Fr. Thomas Hennessey
An Appreciation - by P. G. Cornes

I think that of all the good qualities possessed by our former headmaster, Fr. Thomas, that which especially distinguished him was his consideration for the individual. He never thought of staff or boys as bodies of people upon whom a list of rules was to be imposed, and rigidly enforced. He preferred to lead by example. He was, in himself, a model of what a good religious man should be, and so won the respect and admiration of those who taught and studied under his direction.

He came to the school in July, 1947, to become headmaster, and it was not long before his influence began to be felt. As long ago as 1942 there had been talk of a fine new school, but this remained a dream until 1951, when the late Cardinal Griffin officially opened a fine, new £35.000 wing, equipped with a first class science laboratory.

That was but the beginning of the realization of what had been looked forward to for so long. During the next six years of Fr. Thomas's headmastership, the Grand Project was planned, a further £150,000 building, to provide a two-stream Grammar School of the very latest design for the Catholic boys of the district. In 1958, the demolition men moved in, removing outhouses and trees that had sentimental associations for some of us, but which had to be sacrificed in the cause of Catholic education. Fr. Thomas played a major part in all this. He was particularly an enthusiastic advocate of the paved courtyard with its newly planted trees, and of the theatre assembly hall, believing dramatics an essential part of education.

His interest in the Old Boys’ Association was marked, hardly a Saturday afternoon passing without his cheering on the Soccer team from the touchline. He was, himself, a very sound, defensive centre-half, until a knee injury forced him to give up an active participation in Soccer. There has always been a very strong ‘games’ tradition in the SALVATORIAN COLLEGE, and Fr. Thomas fostered that tradition by seeing to it that every boy in the school had an opportunity of playing, at least once a week.

It is a pity that our former headmaster should have had to retire through ill-health caused by overwork, before the new school was finished, but it will never be forgotten that he played a major part in providing for the Catholic boys of Harrow and the adjoining districts, one of the finest Grammar schools to be erected in London, in recent years.

We wish Fr. Thomas good health and many years of happy and successful work in whatever he is directed to undertake by his Superiors. We hope that he will visit us as often as possible, and that he will find that all of us, staff and boys, are doing, each one of us, our duty, in a manner worthy of the standards set by him.

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