Charting Churchill: Harrow School, Harrow on the Hill

by Leslie Hossack

Harrow School, Harrow on the Hill, 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Harrow School, Harrow on the Hill, 2014

© Leslie Hossack

Before entering Harrow, Winston Churchill attended two other schools. Just before his eighth birthday, in November 1882, Winston’s parents sent him off to St. George’s School in Ascot. Here flogging with the birch was common. In his book My Early Years, Churchill wrote: “How I hated this school, and what a life of anxiety I lived there for more than two years.”

In 1884, Winston was enrolled in the Misses Thomson’s School in Sussex. Of that experience he wrote: “At this school I was allowed to learn things which interested me: French, History, lots of Poetry by heart, and above all Riding and Swimming. The impression of those years makes a pleasant picture in my mind, in strong contrast to my earlier schoolday memories.”

On April 17th 1888, after a traumatic struggle with the entrance examination, Winston was registered at Harrow as Winston Spencer-Churchill. He was now 13 years old and he matured greatly during his years at Harrow. However, he continued to crave the company, attention and approval of his parents. Winston’s father, Lord Randolph, had attended Eton like generations of Marlborough men before him, and he made little effort to visit his son at Harrow.

The photograph above shows the original 1615 Form Room (now known as the Fourth Form Room) on the left, and the 1820 Speech Room addition on the right. Upon leaving the school, students traditionally carve their names on the form room wall, and one of the surviving names is Winston Churchill.

The image featured above is part of the limited edition collector’s portfolio created by Leslie Hossack to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill. She presents locations that chart Churchill’s personal and political life, from his birth at Blenheim Palace in 1874 until his death in London in 1965. THE CHURCHILL PHOTOGRAPHS are part of Hossack’s larger body of work that explores Nazi architecture in Berlin, Stalinist structures in Moscow, contested sites in Jerusalem, a Cold War bunker in Ottawa, NATO’s Headquarter Camp in Kosovo, and buildings linked to the Japanese Canadian internment during World War II.

To view more photographs, please visit Leslie’s website.  lesliehossack.com

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