The following information has been provided by Pinner Old Students Association, whose website can be found at www.pinneroldstudents.co.uk. We are grateful for their support, and for the wealth of information that they have about the history of the site.
In August 1897 Percy Rayner, aged six, visited Downs Farm in Cannon Lane to play with the farmer’s sons. Little did he realise that 40 years later he would return to these grounds as the first headmaster of Pinner County School, a school built on the site of the farm, where he would be welcoming 153 children to his brand new school. At a cost of around £48,619, the school was designed to accommodate 508 boys and girls.The building was often described as being one of ‘battleship lines’ typical of the reduced art deco style of the time particularly reflected in the school hall and the staircase in the north-west corner of the school. It wasn’t too long before the building was accommodating far more pupils than planned and for 30 years the building enjoyed its neatly rectangular existence, uninterrupted corridors and north-south lines. In 1968 work commenced with the building of a new gym block to the north-west corner and a new teaching block to the south-west corner. This was followed with a second phase of works involving major alterations to both floors of the north, south and west wings. When Heathfield acquired the premises in 1982 they too undertook major building works over a period of time resulting in the building and facilities seen today.Between 1937 and 1982 approximately 6,200 pupils/students received their education at Pinner County School, Pinner County Grammar School and Pinner Sixth Form College from which many well known names were to emerge in all professions and facets of life. Pinner gave the world of music Ron Goodwin (composer, arranger and conductor), Gordon Beck (jazz musician), Elton John and Simon Le Bon (composers and singers) both of whom are still performing today. John Harris (Lord Harris of Greenwich) was an early Labour spin doctor while Michael Renton found fame as a wood-engraver and letter cutter in stone and wood.Pinner always attracted high praise for its drama presentations and from Pinner, Tony Jay, became a Royal Shakespeare Company member and Hollywood actor. Several ex-pupils toured with the National Youth Theatre before embarking on stage, film and television careers. Names such as John Harding who wrote, directed and acted in many high profile productions; Martin Howells, at Pinner at the same time as John, appeared in The Lotus Eaters as well as many other productions and is now involved with the stage in New Zealand; Marion Bailey too was with the NYT and has had a busy career, appearing in many Mike Leigh productions and starring in his last film, Turner.Several authors came out of Pinner. People like Bill Gunston, an aviation expert and a prolific writer with over 350 titles/articles to his name. Wendy Holden, also know as Taylor Holden, the writer and journalist has many books to her credit as does Gay Search, the writer and broadcaster and former presenter on Gardener’s World.Sport played a big part in Pinner life producing international players in ATC football, basketball and in rugby. Stewart Wilson was captain of the Barbarians, Scotland and took the name of Pinner around the world as a British Lion in 1966 on their tour of Australia, New Zealand and Canada. There are far too many to name who did outstandingly well in the professions around the world as well as in the UK in law, accountancy, medicine, the sciences, the church, the world of academia, industry, public service, education. The success of many of these people is shown by the OBE and MBE after their names. There is Steve Long (a Fellow of the Royal Society), Dr Carole Spencer (a thyroid cancer specialist) and His Honour Judge Peter Copley. Many, many more reached their own personal potentials because of the education they received at Pinner.Now the school in Beaulieu Drive is in the safe hands of Pinner High. The Pinner Old Students Association wishes all who attend every success and happiness in their school lives in what for many of us was both a special place and a special time of our lives.