About the Old Paludians Association

Slough Secondary School opened its doors in January 1912. By 1915 a number of masters and senior pupils were serving their country in the Great War (1914-18) and others were reaching school-leaving age to take their place in society. It was suggested that an old pupils (and teachers) association be formed.

Following a suggestion from the first headmaster, Mr W. Francis Smith, the Association was named The Old Paludians (from the Latin palus, paludis – a slough) and thus it has remained for over 100 years.

The Association exists to foster a spirit of community between the former members of the school, both students and staff, and holds an annual reunion for former members as well as regular smaller meetings and a newsletter.

As a result of the generosity of Old Paludians, the Association sponsors awards of equipment, books or funding towards special projects for the school.

Members of the Association bring a wide range of experience and expertise which is an invaluable resource for the school and both current and former students.

The Old Paludians


Our Background

Slough Secondary School first opened its doors in January 1912. The new buildings were sited in William Street in the centre of Slough, and the school was co-educational – the fore-runner of today’s Upton Court Grammar School. By 1915, a number of masters and senior boys were serving their country in the Great War and others were reaching school-leaving age to take their place in society. It was suggested that an Old Boys and Old Girls Association be formed and its first social meeting was duly held in the School Hall. Following a suggestion from the Headmaster, Mr W. Francis Smith, the Association was named The Old Paludians (from the Latin palus, paludis – a slough, mire or muddy place) and thus it has remained.

By the end of the War, four masters and two old boys had given their lives – their names are recorded on a Roll of Honour at the school. There are a further 50 names of those who served, although records do not show how many of these made the ultimate sacrifice. Meetings began again in 1920; the Cricket Club was founded in 1922 followed by the Football Club two years later – many members going on to play for local teams over the coming years.

A major change took place in 1936: the boys went to their new premises in Lascelles Road now called Slough Grammar School, whilst the girls remained in William Street, renamed Slough High School, until their new school in Twinches Lane was ready in September 1939. The site of the old school in William Street became in turn Slough College, the Slough Campus of Thames Valley University, the University of West London and is now being redeveloped again. In the autumn of 1936, the Old Paludians Association also split into two separate Sections such was the feeling at the time against co-education with “joint functions serving no purpose”.

Another War came and went. Once again, Old Paludians were fighting in all Services throughout Europe, Africa and Asia – many never to return, their names, too, proudly recorded at the school. Some were mentioned in dispatches and others were decorated for gallantry. The Old Girls held regular Annual Meetings together with many social events from 1940 onwards, all held at their school by special invitation of the Headmistress, Miss J. M. Crawford. They were also active in hockey, tennis, drama and music. The Old Boys resumed in 1946, largely sports-orientated and with the formation of the Hockey Club in 1948. Many fund-raising activities over 5 years culminated in the opening of a club house at Taplow in June 1958. Much of the building work was done by the Old Boys themselves. As a result of this new undertaking, the Old Boys or Sports Section reformed themselves as the Old Paludians Ltd. The Old Girls continued as the Old Paludians Association.

In 1962, a Thanksgiving Service was attended by both Old Boys and Old Girls to mark the golden anniversary of the founding of the school and, in 1979, the girls celebrated the 40th anniversary of their school premises. Both sections continued along their separate ways until 1982 when the sale of the Twinches Lane site forced the merger of the Slough High School and Slough Grammar School on the Lascelles Road site. The combined school, renamed Upton Grammar School, was once again co-educational.

There was a wind of change in 1988 when Mrs Margaret Lenton was appointed Headteacher and the following March came the first Joint Reunion (for both Old Boys and Old Girls) for 50 years. Mrs Lenton became President and the Old Paludians Association was renamed Old Paludians Association (Grammar School) as gradually more and more Old Boys were joining us. The Association was then independent of the Sports Section / Old Paludians Ltd, which nowadays plays under the name Taplow United Football Club.

The school reverted to the Slough Grammar School name in 1993 and remained co-educational. In 2002, the school was formally recognised as a specialist language school. It was additionally a specialist science and mathematics school, and recently appointed an Academy. In 2010, Mrs Mercedes Hernández Estrada assumed the role of Principal from Mrs Lenton. In early 2013, a substantial Sixth Form Centre was added on the site of the previous tennis courts. With further building work in hand, Mrs Hernández Estrada and the Governors renamed the school to Upton Court Grammar School, replacing the chained swan by a phoenix rising.

The Present

The current Principal, Mrs Mercedes Hernández Estrada, welcomes the Old Paludians Association for the annual reunion held each March and kindly allows us use of the school. With current membership nearing 1000, each reunion is a joyous coming-together of many old friends. It is never too late to join – one new Life Member joined in 1999 having left school in 1928! One of our oldest members celebrated his 101st birthday in March 2000 having attended the opening day of the school in 1912. Sadly, he died shortly after this birthday but lives on in his message to the Association printed on our book cover (see below). Our current oldest member is 104.

Thanks to the generosity of members, each year the Old Paludians gives 2 prizes for Speech Day, as well as donating a special gift to the school after consultation with Mrs Hernández Estrada. Recent gifts include books to mark the millennium, silver Head Boy & Head Girl badges, colours for sports achievements and a lump sum to start the Piano Fund reflecting interest in music and the arts, and books for the library. At Mrs Lenton’s request, our gift to mark the school’s 90th anniversary in 2002, as well as HM the Queens’s Golden Jubilee, was a commemorative clock for the hall, together with further books and other items for the library. A book entitled “Recollections of SLOUGH SECONDARY SCHOOL and THE OLD PALUDIANS as remembered by Peter Bennett and others” has been produced. Written by Peter Bennett (SSS 1930-1936) it was published in March 2000 in time for the 2000 Reunion to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Old Paludians. (These notes are based on Peter Bennett’s text for which acknowledgement is duly given). Peter Bennett’s book is now available for download in 5 parts – please see:

***23rd March 2018 – Site under Construction. A new copy of Peter Bennett’s book will be available shortly. Please bear with ***

The Future

The success of the Old Paludians ultimately depends on the present students. Under its Principal, Mrs Mercedes Hernández Estrada, Upton Court Grammar School is held in high esteem; its students are high achievers making their way in all walks of life.

Membership of the Old Paludians Association is open to all ages, although it is often only some years after leaving School that memories of schooldays are re-kindled. Career and family life are uppermost – a chance meeting with a former schoolfriend can start a chain of thought ‘whatever happened to … ?’ More than likely the Old Paludians will know the answer. Life Membership for former pupils is just £5 – we look forward to having you join us. Former staff are offered complimentary Life Membership.

In her final contribution to the Slough High School Magazine, Miss J M Crawford, Headmistress 1936-1962, wrote “So many have contributed through the years to the success of our Schools and we trust that the present generations will prove themselves to be worthy successors.” After all, the motto remains Ad Astra.

Other information

News of individual members is given in an annual Newsletter. Letters are sent out each January giving details of the forthcoming annual Reunion and asking for news items for the Newsletter. The letters are sent to all Members and to those who have expressed an interest over the previous year and may be undecided whether or not to join. The Newsletter is available at the Reunion and is sent on to those Members not attending.

Annual Reunions are held on a Saturday each March. There is a lunch for those wishing to spend longer with their friends and, after a short formal business meeting in the afternoon, there is tea. One highlight of the day is always a display of archive material, photographs, programmes of sporting events, drama productions, newspaper items, etc – everyone can spot themselves on at least one photo.

For any further information on membership or news of former school friends, please contact the Secretary of the Old Paludians Association (see the Old Paludians Association main website which redirects here).

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the Old Paludians Association?
It is the Association of former pupils and staff of the following schools: Slough Secondary School (1912-1936)
Slough Grammar School for Boys (1936-1982)
Slough High School for Girls (1936-1982)
Upton Grammar School (1982-1993)
Slough Grammar School (1993-2013)
Upton Court Grammar School (2013-)

Why so many schools?
All one school really. Founded in 1912 under the name of Slough Secondary School, it was sited in William Street and was co-educational. By 1936 the school had outgrown the buildings and was split into Slough Grammar School for Boys in Lascelles Road and Slough High School for Girls. The girls could not move to their new building in Twinches Lane until 1939 and so stayed in William Street for a further 3 years.

In 1982 the Twinches Lane site was sold for redevelopment and the girls moved to Lascelles Road. Slough Grammar School for Boys and Slough High School for Girls were merged, and the combined school, once again co-educational, was renamed Upton Grammar School. In 1993, this School reverted to the former name Slough Grammar School.

In 2013, Slough Grammar School was renamed Upton Court Grammar School, and remains co-educational.

What is the purpose of the Association?
We are a not-for-profit organisation which exists for the benefit of our Members, and to undertake the following activities:

Annual Reunions – continuing an unbroken tradition since 1940, bringing together each March former pupils of all the above schools
Annual Newsletters for Members – with news of former pupils and staff
Membership Support – trying to put former school friends back in contact with each other; there have been spectacular successes, sometimes after more than 45 years
Voluntary Work and Support for the current School and its activities – e.g. Industry Week, the setting up and recording of the School Archives
Website – giving news and information, not least a trip down memory lane with over 240 archive photographs there for the viewing
Generous donations from members allow an annual gift to be made to the School in the name of the Association
Books presented to the School Library in remembrance of former members – a special name-plate is placed in the book with the name and years at the School
You may wish to read our Constitution.

Can anyone join?
Yes, if you were a pupil, Staff Member, Governor at any of the above schools

How much is it to join?
Former Staff are offered complimentary Life Membership.
Former Pupils are offered Life Membership for a single payment of £10

Am I too old to join?
No, we have members from every era – pupils from the Slough Secondary School days onwards. It is never too late to join

How do I join?
Please see our Membership webpage for further details of Life Membership at a very reasonable cost

I paid for a Life Membership some years ago. Am I still a Member?
Some years back, there were two separate organisations:
Old Paludians Association (Boys Section or Sports Section) which was reconstituted in 1955 as Old Paludians Ltd at Taplow, and since 1998 is also registered as Taplow United Football Club
Old Paludians Association (Girls Section) which became in 1988 the Old Paludians Association, organises Annual Reunions and has created and maintains this website.
If you paid your Life Membership to the Boys or Sports Section, then you will need to contact the Old Paludians Ltd / Taplow United Football Club to determine the current status of your Life Membership. We understand that they moved to an exclusively Annual Subscription basis a few years back, but we can not and do not speak for them.
Please note that we (Old Paludians Association) are always pleased to hear from all former pupils, Staff, Governors and friends of Slough Secondary School, Slough Grammar School for Boys, Slough High School for Girls, Upton Grammar School, Slough Grammar School and Upton Court Grammar School, and we hope that you will consider joining our Association.

If you paid your Life Membership to either the Girls Section or the Old Paludians Association after 1988, then you are still a Life Member of the Old Paludians Association and you should still be receiving annual newsletters from us. If you do not receive such newsletters, then it is possible that we have not kept up with your changes of address. Please let us know who you are
your years at which school
how we can contact you
if possible, approximately when and where you paid your subscription
and we will recheck our records.

I don’t live in UK. Can I still join or is it more costly?
We have members all over the world – and for the same cost.

How do I get any news?
An Annual Newsletter gives news of members – it is produced for the Annual Reunion each March and is either handed (if you attend the Reunion), posted or emailed to all members. In addition, our ‘Former Pupils’ webpage gives details of those former pupils who have authorised their details to appear on the Internet

My contact details have changed. How do I notify the Association? If your address or contact details have changed, please use our Update Membership Details Form to inform the Association, or else email the Secretary

What is the Annual Reunion?
On a Saturday each March a get-together is arranged at Slough Grammar School for members and non-members to come along to meet up with old friends. Obviously, Old Paludians meet each other every day of the year, but this occasion brings together many Old Paludians in one place at the same time, and is a wonderful way to locate or meet up with old friends, and renew acquaintances. The schedule can include morning coffee, a light lunch, a short AGM followed by afternoon tea – depending on your wishes. All day, there are opportunities to view the current School, displays of our archives, and of our website.

How do I search for a former classmate?
Contact the Secretary with all your details; details of your friend; your years at the School, etc and tell us whether and how much you want published on the website. All other information is held on file. We welcome any information you wish us to publish in our Annual Newsletter. No information – personal or otherwise – is published on the website or in the Newsletter without your express permission.

Supposing someone is searching for me?
Once a match is made from our files (We have many details on file. Someone always knows someone, who knows someone), we contact both parties usually by post. We have managed to link up friends after 50 years!

Where is Lascelles Road – I can’t remember?
It is on the eastern side of the town, postcode SL3 7PR (Google maps: SL3 7PR) forming one of the link roads between the London Road and Upton Court Road

What happened to the Slough Secondary School?
Following the departure of Slough High School to their new Twinches Lane site in September 1939, the former Slough Secondary School (SSS) buildings were used to accommodate Upper Latymer School, which was evacuated from Hammersmith for the duration of the War. After the war, the SSS buildings were used to house the new Slough Technical School (which subsequently moved to a new site in Northampton Avenue, changing its name to Herschel High School and is now Herschel Grammar School). Part of the Slough Secondary School site had been used for the construction of the Tonman Mosley School for juniors. However, after the Second World War, this school was also closed. The SSS and Tonman Mosley buildings were then used for a variety of purposes, including Night Classes, before being demolished to make way for the building of Slough College. In turn, Slough College became the Slough Campus of Thames Valley University and, for a short time, the University of West London, but it still stands on the original Slough Secondary School site in William Street. The area has been subsequently redeveloped under the project name Heart of Slough

What about Twinches Lane?
The buildings were demolished. A housing development was built on the far side of the hockey pitches, and alongside Twinches Lane itself there is the late 20th century phenomena – the Retail Park. Maybe the sound of girlish chatter can still be heard at midnight!!

How can I get any news of the current Upton Court Grammar School itself?
There is an excellent school website at

The Old Paludians

Famous Old Paludians

A number of Old Paludians have achieved wide recognition by the public, including but not limited to:

Steve Bell – satirist and cartoonist
Matthew Benham – owner of Brentford F.C.
Jon Benjamin – British diplomat
Dr Jeremy Black (1951-2004) – the noted Assyriologist
William Bradshaw, Baron Bradshaw
Susan Cooper – the children’s author
Prof John Fothergill – the Pro-Vice Chancellor at City University
Philip Hinchcliffe – the BBC TV producer
Jeanne Hoban (1924-1997) – the trade unionist and politician
Philip Hubble – the British butterfly swimmer
John King – English novelist
Keith Mansfield – composer and arranger
Prof Peter Marler (1928-2014) – emeritus professor of neurobiology, physiology and ethology of the University of California, Davis
Gary Numan (Gary Webb) – cult musician
Prof John Pickering – former professor of industrial economics
Baroness Beryl Platt – (1923-2015) – Member of the House of Lords – nee Myatt
Prof Martin Schröder – Dean of Science and Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at University of Nottingham
Prof Ian Simmons – retired Professor of Geography at University of Durham
Prof James Q. Smith – Professor of Statistics at the University of Warwick
Prof Matthew Spriggs – Professor of Archaeology at the Australian National University

General Contact

The Old Paludians Association
c/o Upton Court Grammar School,
Lascelles Road,
Slough. Berkshire.

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Committee 2019-2020

President Emerita
Mrs Mercedes Hernández Estrada

President Mr Mark Pritchard
Headmaster, Upton Court Grammar School

Mr Ronald Fidler
SGS Boys 1943-1949




Membership Secretary
Kav Benepal SGS 1999-2006

Newsletter Editor

Rajesh Sharma
SGS Boys and UGS 1982-1987

Ian Cairns
SGS Boys 1964-71  SGS Staff 2003-2005

Jane Brown
UGS 1984-90 SGS Staff 2000-2009

Mr David Rogers Staff, 1963 – 2000

The Old Paludians