City school alumni group to close after 111 years

City of Norwich School in Eaton Road. Photo: CNS

City of Norwich School in Eaton Road. Photo: CNS - Credit: CNS

The end is nigh for a city club which was formed more than a century ago.

The City of Norwich Old School Boys’ Union was founded in 1911 and is made up of alumni who attended when the school was a boys' grammar facility.

However chairman and former student, 91-year-old Alan Harrison, has decided now is the time to bring it to a close.

City of Norwich Old School Boys’ Union chairman Alan Harrison.

City of Norwich Old School Boys’ Union chairman Alan Harrison. - Credit: Alan Harrison

The former teacher said he wants to give the club's final meeting a memorable send off. 

He said: “It needs to be wound up properly. I like the idea of a grand lunch.”

Mr Harrison, who also taught at the school from 1971 to 1991, said traditions at the union built gradually over many years. 

Among the customs was having a portrait painted of every head teacher - one prominent painting was featured on the front page of the union’s magazine before later being sold for £1.7 million.

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Mr Harrison, who went by both the nicknames 'Chopper' - after the footballer Ron Harris - and 'Rupert' for his favoured checked trousers a la Rupert Bear, added annual dinners were also key dates in the calendar.

The school went comprehensive 52 years ago and at the time the union had 250 members. 

And this was a turning point, he added: “The atmosphere and traditions gradually went and the school song – written during the First World War – was sung only at the annual dinner."

Attendance dropped at the union from there and by 2010 "the writing was on the wall", he said.

In 2011 the majority of the committee voted to close the union but at the time a small group believed this “a bit premature” and tried to keep it going.

Two years ago, the remaining members, including Mr Harrison, gave most of the union’s remaining cash, roughly £8,000, to the school’s music department in memory of teacher Maurice 'Dodger' Doe.

Now living off Unthank Road, only a few streets from where he lived as a young child, Mr Harrison is very keen to hear from any former pupils who can help him close the CNSU down and celebrate its achievements.

He can be contacted by e-mail at harri817nr2@gmail.com.