Highgate School Museum

A small museum with great ambition

Our Museum tells the story of Highgate School through documents, artefacts, photographs and paintings. It opens a window on the past, showing school life through the centuries, our relationship with Highgate Village, and how we endured two world wars.

Housed in The Highgate Tabernacle on Southwood Lane, exhibits include:

  • Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth I, dated 29 January 1565
  • 1860s slate used by then Head John Bradley Dyne for the register of attendance
  • World War One letters from Master Arthur ‘Jumbo’ White
  • Photographs documenting our evacuation to Devon in World War Two
  • Shrapnel from the V-1 flying bomb which landed on our Senior Field in June 1944
  • Art by Sir Kyffin Williams RA (Head of Art 1944-73) and Anthony Green RA (pupil 1951-56, Assistant Art Master 1961-67).


In 1565, the school day began at 7am with prayers, with lunch from 11am to 1pm, and ended at 5pm (6pm in the summer) with more prayers.


In the nineteenth century, Eton Fives, cricket, rugby and athletics were our only formal games. Now pupils take part in over 20 different sports.


In 1958, Highgate School Choir became the first school choir to sing at the Proms.

Visit our Museum

We are sorry but Highgate School Museum is currently closed.


Escorted tours for Cholmeleians and current parents are available during school hours (Please contact our Archivist).

Moments in the Museum

Step inside the history of Highgate and enjoy many of the wonderful artefacts, displays and artworks that are part of its blueprint through Moments in the Museum. This series focusses a spotlight on individual pieces, delving into their past.

Click here to watch a collection of short videos about items in the Highgate School Museum.

Night at the Museum

‘Night at the Museum’ is a series of talks (one per term) by external speakers and Highgate teachers on a wide range of subjects.

Find out more by visiting our Events page

Highgate School Archive

Our Archive collects and preserves records relating to our School’s history, making them available for research. It contains material dating from our 1565 foundation to the present day. Holdings include:

  • Royal Charters of Queen Elizabeth I, authorising our founder Sir Roger Cholmeley to found a school at Highgate, 29 January 1565, 6 April 1565
  • Governors’ minutes and account books from 1565
  • Head Masters’ and Masters’ records from 1571
  • Pupil records from 1833
  • Estate papers, architectural drawings and plans of School property
  • Official school magazines and publications, plus alternative school magazines
  • Newspaper cuttings and audio-visual material, including oral histories
  • Uniforms and sportswear, trophies and medals
  • Photographs of Masters, staff, pupils, sports teams, Houses, School buildings and views of Highgate Village, plus prints of School buildings and artworks
Highgate School Natural History Society in 1948

Visit our Archive

We welcome researchers from within and beyond our School. Our Archive is open to researchers by prior appointment Monday to Friday during term, 9am to 2pm Please contact our Archivist to make a booking.

All researchers need to sign our visitors’ book and our reading room is supervised. Due to the uniqueness and rarity of many items, we kindly ask all researchers to follow the Reading Room Rules, which you should read before visiting.

Certain records are subject to a closure period. Records are normally closed for legal, privacy and security reasons. Other records may be closed because they are in a fragile state and, if used, are liable to be damaged further.

Highgate Junior School Pageant in 1937

Latest news

Visit our online exhibitions on Pinterest.


Archivist and Records Manager

Highgate School
North Road
London N6 4AY

Telephone: 020 8347 4421
Email: Archives@highgateschool.org.uk

Support our Museum and Archive

We are always delighted to accept donations connected to our School, like documents, letters, photos, clothing, objects and other memorabilia. Please contact our Archivist before sending items.

You can support our Museum and Archive by:

  • Becoming a Friend

    Since its 2015 launch, our Museum has hosted over 7,000 visitors and delighted pupils, teachers, parents, OCs and the public with exhibitions and events. Yet we want to offer more exhibitions and events, and improve our interactive displays and hands-on interpretive experiences for children.

    How can you make this happen?

    For £25 per year, you can support us as we develop an exciting programme of exhibitions and events. In addition, you will receive:

    • A biannual newsletter and event mailings
    • Invitations to Friends’ events
    • Priority booking on all ticketed events held in our Museum
    • A 20% discount on Highgate School and Museum merchandise

    Please click here to make a single donation of £25 to become a Friend for one year.

  • Adopt an Artefact

    Centuries of use are taking their toll on our Archive collections, with many items in need of repair and conservation. Conservation work ranges from simple repairs to cleaning, treatment and the provision of protective boxes for vulnerable items.

    We are currently undertaking a survey of our collections and prioritising items needing the most attention. Your donation will support our Highgate School Archive Conservation Programme.

    How can you make this happen?

    For as little as £50, you can help preserve Highgate’s history for future generations by adopting an artefact. Please click here for a list of the items available for adoption.

    For £50, you can adopt a twentieth century artefact and receive:

    • Free membership of the Friends of Highgate School Museum
    • A certificate of adoption which you can have inscribed with the words of your choice, perhaps commemorating a special event or anniversary
    • An information sheet about the item
    • Text credit on our website for the duration of the adoption
    • Invitation to our annual Adopt an Artefact Day where you will be see your artefact, visit the museum and meet other adopters

    For £75, you can adopt an eighteenth to nineteenth century artefact and receive all of the above, plus:

    • An invitation to a private view of our Museum for you and a guest
    • 50% off Night at the Museum lecture series
    • Complimentary Museum merchandise

    For £100, you can adopt a sixteenth to seventeenth century artefact and receive all of the above, plus:

    • A behind the scenes tour of our Archive
    • Complimentary entry to our Night at the Museum lecture series
    • If your item is displayed in our Museum, your adoption will be acknowledged.
    • To support the vital conservation of our collection and adopt an artefact, then please click here. For other ways to make a gift, click here.

Our history
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