Friern Barnet Grammar School

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Boys at The Friern Barnet Grammar School, Friern Barnet Road, London

The Friern Barnet Grammar School was a small independent day school for boys located on Friern Barnet Road, North London.

It was later absorbed into the co-educational Woodside Park School foundation which was later renamed The North London International School and is today known as The Dwight School London, notably one of the first schools to offer the International Baccalaureate as an alternative to traditional British A-Level studies.


The school was founded in 1884 as St John's High School for Boys by the Reverend Prebendary Frederick Hall MA of Jesus College, Cambridge,[1] rector of the Parish of St James and St John, Friern Barnet, to educate boys from middle-class families capable of meeting fee payments, as distinct from his efforts to provide the free schooling - financially supported by parishioners - of infants.

The rector was also the founder of the Friern Barnet Grammar School for Girls (c. 1891) and commissioned the imposing St John’s church building opposite the boys' school. This was a late work in the Gothic Revival style by eminent architect John Loughborough Pearson (whose works include Truro Cathedral and St John's Cathedral, Brisbane) begun in 1890 and completed by his son Frank in 1911. Reverend Hall had been curate at Pearson's St. Augustine's, Kilburn.[2]

On the site of the school was the original temporary iron construction known as the school-church of St. John, where both classes and church services were held. This was later replaced by a one-storey building enlarged in the 1950s and the existing building, a two-storeyed block, was built in 1973.

After 1890 the establishment was known as Friern Barnet Grammar School for Boys having its own preparatory school from 1904. However the school was never populated by more than two hundred pupils.

The school’s charitable arm was the subsidiary group, Friends of Friern Barnet Grammar School.[3] In 1995, Friern Barnet Grammar became the Senior Department of Woodside Park School, rebranded and began admitting girls.

Over a number of years an intense rivalry developed between pupils of the Grammar School and those from the government maintained Friern Barnet County School (latterly Friern Barnet Secondary School), which in 1961 opened nearby in Hermington Avenue.


Motto: Vita Lux Hominum

Latin: Life and Light of Mankind (from St John 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men)

School Crest: Phoenix

School Houses: [4] Formerly - Collingwood, Drake, Frobisher, Grenville, Nelson

Latterly - Cook (yellow), Livingstone (green), Scott (red)

Annual Events: Founder's Day, Speech Day (Prize Giving), Sports' Day

In 1961, prizes were presented by the Member of Parliament for Finchley, Mrs Margaret Thatcher who "in an inspiring address spoke to the boys about their vocation in the life of the community for which school days are a preparation".[5]



  • A B McFarlane (1885–1888)
  • C D Punchard (1888–1890) [6]
  • Edward Hugh Pritchard (1890–1895) [7]
  • C E Lacy (1895–1906) [8]
  • J Ashley (1906–1908) [9]
  • Herbert Ames (1908–1941) [11]
  • Charles Secker Smith (1943–1948) [12]
  • C P F Alderson (1948–1951) [13]
  • Rev P E Thomas (1954–1960) [14]
  • Rev. D. Atkinson (1960–1964)
  • A Heaps (1964-1981)
  • John Pearman (1981–1995) [15]
  • Dr Peter Reynolds (Acting) (1995)
  • Chris Platford (Acting, prior to selloff to Woodhouse International Park) (1995) [16]

Notable former pupils[edit]

  • The founder, The Rev. Frederick Hall MA of Jesus College, Cambridge.[40] Rector of Friern Barnet, Rural Dean of Hornsey[41] and Prebendary of St Paul's.[42] Died 1902.[43] The author of, A Short Historical Account of the Collegiate Church of St Peter - Wolverhampton, 1865; A Simple Service Book for Children, 1866;[44]Fasting Reception of the Blessed Sacrament: A Custom of the church Catholic, 1881.[45]
  • Headmaster Charles Deane Punchard (1861–1940), the author of Tales from Shakespeare: With Introduction and Notes by C.D. Punchard (Charles Lamb, Mary Ann Lamb, Charles Punchard, 1899), Pitman's English Grammar Revised (1911), Helps to the Study of Addison's Essays (1898), Helps to the Study of Leigh Hunt's Essays (1899), A Summary of Johnson's Milton.[46]
  • Mr W G Urry (1913–81) who was a master at the school, later Dr William G Urry, mediaeval historian and Canterbury Cathedral Archivist and Librarian (1948–1969).[49]
  • Mr F J C Gustard (1902/3–1938) who was a master at the school, Frederick Gustard - cricket journalist and statistician, contributor to Wisden, author England v. Australia. A guide to the Tests, 1934 & Somerset County Cricket. Facts and figures from 1891-1924.[50]


  1. ^ Kelly's Directory of Essex, Hertfordshire & Middlesex, 1894: p148
  2. ^ The Buildings of England - London 4: North, Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, 1998: p131 & The Dictionary of Art, Jane Turner,1996: p307
  3. ^
  4. ^ National Archive File DRO/012/I/G8/3 (School Prospectus 1948)
  5. ^ Friern Barnet Parish Magazine, July 1961
  6. ^ Kelly's Directory of Essex, Hertfordshire & Middlesex, 1894: p148
  7. ^ The Schoolmasters' Yearbook and Directory: 1903 (p311), 1906 (p296)
  8. ^ The Schoolmasters' Yearbook and Directory, 1906 & Kelly’s Directory of Middlesex, 1899: p154
  9. ^ National Archive File DRO/012/I/G8/8
  10. ^ Kelly's Directory of Middlesex, 1914: p182
  11. ^ Kelly’s Directory of Essex, Herts & Middlesex, 1937: p142
  12. ^ National Archive File DRO/012/I/G8/3 (Letter from November 1947)
  13. ^ National Archive File DRO/012/I/G8/3 (Letter from November 1947)
  14. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1957/58
  15. ^ Education Year Book, 1990
  16. ^ Friern Barnet Grammar Facebook Group -
  17. ^ Who's Who
  18. ^
  19. ^ Who Was Who, Volume 8 (1981-1990)
  20. ^ Wreckers of Civilisation: The Story of Coum Transmissions and Throbbing Gristle, by Simon Ford
  21. ^ Manchester University Roll of Service, Manchester University Press, 1922 [available from:] Calendar by Victoria University [Manchester],1918: p107
  22. ^ p45, Journal of the Royal Institute of Chemistry, 1955 & p333, Chemical and Process Engineering and Atomic World, 1954
  23. ^ Admission Register Entry 1394 (National Archive File DRO/012/I/G8/6)
  24. ^ The Times, 3 March 1924
  25. ^ Nice One Cyril: Being the Odd Odessey and the Anecdotage of a Comedian, Cyril Fletcher, 1978: p19
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ Admission Register Entry 1489 (National Archive File DRO/012/I/G8/6) & Grandson of Rovers Legend Visits Stark’s Park
  29. ^
  30. ^ Who's Who in Art
  31. ^ Who's Who, Obituary (The Times), 24 February 1962
  32. ^ Who Was Who &
  33. ^ Admission Register Entry 1429 (National Archive File DRO/012/I/G8/6) & Legislative Council Votes and Proceedings 28/3/2000
  34. ^ Merton College Register 1900-1964 (Oxford, 1964), pp349-350
  35. ^ Who Was Who, Volume 5 (1951-1960)
  36. ^ Who's Who 1983-2001
  37. ^ St Helen's General Cemetery, Tasmanian Family History Society
  38. ^ The Stateman's Yearbook, 1937 & Who's Who in Australia, 1947
  39. ^ The International Who's Who 1984/85, 2004
  40. ^ The Oxford & Cambridge Yearbook, Arthur William Holland, 1904:p272
  41. ^ p6 The Times, 8 January 1902
  42. ^ p10 The Times , 18 January 1902
  43. ^ Walford’s County Families of the United Kingdom: p624
  44. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1868
  45. ^ British Library Integrated Catalogue:
  46. ^ British Library Integrated Catalogue:
  47. ^ Retrieved 2 March 2009 & Obituary The Times 16 November 1928:p18
  48. ^ The Daily Gleaner, Kingston, Jamaica, 1 March 1898 (p4), 1 April 1921 (p7)
  49. ^ Obituary, The Times, 27 February 1981, p16
  50. ^ Wisden 1934 & Obituary, Wisden, 1938/39
  • National Archives: Saint James the Great, Friern Barnet DRO/012/I/G8
  • 'Friern Barnet: Education', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 6: Friern Barnet, Finchley, Hornsey with Highgate (1980), pp. 29–32, 33-36. Available from
  • Who’s Who

External links[edit]