After Victory….

My North London School…

By Shirley Roberts, A Human of Mallorca now but a Londoner of the past…

Social History explorations take me in different directions.  The school motto of ‘After victory, tighten your helmet chord’ was known by all us girls of Highbury Hill High School.

It is only now I understand this phrase came from a Japanese proverb. This only makes it more difficult to understand.  What was the significance of this in a progressive girls school setting?

book cover

‘In 1836, the Home and Colonial Society made their roots in London and served to train teachers to a standard fit for teaching both at home and abroad. Highbury Hill High School was founded eight years later as one of the society’s co-educational Model Schools. In 1863, the school found they were running out of space for the growing number of pupils and subsequently the boys were asked to leave. The girls school that survived was renamed “The Mayo School” after one of the society’s founding members, Elizabeth Mayo. Thirty-one years later, The Mayo School was moved from its residing place in Gray’s Inn Road, Camden to Highbury Hill House in neighbouring Islington.  Coinciding with this change of address, the name of the school was also changed to Highbury Hill High School for Girls. Just after the turn of the century, the running of the school was handed over to London County Council; this eventually led to the construction of a brand new school building on the Highbury Hill House site in 1928. The school operated happily for the next nine years until war time struck and students were evacuated to Huntingdon Grammar School (now Hinchingbrooke School) in Cambridgeshire, until 1943 when they returned home to Islington. Between 1965-1970, it was proposed by certain figures that Highbury Hill High School should become a comprehensive, this motion was defeated and the school remained the same until 1976 when it was formed into London’s first ever mini-comprehensive along with local boy’s school, Highbury Grove.’

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