Vaughan Road, HA1

Place Name

It’s unlikely that the Reverend Charles John Vaughan (August 16, 1816 – October 15, 1897) would have a street named after him today. He was given the honour in recognition for his time as headmaster of Harrow School – a job that he left suddenly and in mysterious circumstances in 1859. Four years later he was offered and accepted the position of Bishop of Rochester but before taking up the post, he resigned, again without any explanation. It was a mystery that remained hidden for more than 150 years, until letters from John Addington Symonds emerged, apparently claiming to tell the truth of the situation. According to Symonds, a pupil at Harrow while Vaughan was headmaster, Vaughan was having a relationship with a teenage pupil and who was “… not for the first time… in the grip of a devastating physical passion which he was completely unable to control.” The object of Vaughan’s affections was Alfred Pretor, who told his schoolfriend. Symonds in due course informed his father, a doctor, about what had happened. Dr Symonds wrote to Vaughan letting him know that he was aware of what he was doing and that if he did not resign immediately, he would expose him. Vaughan agreed and the secret remained safe. Then in 1863 Vaughan accepted the bishopric prompting Dr Symonds to write to him again warning that he was not to take up the post. So he turned down the job. This is one of a cluster of streets named after teachers and headmasters of Harrow School. Namely: Edward Ernest Bowen (about 1885 – 1901), author of the Harrow school song, Forty Years On; Montagu Butler (1859 – 1885); Joseph Drury (1785 – 1805); Benjamin Heath (1771 – 1785); and, Robert Carey Sumner (1760 – 1771).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *