The House System
The House system at BGSB is of great importance to school life. Its function is to encourage healthy competition within school and to give all boys the opportunity to participate in representative sport, music and other activities with the aim of raising self esteem, developing self-confidence and giving opportunities for leadership and teamwork beyond those already available within school.
Competition was recognised as being beneficial when the Houses were founded in 1905. An article in the 1906 Clavian, the school magazine, said this about the House systems: "It has always been a difficult matter to generate a feeling of ‘team spirit' in day schools. Attendance in competitions by the general body of boys has been limited to a mere handful; those who are able enough to play football or cricket for the School teams".
To address this, the House system was adopted. As the name implies, the method was an attempt to incorporate some features of boarding school life into a day school. Initially, the number of Houses was fixed at three. The original Houses were Derby, Hulme and Kay. Howlett was added just after the First World War.
At first boys and ‘masters' were allocated to a particular House at random. However, over the years members of the same family have tended to be allocated the same House, thus establishing a tradition of attachment. Houses are identified by the colour of the tie and the crest on the school blazer - a well established system of identification. Boys in the Junior School stay in the same house when they transfer to the Senior School.
Many of the reasons for the development of the House system over 100 years ago are still true today. Today's House competitions give a chance for every member of the school to involve themselves in a worthwhile activity, sometimes in games sessions but often during lunchtimes.
Mr S H Sheikh, Mr S Williams
Derby was one of the original three houses formed in 1905 along with Kay and Hulme. Originally the name of Wood, commemorating a benefactor, was at first considered and temporarily adopted. Later, however, it was abandoned in favour of the present title Derby after the Earl of Derby.
He made available, on favourable terms, a plot of land on the south side of Tenterden Street. In total the Earl contributed £3,500 to the cost of both the Boys' and Girls' Schools, a vast sum of money in those days.
The first Housemaster of Derby House was R.D.G. Denning Esq., supported by Prefects Stanhope and Wrigley.
Mrs J M Harrison, Mrs C A Howard
Howlett house was named after the Revd William Henry Howlett who was appointed Headmaster of Bury Grammar School on July 3rd 1879. It has been recorded that Mr Howlett was a strong energetic character, who was able to take a firm grip on the school and give it a new sense of direction and purpose at this time. He was 30 years old when he was appointed Head; prior to this he had read Classics at Cambridge and spent six years teaching Classics at Ely and Boxmoor (Herts). Having been ordained Deacon in 1876 he was Priested in 1878; he held curacies in conjunction with his teaching in Ely and Hemel Hempstead. Apparently, he celebrated his appointment as Head at Bury Grammar School by getting married in July of 1879.
Mrs F M L Hartwell, Mr B J Shakespeare
Hulme House was named after William Hulme (1631 - 1691), a lawyer, landowner and founder of the Hulme Trust, a worthy organisation from which BGSB has benefited greatly over the centuries.
William Hulme was an extremely wealthy landowner in the late 17th century whose estate covered much of what is now Central Manchester. He donated large sums of money for the continuance of BGS and sponsored the education of many Bury boys.
Both William Hulme Grammar School in the centre of the city of Manchester and Oldham Hulme Grammar School owe their existence to the generosity of our founder. The first House Master of Hulme was A.R. Allen.
Mr N G Robson, Miss C L Wheeler
Kay was one of the original Houses formed in 1905 along with Hulme and Derby. The House was named after Revd Roger Kay, re-founder of Bury Grammar School with a generous bequest. He was born in 1663 and educated at Bury Grammar School and St. John's College, Cambridge. He re-founded the School on May 6th 1726 and the first Friday in May is the most important date in the school calendar when Roger Kay's legacy is recognised in the Founders' Day celebration. A man of great learning himself, he recognised the importance of books and a library for the school. The Assembly Hall in the Girls' School was also named after him.