40 Years On, Old Gowers Remember Royal Visit

Last Thursday, 180 former pupils (known as Old Gowers) from UCS gathered for a reunion which marked the 40th anniversary of the Queen reopening the Great Hall following the devastation of a fire in 1978.

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3rd March 2020 — Last Thursday, 180 former pupils (known as Old Gowers) from University College School gathered for a reunion at the school in Hampstead. This was a reunion unlike any other as it was held exactly 40 years after the school was reopened by the Queen following a fire, which devastated the Great Hall and surrounding classrooms in 1978. Old Gower, Alan Jacobs recalls, “On 27th February 1980, the Queen visited UCS and as Sixth Formers at the time, we were presented to her. We were delighted that Her Majesty took the time earlier this month to write to us to wish us well on the 40th anniversary of her visit.”

The reunion was attended by Old Gowers of all ages, including comedian Hugh Dennis and journalist and politician Daniel Finkelstein, and the guest of honour was former UCS pupil Sir Chris Bonington. The famous mountaineer shared his experiences of life at UCS and how he turned his love of climbing into a lifelong career. Mark Beard, Headmaster of the UCS Foundation commented, “It was wonderful to welcome so many former pupils back to school. The talk by Sir Chris Bonington was fascinating. We all enjoyed hearing how a set-back in his sixth form years led him to start climbing and the future successes from which he never looked back. It was a lesson to us all in resilience.”

About University College School

Students at the Senior School achieve outstanding academic results. There are around 850 pupils (aged 11 – 18), and each year around 40 girls join our Sixth Form. Our aim is to produce students who can progress to university with the confidence and motivation to stand alone as independent learners, with a love of learning for learning's sake. Academic endeavour is supported by a wide range of co-curricular activities, including excellent provision for Sport, Music, and Drama.

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