Stanley Shute Harris

Stanley Shute Harris was Saint Ronan’s second headmaster from 1909-1926.

He was born in Sea Mills, Clifton on the 19th July 1881, just two years before The Reverend  Philip Crick founded the school. He was the eldest of five children and his father, Sir Alexander Harris, was on the permanent staff in the Colonial Office and became Governor of Newfoundland.

In 1895 he gained a place at Westminster School where he excelled both as a scholar and a sportsman captaining the 1st XI football in the 1899/1900 season.

In 1900, he went up to Pembroke College, Cambridge, to read Mediaeval and Modern Languages and was an association football Blue for three consecutive years 1902 to 1904. He captained the varsity side for the 1903/4 season.

 

After coming down from Cambridge, he started his teaching career at Saint Ronan’s (then based in Worthing) but continued to play amateur football. His preferred position was inside-left and he was described as a ‘splendidly built amateur adroit at dribbling and shooting’. His playing career saw him appear for Old Westminsters, Corinthian Casuals (60 appearances between 1903-20 scoring 57 times), Worthing, Portsmouth and Surrey.

 

He also won six full international caps for England scoring two goals and also captaining the side. His international, varsity and club caps are displayed in the Hall. His international record is as follows:

 

 

1 09 Apr 1904 England 1 v 0 Scotland  (Attendance 40000)
2 25 Feb 1905 England 1 v 1 Ireland  (Attendance 21700
3 27 Mar 1905 England 3 v 1 Wales [SSH scored after 80 mins]  (Attendance 16100)
4 17 Feb 1906 England 5 v 0 Ireland [SSH scored after 56 mins] (Attendance 16000)
5 19 Mar 1906 England 1 v 0 Wales (Attendance 15000)
6 07 Apr 1906 England 1 v 2 Scotland (Attendance 102471)

Stanley Harris was also a very useful cricketer (Right-hand batsman) who played for Cambridge University, although he failed to gain a Blue, but still went onto make several county championship appearances for Surrey, Gloucestershire and Sussex.

First-Class Career Batting and Fielding (1902-1919)          
M I NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 Ct
Overall 16 28 2 375 76 14.42 0 2 4

 

 

First-Class Career Bowling (1904)

 

Balls Mdns Runs Wkts BB Ave 5wI 10wM SRate Econ
Overall 24 0 25 0 0-12 6.25

In 1909, at the age of just 28, he acquired with his father’s financial support the school, still quite small, from The Reverend Philip Crick (who was then aged 54) and thus became the school’s second headmaster.

 

During Stanley Harris’s headship the school steadily grew in both numbers and reputation and he was hailed as one of the most remarkable headmasters of the age. He was a member of the Council of the Association of Preparatory Schools, later becoming its chairman.

 

Stanley Harris endured, like so many headmasters across the country, the pain and loses of the Great War (a quarter of the 130 Saint Ronan’s boys that served were killed) but celebrated the bravery shown (7 DSOs and 10 MCs).

In August 1923, he wrote a small book called ‘The Master & his Boys’ which he dedicated to a ‘Johnnie’ Delap who was killed at the Somme. It details his educational philosophy and, as such, became a ‘bible’ to many in the profession at the time and went to a fourth edition. Characteristically, all proceeds from the book were gifted to charity.

At the time of writing this book he knew he was dying of cancer, which he fought in private for three years. A mole on his back had become cancerous and the treatments available were unable to control its spread. His younger brother (W B Harris) wrote to him when he was first diagnosed and the two brothers agreed that, if the worst should, happen he would resign from his house at Lancing and take on the Headship. Click the thumbnail image to the right to download a copy of the letter.

Stanley died on the 4th May 1926 at the age of just 44. As promised, his brother moved to Saint Ronan’s writing to parents a touching letter saying ‘I promised him (SSH) that I would go to Saint Ronan’s, and would do my best to keep the school as he would wish it to be. Saint Ronan’s may then get an echo of the real man, but it will only be an echo.

 

In June 1928 through an appeal to Saint Ronan’s families, the Stanley Harris Memorial Scholarship was established at Pembroke College and endowed with a gift of £2,800 worth of stock.  Now called the ‘Harris Fund’ this scheme continues to support undergraduates.

 

In 2005 a Stanley Harris Scholarship was established at Saint Ronan’s. This is awarded annually in February to academically gifted and/or children talented at sport, art or music who wish to applying for a place in the Prep School.