About the Archive

The Harrow School Archive was set up in 1981, approximately 409 years after the School’s foundation. As can be appreciated a large quantity of records had gone missing or been destroyed in the meantime. The Archive deals with a steady flow of enquiries concerning people such as Old Harrovians, Masters, Head Masters and support staff. Subject-based enquiries are extremely diverse, ranging from sport, such as cricket, rugby, football, squash and rackets, to influenza epidemics. Nevertheless the Archive is well endowed with various series, such as the Harrow School newspaper, known as The Harrovian, which is a unique source for exploring the history of the School since the early 19th century, as well as tracing ancestors and famous Harrovians.

Over the years it has changed both its title and its content. The first known single edition was produced in 1828 and bears little resemblance to the newsy content of the 21st century. There seems to be a gap until 1857 when a new title was thought up in The Portico, but this only lasted until 1859 when a change of editors heralded a new title in The Triumvirate. Then in 1863 another rethink brought The Tyro. The Harrovian title was then briefly restored from 1869 until 1881. Another short blip occurred between 1883 and 1887 when it was called Harrow Notes. Eventually it reverted again to The Harrovian in 1888 and thus it has remained ever since. The change of name often brought with it a gap in publication, which was possibly due to a hand-over of boy editors perhaps when they left the School.

Very few issues of the paper were indexed and with such a long run it is extremely cumbersome to search. It was considered an ideal collection to digitise in order to make use of the search facilities offered by modern technology. A total of 2,808 individual issues have been scanned dating from 1821 right up to 2011. There are more than 47,000 individual articles in the database.

The content has changed from being purely of classical interest, to newsworthy articles and letters recording national and international events, scientific discoveries, School events and keeping a watching brief on Old Harrovians. Sometimes a few people drop under the radar and cannot be found, but in general there is a wealth of information contained therein. Explore and see what you can find.