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
TypePublic school
Independent School
Day and Boarding School
MottoLatin: Et virtutem et musas
(Instilling values, inspiring minds)
Established1807; 215 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] originally called Mill Hill Grammar School,[3] for boys on 25 January 1807. They located it sufficiently distant of London at that time, because of "dangers both physical and moral awaiting youth while passing through the streets of a large, crowded and corrupt city". A boarding house was opened in the residence once occupied by Peter Collinson, with about 20 boys. 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 grow today in the grounds of the School.[citation needed] 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.[5] 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 became a hospital. 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 and David Smith.[6]

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.[7][8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12][13][14]


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
  • New – Named to reflect the date of its founding in 2017, at which point it was the newest house
  • Ridgeway – Peter Collinson's original house on the site

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

Day housesEdit

  • Atkinson – Named after the first headmaster, 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 Richard Weymouth
  • Winfield – Named after headmaster William Winfield


In January 2016, Frances King became the school's first female Head.[15]

The following people have served as Head:

Name Tenure
John Atkinson 1807 – 1810
Maurice Phillips 1811 – 1818
John Humphreys 1819 – 1825
James Corrie 1825 – 1827
George Samuel Evans 18281
Robert Cullen 1829 – 1831
H. L. Berry 1831 – 1834
Thomas Priestley 1834 – 1852
Philip Smith 1852 – 1860
William Flavel 1860 – 1863
Philip Chapman Barker 1863 – 1864
George Donald Bartlet 1864 – 1868
Richard Francis Weymouth 1869 – 1886
Charles Arthur Vince 1886 – 1891
John David McClure (later Sir) 1891 – 1922
Maurice Leonard Jacks 1922 – 1937
Thomas Kingston Derry 1938 – 1940
Arthur Rooker Roberts 1940 – 1943
Maurice Leonard Jacks 1943 – 1944
John Seldon Whale 1944 – 1951
Roy Moore 1951 – 1967
Michael Hart 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
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 cricket house was used as a set in the tenth episode of Inspector Morse.

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

The FoundationEdit

The school is run by the Mill Hill School Foundation,[16] a registered charity under English law.[17] The Foundation offers education to boys and girls aged 3 to 18 in seven schools.[18] The Foundation's other schools are:

  • Belmont – a day school for pupils aged 7 to 13. Head: Leon Roberts
  • Grimsdell – a pre-preparatory day school for pupils aged 3 to 7.[19] Head: Kate Simon
  • The Mount, Mill Hill International – a mixed day and boarding school for international pupils aged 11 to 16. Head: Sarah Bellotti.
  • Cobham Hall - an independent day and boarding school for girls aged 11 to 18. Head: Wendy Barrett.[20]
  • Lyonsdown – an independent preparatory school for girls aged 3 to 11. Head: Rittu Hall.
  • Keble Prep – an independent boys' school for children aged 4 to 13. Head: Perran Gill.

Notable alumniEdit



  1. ^ John Atkinson was later head of Wymondley College.[4]


  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. ^ Chilton, Trevor (March 2016). "The remaining Peter Collinson trees at Mill Hill" (PDF). Mill Hill Preservation Society.
  4. ^ "Wymondley Academy (1799-1833)". Dissenting Academies Online. Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  5. ^ Boulger, George Simonds (1897). "Salisbury, Richard Anthony" . In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 50. London: Smith, Elder & Co. sources: Journal of Botany, 1886.
  6. ^ "Evacuation of Mill Hill School to St Bees". The St Bees Association. Archived from the original on 25 May 2005.
  7. ^ "Private sector 'to loan teachers'". BBC News. 26 May 2007.
  8. ^ Smith, Alison (3 January 2015). "Private schools 'feel downturn". BBC News.
  9. ^ Halpin, Tony (10 November 2005). "Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees". The Times. London, UK. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "The Coat of Arms of Mill Hill School",; accessed 13 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Mill Hill school seeks legal action over rapper Stefflon Don's explicit music video".
  13. ^ "Stefflon Don music video forces Mill Hill School apology". BBC News. 23 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Stefflon Don – how the rapper's new video taught a private school a lesson". 22 August 2018.
  15. ^ King, Frances. "Mrs Frances King". Mill Hill School. Archived from the original on 19 March 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  16. ^ Mill Hill School Foundation
  17. ^ "THE MILL HILL SCHOOL FOUNDATION, registered charity no. 1064758". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  18. ^ "The Mill Hill School Foundation Announces More School Mergers". Retrieved 10 March 2022.
  19. ^ Adonis, Andrew; Bright, Martin (15 February 1998). "A through train for the monied". The Observer. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  20. ^ "Cobham School" (PDF). Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  21. ^ Alumni, Mill Hill School (11 February 2019). "Ben Glassberg New Principal Conductor At Glyndebourne". Mill Hill Alumni. Mill Hill School. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  22. ^ "Tulip Siddiq". 11 February 2019.
  23. ^ Grief at Mill Hill

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