London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details


Date of Creation:


Reference Code:


Scope and Content:
  • Records of Highbury Hill High School, Shelburne High School and Highbury Fields School, 1903-1992, including papers relating to the amalgamation of Highbury Hill High School and Shelburne High School to form Highbury Fields School, including the campaign against amalgamation; administrative records including Highbury Hill admission registers, Highbury Fields admission register, and log books for Shelburne School. Also general administrative papers; financial accounts; correspondence; papers relating to the curriculum; papers of Governing Bodies and Committees; publications; papers relating to Shelburne Youth Centre; and staff registers.
Extent: 2.03 linear metres
Site Location: London Metropolitan Archives
Level of Description:

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Administrative History:
  • The existence of Highbury Fields School is due to the amalgamation, in 1981, of two schools: Highbury Hill High School for Girls and Shelburne High School for Girls. A brief account of the background of each school is given below:

    Highbury Hill High School:
    1836: Foundation of Home and Coloniel Society - to train teachers for work at home and abroad.
    1844: Highbury Hill High School founded as a Model Infant School, one of Home and Coloniel Society's Model Schools in Gray's Inn Road.
    1863: Model School became Middle Class School. Boys were asked to leave due to lack of accommodation. Surviving girls' school renamed 'The Mayo School', after its founder, Elizabeth Mayo.
    1894: The Mayo School then moved to Highbury Hill House, Islington: renamed Highbury Hill High School for Girls; Headmistress: Miss Matilda Maria Penstone.
    1912: Highbury Hill High School transferred to London County Council.
    1928: New school buildings built on same site.
    1939-43: War-time evacuation to Huntingdon Grammar School premises.
    1967-68: Threat to turn school into comprehensive: proposal defeated.
    1976: School became London's first mini-comprehensive with Highbury Grove School (boys).

    Shelburne High School
    1825: Mission set up in Holloway Road.
    1846: Mission founded The Holloway Free and Ragged School, situated in Hornsey Road and Ingram Place.
    1872: Mission asked London School Board to take over running of school. Existing buildings demolished and new school built on same site: named The William Forster School.
    1872: Church of England elementary school established in Harvist Road, St. Barnabas Parish (now the Harvist Estate), off Hornsey Road.
    1902: London County Council took over school in Harvist Road.
    1910: London County Council moved Harvist Road School to new premises at junction between Annette Road and Shelburne Road.
    c.1910-13: Harvist Road School amalgamated with William Forster School to form Shelburne Road School.
    The Shelburne Road School was divided into a lower school at Brecknock - 'The Brecknock School' - and an upper school at Shelburne - 'The Shelburne School'.
    1958: Renamed Shelburne High School for Girls.
    1961: Established as 5th form entry girls school.

    1979-81: ILEA Education Committee announced proposal to amalgamate Highbury Hill High School and Shelburne High School over period of 6 years. Highbury Grove School for Boys was to be merged with The Sir Philip Magnus School. Proposals were condemned by schools involved and much public support was gained, including that of Sir Rhodes Boyson MP, former Headmaster at Highbury Grove. Campaign was launched, resulting in march of pupils, parents and teachers to Department of Education and Science on 22 November 1979, before delivering petition of more than 40,000 signatures against proposals to 10 Downing Street.
    1981: Highbury campaign was defeated: Shelburne and Highbury Hill amalgamated September 1981. New school was named Highbury Fields (girls). Highbury Grove (boys) defeated proposal to amalgamate their school with The Sir Philip Magnus School.
Creator: Highbury Hill High School | 1836-1981
Shelburne High School | 1825-1981
Highbury Fields School | 1981-
Copyright: Depositor
Source of Acquisition:
  • Deposited in 1995
  • ACC/3488
Access Restrictions: These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 2018
Physical Condition: Fit
Arrangement: Arranged into thirteen catagories; Administration and Finance, Amalgamation Conduct, Correspondence, Curriculum, Governing Bodies/Committees, School History, ILEA General Background for Islington, Memrobilia, Publications, Shelburne Youth Centre, Special Occasions, Tertiary Education. Within each category, records are arranged alpha-chronologically.