 by athlete and Liberal Party politician Lt-Col Stuart Townend, initially in Switzerland, but has since also established primary branches across the Royal Borough in South West London. It is the largest preparatory school in London and was originally a boys-exclusive school, turning fully coeducational in 1981. The school is known for its distinct uniform, which includes thick mustard cable-knit jumpers (known as 'golden jumpers'), burgundy corduroy knickerbockers, knitted hats, and bags in British racing-green.
|Hill House International Junior School|
|Motto||Latin: Semper vigilans (Always vigilant) |
English: "A child's mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."
|Established||1949 (Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland)|
1951 (Knightsbridge, London)
|Founder||Lieutenant-Colonel H. Stuart Townend|
|Department for Education URN||100518 Tables|
|Head Master||Richard Townend|
|Gender||Co-educational, splits up after age 9|
|Age||4 to 13|
|Enrolment||690 As of January 2018[update]|
|Houses||Grammont, Midi, Naye, and Rosa|
|Colour(s)||Old gold, rust & tan |
|Former pupils||Old Hill Housers|
The school was founded in Switzerland in 1949 and in London in 1951 by Lieutenant-Colonel Townend. Townend chose his pupils solely on the basis of his approval of their mothers, and women teachers were preferentially chosen according to the height of their skirt's hemline. His son, Richard Townend, is the school's current Headmaster. The school remains a family concern..
Prince Charles went to Hill House, following advice from Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister at the time. It was his first school and was the first time that an heir to the British throne had been to a civilian school, as princes were educated either by tutors or at a military or naval academy such as Osborne.
In 2015 The Guardian reported that "School inspectors have handed down a damning verdict on the inadequacies of the private prep school Hill House in London, once attended by Prince Charles, which could result in it being closed over serious and significant safety concerns."
By 2018 the number of pupils had reduced to 690.
Hill House pupils are often seen on the move around Knightsbridge, Sloane Square, and Chelsea, and are known in the area for their distinct uniforms, which entail burgundy knickerbockers, tan shirts, and grey v-neck jumpers, more often than not accompanied by mustard-coloured "gold" round-neck jumpers. The uniform was designed by the founder's wife and is notable for its bright colours. It was designed to be used for sport as well as lessons, lacking a tie, therefore. However, there is a cravat to be worn in and between lessons and around town. The Colonel's wife once said, "a grey uniform produces grey minds, grey boys".
House and Year Group systemsEdit
From entry into the school each boy and girl joins a 'house,' with each house being named after one of the mountains in view or reach of the school's Switzerland boarding house. Houses regularly compete in inter-house sporting competitions such as the inter-house swimming gala or the field-day 'gun run'. The houses are:
- Grammont (blue), named after Le Grammont
- Midi (red), named after the Dents du Midi
- Naye (green), named after the Rochers de Naye
- Rosa (yellow), named after Monte Rosa
The school is also known for the names of year groups, using a system based on the Greek alphabet. The school is spread out over the Royal Borough in four buildings, separating the different year groups:
- Small School – children aged 4–5 – Flood Street
- Lower School – children aged 5–6 – Cadogan Gardens
- Middle School – children aged 6–7 – Cadogan Gardens
- Upper School – children aged 7–10 – Cadogan Gardens
- Main School – children aged 10–13 – Hans Place – consisting of:
- Girls Transitus & Senior School – girls and boys aged 10–11 years
- Lower Sixth – boys aged 12
- Upper Sixth – boys aged 13
- Founder's Hall – used for concerts, indoor sports, and the arts – Radnor Walk
The school was outlined on page 74, chapter 3.1 (Learning to be Sloane: Sloane Education), of Peter York's and Ann Barr's 1982 guide book The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook[circular reference] as an appropriate calibre of school on the 'third rung of the ladder' of a 'Sloane boy's' education: describing it, amongst other things, as "Prince Charles's old school. Outdoorsy, musical, for energetic extroverts."
The school was featured in the 1989 documentary episode "Knickerbockers in Knightsbridge," part of the ninth season of the BBC series 40 Minutes, in which school life under Head Master Stuart 'The Colonel' Townend is narrated.
The Good Schools Guide has described the school as "A school with a notable and inescapable past which booms at a visitor from every wood-panelled wall, display board and cabinet," also stating that "Its aim from the first was to be 'international' and to nurture each individual child's talents."
- HRH Charles, Prince of Wales, heir to the British throne
- Lily Allen, singer-songwriter
- Rupert Degas, voice actor
- Sofia Ellar, singer-songwriter
- Ian David Patrick Macpherson, 3rd Baron Strathcarron
- Yasmine Naghdi, Principal Ballerina of The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London.
- Jacob Rees-Mogg, Leader of the House of Commons, Lord President of the Council, and Conservative Member of Parliament for North East Somerset
- Mark-Francis Vandelli, television personality, Made in Chelsea
- Nick Watt, BBC Newsnight political editor
- "Ofsted Report 2018". Ofsted. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
- "Hill House International Junior School profile, reviews and inspection reports | London's Top Schools". Londonpreprep.com. 10 March 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- "About the School | Hill House". Hillhouseschool.co.uk. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- "Don't Know Yet". Theydontknowyet.com. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- Obituary: Lieutenant-Colonel Townend, Daily Telegraph, 2002.
- Obituary: Lieutenant-Colonel Townend, The Independent, 2002.
- BBC Television Program "Knickerbockers in Knightsbridge", 1989.
- Obituary: Lieutenant-Colonel Townend, Daily Telegraph, 2002.
- "Prince Charles's prep school fights back after damning inspection". Telegraph. 5 December 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- "School census data". Edubase. Departement for Education. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- Hill House School Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Schools Guide, The Tatler, 2006.
- Sloane Ranger#The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook
- Hills House School Archived 11 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Good Schools Guide.
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