Search

Former PM Gordon Brown hails Highgate School as ‘one of the great schools of our country’

15:00 08 May 2014

Gordon Brown meets pupils at Highgate School. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Gordon Brown meets pupils at Highgate School. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Former prime minister Gordon Brown hailed independent Highgate School as “one of the great schools of our country” as he opened a new library in honour of world-renowned historian Sir Martin Gilbert.

Mr Brown visited the school, in North Road, Highgate, on Tuesday to officially open the new library based in the school’s Victorian hall, known as “Big School”.

Having earlier flown in from Washington, the Labour MP addressed an audience in the library and paid tribute to Sir Martin, 77, a former Highgate School pupil, who is recovering in a nursing home after recently suffering a stroke.

The former prime minister described the day as a “great occasion not only for the school and the Gilbert family but also for our country”.

He said: “Let me first of all say what a privilege it is to be at Highgate School. I know of the great history of the school and your distinguished pupil Sir Martin Gilbert.

“I want to congratulate Highgate on its success over many, many years, particularly its current success in being one of the great schools of our country.”

Sir Martin, who attended the school from 1945 to 1955, is the official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill and the author of 85 books in total, all of which will be available in the new library. He is also a leading writer of works on the Holocaust and Jewish history.

On Tuesday, as current Labour leader Ed Miliband was launching the party’s local elections campaign, Mr Brown described the “great pleasure” he had in opening the library on Israel’s 66th Independence Day.

Mr Brown also paid homage to the service Sir Martin had provided to British prime ministers over the years.

“I know he helped Lady Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair, but he also helped me a great deal with his insights into history,” said Mr Brown.

“I know he advised Harold Wilson even before them, but at every point Martin was available and he wanted to believe that the best outcomes were possible.

“A genuine humanitarian, someone whose writing of history taught him we could always do better in the future if we are able to learn the lessons of history.”

Mr Brown was joined at the opening of the library by Sir Martin’s wife, Lady Esther Gilbert, who also made a speech, as did Daniel Taub, the Israeli Ambassador to the UK.

Highgate School headteacher Adam Pettitt said: “It’s the first time in the school’s history that we have had a prime minister come and visit us, so it was a great privilege.

“The ensemble of speeches that were heard by young people would have been very powerful. I think they will have made connections here. We were all here for Sir Martin.”

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

14:11
Security staff outside the building. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

A crew of private security staff accompanied by two vans reportedly containing dogs swooped on a former convent building behind the Royal Free Hospital to remove squatters in the early hours of this morning.

Residents of Quadrant Grove won what could be a landmark decision. Residents from left are Andrew Bache, Nicole Segre, Len Whiting, Khursheed Singh, Lynn Whiting, Barbara Thorndick, Lucinda Sturgis. Picture: Dieter Perry

Residents of a tiny street in Kentish Town have given hope to opponents of basement builds across London after winning what could be a landmark victory against their neighbour.

07:00
Porn star Rebecca More. Picture: Television X.

A porn star who was threatened with legal action by Camden Council if she entered the borough as part of a “sex tour of the UK” has slammed council bosses for overreacting.

Sheila Gunn

A former Camden councillor who served as press secretary to Sir John Major during a distinguished career in journalism and politics has died.

Most read news

It might not be moving very fast but it’s still causing problems.

After staging an Ebola-themed night, a nightclub has been forced to make an apology after hundreds complained about the tasteless event.

Lord Of The Rings star Sir Ian McKellen is the latest name to receive the Freedom of the City of London.

Investigators and scientists have made an initial assessment of the launch site as they attempt to work out how the launch of a commercial resupply ship ended so dramatically. The team has taken a “cursory look” around the site with Nasa saying it will take many more weeks to understand and analyse the full effects […]

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition