Highbury County Grammar School for Boys (or 'Highbury School' as it was later known) closed in 1967 after an existence of only 45 years. But it was a charmed existence which lives on in hundreds of memories. The draughty Victorian building had previously been a missionary society children's home, then a truants' school. The new grammar school struggled to compete with others with established academic reputations. Its catchment area was at first resolutely working-class, then partly Jewish and finally a mixture of many racial and ethnic groups. All of this - and the devotion of a cadre of long-serving teachers - gave Highbury a special character. It excelled on the football field, in its annual dramatic productions and in the surprisingly large number of university places it gained for such a small school. In 1967 the school acquired the new buildings it had long desired but it was then transformed into Highbury Grove Comprehensive, a school of double the size, and the magic had gone.
In HIGHBURY COUNTY REVISITED, Brian Boyle and David Perman have brought together a wealth of documents, photos, reminiscences and anecdotes to create a full picture of a unique school. Brian, who refounded the Old Highburians Association, is especially keen to preserve the memory of his Alma Mater. And that is a view shared by the large number of Old Boys who now attend the Old Highburians' annual reunions. As the school motto put it: Ne Absiste - Don't Give Up.
Front cover: Highbury County in the early 1960s (by permission of the London Metropolitan Archives)
Rockingham Press £9.95