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Lawrence Sheriff School House Names

First Word...from David Howe, Governor Emeritus

Lawrence Sheriff School House Names

For nearly 90 years, the school Houses were named after past benefactors and/or local dignitaries. Details can be found in the Leslie Wells school history e.g. page 14 (Caldecott), page 137 (Simpson), page 138 (Tait).

The fourth house was just called School House, perhaps linked in some way with School House at Rugby School. The most interesting story is linked to Edwin Tait, a local auctioneer and parent. He came to school to berate Headmaster, Mr Weisse (later Whitehouse), over the flogging of his son in 1891. Whatever Mr Whitehouse said, Mr Tait left school mollified and subsequently presented a cup for the Champion Athlete. This was the first ever cup to be donated to the school, and still the only one to mark a past altercation between the Head and a parent.

In Autumn 2020 came a question. Well, two really: When was School House renamed Wheeler House? Who was Wheeler?

The starting point for my Project-like investigation was the Honours Board. This showed that School House won the trophy in 1963, and a Wheeler editions for 1963 –1966 being conveniently bound together! They showed House then beginning its trophy winning career in early 1964, winning the for the Parents’ Trophy, on the left as you enter Big School from the back. House in 1967. This sent me to ask for the Griffins for the missing years, the School House winning trophies up to 1963, and the mysterious Wheeler House Gym Competition. Thus began and continues a distinguished history.

Finally, I spotted a three line piece, lacking any headline, in the December 1963 edition, which said:

“We are pleased to record the honour given to Mr Wheeler in School House being re-named Wheeler House. As the Headmaster neatly put it: ‘Rhoades has its medal, Whitehouse his quad, Hart his field, and now Wheeler his house’.” The Headmaster announcing, and presumably making the decision, was Mr.Staveley.

School House quietly shuffled off after a glorious career. As Shakespeare once asked ‘What’s in a name?’ But then, who was ever called School? Names do tell a story, but often we know the names only. The story behind them is a mystery. Consider the roads that lie en route to Hart Field. Who was Temple? Or Slade? Or Caldecott? Or Grosvenor? Or Murray? What are their stories? That could make a good quiz. Perhaps that ‘upstart’ Wheeler House might win it.


David Howe

Governor Emeritus


Volume 24, Number 18

Friday 29th January 2021

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