Highgate is proud to have over 6,000 alumni, aged 18 to 100+, who are now living, working and making a difference across the globe.
Over the centuries, our School has helped shape the minds of many prominent and interesting contemporary and past characters. Below are some of our most notable Cholmeleians:
Sir John Tavener was one of Britain’s most celebrated composers, particularly known for his religious and choral works. He entered Highgate on a music scholarship in 1957, and was a contemporary of the composer John Rutter CBE. Tavener’s major interest was in playing the piano, alongside some choral work and composing. It wasn’t until after he had joined the Royal Academy of Music in 1962 that he decided to give up the piano and focus entirely on composition. His first major work, The Whale, premiered at the opening concert for Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank. He went on to great success; he was knighted in 2000 for services to music, and won an Ivor Novello Award. He composed several other major choral and devotional works throughout his life, retaining a high standard and volume of output until his death — in particular, his setting of William Blake’s poem ‘the Lamb’ is very popular in churches as a Christmas choral piece.Wikipedia page
John Rutter CBE, a contemporary of Sir John Tavener, is the arranger of a great deal of Western Christianity’s most popular modern hymns and carols, along with a great deal of other choral and devotional work — most notably his Magnificat (1990). He also produces, records and edits a great deal of choral music.
His output has been prolific and includes devotional classics such as All Things Bright And Beautiful, All Creatures Of Our God And King, and Deck the Halls. He was given a Lambeth Doctorate of Music by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1996 in recognition of his services to church music; the highest academic qualification the Church can bestow.Wikipedia page
The Rev. John Venn, mathematician and logician, is best known for inventing one of the simplest and most well-known ways of presenting data: the Venn Diagram.Wikipedia page
Sir John Betjeman CBE (28 August 1906 — 19 May 1984), entered the Junior School at Highgate in 1919, where he was taught by TS Eliot. He went on from Highgate to become a national treasure: a poet, writer and broadcaster who described himself in Who’s Who as a “poet and hack”. He was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1972 until his death. He was a founding member of the Victorian Society and a passionate defender of Victorian architecture. Starting his career as a journalist, he ended it as one of the most popular British Poets Laureate and a much-loved figure on British television.Wikipedia page
T S. Eliot taught French and Latin at Highgate for a year in 1916, counting the later-Poet Laureate John Betjeman among his pupils. He later went on to become one of the great Modernist poets, and wrote The Waste Land, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, and Four Quartets, among others. His works are still widely studied at universities today.Wikipedia page
Phil Tufnell’s cricketing prowess was recognised early at Highgate and he was appointed captain of the Junior School’s First XI despite the fact he was not yet in the top year. On leaving Highgate he attended, and played cricket for Southgate School. After training as a quantity surveyor, he made the decision to pursue cricket as a career, and went on to play in 42 Tests and 20 One Day International matches for England, as well as playing for Middlesex from 1986 to 2002. Tufnell took over 1,000 wickets across all first-class cricket, and his personality and trade-mark behaviour when playing made him a popular sports personality. Following his retirement in 2002, Tufnell has built on his popularity with several television appearances, including I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! which he won, They Think It’s All Over, A Question of Sport and Strictly Come Dancing. He was presented with an honorary doctorate by Middlesex University on 20 July 2011, recognising his achievements in sport and the media.Wikipedia page
Barrister Michael Mansfield QC attended Highgate 1954-1960, leaving to go to Keele University, where he graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in History and Philosophy, before becoming Secretary of Keele’s Students Union. Mansfield was called to the bar at Gray’s Inn in 1967, became Queen’s Counsel in 1989 and was elected as a Bencher of Gray’s Inn in 2007. He is currently the President of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, and is a Professor at Law at City University. Mansfield has become well-known for taking on controversial cases. As well as representing those wrongly convicted of the IRA’s Guildford and Birmingham pub bombings, Mansfield has represented: the Angry Brigade; the Price sisters; Brian Keenan; the Orgreave miners; Mahmood Hussein Maltan, Ruth Ellis and James Hanratty (in posthumous appeals); those involved in the Israeli Embassy bombing; Stephen Lawrence’s family; Michael Barrymore at the Stuart Lubbock inquest; Barry George at the inquest into the death of Jill Dando; the gangster Kenneth Noye; the Bloody Sunday families; Arthur Scargill; Angela Cannings; Fatmir Limaj, a Kosovo-Albanian leader prosecuted in The Hague; Mohamed al-Fayed in the inquest into the deaths of his son Dodi al-Fayed and Diana, Princess of Wales; and the family of Jean Charles de Menezes.Wikipedia page
Freddie has been acing since he was 7 years old, appearing in numerous small roles on television. His big break came at the age of 12 when he starred alongside Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland. This was followed by 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and 2008’s The Spiderwick Chronicles, in which he played a pair of identical twins. After leaving Highgate, Freddie went on to study Spanish and Arabic at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge. He has since appeared as Norman Bates in the critically-acclaimed Bates Motel. Over the years he has also played several smaller roles and done some voice acting too.Wikipedia page
An Academy Award-winning director, Tom’s interest in drama was cultivated by his English and Drama teacher at Highgate School, Shakespearian actor Roger Mortimer. By the end of school, he had already made several short films, and went on to study English at University College, Oxford. During this time he undertook his first paid directing job, as well as directing several university shows. A run of advertisements and costume dramas followed, including his critically-acclaimed adaptation of Daniel Deronda. His film debut came in 2004 with Red Dust, and he achieved great critical and commercial success with The Damned United, The King’s Speech (Best Picture and Best Director Academy Awards) and Les Miserables.Wikipedia page
Hussein attended Highgate School from 1984-87. After this he studied for a National Diploma in fashion and clothing at Warwickshire School of Arts, and proceeded to study Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. His graduate collection in 1993, titled “The Tangent Flows”, contained clothes which he had buried in a back yard and exhumed just before the show, where they were presented with an accompanying text that explained the process. The work attracted the attention of the Browns fashion boutique in London, who borrowed the collection to feature in their window display. Since then he has twice won ‘Designer of the Year’ at the British Fashion Awards and is now the Creative Direcor for the German sports brand Puma, and continues to showcase independent collections.Wikipedia page
Alan Blumlein (29 June 1903 — 7 June 1942) was an English electronics engineer, notable for his many inventions in telecommunications, sound recording, stereo (including the invention of stereo sound), television and radar. He received 128 patents and was considered as one of the most significant engineers and inventors of his time. He died during World War II on 7 June 1942, aged 38, during the secret trial of an H2S airborne radar system then under development, when all on board the Halifax bomber he was flying in were killed when it crashed at Welsh Bicknor in Herefordshire.Wikipedia page
Edward Pemberton Leach was born in County Londonderry, Ireland on April 2nd 1847. After attending Highgate School he joined the army, and was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1866. He was 31 years old, and a captain in the Corps of Royal Engineers, British Army and with Bengal Sappers and Miners (British Indian Army) during the Second Anglo-Afghan War when the following deed took place on 17 March 1879 near Maidanah, Afghanistan for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross:
“For having, in action with the Shinwarris near Maidanah, Afghanistan, on 17 March 1879, when covering the retirement of the Survey Escort who were carrying Lieutenant Barclay, 45th Sikhs, mortally wounded, behaved with the utmost gallantry in charging, with some men of the 45th Sikhs, a very much larger number of the enemy. In this encounter Captain Leach killed two or three of the enemy himself, and he received a severe wound from an Afghan knife in the left arm. Captain Leach’s determination and gallantry in this affair, in attacking and driving back the enemy from the last position, saved the whole part’ from annihilation” (From the London Gazette, 9th December 1879)
After this incident promotion followed and he was made Commander of 24 Field Company. By 1899 he was General Officer Commanding Belfast in which capacity he founded the Ballykinlar training camp. He was General Officer Commanding the 9th Division from 1902 to 1905 and then General Officer Commanding-in-Chief for Scottish Command from 1905 to 1909 before he retired in 1912. Leach died in Cadenabbia, Lake Como, Italy on 27 April 1913.Wikipedia page
Father Gerard Manley Hopkins (28 July 1844 – 8 June 1889) was an English poet Roman Catholic convert, and Jesuit priest whose posthumous fame established him among the leading Victorian poets. His explorations in prosody and his use of imagery established him as a daring innovator in a period of largely traditional verse. When ten years old, Gerard Manley Hopkins was sent to board at Highgate School (1854-1863). While studying Keats’s poetry, he wrote “The Escorial” (1860), his earliest poem extant. Here he practiced early attempts at asceticism. He once argued that most people drank more liquids than they really needed and bet that he could go without drinking for a week. He persisted until his tongue was black and he collapsed at drill. On another occasion, he abstained from salt for a week. Hopkins went on to study classics at Balliol College, Oxford. He remained in Oxford until 1879, converting from Anglicanism to Catholicism (estranging him from his family) and then becoming a Jesuit priest. He held the position of curate in several churches around the country, and continued to write poetry throughout his life (giving it up for seven years at one point though). A troubled and possibly bipolar man, Hopkins felt conflict between the level of egotism needed to publish poetry and the humble, austere life of a Jesuit priest. The last five years of his life were spent as a professor of Greek and Latin at university College Dublin. He died of typhoid fever in 1889. Most of his poems were published posthumously.Wikipedia page
Philip Jordan was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the New year’s Honours in January 2014 for distinguished service to the Metropolitan Police Service. Over the years he has risen through the ranks and as a Detective Chief Superintendent managed the security operation for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as the National Protection Coordinator. He was also in charge of the VIP protection for the 2013 G8 summit, and several other major security operations. During his time with the Metropolitan Police he has also led counter-terrorism investigations and operations against paedophiles, and has now taken post as the Senior Programme Manager for the Lord Mayor of London, Fiona Woolf CBE. He holds the ceremonial position of City Marshal.
Murray Walker, OBE, is a semi-retired Formula One commentator and journalist. He was born in Birmingham, to a Formula One enthusiast and sales director of a motorcycle company, Graham Walker. Walker did the commentary for Formula 1 initially with his father for BBC. Walker attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and left the army after gaining the title of captain. He worked in advertising for a major part of his life and continued to do it even when he started commentating for Formula 1. Throughout the 1970s, Walker did full-time commentary for BBC until 1997 and then he joined ITV Network and worked along Martin Brundle in commentating for Fl. He announced that he was to retire from Formula 1 in 2000 but returned back to the microphone in 2005 with BBC. He has also written books on Formula One with the title of ‘Murray Walker’s Grand Prix Year’ with Hazekon Publishing for many years. He is known for his interesting analysis and enthusiastic take on Formula 1 and people still like him for his gentlemanly conduct and positive approach in everything.Wikipedia page
Each month, we shine a light on an interesting member of our vibrant alumni community, showcasing an OC who has made contributions to their professional field, had notable achievements or lived an otherwise interesting life.
I am currently working at Transport for London as a Telecoms Engineer. I found out about the graduate scheme at TfL from The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers book while at university and I applied to the scheme during my final year. I started the two-year graduate scheme in 2013.Download the full interview
I currently work part time for an independent, ethical jewellery designer called Pippa Small. During the rest of the week I work on my own designs and creations, hoping to soon become fully self employed as a jeweller. During my time at Art School, I developed my own research into the function of adornment in daily life, and how we in the modern world value the objects around us. This led me to further my research doing a Graduate Gemologist Diploma at the Gemological Institute of America in New York. When I arrived home, I decided to return to my love of making, whilst incorporating my passion for adornment; jewellery was the natural progression.Download the full interview
I am currently taking a little time out from Orthopaedics to undertake a Ph.D in Medical Education. I have always been interested in making things better, in fixing things – it’s what drove me to medicine, then to surgery and finally to orthopaedics. I am now looking into how we train our surgeons, to see if I can’t make that a little better too! Before my PhD, I have worked all over the country, including hugely busy major trauma centres like the Royal London and some pretty inspiring places like Great Ormond Street. I’ve also worked and taught all over the world, including a year in Australia and time in the USA, Canada and Africa!Download the full interview
I am currently a Product Manager at Monzo Bank, a fin-tech founded just over three years ago now. I work with a team of engineers and designers to discover and build product features that are valuable to our users and feasible for the business. Most recently I’ve been working on building the customer support chat feature. At Monzo we’re building a different kind of bank: we’re hoping to make money work for everyone, solely through your mobile. Before joining Monzo I studied Classics at Cambridge. I had worked at a tech start-up while living in Berlin before university, and had enjoyed the pace and culture of that environment, so looked for something similar when applying for full time jobs. I started Monzo in the Business Operations team and spent a year working out what role would suit me best before finding Product Management. I was drawn to this role as it combines business, technology and user experience – the best of all worlds.Download the full interview
I’m working as an architect for an award winning architecture studio, Coffey Architects. We are based in Clerkenwell and I have been working here for over 2 years now. We are renowned for designing beautifully crafted, intelligent buildings with a focus on people, culture and light. I got the job to work on a part of a larger masterplan to develop 1,000 high quality new homes by 2019 for the London Borough of Croydon. I am project architect for 9 sites that contain apartment blocks and houses across Croydon, due to complete in 2020.Download the full interview
I am Executive Vice President of Strategy at Engine Shop Agency, in New York. Engine Shop is a marketing agency that works with a wide variety of clients (Mercedes, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Hilton Hotels) on marketing strategy and execution.
On a day to basis my focus is on esports/gaming and football (soccer). From a gaming perspective I predominantly work with professional leagues (Major League Soccer, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League) teams and brands (Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch InBev) on how they should approach the gaming space, build a strategy and execute that strategy with them. A large part of the strategy is content development and live broadcasts on streaming platform, like Twitch, as well as TV.
On the football front we work with brands (Umbro), teams (Manchester City) and leagues on translating football to soccer in the North American market, primarily around content production, product collaborations and events.Download the full interview
I’m currently working as a freelancer within sports PR and Marketing, having previously worked at a company where I looked after EA SPORTS, one of the sponsors of The Open and even had the opportunity to work with Roger Federer at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco.
My passion for sports led me into this line of work, and I decided to work as a freelancer to allow me the time to take on a personal project this year; complete 30 challenges in a year before turning 30, to try and raise £30,000 for mental health awareness.Download the full interview
I’m CEO and founder of Colex Connect Ltd. We trade as SaveTheHighStreet.org and Jo (JoinJo.com).
SaveTheHighStreet.org is a coorindated industry movement accelerating the transition to a stronger, better connected, digitally enabled high street
Jo is the 1st digital assistant for local businesses. We are building towards our vision of an AI assistant powering businesses across the high street of the future.
I started the business because everyone was talking about the ‘death of the high street’ and I believed the internet would ironically save it (while changing it in a number of important ways).Download the full interview
I am currently working as a teacher on the senior leadership team in an inclusive school in Accra, Ghana. I am also a teacher trainer and educational consultant part time.
Prior to moving to Ghana I spent four years as a history teacher, two in Leeds through the Teach First programme, and two years in East London.Download the full interview
At the time of writing this, I am transitioning from looking after Strategic Projects and Insights at a FinTech ‘scale-up’ in London called DueDil; to being full-time Co-Founder/Co-CEO of my own company (Hero Contacts Ltd. Trading name TBC).
I started out my career within financial services at a company called Bloomberg working on their trade desk. After a couple of years, I decided I wanted to get to know the ‘Silicon Roundabout’ start-up scene and moved to a fantastic company that I love called DueDil which was being reported in the press as “the Bloomberg of private company information”.Download the full interview
I’m David Green and I left Highgate in 2007. I first started in Field House back in 1996 and went all the way through the school gaining some amazing memories along the way. I currently work at Remedium Partners, is a medical recruitment consultancy I founded back in 2013. We focus on the recruitment of permanent doctors for the NHS, mainly from overseas, to help with the clinical staffing crisis. I started Remedius because – like many people – I had seen the problems that the NHS was facing. Temporary doctors were costing the NHS vast sums of money, and giving no continuity of service; morale amongst doctors and other clinical staff was, at the time, extremely low.Download the full interview
I currently work for myself on a number of projects, the principal ones being:
I initially trained as a lawyer in the City qualifying as a competition/antitrust lawyer in 2010. I then moved to an in-house legal and business affairs role at Universal Music Group, where I was responsible for a range of corporate and commercial matters, including mergers and acquisitions, competition and litigation work, government affairs, record label signings and anything else that came across my desk!Download the full interview
I currently work as Business Development Manager for a music supervision agency called Big Sync Music. We essentially curate music for adverts, from licensing commercial tracks by the likes of Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift to composing original scores to finding the perfect track to fit any brief. I have always had a love of music and have long planned to work my way into the industry. During an industry year whilst at University, I worked at a music event production company, getting to meet a huge amount of people from labels, management companies, promoters and brands, building up my network so that I could someday return to working in music. After leaving university I knew that my passion for music and network would not be enough so I got a job working at a business development agency where I learnt how to pitch to world leading brands and essentially win new business. I then coupled my experience in business development with my love for music and hence found my perfect job at Big Sync!Download the full interview
I am currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music doing a Masters in Choral Conducting. Alongside that, I’m a freelance musician. I conduct 3 choirs in London/Home Counties, and do any other work that gets sent my way!Download the full interview
I work at JP Morgan Asset Management as a portfolio manager. I joined from university 8 years ago on the graduate program and have remained there ever since. My decision to apply to the investment industry came after the university careers office helped to arrange an internship at a smaller investment firm in the summer after my second year. It was during that internship that I realised that this was the perfect job for me – spending all day researching the real world, finding opportunities and writing reports about them.Download the full interview
I am currently a 3rd year medical student at Bristol. I am on my clinical placement in Bath.Download the full interview
I’m currently studying part-time for my masters in law at King’s College London, and working on launching a new magazine called Seraphs and Sophistry. I have always had an interest in magazines and publishing from a very young age (sounds so cliché, I know). From putting my first “magazine” together at 11 to being the co-founder and editor of a newsletter during my time at Highgate and at King’s. Over the years, I have not seen the sort of narrative that I’d like to read and it now feels like the right time to properly launch a magazine to fill this gap.Download the full interview