2024 IBSC Annual Conference

2024 IBSC Annual ConferenceHarrow School

Harrow on the Hill, London, United Kingdom

July 1-4

Harrow Language and Songs

During the conference you may notice the idiosyncratic language used at Harrow. Lots of these terms have evolved over time. We encourage you to use these terms during your four days at the school.

While the origins of many of these words and phrases may have been lost in time, they remain a common language among those who have spent time at Harrow.

  • The Hill refers to the geographical location of the school.
  • beak is a teacher, also known as a master
  • Bill or call over is a compulsory roll call, held in each house three times a day.
  • The Bill Book is a small blue book that provides essential information about the school and the term's calendar.
  • bluer is the uniform's dark blue jacket. Greyers are the grey trousers.
  • Butteries are the kitchens in the Houses.
  • copy is awarded for 12 send ups or to the top boy in each subject every term. Boys with eight copies win a prize.
  • Double is lines on special paper, set as a sanction.
  • Eccer is any form of games/sport. 
  • Ducker is the outdoor swimming pool (no longer in use).
  • Flannels are school colors for sport. A boy awarded his flannels for cricket, rugby, football, Harrow football, or minor sports may wear a grey waistcoat with his tails.
  • Footer refers to Harrow football, the school game and a precursor to Association Football or soccer.
  • The Guild is a specially appointed group of senior boys who have shown artistic or cultural excellence. They have a distinctive maroon tie and may wear a maroon waistcoat with their tails.
  • Locking up is a deadline, after which time boys must sign out if they wish to leave their house.
  • monitor is a prefect.
  • passage is a corridor in a boarding house.
  • The Philathletic Club is made up of the school's top athletes, commonly called The Phil. Members may wear a black bowtie.
  • Remove is the second-year group at Harrow and Shell the first.
  • Queue are times each day when boys may meet with their house master to withdraw money, report send ups and skews, and conduct other matters of business or concern.
  • send up is a piece of very good work.
  • shepherd is a Remove boy who looks after new Shell boys for their first two weeks.
  • skew is a sanction from a beak for poor or incomplete work.
  • Tolley up is permission to work after lights out.
  • Torpids are an under-16 house sports team.
  • tosh is a bath or shower.
  • Trials are internal school examinations.
  • yarder is both an outdoor recreation area and a game played there.
  • Yearlings are Shell teams or groups.

Harrow has its own set of songs, sung by Harrovians and Old Harrovians alike. They are sung in boarding houses every term and regularly as a whole school.

Twice a year the Harrow Association (Harrow's old boys’ society) holds Songs in Speech Room for Old Harrovians from a particular age group. Churchill Songs is held in the autumn term in honor of our most famous prime minister for an audience of special guests, including members of royalty, governments, and the Churchill family. Songs are usually sung whenever Old Harrovians gather together, enduring far beyond their schooldays. Forty Years On has become known as The Harrow Song and, over the years, has been adopted by many girls' schools, seemingly few of which discern its references to Harrow football.

Find recordings of these songs at https://www.harrowschool.org.uk/news-events/explore-harrow/harrow-songs.