As a school that is over 90 years old, it is important to remember its roots and to look back and marvel at the progress made since it began. Many of our Old Pilgrims are very distinguished in their field and many acknowledge the positive part The Pilgrims' School played in their education. Those who visit the School are astonished by the expansion that has taken place and are delighted with the all-pervading happy atmosphere. In return, our current boys love to hear about the School in 'the olden days' and are delighted to discover that 'boys' in the 1930s were just as noisy and cheeky as they are today. That mixture of the old and the new is something we should cherish and foster.
We would like to hear from our alumni and share stories on this page. Email email@example.com with your news or complete the form below.
Hear from Pilgrims' alumni
We look forward to seeing this section grow in time.
Former Chorister, and Journalist, Jon Snow talks about his experience
Jonathan R.S. Ferry - Pilgrim 1955-1961
“Nowadays, people talk about privilege as if it were a bad thing. Yet I had the privilege of going to Pilgrims' School. Certainly, as a busy Winchester Cathedral chorister, I spent more time than most children away from parents and family. But I had the good fortune to study, work (yes, singing multiple services on a Sunday can sometimes seem like work) and play in one of the world’s most beautiful, history-rich places. Indeed, hitting a six while playing cricket on the gorgeous Pilgrims’ walled sports field was one of the highlights of my life. Mark Twain said that “history never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.” And I credit The Pilgrims' School with helping instil in me an appreciation of rhyming history and passion for critical thinking that I believe we all, young and old, need more of today.”
In the photo below, circa 1958, Jonny Ferry is extreme right in the middle row and journalist Jon Snow is fourth from left in the back row.
Former Choristers from 95/96 visit Pilgrims'
It is always wonderful to welcome former Choristers back to the school who left in 95/96. Some of these Old Pilgrims' (OP) we've seen recently, some not since they left in 95/96. They all joined us with rich and interesting stories of their time both during and after Pilgrims'. Tales of pipe climbing, 'pig' tables and previous masters brought their childhood antics back to life.
- Stephen Barton, a British composer who currently lives and works in Los Angeles, recently commissioned the Choristers for an exciting project (yet to be released!) at Abbey Road Studios and plans are afoot to work with him again in the new year.
- Chris Hill is a composer, producer, songwriter and session bassist for Van Morrison and Jamie Cullum, amongst others, and might be recognised as the son of the choral singing teacher, Hilary Jones and former Choirmaster David Hill.
- Peter Milmer had been back recently for an Old Boys event but was full of joy to be reliving tales of his youth amongst friends. Peter followed his passion for medicine and is currently a practising GP in the West Country.
- Some years after leaving Pilgrims' Jules Knight joined with another former Pilgrim, Ollie Baines, to form Blake, a vocal group that, amongst their accolades, recorded a number one album in the UK Classical Album Chart. Jules has since pursued a career in acting.
- Nat Lippiett left Pilgrims' to attend The Westgate School, and on to working at the BBC. Having risen through the ranks at ITN he is now an Executive Producer with credits to his name such as Harry and Meghan: An African Journey and David Bowie: Starman.
- Gavin McCormick, bitten by the Classics bug at Pilgrims', has gone on to teach in London and is author of the Classics blog Ad Astra Per Mundum.
- Former Head Chorister, Richard Collins, saw his name on the leadership board in the Cathedral for the first time. Now Head of Programming at Royal Northern College of Music, Richard has worked in a variety of areas within the music industry since leaving education.
1995 was clearly a vintage year when friendships blossomed, and life was full of possibilities. An inspirational group of friends who have held both Pilgrims' and their shared love for music, dear to their hearts.
Alan Howarth - Pilgrim 1952-1957
"I was at The Pilgrims' School between 1952 and 1957. Humphrey Salwey was the Headmaster, always elegant even when wearing bicycle clips. He and his wife, Lorna, with her porcelain blue eyes, were a strong team, who made the Pilgrims’ one of the country’s outstanding prep schools. It was a good school to go to if you had academic aptitude and motivation, although it’s strange now to think there was no formal science in the curriculum. I was coached as a batsman with the same thoroughness as I was taught Latin and Greek. The teacher who, for me, was outstanding was W.A.Stephen (nicknamed Inky Stephen), who taught history. We played a lot of games and every morning we would perform exercises in the yard and run around the beautiful old garden. The school food was revolting: grey liver, brown pilchards, pink milk jelly. More elevating, even those of us who were not Choristers spent many hours in the Winchester Cathedral. Stanford in B flat and Stekel’s Remember Now Thy Creator live in my musical memory. Although my friendships with fellow Pilgrims faded after I left, I still treasure very affectionate memories of those days. I owe to Pilgrims’ a solid foundation of learning."
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