Comments & Editorials 01
Foreword to the first School Magazine (1956)

FOREWORD to the first school magazine (1956)

By John Miles


THE Head Master has asked me to write a Foreword to this, the first number of the Magazine of St. Nicholas Grammar School for Boys. I am honoured by his request and comply with the greatest pleasure.

St. Nicholas is the first new maintained Grammar School to be founded in the North-West division of Middlesex since 1907. This was the year in which Bishopshalt School, Hillingdon (at which I served as Head Master from 1929 to 1948) was established. For forty-eight years Bishopshalt was the only maintained Grammar School in the North-West division of the County and for twelve of those years your Head Master was a valued member of my staff at Bishopshalt.

How and why did you become "St. Nicholas"? Knowing that most of the land in the Ruislip area had been owned for centuries by King's College, Cambridge, I wrote to the Provost of that famous College, telling him that the Middlesex Education Authority was building two new Grammar Schools to serve the Ruislip-Northwool area, one for boys and one for girls. I told him also that the members of the local Executive for Education (of which I have the honour to be Chairman) always exercised a particular care in naming its new schools, endeavouring to find names which would carry a certain dignity, and provide also an appropriate focus of interest for each individual school.

Now, in the ancient Charter granted to King's College, Cambridge, in 1443 by its founder, King Henry VI, the King expressed the wish that his new College " shall henceforth be denominated Our College Royal of the Blessed St. Mary and St. Nicholas."

I therefore suggested to the Provost that it would be singularly appropriate to name the two new Grammar Schools in the Ruislip-Northwood district:

St. Nicholas Grammar School for Boys
St. Mary's Grammar School for Girls 

and asked for the permission of the College Authorities to name the schools as suggested.

The College was most friendly and co-operative. Here is a brief extract from the reply I received: "The College approves your proposal and we shall be very pleased to see the long connection with Ruislip perpetuated in this way. The proposed names seem to be admirable."

When these suggestions were placed before my Executive at Uxbridge, the members happily agreed, and the Middlesex Education Authority subsequently approved the proposals. And thus you have become the Grammar School of St. Nicholas, and your sister-school will be the St. Mary's Grammar School for Girls.

   *    *    *

Now what lies behind all this? And why is it important for the School?

Through your name, you are now linked directly with Christianity, with the long history of your country and with the ancient and gracious learning of the University of Cambridge. I hope you will see this as a high privilege, and realise that these links provide dignity and a fine beginning for your new school.

It is these early days that will count most, as indeed they did also at Bishopshalt. It is your duty to see to it that your basic traditions are well and truly laid. " Abeunt studia in mores" says the old Latin motto- Studies come out in character. Knowing the Head Master as I do, I am confident that you will not fail the generations that are to follow in your steps. They will build on your work,

I could write much more about these matters, but this is a Foreword, not a pamphlet. Let me conclude by selecting two illustrations which it seems fitting to mention.

First, your badge. It bears a mitre (for St. Nicholas was a Bishop, as well as the most popular Saint in Christendom) and it bears three purses. I bid you remember that these are the purses of charity, not the purses of the miser. No doubt you recall the story of these purses, told you by the Vicar of Emmanuel Church, Northwood, when you held your first Commemoration Day on the birthday of St. Nicholas, last December. The purses of charity: "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity". May one of your foundation stones be the greatest of all the Christian virtues. Then, your colour. It is the ancient purple of King's College, Cambridge, one of the finest seats of learning in this country. You are now closely linked with that lovely and gracious place, famous for its music as for many other phases of learning and of virtue. I hope many of you will journey to Cambridge (go there in day if you can) and see King's for yourself. And some day I hope to hear from your Head Master that a pupil at St. Nicholas has become a scholar of King's. How fitting that would be ! 

I tender my very best wishes to you all - Head Master, Staff, parents and boys alike and I am confident that you will together build a noble and worthy tradition, worthy of St. Nicholas himself, worthy of Santa Claus who brings gifts at Christmas time. Bring your gifts of character, ability and love. The School will cherish them.


Summer 1956 School Magazine


Dr. Watson's Retirement

Photos of Staff


Junior Common Room (1963)