A Brief History of the Schools
Mr John Robert Cuffley, an able and energetic traveller, was the founder of the Commercial Travellers' Schools. He inspired many of his colleagues with his vision of a school which would house, feed, clothe and educate the necessitous children of brethren "on the road" who met untimely death or became unable to earn their livelihood.
On 4th July 1845 Mr Cuffley headed the initial list of subscribers to the funds of the Institution.
1845 The Schools were founded by John Robert Cuffley. When they opened in Wanstead a total of 35 boys and girls were admitted. By 1854 the number had increased to 130.
1855 HRH Prince Albert opened the new Schools at Pinner with accommodation for up to 300 children.
1897 Mr W.H. Lever (later the first Viscount Leverhulme), a member of the Board of Management presided on Speech Day. Mrs Lever distributed the prizes and presented the Institution with a fine Willis organ in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Victoria.
1901-06 Old Boys Union founded in 1901; name changed to Old Boys Association in 1902 and to The Old Mercurians Association in 1920.
The Old Girls Association founded in 1902 merged into The Old Mercurians Association in 1932.
1905 The "B.G. Elliott" HaIl and Classrooms opened. Mr Elliott (later Sir Bignell Elliott) was an old scholar of the Schools, member of the Board of Management and President of Appeal in 1901. (The Elliott HaIl is now part of the Harrow Arts Centre and the Willis organ is again in use after restoration.)
1914-18 124 War Orphans of commercial travellers given admission without election.
1918 HM King George V authorised the Schools to be known as "The Royal Commercial Travellers' Schools".
1923 The last year in which children were elected by subscribers' votes, with 390 children in residence in 1924.
1939-45 86 War Orphans admitted.
1945 The second Viscount Leverhulme undertook the presidency of the Centenary Appeal.
1949 First children admitted under the Contributory Pupils Scheme. 230 children in attendence.
1967 The Schools closed after having given, during their 122 years' history, a good boarding education and start in life to over 5,000 orphaned sons and daughters of commercial travellers.
The Royal Pinner School Foundation succeeds the Schools to provide assistance in the education of children of commercial travellers, sales and technical representatives and manufacturers' agents where need can be shown. The scope of that assistance is defined in the Scheme for the Charity established by the Secretary of State for Education and Science in February 1967
1995 150th Anniversary - celebrated by Old Mercurians, former Staff and friends at a Church Service and Reunion Dinner in Nottingham on 8th July 1995.