Dorset County Show sets new record

Dorchester in London

Dorchester in London


“Dr. Iain Melvin OBE can be proud of all that he has achieved at Thomas Hardye School over 22 years- creating in Dorchester, one of the best schools in the South West,” said Michel Hooper-Immins, President of the Old Hardyeans, about the retiring Headmaster at the annual London Dinner. “Dr. Melvin has finally decided to leave on 17 December and I know all Old Hardyeans will wish him a long and happy retirement. We old boys have always been treated with great courtesy and kindness. He will always be welcome at our functions. It is difficult to imagine Thomas Hardye School without Dr Melvin, a wonderful Headmaster, who has brought the school to such consistent excellence.”

The London Dinner, held in the splendid surroundings of University College London, was attended by Old Hardyeans from Oxford, Cambridge, Kent and Milton Keynes, as well as a party from Dorchester and Weymouth.

Old Hardyeans Past President Professor Hugh Griffiths, Head of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at University College London, spoke of how it was founded in 1826, now one of the top universities in the world. Several Nobel prizewinners were educated there. He welcomed Old Hardyeans to the London Dinner, a traditional fixture in November, for members of the Hardyeans Club who live in and near London.

Michel Hooper-Immins, President of the Old Hardyeans, spoke of how the old boys have a lot to give to the modern school. “Although much different to my days at Hardye’s School- where there was only 750 of us- we old boys will keep supporting our school, now with over 2,000 students. I thank Hugh Griffiths for organising this splendid feast in such noble surroundings.”

Every Remembrance Day- ironically apart from this year when it was truncated due to the weather- the students and staff of the modern Thomas Hardye School stand outside the memorial gates for the annual Act of Remembrance, remembering Old Grammarians and Old Hardyeans lost in war. The gates and pillars were brought from the old Hardye’s School in Culliford Way in 1957. “It was a significant anniversary for me,” revealed Michel Hooper-Immins, “as I first participated in the Act of Remembrance in November 1960, my first year at the upper school- 50 years ago. I do remember it snowed that day and we were all very cold!”

Dr. Iain Melvin OBE thanked the Old Hardyeans for their good wishes, recalling he had become Headmaster in 1988, 22 years ago. “I do appreciate the friendship and support I have found in the Hardyeans Club over the years. I’m going to miss the school more than I can imagine, but I hope you will give your support to my successor.” Dr. Melvin retires on 17 December and will be replaced temporarily by six deputies, who will run the school until the new Headmaster is appointed by the Governors.

Dinner began with sweetcorn and smoked bacon velouté with wild mushrooms, followed by roasted corn-fed chicken with pan-fried kale and pistachio gnocci. Pear and ginger tart with almond crème fraiche, was the dessert, followed by a glass of port.

Founded in 1905 as the Old Grammarians, the Old Hardyeans- also known as the Hardyeans Club- is one of the most successful old school associations in the county, bringing together the old boys of Dorchester Grammar School and Hardye’s School, plus ex-students of the modern Thomas Hardye School. In the times of Queen Elizabeth I, it was Thomas Hardye [with a final “e”] described as an yeoman of Frampton, who endowed Dorchester Grammar School in 1569. Hardye’s [shopping] Arcade today stands on the site. The Grammar School moved to Culliford Road in 1928- renamed Hardye’s School from 1954. The new Thomas Hardye School in Queens Avenue opened in 1992, encompassing the best traditions of the two previous schools- but admitting girls for the first time since 1569! Writer Thomas Hardy OM, who lived at nearby Max Gate, laid the foundation stone of Hardye’s School in 1925. He was no relation to Thomas Hardye, founder of the school, nor of Admiral Thomas Masterman Hardy!

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