Nottingham High School

Nottingham High School
Motto Lauda Finem
Established 1513
Type Independent School
Headmaster Kevin Fear
Location Nottingham
Gender Male
Ages 4–18
Houses Cooper's, Maples', Mellers', White's

Nottingham High School is a British boys' independent school situated about a mile north of Nottingham city centre. It has around 900 pupils from ages 11 to 18 and there is the adjoining Nottingham High Junior School catering for younger boys and, from September 2008, the Lovell House Infant School, meaning that boys may be educated at Nottingham High School from the age of 4 years to 18.

The present Headmaster is Kevin Fear, who succeeded Christopher Parker in April 2007.

The school was founded as the 'Free School' in 1513 by Dame Agnes Mellers, after whom one of the four school houses is named, although it is not clear whether this was a new institution or a refoundation or endowment of an existing school (of which records exist as far back as 1289[1]). The other three houses are named Cooper's, after Frederick Cooper (an artist who in 1872 donated almost 2 acres (8,100 m2) of land to the school[1]), Maples', after Samuel Maples (a former pupil who in 1892 bequeathed £3000 to found scholarships in his name[1]), and White's, after Sir Thomas White (founder of St John's College, Oxford and sometime Lord Mayor of London, who endowed a charity to provide interest-free loans to 'young men of good name and thrift' in the Midlands – some money from this fund was lent to the school in slightly questionable circumstances during the middle of the 19th century[1]). The Houses compete to win the Wheeler Cup.



Dame Agnes Mellers founded Nottingham High School in 1513,[1][2] after the death of her husband, Richard, partly in his memory, but also as an act of atonement for his several wrongdoings against the people of Nottingham. In order to do this she enlisted the help of Sir Thomas Lovell, who was both the Governor of Nottingham Castle and Secretary to the Treasury. As a result of their combined efforts, King Henry VIII sealed the school’s foundation deed on the 22 November of that year.

Since 1868, the school has been located high on Waverley Mount to the north of the city centre,[3] looking down towards the site of its foundation in St Mary's Church and its continuance in Stoney Street. There has subsequently been a long programme of building and development, resulting in the modern site.

War Memorial Inscription

In the Foundation Deed, Mellers provided that a Commemoration Service should be held in St Mary's Church in the Lace Market "on the Feast of The Translation of St Richard of Chichester, namely 16 June" each year.[1] With the exception of the Goose Fair, it is the most ancient ceremonial event still perpetuated in the City of Nottingham,[4] and the oldest which is still largely in its original form (the Goose Fair is now a funfair rather than a livestock fair), although there seems to be no record of it being held between the middle of the sixteenth century and its modern revival in 1923.[1] The formal procession is an important part of Founder's Day and seeks to symbolise the ancient links the School has with the Crown, the City and the Church. The Foundation Deed also provides for the distribution (out of a total sum of 20 shillings) of certain moneys to the Lord Mayor, Vicar and others and for the purchase of bread, cheese and ale for consumption by the officials attending the Service. Any balance remaining is required to be given to the poorest scholar but now is given to a representative scholar of the School.

The annual Remembrance Day service on November 11 is attended by the whole School with the Headmaster, President of the Old Nottinghamians and the School Captain placing wreaths at the war memorial. The inscription on the statue is particularly poignant.

The Latin inscription on the School Arms is 'Lauda finem' which translates as 'Praise to the end'. More recently, the school has also adopted the informal motto 'T.E.A.M.' ('Together Everyone Achieves More'), whilst the strapline 'Ordinary boys achieving extraordinary things' has been adopted for marketing purposes.


1513–1528 John Smith BCanL (Cambridge)
1528–1539 Robert Calton
1539–1563 George Somer
1563–1565 Henry Cockrame BCanL (Oxford)
1565–1575 Brian Garnett
1575–1584 John Depup MA (Trinity College, Cambridge) *
1584–1587 Robert Ableson BA (Queens' College, Cambridge)
1587–1592 Christopher Heylowe MA (St John's College, Cambridge) *
1592–1607 John Lowe BA (Caius College, Cambridge) *
1607–1616 Thomas Soresbie MA (Queen's College, Oxford)
1616–1628 Robert Theobald MA (Trinity College, Cambridge) *
1628–1657 Thomas Leake MA (St John's College, Cambridge)
1657–1664 Henry Pitts MA (Pembroke College, Cambridge) *
1664 Henry Watkinson (St John's College, Cambridge) *
1664–1672 Samuel Birch MA (Emmanuel College, Cambridge) *
1672–1688 Jeremiah Cudworth MA (Christ's College, Cambridge) *
1688–1691 Gowin Knight MA (Christ Church, Oxford)
1691–1707 Edward Griffith MA (Queens' College, Cambridge) *
1707–1720 Richard Johnson BA (St John's College, Cambridge) *
1718–1719 William Smeaton MA (Queens' College, Cambridge) *
1719 William Saunders MA (Trinity Hall, Cambridge) *
N/A Thomas Miles MA (Clare College, Cambridge)
1720–1722 John Womack BA (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge)
1722–1731 John Swaile MA (Cambridge)
1731 Edward Chappell MA (Jesus College, Cambridge) *
1731–1758 John Henson (Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge)
1758–1793 Timothy Wylde *
1793–1806 John Challand Forrest MA (Queens' College, Cambridge)
1806–1819 John Toplis MA, BD (Queens' College, Cambridge) *
1819–1833 Dr Robert Wood MA, DD (St John's College, Cambridge) *
1833–1860 William Butler MA (Queen's College, Oxford) *
1861–1868 Frederick Teeling Cusins MA (St John's College, Cambridge) *
1868–1884 Dr Robert Dixon MA, LLD (St John's College, Cambridge) *
1884–1901 Dr James Gow MA, LittD (Trinity College, Cambridge) *
1901–1925 Dr George Sherbrooke Turpin MA (St John's College, Cambridge); DSc (London) *
1925–1953 Cedric Lawton Reynolds MA (Clare College, Cambridge) *
1954–1970 Kenneth Robert Imeson MA (Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge) *
1970–1995 Dr Dennis Trevor Witcombe OBE; MA, BLitt (St John's College, Oxford); PhD (Manchester) *
1995–2007 Christopher Stuart Parker CBE; BA (Bristol); FRSA *
2007–present Kevin David Fear BA (Southampton)

* Resigned or retired
† Died in office
‡ Never assumed post

Brian Garnett (headmaster 1565–c.1575) is notable for being the father of the Jesuit priest Henry Garnett, who was executed for his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot.

Coat of arms

The school's coat of arms was granted in 1949 by the College of Arms,[1] the full blazon being:

Ermine, a lozenge argent charged with three blackbirds rising proper. On a chief gules, an open book also proper, garnished or, between two ducal coronets of the last. And for the crest, on a wreath argent and gules, a squirrel sejant gules holding between the paws a ducal coronet or. Mantling, argent and gules. Motto "Lauda Finem".

These arms incorporate those of the school's founder: the Mellers' family arms were three blackbirds (or merles – an example of canting arms) on a white field; Dame Agnes, being a woman, would have displayed these on a lozenge rather than a shield. In 2007 the school introduced a new 'logo' for more general use, a modified version of the shield which omits the lozenge and the ermine field. Whilst this breaches laws of English heraldry, action is rarely taken in such matters.


The original main school building consists of the tower and three wings: the west wing, middle corridor and the east wing. The west wing mainly houses classrooms for Mathematics, English and Geography. The Year Seven form rooms are also located on the ground floor. The middle corridor houses the ICT centre, language laboratory and Religious Studies as well as two multipurpose lecture theatres, the upper and lower school libraries, and the senior management team and support staff offices. Also located in this section of the School is the learning support department, which particularly supports pupils with specific learning difficulties. The east wing comprises the old gymnasium, the Player Hall (where assemblies are usually held), and a number of classrooms for teaching Modern Languages, History and Latin. The front of the School is a Grade 1 listed building, and certain other interior features are also Grade 1 listed (the library arches, for example).

The south side of the School showing the war memorial
Player Hall

The Sports Hall, built in 1989 on the site of the old fives court and CCF[5] shooting range, is located in the North East corner of the site. It contains an exercise hall, used for a wide range of sports, and a fitness room which is available for use by Years Ten to Thirteen, following an introductory session outlining relevant safety information.

In the North West corner is the Harry Djanogly Art, Design and Technology Centre. The ground floor of this building was built in the mid-1990s solely for Design and Technology and replaced a large green shed which had been used for storing CCF equipment. A first floor was added in the 2003/2004 adacemic year to accommodate modern facilities for the Art Department.

To the West, next to the Junior School, the Junior School Dining Hall and a small two-classroom building named University House, lies the Founder Hall building, built in 1963 to commemorate the school's 450th anniversary. This complex includes a swimming pool (below ground level) and the Founder Hall itself, primarily intended for the performance of school plays. It is also used for assemblies when the Player Hall is being used for public examinations.

To the South West lies the Simon Djanogly Science Building, where laboratories for all three Sciences are housed. There is also a sixth form science library in the complex and the CCF Shooting Range in the basement. It has about 15 science labs. The building was officially opened on 2 March 1984 by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.[2]

War memorial at the south gates

Also situated to the South West (in front of the Science Building) is the purpose-built Music School, named after Harry Djanogly's wife Lady Carol, completed in 1997 (replacing the previous building, which had originally been the school's dining hall), overlooking the front lawns. This complex houses the Recital Hall, a music classroom, recording studio and numerous practice-rooms (which are used for individual instrumental lessons).

In the South East corner is the White House, where Economics and Politics are taught to sixth formers.

Lady Carol Djanogly Music School

In the past the tower that overlooks the city centre was used as the Prefects' discipline room. Since then part of the tower has been restored and is used as a staff office. It is still used as an access point to the top of the tower from which the School Standard and the Union Jack are raised on special occasions, such as Founder's Day and the Queen's Birthday.

Outside the school walls, the school also occupies an old garage that is accessible from behind the Art & Design Block. It is used as storage for Duke of Edinburgh and adventurous training and also as a workshop for the maintenance staff.

In late 2006 the school overhauled the security of its premises. A security cabin manned by a newly employed security guard was erected at the Waverly Steet entrance and every entrance to the site now has electronic gates opened by a key fob or from the security cabin. CCTV covers the majority of the site.

The school recently finished construction of a new dining hall and sixth form centre located in the West Quad. The new facilities consist of a dining hall for the senior school on the ground floor and two mezzanine levels as the Sixth Form Centre. The dining hall includes all new servery and kitchen facilities and is complemented by a 'brasserie' in the sixth form centre. The upper levels also host an eating area and entertainment centre on the first floor and a communal area and ICT suite on the second floor. The Head of Sixth Form also has an office on the second floor.

The school's games field is not on the main site but instead at Valley Road, approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) to the north. The Valley Road sports field features a number of rugby pitches and posts during winter, which are converted for athletics in the spring, with a running track and shot put, javelin, discus, pole vault, hurdles and high jump areas. During the summer the ground is used for cricket, with nets and squares created for the season. The pavilion features a number of changing rooms on the ground and first floors, and a refreshment area for staff and guests.

The school recently acquired the Waverly House School to the West of the main site. The site has been refurbished and renamed the Lovell House Infant School and is open to boys from ages of 4 to 7. Current pupils can continue their education there under the new management of the main school.


The Prefect body form an important and ancient institution within the School. Prefects are the School's principal representatives of its values. The School looks to the Prefect body to set an example both to other Sixth Formers and to other members of the School as a whole. A Prefect is required to perform a number of duties during the School week, this might include supervision of the Dining Hall, for example. All Prefects are required to assist on days of importance to the School, including Founder's Day, Speech Day, Open Day and entrance examinations. Historically the Tower was the exclusive domain of the Prefects. Within its walls solemn meetings were held and the daily round of canings distributed, to be performed in the presence of the School Captain. Presently the Prefects have the sanction of awarding a blue disciplinary ticket to boys in Years 7 to 11. This ticket carries the same consideration as a ticket issued by a member of staff. In an era turning away from old, strict and inflexible ways the Prefects voted to remove their right to cane. So moved was the then headmaster Ken Imeson, that he not only changed the rules regarding them, but also resolved never to use corporal punishment again himself.[2] The School Captain is responsible for the conduct of the Prefect body to the Senior Master with regard to matters concerning duties, to the Deputy Headmaster with regard to discipline, and, ultimately to the Headmaster in all matters.

Assistant Prefects are appointed from the Lower Sixth in the Autumn Term and are allocated duties which usually commence in the Spring Term. The performance of individual Prefects is reviewed, and normally without exception Assistant Prefects are appointed Prefects in the Summer Term. At this time, Prefects who have served the School with particular distinction are appointed to Offices within the School, most notably the Captain of the School, the Vice-Captains of the School and the Captains of Houses. At this time Prefects are presented with the silver Prefects' tie and the Officers with the Officers' tie. The ceremonial inauguration of the incoming Prefect body and Officers occurs in June on Founder's Day when the incoming School Captain and Vice-Captains present an offering on the altar of St Mary's Church. Since the 2007/8 academic year, students in the Lower Sixth have been invited to volunteer to be prefects before being assessed on their duties in the spring term.

An Executive Committee of the School, consisting of the School Officers and House Captains meets at least once a term with the Deputy Headmasters, the Senior Master and Head of Sixth Form. The principal functions of the Committee are to respond to disciplinary problems perceived by the Prefects in carrying out their duties, to respond to the needs of staff in the way that duties and the Prefects' disciplinary role is carried out and to act as a forum for debate on future projects or needs of the School.

Wheeler Cup

The Wheeler Cup is the most prestigious competition in the School, and is the ultimate prize based on the cumulative performance in House competitions throughout the school year. Presently the Wheeler Cup is contested through; chess, hockey, cross country, rugby, bridge, swimming standards, shooting, swimming gala, cricket, general knowledge, bridge cup (individual verse speaking, verse speaking choirs, singing choirs and individual music), athletics standards and sports day. The Wheeler Cup is the final presentation on Speech Day and is presented to the former House Captain and House Vice-Captain. The brackets indicate the successful Captain and Vice-Captain.[6]


In Years 7 to 11 the uniform consists of a black blazer with a badge bearing the arms of Dame Agnes Mellers (displayed on a lozenge), black or charcoal grey trousers, white or grey shirt, black shoes, house tie, and black, grey or navy blue socks. It is also possible to wear a jumper under the blazer. This is usually grey with white and black around the neck, or if the pupil has represented the school in sport, it may be black and bear the school coat of arms.

In the sixth form students wear a Black, Grey or Navy Blue suit with any colour shirt, except black.


Junior School tie, House tie (Whites), Lovell Order tie

Ties are an important feature of the school[5] and are used to award particularly meritorious contributions to the School and to distinguish a pupil's status within the school. Pupils in the Junior School wear a tie with alternating black and white stripes. They may also wear the Junior School centenary tie which is black with yellow stripes. Pupils in years 7 to 11 wear a black tie with narrow white stripes and an additional narrow stripe of colour denoting their respective house: Cooper's is blue, Maples', green, Mellers', purple and White's, red. Sixth formers wear a white tie with narrow double black stripes.

House ties.

Other ties include:

  • Foundation — A black tie bearing a red squirrel holding a ducal coronet (the crest from the school's coat of arms). Presented to a representative scholar (usually from Year 7) on Founder's Day, also to any pupil who has attained high performance in public examinations (at least ten grade As at GCSE or three As at A-Level), and to teachers upon completion of ten years' service.
  • Lovell Order — Black, bearing the arms of Sir Thomas Lovell, a founder and benefactor of the school, and sometime Speaker of the House of Commons. Awarded to those who have performed some meritorious service to the school, such as librarians, the choir, orchestra and band secretaries, society officials and the stage staff; also to teachers who have completed twenty years' service.
  • Sports Colours — White with narrow diagonal black and yellow stripes. Awarded for high sporting achievement, typically representing the school at first team level (usually for sports, although members of the chess, bridge and general knowledge teams have been awarded them on occasions).
  • Music Colours — Essentially the same style as sports colours. First awarded in 2007, in recognition of outstanding contributions to school music.
  • Third XV — Black with orange stripes. Awarded to members of the school rugby third XV.
  • Prefects — Silver (actually very fine silver and black checked). Awarded to School (full) prefects, but not to House (assistant) Prefects.
  • Officers — Black with red stripes, bordered by white bands with the school coat of arms at top. Presented, since 2005, to Officers of the School (School Captain, School Vice-Captains and House Captains) to distinguish their seniority.


Expeditions abroad have taken pupils to a number of places, including Stowe, Vermont (skiing trip, 2011), South America (rugby tour, 2010), Barbados (cricket tour 2009), Siberia (World Challenge Expedition 2009), New Zealand (rugby tour, 2008), South Africa (rugby tour, 2006), Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands,[7] Morocco, Malawi, Indonesia, India, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Ireland, Vietnam, Norway, Tanzania, France, Germany, Egypt, India, Greece and Rome.


The front steps of Nottingham High School were used as a location for the 2002 film Anita and Me and are shown for a short time within the film.

Parts of a 1990 episode of the television series Boon, starring Michael Elphick, were filmed at the school, and featured a number of pupils as extras. The story in question was titled Bully Boys, the sixth episode of the fifth series, and was broadcast on 1990-10-30. The main playground, the Bridge Library (now the library reception) and the Valley Road playing fields, in particular, were shown.

The front steps were also used, along with a select number of students from the Junior School, for a short documentary used on BBC One's "The One Show".[citation needed]

Old Nottinghamians

The title Old Nottinghamian is granted to all former members of staff and pupils of Nottingham High School. All are entitled to use the post-nominal ON.[8]

Arts and Broadcasting


The Armed Forces


  • Andy Turner, Professional sprint hurdler
  • Lee Jackson Iron Man Coach
  • Anthony Douglas Olympic Short Track Speed Skater
  • Reg Simpson England Cricketer
  • Henry Nwume Professional Rugby Union player and Bobsleigh Olympian
  • Greig Tonks Rugby player for Northampton Saints


Civil and Diplomatic Service


Science and Technology


  • The Honourable Mr Justice Roderic Wood (Sir Roderic Wood), first former pupil to become a High Court Judge,[citation needed] and the first openly gay High Court Judge in England and Wales.[14]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Thomas, Adam W., A History of Nottingham High School, 1513–1953 Nottingham: J. and H. Bell Ltd, 1957 304pp
  2. ^ a b c Brocklehurst, Stuart, Nottingham High School: A Brief History, Nottingham, 1989, 64pp
  3. ^ Reynolds, Cedric L., The Buildings of Nottingham High School, Transactions of the Thoroton Society 57 (1953) 33–42
  4. ^ Founder's Day Programme of Events, Annual Publication, Nottingham High School Archives
  5. ^ a b c Tom Baldwin et al. Major caught out by Clarke's school Daily Telegraph 13th Oct 1996. Accessed August 11th 2007
  6. ^ Wheeler Cup Results[dead link]
  7. ^ Geography Department Expedition[dead link]
  8. ^ "Old Nottinghamians' Website". Retrieved 2010-07-03. 
  9. ^ "Balen's open dialogue". Retrieved 2010-07-03. 
  10. ^ D.H.Lawrence at accessed August 11, 2007
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Edward Davey at Retrieved August 11, 2007.
  13. ^ Daily Telegraph 24 December 2007, Obituary: Norman Turner
  14. ^ Kay, Richard (17 December 2003). "Gay judge to rule on the family". Daily Mail (London). 

External links

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