Fonds PSS - Polytechnic Secondary School

Photograph: Cadet Football Team

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Polytechnic Secondary School


  • [1885]-2009 (Creation)

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6 boxes

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Administrative history

In 1885 Quintin Hogg (1845-1903), founder of the Polytechnic Young Men's Christian Institute (later Regent Street Polytechnic), announced the founding of a day school there, a response to the fact that so many rooms in its premises at no 309 Regent Street were left empty during the day (much of the teaching and activities taking place in the evenings).

The school opened in 1886 with 130 boys, aiming to provide professional, commercial (including Civil Service) and industrial secondary education at moderate fees. It was run by the Polytechnic President, Director of Education, and Governing Body, with its own Headmaster. It catered for boys aged 7 to 17 and soon had over 500 pupils; there was also, from 1888, a school for girls in Langham Place, which may have survived into the 1930s. Hogg himself undertook some teaching. The school used the Polytechnic sports and laboratory facilities. It pioneered educational trips abroad with a visit to Belgium and Switzerland in 1888. A club, the 'Old Quintinians', was formed in 1891 for former pupils to keep in touch with the Polytechnic after leaving the school, and a supplement added to the Polytechnic's magazine for them.

The school was known variously as the Polytechnic (Boys') Day School, the Polytechnic Middle Class School, and the Polytechnic Intermediate Day School. Due to growing numbers of students, the Technical School (originally the Industrial Division) and Commercial School (which included the Professional Division) were divided in 1892. They came to operate largely as separate schools, despite occupying the same building. 'Aided' status under the London County Council was attained in 1911. The Commercial Day School and the Technical Day School were reunited as the Polytechnic Secondary School in 1919. Conditions in Regent Street were cramped owing to the expansion of the adult Polytechnic.

The school was evacuated to Minehead in 1939. On the return to London it was again apparent that the Regent Street Polytechnic building was overcrowded and lacked facilities such as a playground. A proposed alternative site near Regent's Park was bombed, and other proposals also proved abortive. Boys who had returned to London were taught in St Katherine's House, Albany Street, and additional space was found at the LCC Institute for Distributive Trades in Charing Cross Road. Most of the classrooms in Regent Street were in use by the Polytechnic, although some school laboratories remained in the Great Portland Street extension (Little Titchfield Street). This accommodation was unsuitable for the bulk of the pupils returning from evacuation in 1945 and the Pulteney School (originally an elementary board school, founded in 1881) in Peter Street, Soho, provided further premises.

Under the Education Act (1944) fees were abolished. The school moved from aided status to become a voluntary controlled school, under closer control by the London County Council. Renamed the Quintin School in 1948, when it became a grammar school and instituted its own governing body, the school continued to operate on the split sites until 1956, when it moved to new accommodation in St John's Wood, designed by Edward D Mills & Partners and opened in 1957, neighbouring the newly-relocated Kynaston Technical School (formerly Paddington Secondary Technical School). The two schools merged in 1969 to form Quintin Kynaston School, a boys' comprehensive, which became co-educational in 1976.

In 2001 the school became a Specialist Technology College and in November 2011, it became an academy, changing its name to Quintin Kynaston Community Academy.

Archival history

Some material created by the institution, other items acquired into the collection (through purchases and donations).

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Scope and content

Records of the Polytechnic Secondary School, its predecessors and successors, consisting of membership records, comprising Day School registers, 1890-1892, 1905-1911, including lists of free scholarships, 1891-1894, Girls' Day School register, 1900-1906, and Polytechnic Secondary School lists, 1925-1935; administrative papers, including papers relating to a conference between the Governing Body and H M Inspectors concerning inspection of the Polytechnic Secondary School, 1929, circulars from the London County Council, Ministry of Health and Board of Education and other papers relating to the evacuation of the school, 1939-1940, Instrument dealing with the government of the Quintin School, 1951, file relating to management of the Quintin School, including Governors' minutes, 1962-1967, and miscellaneous other papers relating to the school; material relating to events, comprising Polytechnic Intermediate & Technical School for Boys programme of swimming display, 1890, programme of annual sports, 1920, Speech Day programmes, 1920-1922, 1926, 1930-1931, 1934, 1951, 1968, including Headmaster's reports, 1925-1926, 1929-1930, 1933-1924, programmes of presentation of athletic prizes, 1929-1930, 1934, including Headmaster's report, 1928-1929, programme for the opening of the new building, 1957; printed material, comprising photocopy of a prospectus of the Polytechnic Middle Class School for Boys [1885], Commercial School fifth form gazette, 1903, The Old Quintinian, 1912-1913, The Quintinian, 1920, 1927-1943, 1949-1959, The Polytechnic Secondary School [1938], L C B Seaman, The Quintin School 1886-1956: a brief history (London, 1957), and The Quintin School Hymn Book, undated; photographs of pupils, staff, activities and sports teams, c1888-[1960s], some undated; ephemera, artefacts and memorabilia, including dictionary inscribed F H Master, 1917, Christmas crackers, 1938, engraved House Fours cup, 1939, school cap and tie, and undated song sheet; papers of Lehman Robert Baars relating to his time at the school, 1931-1935, including reports, exam results and school lists; papers relating to an exhibition on the school, 1986.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Listing by Barbara Williams, 1983; re-organised by Archivist, 2011.Typescript handlist for some items. More recently accessioned material is uncatalogued.

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Conditions governing access

Status: Open. Access is subject to signing the Regulations for Access form, unless the records are restricted under the Data Protection Act 2018 or under exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000

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Some items relating to the management of the school are found among the records of Regent Street Polytechnic (UWA RSP). The Polytechnic Magazine and its predecessor, Home Tidings, include information about the school. The Oral History collection (UWA OHP) features several interviews with former pupils.

Publication note

The Polytechnic Young Men's Christian Institute Syllabus and Prospectus 1888-1889; Ethel M Wood, Quintin Hogg: a Biography (Archibald Constable & Co Ltd, London, 1904), pp 151-3; L C B Seaman, The Quintin School 1886-1956: a brief history (London, 1957); Quintin School: Ceremonial Opening of the New Building [1957]; website of Quintin Kynaston school:

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