April 2011

Loose Connections - From a 1911 Harrow School Census (Extract)

By - David Sansom (Member No. 280)

My paternal grandfather was born in Bristol and became a butler in the Head Master’s House at Harrow School in the early 20th century.

The Head Master at the time was the Reverend Lionel Ford who was later to become the Dean of York Cathedral. ‘Bear’ Grylls, who was appointed Chief Scout in 2009 is the maternal great grandson of Lionel Ford.

Among the boarders (pupils) listed is one ‘Bernard Docker’. He later became a leading industrialist and was the Managing Director of the Birmingham Small Arms Company group of companies (BSA) and also chaired the Daimler Motor Company. However, he is probably best remembered by most people as Lord Docker, who, with his wife Lady Docker was renowned for a lavish ‘playboy’ (and playgirl) lifestyle. They could be regarded as the Posh and Becks of the 1950’s.

Another of the sixty or so boys in the house at the time was Percy Vestey, a member of the Vestey family international food conglomerate which was established in 1897.

William Frederick Player was also a pupil in the Head Master’s House in 1911. He was the son of William Goodacre Player of the Players cigarette company. In 1901 Players merged with the Imperial Tobacco Group based in Bristol which also owned W D & H O Wills. My grandfather’s sister worked at Wills for many years in the hand-made cigar department...........


Royston and District Family History Society