Mill Hill School

Mill Hill School is a 13–18 mixed independent, day and boarding school in Mill Hill, London, England that was established in 1807. It is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

Mill Hill School
Mill Hill School Coat of Arms, as redesigned in 2017.
The Ridgeway, Mill Hill


Coordinates51°37′08″N 0°13′50″W / 51.6190°N 0.2305°W / 51.6190; -0.2305Coordinates: 51°37′08″N 0°13′50″W / 51.6190°N 0.2305°W / 51.6190; -0.2305
TypeIndependent, day and boarding school
MottoLatin: Et virtutem et musas
(Instilling values, inspiring minds)
Established1807; 213 years ago (1807)
FoundersCommittee of Nonconformist merchants and ministers, including John Pye-Smith
Local authorityBarnet London Borough Council
Department for Education URN101367 Tables
Chair of GovernorsElliot Lipton
HeadJane Sanchez
Age range13–18
Campus size120 acres (49 ha)
Colour(s)Blue and Red         
AffiliationHeadmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference
AlumniOld Millhillians


School House at Mill Hill School

A committee of Nonconformist merchants and ministers, including John Pye-Smith, founded the school[2] for boys on 25 January 1807. They located it outside the boundary of London because of "dangers both physical and moral, awaiting youth while passing through the streets of a large, crowded and corrupt city". The school is in peaceful, secure and rural surroundings, but by today's standards very close to Central London. A boarding school was opened in the house once occupied by Peter Collinson, with about 20 boys. The Rev John Atkinson was the first headmaster and chaplain until 1810.[citation needed][a]

Mill Hill School occupies a 120-acre (49 ha) site, part of which formed the gardens of Ridgeway House, the house of the botanist Peter Collinson. He was one of the most important importers of rare and exotic plants into English gardens. Many of the species that he introduced to Mill Hill in the 18th Century continue to flourish today in the grounds of the School. In 1746 Collinson planted Britain's first hydrangea on the grounds, now located adjacent to School House.

The estate was purchased by the botanist Richard Salisbury in 1802, Ridgeway House became the setting for a long-running scientific dispute between the new owner and his guest, James Edward Smith.[4] The flora of Mill Hill was supplemented by the work of the amateur botanist Richard William Bowry Buckland (died 1947), governor of the foundation from 1878 to 1889, who cultivated a garden in the south-west of the school's grounds for the enjoyment of future generations. He wrote in his diary:

In years bygone I pray to thee,
This willow here, my legacy
As I have sat, pray sit thee.
In shaded splendour
Millhillians; rest hither.

— (signed Richard Buckland)

In 1939, Mill Hill School's premises were taken over by the British government and the school was evacuated to St. Bees School in Cumberland for the duration of the Second World War. Collinson House, a school for girls, was named for it. A St Bees Association was founded in commemoration of this period of evacuation in the school's history by Michael Berry OBE and David Smith.[5]

Mill Hill first admitted Sixth Form girls in 1975 and became fully co-educational in 1997. The BBC news website usually uses a picture taken at Mill Hill School for articles about boarding schools.[6][7]

In 2005 the school was one of 50 of the country's leading independent schools which were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel, exposed by The Times. Together they had driven up fees for thousands of parents.[8] Each school was required to pay a nominal penalty of £10,000, and all agreed to make ex-gratia payments totalling three million pounds into a trust. It is to benefit persons who were students at the schools during the cartel period.[9]

In March 2007, Mill Hill celebrated its bicentenary. To mark the occasion, the school was granted a new coat of arms by Robert Noel, Her Majesty's Lancaster Herald.[10]

In 2018, the school experienced controversy when it was featured in the music video of London rapper Stefflon Don. In it, she was shown nude in the changing room showers, dancing on tables in classrooms, and smoking marijuana in the dormitories.[11] [12] [13]


Mill Hill School is divided into houses. These are:

Boarding housesEdit

  • Burton Bank – Named to commemorate its original position on Burton Hole Lane
  • Collinson – Named after Peter Collinson, who once owned what is now the estate
  • Ridgeway – Peter Collinson's original house on the site
  • New – Named to reflect the date of its founding in 2017, at which point it was the newest house
  • St Bees – Named after St Bees, the Cumberland school to which Mill Hill pupils were evacuated during World War II

Winterstoke House was converted into Grimsdell Mill Hill Pre-Preparatory School, in 1995.

Day housesEdit

  • Atkinson – Named after the first Headmaster, the Reverend John Atkinson
  • Cedars – Named in honour of the cedars planted by Peter Collinson
  • McClure – Named after Sir John McClure, Headmaster at the turn of the 20th century
  • Murray – Named in honour of Sir James Murray, teacher and longtime editor of the Oxford English Dictionary; who began compiling his dictionary while a master at Mill Hill
  • Priestley – Named after Headmaster Thomas Priestley
  • School House – Named after Tite's famous building constructed in the 1820s
  • Weymouth – Named after Headmaster Dr Richard Weymouth
  • Winfield – Named after Headmaster William Winfield


In January 2016, Frances King became the school's first female Head.[14]

The following people have served as Head:

Name Tenure
Reverend John Atkinson 1807 – 1810
Reverend Maurice Phillips 1811 – 1818
Reverend Dr John Humphreys 1819 – 1825
Dr James Corrie 1825 – 1827
George Samuel Evans 18281
Robert Cullen 1829 – 1831
Reverend H. L. Berry 1831 – 1834
Thomas Priestley 1834 – 1852
Reverend Philip Smith 1852 – 1860
Reverend Dr William Flavel 1860 – 1863
Reverend Philip Chapman Barker 1863 – 1864
Reverend George Donald Bartlet 1864 – 1868
Dr Richard Francis Weymouth 1869 – 1886
Charles Arthur Vince 1886 – 1891
Dr John David McClure (later Sir) 1891 – 1922
Maurice Leonard Jacks 1922 – 1937
Dr Thomas Kingston Jerry 1938 – 1940
Arthur Rooker Roberts 1940 – 1943
Maurice Leonard Jacks 1943 – 1944
Reverend Dr John Sheldon Whale 1944 – 1951
Roy Moore CBE 1951 – 1967
Michael Hart CBE 1967 – 1974
Alan Fraser Elliot 1974 – 1978
William Allan Phimester 1978 – 1979
Alastair Carew Graham 1979 – 1992
Euan Archibald MacFarlane MacAlpine 1992 – 1995
William Winfield 1995 – 2007
Dr Dominic Luckett 2007 – 2015
Frances King 2016 – 2018
Jane Sanchez 2018 –

^1 Evans served as Head from January 1828 to June 1828.



Unveiled in 1896, the school chapel is a basilica in form. The architect was Basil Champneys, well known for his work at the University of Oxford and Winchester College.

School HouseEdit

Designed by Sir William Tite, famous for his work on the London Royal Exchange, School House was erected in 1825 and is described as being in the Greco-Roman style.

Boarding housesEdit

Although the number of day pupils has risen over recent years, both full and weekly boarding at Mill Hill is still possible.

Faculties and otherEdit

The School occupies a number of buildings within its site of both traditional and modern styling.


The school is run by the Mill Hill School Foundation,[15] a registered charity under English law.[16] The foundation offers education to boys and girls aged 3 to 18 in three schools. The foundation's other schools are:

  • Belmont School – a day school for pupils aged 7–13. Head: Mr Leon Roberts
  • Grimsdell – a pre-preparatory day school for pupils aged 3–7. Head: Mrs Kate Simon
  • The Mount School – a mixed day and boarding school for international pupils aged 11–16. Head: Ms Sarah Bellotti.

Notable alumniEdit

Patrick Troughton TheatreEdit

In honour of Patrick Troughton the Mill Hill theatre was dedicated to the actor and named the Patrick Troughton Theatre in 2007.



  1. ^ John Atkinson was later head of Wymondley College.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Mill Hill School Foundation". Get information about schools. GOV.UK. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  2. ^ A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 1
  3. ^ "Wymondley Academy (1799-1833)". Dissenting Academies Online. Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  4. ^ Boulger, George Simonds (1897). "Salisbury, Richard Anthony" . In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 50. London: Smith, Elder & Co. sources: Journal of Botany, 1886.
  5. ^ "Evacuation of Mill Hill School to St Bees". The St Bees Association. Archived from the original on 25 May 2005.
  6. ^ "Private sector 'to loan teachers'". BBC News. 26 May 2007.
  7. ^ Smith, Alison (3 January 2015). "Private schools 'feel downturn". BBC News.
  8. ^ Halpin, Tony (10 November 2005). "Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees". The Times. London, UK. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  9. ^ The Office of Fair Trading: OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement Archived 2 April 2014 at the UK Government Web Archive,; accessed 3 January 2014.
  10. ^ "The Coat of Arms of Mill Hill School"[permanent dead link],; accessed 3 January 2015.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ King, Frances. "Mrs Frances King". Mill Hill School. Archived from the original on 19 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  15. ^ Mill Hill School Foundation
  16. ^ Charity Commission. THE MILL HILL SCHOOL FOUNDATION, registered charity no. 1064758.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Grief at Mill Hill[permanent dead link]

Further readingEdit

  • Braithwaite, Roderick (2006). 'Strikingly Alive', The History of the Mill Hill School Foundation 1807–2007. Chichister: Phillimore & Co. ISBN 978-1-86077-330-3.

External linksEdit