William Hulme's Grammar School

William Hulme's Grammar School
Motto Fide Sed Cui Vide (Latin: "Trust but watch whom you trust") (pun on whom/Hulme)
Established 1887 (1887)
Type Independent
Principal Peter Mulholland
Vice Principals Alyson Boustead, Bea Schouten
Chairman of Governors D. Marsden
Founder William Hulme
Location Spring Bridge Road
M16 8PR
DfE URN 135296 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Gender Mixed(pre-1987, all boys)
Ages 3 (pre-1997, 11)–18
Houses Bonnick     , Hulme     , Jones     , Roberts      (Pre 2001: Byrom, Dalton, Fraser, Gaskell, Heywood and Whitworth)
Colours Claret, Navy and Straw
Publication The Hulmeian (annual magazine), Billboard (quarterly magazine), WHGS (weekly news magazine)
School Song The Hulme Song/Jerusalem
(Ex) Pupils (Old) Hulmeians
Website www.whgs-academy.org

William Hulme's Grammar School is a mixed all-through school located in Whalley Range, Manchester, England.


William Hulme, founder of the William Hulme Charity, lived 16311691 in Hulme Hall, Stockport. Following the premature death of his son, he left provision for the foundation of exhibitions for four students to study for Bachelor of Arts degrees at Brasenose College, Oxford. The income for this charity was originally £64, which came from rents and dues on his many outlying properties. Over the years, this sum grew so much that on several occasions it was necessary to extend the scope of his bequest.[1] In 1881, the Trustees of his charity were empowered to build schools in Manchester, Oldham and Bury.

The Manchester school was founded on 26 January 1887 as a grammar school.[2] Originally named The Hulme Grammar School, in 1939 it changed its name to William Hulme's Grammar School.[3] Until 1975 it was a direct grant school; when this scheme was abolished, it chose to become independent.[4]

In 2006, the school announced that it was joining the state sector, abolishing all tuition fees and selection. It applied for and gained academy status, making it more independent than most state schools by allowing for the selection of up to 10% of students based on aptitude in foreign languages.[5] It is the first member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference of top independent schools to opt into the state sector.

In 2007, the school announced that plans to become an Academy had been finalised and that the United Learning Trust had signed the contract. Plans for extensive building work were revealed, backed by a £10 million investment. Building work, which involved a complete renovation and extension of the Donner Block and the demolition of the Art and Design building, was completed within 2 years.

In 2014, the school announced an extension to expand its capacity, including a new Preparatory building. An annual intake of 150 students will begin from the 2015-2016 academic year.



Old Building

The north face of the Old Building looking towards the front of the School

The original part of the school was designed by A H Davies-Colley in 1886–1887 as a large, high (up to four storeys) building of red brick and yellow terracotta. There is a hall of c.1910 in the same style. Both buildings are strictly symmetrical. The building lies on top of a large tunnel network. In the original building, there is a ground floor hall surrounded by balconies on many levels. The main staircase is opposed by large stained glass windows. The basement level was refurbished on one side in 2007 in order to allow lessons to be held in two small classrooms. The tunnels, archives and CCF stores still remain, though. At the front of the school in the basement are the staff changing rooms, medical centre and store cupboard (in which the timpani, though seldom used, are kept).

The stage of the main hall lies opposite the hall entrance, above which are a number of magnificent oil paintings of previous headmasters, some near to 6' in length. A portrait of Mr Patriarca was commissioned in 2008. Around the oak-panelled walls of the hall are boards bearing the names of old boys who have been awarded Scholarships or Exhibitions to Oxford or Cambridge, long serving teachers and all past headmasters. Above these are numerous house flags and shields. On the west wall is the stage staff balcony. The stage staff are appointed each year to operate and maintain lighting and sound for the school. Beneath the balcony is the organ. There is also a fairly new grand piano which is frequently used for public concerts and recitals. Beneath the main hall was originally the changing rooms but is now the music department which is equipped with an older grand piano in the rehearsal studio, along with several upright pianos and a number of computers and keyboards.

Science Block

Leaving the old building from the back, one enters the north quad. Opposite is the science block, which was built in 1927. It houses approximately 10 Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geology laboratories and also classrooms for Sports Science, Economics and Business Studies, along with the Activities Studio. There are darkroom facilities within the physics department. It has been extended twice. The first extension, in the 1940s, added 4 labs at the north end of the building. Its purpose, according to the Headmaster at the time, was to "prosecute study and further the development of truth; if that can't be done, what else is there?" The second extension was in January 1985. The gap at the back between the then-Donner library and the 'old' biology laboratory was filled to give a new biology lab and a multi-purpose large lab. The latter of these was refurbished in 2002 as the Dr Barnes Laboratory, in memory of Dr John Barnes, head of physics, who died suddenly whilst teaching in 2000.

View of the Science Block in front of the Main Building. Astroturf in foreground and Donner Block (in construction) on left. Taken from original 1st XI cricket square

Donner Block

On the other side of the north quad is the Donner block, named after Sir Edward Donner, a benefactor of the school. It was built as an extension to the technology building in the mid 20th century. In 2007/8 it was completely gutted and rebuilt. The new building includes the dining hall, most of the central offices for the Secondary Phase and classrooms for the Mathematics, History, Geography, Religious Studies, Food Technology, Art and Design Technology departments, as well as staff and sixth form common rooms.

South Quad

On the other side of the Donner Block is the south quad. This is surrounded by the Donner Block, the Learning Resources Centre (library), the Performing Arts Centre (PAC) and the Zochonis Centre.

Zochonis Centre

The Zochonis Centre contains the English, Modern Foreign Languages, Latin, Classics, EAL, ICT and Learning Support Departments.

Learning Resources Centre

The Donner Library, now renamed the Learning Resources Centre moved to the previous VIth form common room in 2007. This is its third location - it has previously occupied what is now the Mathematics department and the Donner block first floor. The old Junior Library was housed in the basement of the old building underneath room 7, in what is now the CCF stores

Sports facilities

Behind the academic buildings, and backing onto Princess Road are the sports facilities. There is a sports hall with full cricket nets, gymnasium and changing rooms as well as a more modern pavilion/changing room suite. A full-size AstroTurf pitch with adjacent netball courts was built in 2002–2003. In winter the playing fields are used for hockey, rugby and soccer pitches, and in summer for rounders and cricket pitches with high quality wickets. Badminton, basketball and tennis are also played. Throughout the year there are regular inter-school and inter-House matches in all the main sports. The Corps also has an indoor rifle range on the campus.

Harris House, Hardraw

The school, through the J.G. Bird Trust, owned an ex-school and attached headmaster's house in the village of Hardraw, near Hawes, Wensleydale.[6] School parties of up to 30 students and staff frequent this listed building known as 'Harris House' to take part in outdoor pursuits. It was built in 1875 and comprises the school teacher's house, junior and infant classrooms and the former kitchen. It closed in the 1960s and was bought by WHGS, which at the time owned several centres similar to but smaller than this. It was then converted for WHGS use. The centre was known as 'Hulme House' until 1993, when W.C. Harris, an Old Hulmeian, left £50,000 in his will for the renovation of the property. The house was hence renamed after its principal benefactor. The accommodation holds 34 people with 3 dormitories for 8 and 3 other rooms which sleep 2, 3 and 4 people; groups regularly use the centre for outdoor pursuits, field courses, Duke of Edinburgh's Award expeditions and training. Harris House has now been sold but the school continues to run the D of E Award.

School life


The School supports two charities, St. Ann's Hospice and Henshaw's Society for Blind People. A number of fund-raising activities are held throughout the School year, including bag-packing at local supermarkets and providing refreshments at various School activities.

House system

The House system had operated for more than 100 years until recent changes were made. The original houses were Whitworth, Gaskell, Byrom, Fraser, Heywood and Dalton. These have now been replaced by Hulme, Jones, Bonnick and Roberts, all named after benefactors of the School. The House Masters are all senior staff. Heads of House and House Prefects are elected annually. House artifacts, namely shields, banners and portraits, can be seen at the school in the New Hall.

Origins of Houses

The Houses in the old system were named after influential Mancunians:

New-system houses are named after influential Hulmeians/benefactors:

Combined Cadet Force

Towards the end of their second year (Year 8), the majority of pupils join the voluntary CCF (the "Corps"). Uniform is issued and cadets accompany the Contingent on a Field Day in June and, if they wish, Summer Camp, where they take part in a wide variety of activities. They train once a week at School, following syllabuses which lead to promotion and qualifications.

Cadets join either the Army (Duke of Lancaster's Regiment) or the RAF Section, both of which are officered by teachers, whereafter a minimum of five terms' service is expected. They may then choose to continue as NCOs in the Sixth Form, during which time they undergo more advanced training and assist in instructing the younger cadets. The Corps meets weekly and takes part in a Field Day each term. In addition to Summer Camps, there are two camps at Easter, one on an RAF Station, the other adventurous training in North Wales. Membership offers many advantages, not least of which is the opportunity to apply for a wide range of residential courses offered by the services; especially popular are leadership, gliding, first aid, engineering and signals.


A concert band/orchestra exists and plays in several concerts each year along with the choir, jazz band and samba band.

Note on the organ

The organ was installed in 1982 under the guidance of PJ Callaghan, Head of History. It has Great and Swell manuals and a pedal board of 2.5 octaves. By 2008 the organ had ceased to be used more regularly than in a few hymn practises and the Christmas service each year and has fallen into slight disrepair, with a few keys on the swell manual requiring work.

Great (5 octaves) Swell (5 octaves) Pedal (21/2 octaves)
Diapason 8'

Quintessential organ tone.

Hohl Flute 8'

Open flute of hollow tone

Open Diapason 16'

Octave below diapason 8'

Stopped Diapason 8'

Fluty, mellow stop with no reediness

Salicional 8'

String stop with slight horn tone

Bourdon 16'

Large stopped wooden flute similar to Gedackt

Dulciana 8'

Diminutive diapason, softer and flutier

Vox Angelica 8'

Very soft, high-pitched reed-stop

Bass Flute 8'

Soft and deep flute stop

Principal 4'

Open diapason octave above diapason 8'

Gemshorn 4'

Flute/ string hybrid, similar to Wald flute

Fagotto 16'

Imitative (of bassoon) reed stop

Wald Flute 4'

Strong, hollow tone between Gemshorn and Hohl Flute

Fifteenth 2'

Very high Principal

Twelfth 2 2/3 '

Diapason-toned mutation-stop often linked to Principal

Mixture III

Mutation stop with breaks

Fifteenth 2'

Very high Principal of fuller body than on the Swell

Oboe 8'

Unimitative solo reed stop

Krummhorn 8'

Clarinet-like sound but of deeper and fuller tone

Trumpet 8'

Fairly reedy and brilliant solo stop

Full Great Full Swell Great to Pedal
Swell to Great (Sub-) Octave Swell to Pedal
Unison off

School productions

The concert band provides music for the annual school production. In 2007, the band played the original score for West Side Story. 2008 saw a performance of My Fair Lady.

Other concerts

The Black Dyke Mills Band have strong links with the school and give concerts each year in the New Hall.

In 2007, Serhei Salov, internationally famed Ukrainian pianist, performed a piano recital.

School Song

The School Song is the William Hulme's Grammar School Song, though this has not been sung at the School for at least forty years, and has somewhat fallen out of favour due to the views expressed. It has undergone something of a revival recently. If the song is taken not literally as praise to William Hulme himself, but to the institution of 'Hulme', then it holds rather more value. The institution of Hulme is accepted as the whole ethos of the school, as started by its founder; the values of trusting, rounded, wholesome students and teachers; students who excel is sport and music to the same extent as in Mathematics and English. The Hulme Song was recorded by the Nottingham University Choir in c. 1997. It is in the key of D major (although it undergoes several modulations) and is in '12/8' time. The words are as follows:[7]

Verse 1
'Reft of his son and his line stay'd forever,
Gen'rous in sorrow our founder then prov'd;
Freely his all he entrusted that never
Men should be held from the learning they lov'd.
Small tho' the seed, God hath granted increasing;
Manifold now are the heirs to his name.
See down the ages the line never ceasing,
Firm in affection upholding his fame.
Sing we in chorus in praise of our founder,
In pious remembrance we honour his name;
Proudly unfurl and on high raise his banner,
Shout to the world that our trust is in Hulme
Hulme! Hulme!
Shout that our trust is in Hulme.
Verse 2
Ours be to follow his noble ambition,
Hand to the future unspotted our shield.
Single of purpose to keep Hulme's tradition,
"Trust, but beware to nought evil we yield."
When down life's pathway Time's shadow comes stealing,
And youth's early glamour before it departs,
Burn still within us old memories kindling,
The firse of Hulme's faith now a-glow in our hearts.
Sing we in chorus in praise of our founder,
In pious remembrance we honour his name;
Proudly unfurl and on high raise his banner,
Shout to the world that our trust is in Hulme
Hulme! Hulme!
Shout that our trust is in Hulme.
WHGS song
verse and chorus of WHGS Song on organ, played and recorded 3 Feb 2008

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The first XI cricket pitch

Weekly fixtures are played against other local schools and also more prestigious clubs; for example, the cricket 1st XI have an annual fixture vs. the MCC. Matches in all sports against schools such as Manchester Grammar/High School are always eagerly anticipated, hard-fought affairs with a dose of rivalry.

Hulme Prayer

Though now rarely used, the school prayer is as follows:

O Lord, the resurrection and the life of them that believe, to be praised, as well as those that live as in those that are departed: we give thee thanks for William Hulme, of whose bounty this school was founded and endowed, for William Roberts, Edward Donner and others our benefactors, past and present, by whose beneficence we are here maintained for the further attaining of Godliness and learning: beseeching thee to grant that we, well using to thy glory these Thy gifts, may rise again to eternal life with those that are departed in the faith of Christ: through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Notable former pupils

Old Hulmeians' Association

The School's former pupils society is the Old Hulmeians' Association (OHA), which was founded on 8 January 1913. A parallel Old Hulmeians in London Association ran from a similar time until the late 1990s, when it merged with the main OHA. Three Head Masters have held the office of President of the OHA, namely Rev. W.A. Parker-Mason, Trevor Dennis and James Bird. The current President is Andrew Marsden. The OHA owns, in part, the Old Hulmeians Memorial Ground playing field in Whalley Range. The ground is shared with Whalley Range Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club and is frequently used for school cricket fixtures. Sections existed within the OHA for lacrosse, golf and cross-country, and intermittently cricket, rugby and even a Masonic Lodge in the past. The golf section is currently the most active. In 2013, the OHA held its centenary dinner at The Midland Hotel in Manchester. This location was chosen as it was at the same place that the inaugural dinner was held in 1913. The OHA is still active with a committee that meets at the school every couple of months and a Newsletter produced for its paying members annually. It provides support to existing school pupils in various forms including its members contributing to careers advice and events at the school by relaying their wide and varied experience in all walks of life to pupils just exploring their own career aspirations. It also provides a small amount of financial support to help pupils participate in extra curricular activities and events.


  1. Rack, Henry (2004). Hulme, William (bap. 1631, d. 1691). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2014-01-27.
  2. The Hulmeian, March 1956 (vol.XIII no. 14)
  3. <"The Hulmeian", January 1940 (vol. 10 no. 10)'
  4. http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1978/mar/22/direct-grant-schools |chapter-url= missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 22 March 1978. col. 582W–586W.
  5. Halpin, Tony (6 February 2006). "Private school joins state sector". The Times.
  6. Harris House
  7. 'Hymns in use at William Hulme's Grammar School, Manchester, Second Edition, September 1951
  8. Langdon, Julia (24 February 2015). "Jeremy McMullen obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  9. Lancashire Evening Telegraph, 16 January 1999

Additional reading

External links

Coordinates: 53°26′46″N 2°14′53″W / 53.446°N 2.248°W / 53.446; -2.248

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