Mill Hill School

For former secondary school, see Mill Hill School, Derbyshire.
Mill Hill School

Coat of arms of the School
Motto Et virtutem et musas
(Both virtue and learning)
Established 1807

Public school

Independent day and boarding
Headmistress Mrs. Frances King
Chair of Governors Dr Roger Chapman

Samuel Favell

John Pye-Smith
Location The Ridgeway
Mill Hill Village
Coordinates: 51°37′08″N 0°13′50″W / 51.6190°N 0.2305°W / 51.6190; -0.2305
DfE URN 101367 Tables
Students 640~
Gender Co-educational
Ages 13–18
Houses 10

Blue and Red

Former pupils Old Millhillians

Mill Hill School is a coeducational independent day and boarding school located in Mill Hill, north London. A member of the HMC, it is one of a handful of independent boarding schools in London. The school educates approximately 640 pupils, spread across ten day and boarding houses.


Mill Hill School is divided into houses. These are:

Boarding houses

Day houses

Winterstoke House was renamed as Grimsdell Pre-preparatory School in 1995.


School House at Mill Hill School

A committee of Nonconformist merchants and ministers, including John Pye Smith, founded the school[1] for boys on 25 January 1807. They located it outside the boundary of London because of "dangers both physical and moral, awaiting youth while passing through the streets of a large, crowded and corrupt city". The school is in peaceful, secure and rural surroundings, but by today's standards very close to Central London. A boarding school was opened in the house once occupied by Peter Collinson, with about 20 boys. The Rev J Atkinson was the first headmaster and chaplain until 1810.

Mill Hill School occupies a 120-acre (49 ha) site, part of which formed the gardens of Ridgeway House, the house of the botanist Peter Collinson. He was one of the most important importers of rare and exotic plants into English gardens. Many of the species that he introduced to Mill Hill in the 18th Century continue to flourish today in the grounds of the School. In 1746 Collinson planted Britain's first hydrangea on the grounds, now located adjacent to School House.

The estate was purchased by the botanist Richard Salisbury in 1802, Ridgeway House became the setting for a long-running scientific dispute between the new owner and his guest, James Edward Smith.[2] The flora of Mill Hill was supplemented by the work of the amateur botanist Richard William Bowry Buckland (died 1947), governor of the foundation from 1878 to 1889, who cultivated a garden in the south-west of the school's grounds for the enjoyment of future generations. He wrote in his diary:

In years bygone I pray to thee,
This willow here, my legacy
As I have sat, pray sit thee.
In shaded splendour
Millhillians; rest hither.

(signed Richard Buckland)

In 1939, Mill Hill School's premises were taken over by the British government and the school was evacuated to St. Bees School in Cumberland for the duration of the Second World War. Collinson House, a school for girls, was named for it. A St Bees Association was founded in commemoration of this period of evacuation in the school's history by Michael Berry OBE and David Smith.[3]

Mill Hill first admitted Sixth Form girls in 1975 and became fully co-educational in 1997. The BBC news website usually uses a picture taken at Mill Hill School for articles about boarding schools.[4][5]

In 2005 the school was one of 50 of the country's leading independent schools which were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel, exposed by The Times. Together they had driven up fees for thousands of parents.[6] Each school was required to pay a nominal penalty of £10,000, and all agreed to make ex-gratia payments totalling three million pounds into a trust. It is to benefit persons who were students at the schools during the cartel period.[7]

On March 2007, Mill Hill celebrated its bicentenary. To mark the occasion, the school was granted a new coat of arms by Robert Noel, Her Majesty's Lancaster Herald.[8]

Heads at Mill Hill School

In January 2016, Mrs. Frances King became the first female Head of Mill Hill School.[9]

The following have been Heads at Mill Hill School:

Name Years as Headmaster
Reverend John Atkinson 1807–1810
Reverend Maurice Phillips 1811–1818
Reverend Dr John Humphreys 1819–1825
Dr James Corrie 1825–1827
George Samuel Evans 1828 January–June
Robert Cullen 1829–1831
Reverend H. L. Berry 1831–1834
Thomas Priestley 1834–1852
Reverend Philip Smith 1852–1860
Reverend Dr William Flavel 1860–1863
Reverend Philip Chapman Barker 1863–1864
Reverend George Donald Bartlet 1864–1868
Dr Richard Francis Weymouth 1869–1886
Charles Arthur Vince 1886–1891
Dr John David McClure (later Sir) 1891–1922
Maurice Leonard Jacks 1922–1937
Dr Thomas Kingston Jerry 1938–1940
Arthur Rooker Roberts 1940–1943
Maurice Leonard Jacks 1943–1944
Reverend Dr John Sheldon Whale 1944–1951
Roy Moore CBE 1951–1967
Michael Hart CBE 1967–1974
Alan Fraser Elliot 1974–1978
William Allan Phimester 1978–1979
Alastair Carew Graham 1979–1992
Euan Archibald MacFarlane MacAlpine 1992–1995
William Winfield 1995–2007
Dr Dominic Luckett 2007–2015
Mrs Frances King 2016–present



Unveiled in 1896, the school chapel is a basilica in form. The architect was Basil Champneys, well known for his work at the University of Oxford and Winchester College.

School House

Designed by Sir William Tite, famous for his work on the London Royal Exchange, School House was erected in 1825 and is described as being in the Greco-Roman style.

Boarding houses

Although the number of day pupils has risen over recent years, both full and weekly boarding at Mill Hill is still possible.

Faculties and other

The School occupies a number of buildings within its site of both traditional and modern styling.

Bicentennial and sesquicentennial celebrations

The school celebrated its bicentenary year during 2007. To honour this landmark in the school's history a service was held at St Paul's Cathedral. Additionally, the school held the visit of HRH Countess of Wessex to officially open the school's new Favell building. An Acer x freemanii was planted in her honour adjacent to the School House garden.

The anniversary was further marked by the publication of 'Strikingly Alive', The History of the Mill Hill School Foundation 1807–2007 by School Historian, Roderick Braithwaite; the school's Archivist is Dr. Pamela Johnson.

The school was also visited by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on its 150th anniversary in 1957. This was commemorated by the planting of a Cedar on Top Terrace (the grassed area in front of the School house portico), in her honour.


The school is run by the Mill Hill School Foundation,[10] a registered charity under English law.[11] The foundation offers education to boys and girls aged 3 to 18 in three schools. The foundation's other schools are:


Mill Hill School has a range of sports. The school is traditionally known for its main sport, Rugby union, whose colours are chocolate brown and white. Rugby has been played at Mill Hill School since 1869. In 1930, three ex-pupils (Peter Howard, Roger Spong and Wilf Sobey) played in the England rugby team for a number of matches.

Notable alumni

The Patrick Troughton Theatre

In honour of Patrick Troughton the Mill Hill theatre was dedicated to the actor and named the Patrick Troughton Theatre in 2007.


Further reading

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