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Old Harrovian Achievements

The influence of Harrow's most distinguished alumni remains significant. Here we celebrate the achievements of some of those alive today: the successes of these Old Harrovians, and those of many others, are the true test of a Harrow education.

The Arts

Benedict Cumberbatch CBE

Renowned film and theatre actor who starred in the television version of Sherlock, films such as The Imitation Game and 12 Years a Slave, and the West End production of Hamlet.

James Blunt

Former soldier turned singer-songwriter with tracks including You’re Beautiful and Goodbye My Lover. His album Back to Bedlam sold 11 million copies worldwide and was the best-selling album of the decade 2000-2010. His total album sales are in excess of 20 million.

Richard Curtis CBE

Prolific screenwriter, film director, film and television producer, who co-wrote Blackadder, Mr Bean and The Vicar of Dibley. He is perhaps best known for his 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Edward Fox OBE

Patriarch of a remarkable theatrical dynasty, many of whose members went to Harrow. In a lifetime of acting performances stand out the films Oh! What a Lovely War, The Go-Between, The Day of the Jackal, Edward & Mrs Simpson and Gandhi.

Science and Technology

Dr Nicholas Patrick 

Former NASA Astronaut and veteran of two shuttle missions to the International Space Station during its construction: STS-116 aboard Discovery and STS-130 aboard Endeavour. The fourth Briton to fly in space, he has spent over 26 days beyond the earth’s atmosphere, travelling over 11 million miles. 

Pen Hadow

Explorer and Arctic surveyor. First person to trek solo to the North Pole unassisted and first Briton to trek to both North and South Poles unassisted from the continental coastlines of Canada and Antarctica respectively.

Tom Avery

Record-breaking polar explorer, climber and ski mountaineer. One of fewer than ten people to have completed the polar trilogy (the South and North Poles and a crossing of Greenland) and the youngest Briton to have been to both Poles. He has scaled nine previously unclimbed mountains in the Himalayas and holds the world record for the fastest surface journey to the North Pole.

Alastair Fothergill 

Producer and director of nature documentaries for television and cinema including the multi-award- winning series The Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Deep Blue, Earth, Frozen Planet and The Hunt



Billy Vunipola

Rugby footballer for Wasps, Saracens and England (for whom he is Vice Captain). Twice named Man of the Match in Six Nations games against Ireland and France.


Gary Ballance

Cricketer for Derbyshire, Yorkshire and England, named a Cricketer of the Year in the 2015 edition of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack

Nick Compton

Cricketer for Middlesex, Somerset and England, named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year (2013).


Maro Itoje

Rugby footballer who burst onto the international scene during the Six Nations Championship in 2016, in which he was named Man of the Match in England’s decider against Wales.

Public Life

Sir Jeremy Greenstock GCMG

Diplomat who held posts as Minister in Washington, Political Director in London, UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York and UK Special Envoy for Iraq.

Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB KCB LVO OBE DL

Former Chief of the Defence Staff, Colonel of the Life Guards, Gold Stick to the Queen and Colonel Commandant of the Special Air Service.

Lord Butler of Brockwell KG GCB KCB CVO

Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service during the premierships of Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair. Private Secretary to Edward Heath and Harold Wilson, former Master of University College, Oxford, and Chairman of the Butler Review (2004).

General Sir Peter de la Billière KCB KBE DSO MC* DL 

Former British Army officer who was Director SAS during the Iranian Embassy siege and Commander British Forces Middle East during the Gulf War. 




Professor Christopher Tyerman

Professor of the History of the Crusades and Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford. Recent publications include God’s War; a New History of the Crusades, The Debate on the Crusades and How to Plan a Crusade; his A History of Harrow School was published in 2000.

Professor Paul Binski

Professor of the History of Medieval Art, Cambridge University, and Fellow of the British Academy.  His most recent publication is Gothic Wonder: Art, Artifice and the Decorated Style 1290-1350.

Dr Simon Sebag-Montefiore

Bestselling and prizewinning historian, novelist and presenter. His books have been published in 45 languages and include Catherine the Great and Potemkin, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, Young Stalin, Jerusalem: The Biography and The Romanovs, 1613–1918, as well as the novels Sashenka and One Night in Winter.

Dr Aubrey de Grey

Biomedical gerontologist, Chief Science Officer and Co-founder of SENS Research Foundation. Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association. 


Business and Finance

Julian Metcalfe OBE

Founder of Metcalfe's Food Company and itsu, and the co-founder of Pret a Manger.


Peter Beckwith OBE

Property developer and philanthropist. Co-founder with his brother, John, of the London & Edinburgh Trust; founder of the Rutland Trust; founder of the Peter Beckwith Scholarships to Harrow and other schools.

Chris Blackwell

Founder of Island Records, the label of Bob Marley, Grace Jones and U2, as well as Island Outpost, a group of elite resorts in Jamaica.

Andrew Ritchie MBE

Designer of the Brompton portable bike, and founder of the London factory where the bikes are made.