Having received the Royal Charter in 1572, John Lyon's new School House was completed in 1615 and opened with one recorded pupil. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, Head Master Joseph Drury could count among his pupils a quartet of future Prime Ministers.
In the late nineteenth century, Charles Vaughan (disciple of Thomas Arnold) and HM Butler brought to the School the far-reaching developments of Victorian education. Since then, and particularly in the last 25 years, the School has significantly modernised, both in terms of it pedagogy and facilities.
Today, there is no typical Harrovian and this is celebrated in a favourite School Song ("Welcome poet and statesman too..."). Current boys take daily inspiration from statesmen such as Peel, Palmerston, Churchill, Pandit Nehru and King Hussein of Jordan; writers including Byron, Sheridan, Trollope, Dornford Yates and Richard Curtis; Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury and influential social reformer; Lord Rayleigh, the physicist and Nobel prize-winner; Fox Talbot, the inventor of photography; the archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans and Bruce the explorer; Sir William Jones, father of philology; Admiral Rodney and Field Marshal Alexander; and nineteen winners of the Victoria Cross.