This film is part of Free

Vital Years, Bushey

Neal Arden – actor and host of “Housewives’ Choice” – narrates this informative, thoughtful look at the Masonic boys’ school in Bushey.

Non-Governmental Organisations sponsored film 1966 22 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for London's Screen Archives


Bushey’s Royal Masonic School for Boys was built in 1903. This film explores the school, eavesdropping on lessons, lunches and boys’ dorms, as well as attending a Masonic Boys Institution board meeting near the Grand Lodge in Great Queen Street. The school is for boys whose fathers are “deceased or distressed” and much is placed on the fact the boys receive strong guidance and continual support as well as a good education. Narration is from actor and old boy Neal Arden.

The school closed in 1977 and is now luxury housing, but in 1966 it educated around 450 boys. The film explains that boys are of mixed ability, having arrived through need rather than educational ability, and shows lessons, lunch time and sporting activities. It’s an interesting look at a school that presents itself with the formality of the public school while accepting not all the pupils are academically gifted. Also includes visits to a board meeting in central London and amusingly stilted conversations between pupils and old boys – including Neal Arden – as the boys discuss their post-school plans.