Interesting Facts

Straw Hats

Students of Harrow School London still wear straw hats. In keeping with this tradition the students at Harrow Beijing wear the straw hats each year in their annual photographs.

Harrow Lion

The Harrow insignia of the rampant Lion and crossed arrows is common to all Harrow schools and forms part of the family crest of John Lyon, the school’s founder in 1572. However, lions became extinct in Britain more than 14,000 years before even Harrow London was founded. Also the lion depicted on the insignia has a mane and there is no evidence that lions with manes ever existed in Britain - apart from the ones used in Roman sporting events!

Forty Years On

Forty Years On is commonly sung as the Harrow Beijing school song. Usually only the first verse is sung, there are however several verses including one about Winston Churchill and a number only sung by old Harrovians about the pains of old age! Forty Years On was written in 1872 by E.E. Bowen and John Farmer and is only one of the over 60 Harrow School songs most of which were written in the late 1800’s.

Harrow on the Hill

The original Harrow School in London is situated on top of a hill within the London Borough of Harrow – hence the name ‘Harrow on the Hill’. Many of the houses on Harrow Hill now belong to the School, accommodating pupils and staff. The term ‘House’ is used in schools around the world to describe a particular subgroup of pupils, usually from all school years, who are overseen pastorally by a House Master or Mistress. In a boarding school, their ‘House’ also refers to their physical boarding house, which is where they live. You might also hear the term in films and novels!


Houses are common to all Harrow schools. Harrow London has 12 Houses and Harrow Beijing has 6. 

Harrow Beijing House System

Nicholas Patrick Challenge

An annual science challenge named in honour of Harrow School's first astronaut.




Stet Fortuna Domus, which is one of Harrow School London's two mottos, “May the fortune of the House stand”, has long been established as Harrow Beijing's unofficial motto. The song of the same name, was composed in 1891 for Lord Shaftesbury, the Lord Mayor of London, an old Harrovian and celebrated philanthropist of the 19th Century. As testament to Harrow Beijing's links to tradition and history despite being over 125 years old, the words of the song still ring true today.

Stet Fortuna Domus,
(E.W. Howson and Eaton Faning)
May Fortune still attend the Hill,
And Glory rest upon her!
The world outside is wondrous wide,
But here the world is narrow,
One magic thrall unites us all —
The name and fame of Harrow.

How apt those thoughts are today, now that Harrow has spread to the wondrous outside world and that together we are all united in the name and fame of Harrow. The song continues with the lines:

From Harrow School to rise and rule
By heart and brain and sinew,
And as the roll of Honour’s Scroll
Page after page is written,
May Harrow give the names that live
In Great and Greater Britain.