Philip Newell (1935-1944)

Newell-croppedTall, good-looking, married with children, Philip Newell was in a rather different vein to the headmaster’s tradition begun by Howson.

A maths teacher who had also taught at Uppingham, Newell was soon able to report considerable academic success to the governors despite the worsening situation in Europe. Within a few years, however, Gresham’s was busy building shelters for the boys, fixing blackouts, and entertaining troops and East End evacuees.

Newell was responsible for over-seeing the daunting task of evacuating the entire School to Newquay for the duration of the War, a story that he was to record much later in a book. In the summer of 1943, though, with the roll falling rapidly and debts mounting due to rebuilding work, it was felt time for a change of leadership, and Newell secured a senior post at the Admiralty. Pupils and staff lined up to see him off with general regret. Years later, in 1990, he returned to Gresham’s to preach a sermon in the Chapel to mark the 50th anniversary of the evacuation to Newquay. He died a few weeks later.