"STILL HENRY THORNTON'S KNOWN..."

 

 

There are three versions of the song, which comprises three verses.

The original was composed, probably in the late 1920s, by Eric Gilder (1911-2000), a pupil of the school from 1926 until 1931.  In his later years he was variously a pianist, conductor, arranger and broadcaster. The sheet-music copy reproduced below refers to the then six Houses in the second verse:

"Macaulay, Cavendish, and Cook, and Wilberforce besides,
With Pepys and Stephen top the list of men we take for guides".

    

The second (1951) variant appears in full below.  As indicated, four Houses - Macaulay, Stephen, Wilberforce and Clarkson - are substituted for the earlier six.

1.     Still Henry Thornton's known for labours philanthropic;
        Which loosened slavery's chains throughout the sultry tropic;
        Now in another age we bear his celebrated name,
        And in a way he could not guess, we will extend his fame.
        Then onward, ye Thorntonians, success to your endeavour.
        You never will yield in the form or the field;
        Black and silver will lead for ever, boys,
        Black and silver will lead for ever.

2.     Though other schools exist, older than ours and bigger,
        Not one of these compares with our Thorntonian vigour.
        Macaulay, Stephen, Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson too,
        These famous names have shown us all ideals we should pursue.
        Then onward, ye Thorntonians, success to your endeavour.
        You never will yield in the form or the field;
        Black and silver will lead for ever, boys,
        Black and silver will lead for ever.

3.     So, like those men of old, obedient, loyal and truthful,
        We'll match these arduous days with heart and courage youthful;
        And bravely face the future years, each turn of time and tide,
        That generations after us may cherish us with pride.
        Then onward, ye Thorntonians, success to your endeavour.
        You never will yield in the form or the field;
        Black and silver will lead for ever, boys,
        Black and silver will lead for ever.

The final copy dates from around 1969, shortly after the school became a comprehensive.  In this version the names of the six original Houses and associated text, as Gilder's composition, re-appear in the second verse, but the last two lines of the chorus are changed to:

"Green, silver, black and gold, my boys,
Green, silver, black and gold"

ie, incorporating the colours of the two schools, Aristotle and Archbishop Tennyson, which had by then merged with HTS.

Note:  the original (1929) House names and colours were:  Cavendish (green);  Cook (dark blue); Macaulay (light blue); Pepys (maroon); Stephen (scarlet); and Wilberforce (orange). They were later reduced to four – Clarkson (green), Macaulay (blue),  Stephen (maroon) and Wilberforce (yellow) – as, according to the Autumn 1952 issue of the magazine: "The old House system was not capable of easy working ... Greater selection for House teams was afforded, leading to a higher standard of play in general and to keener competititon all round".   House colours (ties) were awarded for good performances in football and other sports.

As indicated above, all six original Houses were "revived" in the post-1969 song.  

Click on the following link to listen to a recording of the original Gilder score (all three verses).  The pianist is Karl Lenton, B Mus (Hons),  DPS (Piano Perf), LRSM  (Piano Perf).   If you'd like to know more about him, visit his website:  http://www.karllenton.com/

Link to School song music recording by Karl Lenton