Quintin Hogg announced his intentions to start a day school for boys aged 8-17 in November 1885.  He wanted to make use of the empty rooms at the Poly during the daytime.  Hogg had clear and innovative ideas about the kind of education to be provided- all boys were to have a solid training in practical and technical as well as academic subjects, and of course swimming, drill and gymnastics were part of the curriculum. School boys could use all the facilities of Regent Street, which provided an unconventional setting for a school.  Many old boys remember starting the school day with an assembly in the cinema.

The name of the school was not consistently defined in this period.  It was usually referred to as the Boys’ Day School although its activities were often simply recorded in the Polytechnic Magazine as ‘Quintinians’. The first official name was conferred in 1946 when it was rechristened The Quintin School.

During World War Two the School was evacuated to Minehead in Somerset.  The central London location of the Poly meant that the threat of bombing was very real and the Queen’s Hall across Regent Street was destroyed by bombs in 1941.  In Minehead they shared the county school’s premises and the boys lived both with families and in hostel accommodation.  For city boys, living in the Somerset countryside was a unique and novel experience

The School remained evacuated for the duration of the war and afterwards was unable to return to 309 Regent Street due to lack of space.  The Poly Governors were unable to provide the school with the premises required by law and the school came under the direct control of the London County Council.  In 1956 it moved to St John’s Wood and in 1969 merged with the Kynaston Technical School to become the Quintin Kynaston School (now Harris Academy, St John’s Wood).

Period: 1930s, 1940s

Harold Beck attended the Polytechnic Secondary School at Regent Street between 1935-1942.  For the first four years at the school Harold Beck was based at 309 Regent Street.  However, when World War Two began the School was evacuated to Minehead in Somerset.  They remained in Minehead for the duration of the war sharing the county school’s building.

In these excerpts he discusses how he felt about being evacuated, accommodation or ‘billets’ in Minehead, the food he was given whilst staying with a family in Minehead and the structure of the school day in Somerset and at Regent Street.

Period: 1930s

James Parkes attended the Polytechnic Secondary School between 1932-1936. He received a scholarship to the school having been nominated by the headmaster of his previous school.

In these extracts he discusses the school day and house competitions in the swimming pool, the subjects he studied and the teaching staff at the School and the school entrance exam and interview.

Period: 1930s; 1940s

Lionel Price attended the Polytechnic Secondary School at Regent Street between 1938-1941.  He also joined the Institute as a member soon after leaving school in order to use the sports facilities.  He joined the basketball club and was selected to represent Great Britain at the 1948 London Olympic Games.

For the first year at the school Lionel Price was based at 309 Regent Street.  However, when World War Two began the School was evacuated to Minehead in Somerset.  They remained in Minehead for the duration of the war sharing the county school’s building.

In these excerpts he discusses being evacuated, the accommodation or billets they had in Minehead, how he felt about being evacuated and the teaching staff at the School.

Period: 1930s

Robert Lanman Mitchell attended the Polytechnic Secondary School in the 1930s.  He was the great-nephew and godson of Major Robert Mitchell, Director of Education at the Poly 1891-1922.

In these excerpts he discusses his reasons for joining the school and the backgrounds of the other pupils and the school curriculum.


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