Flash Harry (St Trinian's)

Henry Cuthbert Edwards[1] aka Flash Harry is a fictional character from the St. Trinian's series of films who first appears in the 1954 The Belles of St Trinian's and who may also be a spiv. The term refers to "an ostentatious, loudly-dressed, and usually ill-mannered man". [2] The best-known portrayer is George Cole in the 1950s–60s films.

In the St Trinian's movies, Harry is a long-term associate of the girl pupils, a Cockney involved in all sorts of shady dealings. His father sold racecards and, when he was 12, Harry himself was employed as a boot polisher by Miss Fritton, headmistress of St Trinian's, and may be an antithesis of Flashman (the bully) of the 1857 book Tom Brown's School Days. [3] As an adult, Harry is one of the few whom the pupils trust: he helps to bottle and sell their gin, distilled in the school chemistry lab, and places bets on race horses for them. Harry also runs the St Trinian's Matrimonial Agency for the teenage Sixth Form girls, setting them up with wealthy men. He even runs a betting scam of his own.[4]

By the time Amber Spottiswood (Dora Bryan) becomes headmistress,[5] Harry's official connection to the school is as "chairman of the board of governors" and he earns money as a costermonger while the school is closed. He sets up a betting shop on the school grounds under the name Harry Hackett Ltd and takes bets from locals and pupils.

Harry appears to be quite well known in the criminal community, another crook (Lionel Jeffries) referring to him as "riff-raff".[4]


"Flash Harry" was played by George Cole in the first four St Trinian's movies:

Joe Melia played the part in The Wildcats of St Trinian's in 1980.

Russell Brand was "Flash Harry" in the 2007 film, St. Trinian's but did not return for St. Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's Gold in 2009.

The main plot of The Belles of St. Trinian's centred on the kidnapping of a race horse and featured Sid James of Carry On fame as a shady bookmaker. Two years later, James starred in the comedy Dry Rot which followed a similar plot. James's character was also called Flash Harry and was in some ways similar to the Flash Harry of St. Trinian's.


  1. The Pure Hell of St Trinian's, film released in 1954
  2. Oxford English Dictionary
  3. The Belles of St Trinian's, film released in 1954
  4. Blue Murder at St Trinian's, film released in 1957
  5. The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery, film released in 1966
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