Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne
Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, usually abbreviated as RGS, is a selective British independent school for pupils aged between 7 and 18 years. Founded in 1525 by Thomas Horsley, the Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne, it received royal foundation by Queen Elizabeth I and is the city's oldest institution of learning.
|Royal Grammar School|
|Type||Independent day school|
|Motto||Latin: Discendo Duces|
(By Learning, You Will Lead)
|Department for Education URN||108549 Tables|
|Houses||Collingwood, Eldon, Horsley, Stowell|
|Former pupils||Old Novocastrians|
The School is located in Newcastle upon Tyne, in North East England, and is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. In 2008, RGS became fully co-educational after 450 years as an all boys' school. It has a current enrolment of more than 1,300 pupils. Former students are known as Old Novocastrians or Old Novos ("Novocastrian" is macaronic Latin for "citizen of Newcastle").
The RGS was founded in 1525 by Thomas Horsley, within the grounds of St Nicholas' Church, Newcastle. Planning is believed to have begun as early as 1477. The site has moved five times since then, most recently to Jesmond in 1906. The new school building was officially opened on 17 January 1907.
An 1868 description reads:
There are many public schools, the principal one being the Royal Free Grammar school founded in 1525 by Thomas Horsley, Mayor of Newcastle, and made a royal foundation by Queen Elizabeth. It is held in the old hall of St. Mary's Hospital, built in the reign of James I., and has an income from endowment of about £500, besides a share in Bishop Crew's 12 exhibitions at Lincoln College, Oxford, lately abolished, and several exhibitions to Cambridge. The number of scholars is about 140. Hugh Moises, and Dawes, author of "Miscellanea Critica," were once head-masters, and many celebrated men have ranked among its pupils, including W. Elstob, Bishop Ridley, Mark Akenside, the poet, Chief Justice Chambers, Brand, the antiquary and town historian, Horsley, the antiquary, and Lords Eldon, Stowell, and Collingwood.
George III, on reading one of Admiral Collingwood's despatches after Trafalgar, asked how the seaman had learned to write such splendid English, but he answered himself, recalling that, along with Eldon and Stowell, he had been a pupil of Hugh Moises: "I forgot. He was one of Moises' boys."
The RGS is located opposite the Newcastle Prep School, and close to Newcastle High School for Girls, a single-sex girls' school formed through the merger of the Central High and Church High girls' schools.
The school has its own swimming pool, climbing wall and gym.
Throughout the school (years 3–13) are four houses, named Collingwood (yellow), Eldon (green), Horsley (blue) and Stowell (red), although the Junior School previously had separate houses, named after colours (red, white, and blue). The Senior School is located on Eskdale Terrace. The Junior School was housed on the adjoining Lambton Road, but a new Junior School on the main school site has been in use since September 2006.
John Fern has been Headmaster since August 2017. There are 91 members of teaching staff in the Senior School. In the Junior School there are a further six members of teaching staff including the Headmaster Roly Craig (since 1999). There are also approximately 68 members of maintenance staff and 14 private music tutors.
The RGS school uniform was updated for all new pupils as of September 2006, and was then updated further in 2012–2013.
Clubs and Societies
The RGS has Combined Cadet Force (CCF) Army and Navy contingents, open to both boys and girls. Cadets have weekly training sessions after school, and opportunities to go on extended training and adventure trips during the holidays. The Army section of NRGS CCF is affiliated to the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, and the Navy Section are affiliated to HMS Calliope, a stone frigate which is situated on the Tyne next to the Baltic Art Gallery.
In 2004 the school hosted the first Northern Junior Debating Championship, which has now become an annual competition. The society also regularly enters teams for other competitions, and has reached the finals' day of both the Oxford Union and Cambridge Union schools' competitions in recent years, winning the Cambridge Union competition in 2010. At a junior level, RGS won the Northern Junior Debating Competition in 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2014.
The school magazine, Novo, comes out annually. A student-run newspaper, the Issue, came into being in the late 1990s; after a period of inactivity, it was relaunched as the re-Issue in September 2003. It ran roughly twice per term until its demise in summer 2005, but was replaced in early 2006 by The Grammar. At the end of the 2009–2010 academic year, The Grammar folded. In 2011 a new magazine called Vox was set up but is currently out of print. In 2017, an online group RGmemeS came into being. It is currently inactive.
From 1965, the school held a "Prizegiving" ceremony each November, to recognise academic achievement and bring the school together. Due to declining interest by parents, students, and teachers, the school replaced this in 2007 with a series of smaller gatherings and a public festival.
However, in 2009, Headmaster Bernard Trafford announced that a new Prizegiving ceremony "RGS Day" would be hosted on the Saturday of the penultimate week of the school year.
In December 2006, the school were deeply shocked by the death of former Head of Drama, Jeremy Thomas, who had taught at the school for 28 years prior to leaving due to ill health. Jeremy had campaigned for years for a new Performing Arts Centre, but died before being able to see the finished product.
Buildings and grounds
The RGS's main buildings are in a complex located on Eskdale Terrace, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne.
There have since been a number of large-scale building operations to provide the school with better facilities and to accommodate for the expansion of the school as it prepared to admit girls at all major entrance points from September 2006.
In 1997, Professor Richard Dawkins opened the new Science and Technology Centre (STC), with Physics and Design & Technology laboratories downstairs, and Chemistry and Biology laboratories upstairs. In 2003 the STC was renamed The Neil Goldie Centre in memory of Neil Goldie, who died earlier that year. At the time he was the school's Head of Science and Technology.
In 1996, a new Sports' Hall containing basketball courts and updated gymnastics facilities was opened. The building also provides facilities for table tennis, fencing, and weight-training, plus a gymnasium and climbing wall.
In 2005, the music and economics block was demolished. A new Performing Arts Centre and Modern Languages department was completed in September 2006. It includes a 300-seat auditorium for school concerts and productions, a musical recital hall, a drama/dance studio, recording facilities, a band room, a percussion room, and a number of classrooms.
A floodlit all-weather surface has been in use since January 2006, on land that once was part of the school field. Aside from the school field, which is primarily used for rugby union, the school also owns land in nearby Jesmond for sports use. This was given to the school in recompense for the land it lost when the flyover was created at the top of the school - eating into some of the land owned by the school. The school is also the landlords of Sutherland Park in Benton. Sutherland Park is named after Arthur Sutherland (1878–1883) who bought the grounds of Benton Lodge in 1925 for Novocastrians Rugby Football Club. The ground and clubhouse was sold to the school at a later date. The club was set up by former pupils of the school in 1899; many Old Novos still represent and play for the club to this day. The school has also recently agreed a 50-year lease of the County Cricket Ground on Osborne Avenue, Jesmond.
The school has recently launched a building programme, to update the school with a new library, art facilities and pastoral care centre. In addition, the school are also redeveloping the sixth form area, which was last significantly re-developed in 2001.
Notable former pupils
Former pupils are known as Old Novocastrians, which is also a demonym for a person from Newcastle upon Tyne.
- John Horsley (c. 1685–1732), archaeologist
- Anthony Askew (fl. 1699–1774), physician and book collector
- Mark Akenside (1721–1770), 18th century English poet and physician
- Sir Robert Chambers (1737–1803), jurist, Vinerian Professor of English Law, and Chief Justice of Bengal.
- Charles Hutton (1737–1823), mathematician
- John Brand (1744–1806), 18th century English historian
- William Scott, 1st Baron Stowell (1745–1836), English judge and jurist
- Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood (1750–1810), Admiral Lord Collingwood of Trafalgar fame
- John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon (1751–1838), Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
- George Hall, Bishop of Dromore (1753–1811)
- John Adamson (1787–1855), antiquary and Portuguese scholar
- John Bigge (1780–1843), English judge and royal commissioner
- Thomas Addison (1793–1860), renowned 19th-century English physician and scientist
- Albany Hancock (1806–1873), zoologist
- John Hancock (1808–1890), father of modern taxidermy.
- Sir William George Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong, (1810–1900), industrialist
- John Forster (1812–1876), biographer, critic and lunacy commissioner.
- William Loftus (1820–1858), discoverer of Uruk.
- Richard Austin Bastow (1839–1920), Australian naturalist and bryologist.
- George Swinburne (1861–1928) Australian engineer, politician and public man
- Sir Arthur Sutherland (1878–1883), industrialist and politician
- Tod Slaughter (1885–1956), actor
- Edward Clark (1888–1962), conductor and BBC music producer
- John Brass (colliery manager) (1879–?), President of the Institution of Mining Engineers, assessor at the Gresford disaster inquiry.
- Ronald Hall (1895–1975), Anglican bishop
- Samuel Segal, Baron Segal, (1902–1985), Physician, Labour Party politician and Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords
- Lúcio Costa (1902–1998), Brazilian architect, designer of the Pilot Plan of Brasília
- Sir Douglas Macfadyen, KCB CBE (1902–1968) Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief at RAF Home Command
- Arthur Blenkinsop (1911–1979), British Labour Party politician
- Sir Richard Southern (1912–2001), historian
- Denys Hay (1915–1994) historian
- Eric Saint (1918–1989), physician and professor of medicine
- George Gale (1927–1990), political journalist
- Brian Redhead (1929–1994), presenter of BBC Radio 4's Today (1975–1993)
- Peter Taylor, Baron Taylor of Gosforth (1930–1997), Lord Chief Justice (1992–96)
- Sir Geoffrey Bindman (b. 1933), lawyer
- Professor Sir George Alberti (b. 1937), President of the Royal College of Physicians (1997–2002)
- Steven Lukes (born 1941), Social and political theorist
- Sir Alistair Graham (b. 1942), Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life
- Jeremy Beecham, Baron Beecham (b. 1944), Politician
- Timothy Kirkhope (born 1945), Conservative Spokesman on Justice and Home Affairs
- Peter Kellner (born 1946), journalist
- Nik Cohn (born 1946), rock journalist
- Paul Torday (1946–2013), author
- Professor Sir Ian Gilmore (b. 1947), President of the Royal College of Physicians (2006–2011)
- Sir Derek Wanless (1947–2012), banker, government adviser, author of reports on health and social care
- Sir Greg Winter CBE FMedSci FRS (b. 1951), Nobel Prize laureate and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge
- Gareth A. Morris (born 1954), chemist
- John Harle (born 1956), saxophonist and composer.
- John Ashton (born 1956), diplomat
- Jim Pollock (born 1958) Scottish International, Barbarian FC and Novocastrians Captain
- Ian Lucas (born 1960), MP
- Andrew Parker (born 1962), Director-General of the British Security Service (MI5)
- Peter Coles (born 1963), theoretical cosmologist
- Jonathan Webb (born 1963), England rugby International
- Max HillQC (born 1964), Director of Public Prosecutions, Crown Prosecution Service
- Bharat Nalluri (born 1964), Television Director
- Paul W. Franks (born 1964), Professor of Philosophy and Judaic Studies, Yale University
- Nick Brownlee (born 1967) Crime thriller writer
- Paul W. S. Anderson (born 1965) Film Director
- Rhodri Talfan Davies (born 1971), Director of BBC Cymru
- Alastair Leithead (born 1971), BBC Journalist
- Caspar Berry (born 1974), professional poker player, screenwriter, actor and television presenter on Poker Night Live
- Nicky Peng (born 1982), English cricketer
- Matthew Thompson (born 1982), English & Newcastle Falcons RFU player
- Mark Wallace (born 1984), political journalist
- Fraser Forster (born 1988), Professional Footballer (goalkeeper) with Southampton
- Will Welch (born 1990), Professional rugby player with Newcastle Falcons
- Daniel Young (born 1990), cricketer
- Joel Hodgson (born 1992), Professional rugby player with Newcastle Falcons
- Will Nicholls (born 1995), Wildlife Cameraman
- James Jurin, Head Master 1709–1715
- Richard Dawes, Head Master 1738–1749
- Hugh Moises, Head Master 1749–1806
- George Ferris Whidborne Mortimer, Head Master 1828–1833
- Max Black, Head of Mathematics 1931–1936
- Michael Roberts, Mathematics 1931–1941
- John Elders, Sports Master 1957–1982 and 1992–1996; England Rugby Head Coach
- William Feaver, Art 1965–1971
- List of Old Novocastrians with articles on Wikipedia
- Evening Chronicle (24 November 2012). "Jesmond RGS is top school". Chronicle Live. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
- Wood, Kerry (21 February 2011). "Royal Grammar School praised for achievements - The Journal". Journallive.co.uk. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
- "National Gazetteer (1868) – Newcastle upon Tyne". Newcastle Gazette. GENUKI Charitable trust. 1868. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2007.
- Royal Grammar School, Newcastle (2007). "The School – History". Archived from the original on 15 May 2007. Retrieved 28 May 2007.
- Matthews, Alastair (26 February 2007). "100 Years in Jesmond". The Grammar. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2007.
- "Collingwood, forgotten hero of Trafalgar". Manchester Guardian. Manchester, England. 1 March 1910.
- "Royal Grammar School – Extracurricular – Cultural". Royal Grammar School website. 2004. Archived from the original on 15 August 2004. Retrieved 29 April 2007. CCF information is in a section part-way down the page.
- "NJDC 2010 results".
- FRESH START SAVES HISTORIC CRICKET GROUND. newcastlecc.co.uk
- "RGS Welcomes Scottish Rugby Team". RGS Website. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
- "Building & Development Programme | Royal Grammar School, Newcastle". Rgs.newcastle.sch.uk. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
- Mains, Brian; Tuck, Anthony (1986). Royal Grammar School Newcastle upon Tyne: A History of the School and its Community. ISBN 978-0-85362-224-6.
- Wabuda, Susan. "Ridley, Nicholas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/23631.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.) Source doesn't specifically mention Newcastle RGS. It says, "After attending school at Newcastle upon Tyne, about 1518, in his middle to late teens..."
- Ross, Margaret Clunies. "Elstob, William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/8762.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Newbottle – Newcastle-upon-Tyne| British History Online. British-history.ac.uk (22 June 2003). Retrieved on 2012-05-26.
- "Addison's Life". Archived from the original on 11 September 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2007.
- Rees, E. A. "Hancock, Albany". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/12184.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- "The Times Law supplement interviews Sir Geoffrey Bindman : Bindman & Partners".
- Members of the Balance of Funding Review Steering Group. local.odpm.gov.uk
- "About Timothy Kirkhope". Archived from the original on 28 November 1999.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 January 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- (RGS) Royal Grammar School, Newcastle – Education of the highest quality for boys and girls Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Rgs.newcastle.sch.uk. Retrieved on 26 May 2012.
- Lee, Sidney, ed. (1894). . Dictionary of National Biography. 38. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- "REVEREND DR GEORGE FERRIS WHIDBORNE MORTIMER DD". myjacobfamily.com. Archived from the original on 30 March 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015.