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Uppingham School: Wikis


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Coordinates: 52°35′16″N 0°43′30″W / 52.58778°N 0.725°W / 52.58778; -0.725

Uppingham School
Established 1584
Type Independent school
Headmaster Richard S Harman, MA
Founder Archdeacon Robert Johnson
Location Uppingham
LE15 9QE
England England
Students c.795 pupils and students
Gender Coeducational
Ages 13 to 18
Houses 15 Boarding houses
Colours Blue and white          

Uppingham School is a co-educational independent school situated in the small town of Uppingham in Rutland, England. The school was founded in 1584 and is now one of the leading co-educational public schools in the United Kingdom.

The school's current Headmaster, Richard Harman MA, is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and the school is a member of the Rugby Group of independent schools in the United Kingdom.

The Reverend Edward Thring (headmaster 1853–1887) is perhaps the school's best-known headmaster. He made many innovative changes to the school's curriculum which were later adopted in other English schools. During his headship the school was forced to move temporarily to Borth in Wales after an outbreak of typhoid ravaged the student body. The move to Borth is commemorated in an annual service, held in the school chapel.

Uppingham has a tradition for high musical standards originally based on the work of Paul David and Robert Sterndale Bennett and has recently opened a new state-of-the-art music school, a fusion of new and old buildings named after the first Director of Music, Paul David. Its current Director of Music is Stephen Williams.

Uppingham has the greatest area of playing fields of any school in England. [1]



In 1584 Uppingham School was founded with a hospital, or almshouse, by Archdeacon Robert Johnson. The original 1584 Schoolroom still exists in Uppingham churchyard and is a Grade I listed building. The original hospital building is now incorporated in the School Library.

The first recorded Uppingham schoolboy was Henry Ferne from York, who was Chaplain to Charles I.

In the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries Uppingham remained a small school of 30-60 pupils, with two staff. Despite its small size pupils then, as now, regularly gained places and scholarships to Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

During that period, various features of life in the School developed which are still in evidence today. Uppingham became a full boarding school, with all pupils having individual studies, and this pattern was established around 1800 - some of these original studies still survive (though not now in use!). The first recorded school play was performed in 1794 and Uppingham has a thriving theatre. The main recreation in the 19th century was cricket - the first recorded cricket match, described in the school magazine, was in 1815 - and the game still thrives at Uppingham. In 1846 the Institution of School Praepostors, or Prefects, was established and still operates.

As now, certain pupils were to gain distinction in later life, an early example being Professor Thomas Bonney, at Uppingham in the 1850s, the most distinguished geologist of his time, and President of the Alpine Club.

Edward Thring transformed the School from a small, high-quality local grammar school into a large, well-known public school, with 330 pupils. He moved the whole school (of around this number) temporarily to Borth in Wales to escape typhoid fever as a result of the poorly-maintained water system. This was successful in saving the school from a serious epidemic. He also won national and transatlantic reputation as an original thinker and writer on education. His ideas are still important today: - Every pupil must receive full and equal attention; as much time should be spent in class on an ordinary as on a brilliant pupil; those not intellectually gifted should have opportunities to succeed in other occupations; scattered boarding house enshrine a different and higher life; each pupil must have a small study of his own. At a time when Maths and Classics dominated the curriculum he encouraged many ‘extra’ subjects - French, German, Science, History, Art, Carpentry and Music. In particular Thring was a pioneer in his introduction of Music into the regular system of education; thus were the foundations laid for Uppingham’s present flourishing musical life.

He also opened the first gymnasium in an English school, the forerunner of the present Sports Hall, and later added a heated indoor swimming pool. He also commissioned a number of impressive buildings, notably the Chapel designed by the famous Gothic Revival architect G. E. Street.

Ernest William Hornung was at the School in the 1880s; he wrote several novels but his fame rests upon his creation of the character A.J. Raffles.

During this period the School continued to grow, with numbers reaching well over 400. These years saw the formation in 1889 of the Combined Cadet Force; the creation in 1890 of the first School Orchestra; in 1896 the re-introduction of hockey; and the adoption of rugby football, with the first match being against Rugby. Uppingham pupils still take part in all these activities today.

The buildings of the School also continued to grow with the construction of the Tower block, through which you still enter the School, and the combined gymnasium and concert hall - which in 1972 was converted into the School Theatre.

Pupils continued to go on to later fame - Patrick Abercrombie, pioneer Town Planner; Sir Malcolm Campbell, motor racer; James Elroy Flecker, poet and playwright: CRW Nevinson, official war artist in both wars; WH Pratt (Boris Karloff), film actor; E.J. Moeran, composer; Lt General Sir Brian Horrocks, Commander of the XXX Corps under Montgomery, and later a TV lecturer on battles and war; and Percy Chapman, captain of the England cricket team 1926-30, who won the Ashes.

The growth of the School continued with numbers of well over 600 pupils being reached in the 1960s. In 1973 the first girl attended Uppingham, as a day-girl; with a few more added in 1974. Then in 1975 the first Sixth Form Girls’ House, Fairfield, was opened, with its full complement of 50 girls achieved by 1976. This venture proved so successful that in 1986 a second Girls’ House, Johnson’s, was opened; and in 1994 the Lodge House (formerly a Boys’ House) was converted into the third Girls’ House. In 2001 the first 13-year-old girls entered the School, with the opening of a new house, Samworths’, the first house for girls aged 13–18; followed in 2002 by the conversion of Fairfield into a second House for 13-18 year-old girls and another new house, New House, opened in 2004.

The buildings of the School continued to expand. Four hundred and fifty ex-pupils died in the First World War and the School Hall was built in their memory. Also built in this period were the main classroom block in the centre of the School, the Cricket and Rugby pavilions, and a school sanatorium. In 1956 the new Science Block was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh; it was extended in the 1960s. In 1989 a new Maths Block, to house Mathematics and Computing was opened by Professor Stephen Hawking. New squash courts were built and in 1970 the Sports Centre, incorporating the old swimming pool was opened, with the later addition of a climbing wall and a well-equipped weights room. In 1981 a new Music School and a new Buttery, where the pupils can buy snacks, were built. In 1995 the new Arts and Design Centre was built, the Leonardo Centre, designed by old pupil Piers Gough. In 2003 The Language Centre opened. Finally in 2006 a New Music Centre, the Paul David Music School, opened on School Lane, incorporating all the old houses that were there, to accommodate the growing demand for music at the School.

In the post-War period sports other than the main ones of rugby, hockey, cricket, athletics, swimming and shooting began to be introduced including tennis, basketball, badminton, fencing, squash, sailing, soccer and golf.

In 1945 Douglas Guest succeeded Robert Sterndale Bennett as Director of Music and this area of School life developed even further. The concert choir was increased until it contained over half the School: a bandmaster was appointed; music scholarships were introduced; and various music societies were created. All these innovations still flourish.

In the 1960s Uppingham pioneered the introduction of Design and Technology into the curriculum, with Uppingham being the first independent school, and one of the first 5 schools in Britain, to evolve and introduce A-level Design. Design was taught in the Thring Centre, opened in 1965. These subjects were then transferred with Art, Woodwork and Metalwork to the Leonardo Centre, opened in 1995.

The years since the 1970s have also seen a considerable expansion in the subjects taught, particularly at A-level, with the introduction of Politics, Ancient History, Design, Business Studies, Theatre Studies, Classical Civilisation, Spanish, Italian, Philosophy & Religious Studies, ICT, and Physical Education.

Uppingham is considered one of Britain's best schools for music, and the school's music facilities have been improved considerably recently. There are two large pipe organs, of which the Chapel organ was substantially rebuilt in the summer of 2007 by Nicholson Organs of Malvern. A completely new Choir division is now situated high on the South wall, and a new console and action has been installed, along with new pipework. The organ is notable for its smooth Harrison tone and rare two independent sets of Swell shutters - one opening westwards and one southwards across the repositioned choir stalls.

Uppingham has one of the largest private theatres in the country, in a building based on the original Leipzig Gewandhaus. An extension to the main theatre houses a Drama studio to be used for the teaching of Theatre Studies as well as for performances of smaller productions. There is also a large workshop to provide storage and workspace for technical equipment.

In 2005 the school was one of fifty of the country's leading private schools which were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel, exposed by The Times, which had allowed them to drive up fees for thousands of parents.[2] 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 designed to benefit pupils who attended the schools during the period in respect of which fee information was shared.[3]


There are nine boys' boarding houses at Uppingham, informally split into three groups:

The 'Hill Houses' are Brooklands, Fircroft, and Highfield;

The 'Town Houses' are School House, Lorne House, West Deyne and West Bank;

The 'Country Houses' are Meadhurst and Farleigh.

There are six girls' boarding houses: Johnson's (sixth form only), The Lodge (sixth form only), Fairfield, New House, Constables and Samworths'. Samworths' was built in 2001 as the first house for girls aged 13 to 18. It was named for the Samworth Brothers, Old Uppinghamians who helped to finance the construction. Pupils are often recruited via East Midlands preparatory schools, e.g. Winchester House, Brackley.


Queen Elizabeth II visited the school on the occasion of the Quatercentenary, November 16, 1984.

Old Uppinghamians

See also Category:Old Uppinghamians.

The book Eminent Uppinghamians by Bryan Matthews, former Second Master, was voted Most Ridiculous Book of the Year by The Sunday Times in 1986.

Notable alumni include:



Victoria Cross Holders

At least three Old Uppinghamians have won the Victoria Cross:


The school enjoys the benefit of having other co-educational public schools nearby. Oundle School, Rugby School Oakham School and stamford school are the four main rivals and sports fixtures and other fixtures are also often played against Ampleforth College, Repton School and Harrow School.

Notable masters

Southern Railway Schools Class

The twentyfourth steam locomotive (Engine 923) in the Southern Railway's Class V (of which there were 40) was originally named Uppingham, but the name was changed following objections from the school.[9] This Class was also known as the Schools Class because all 40 of the class were named after prominent English public schools. 'Uppingham', as it was called, was built in December 1933 and had its name changed to Bradfield on 14 August 1934.[10]

See also


  1. ^ I Never Knew That About England, by Christopher Winn, Ebury Press, 2005
  2. ^ Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees - Times Online
  3. ^ The Office of Fair Trading: OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement
  4. ^ Greacen, Lavinia (1991). Chink: A Biography. London: Papermac. pp. 17. ISBN 9780333556931. 
  5. ^ Whitworth, Damian; Whipple, Tom (23-12-2009). "The playboy and the Tory party leader". The Times (London). 
  6. ^ Uppingham School, (1906), Uppingham School Roll, 1824 to 1905, page 314, ((E. Stanford)
  7. ^ Uppingham School, (1906), Uppingham School Roll, 1824 to 1905, page 385, ((E. Stanford)
  8. ^
  9. ^ Burridge, Frank: Nameplates of the Big Four (Oxford Publishing Company: Oxford, 1975) ISBN 0-90288-843-9
  10. ^ Bradley, D.L. (October 1975). "The Schools Class". Locomotives of the Southern Railway. Part 1. London: Railway Correspondence and Travel Society. pp. 37,41. ISBN 0 901115 30 4. 

External links


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