Statement from the Haberdashers’ Company

Statement outlining the outcome of the Robert Aske Legacy consultation

Robert Aske (1619-1689) was a silk trader, merchant and Master Haberdasher and one of this Trust’s greatest benefactors.  Thanks to the legacy (£32,000) he left to the Haberdashers Livery Company on his death, the Aske Charity was created.  Today there are 14 schools which are the beneficiaries of the Aske Charity, and over the 350 years since he left the legacy more than 100,000 pupils have received the benefit of an Aske sponsored education.  

Despite his philanthropic work, Aske’s life and work is not without some controversy.  In 1672, he made an investment of £500 in the Royal African Company.  This was a trading company which traded slaves from Africa to the West Indies between 1660 and 1708.  The majority of investors came from the City of London business community, and included the Duke of York (later King James II).  The history of the Slave Trade is painful and difficult to consider. It makes us question our assumptions about the past; answering these questions can deepen and enrich our understanding of our heritage.

The Trust began an extensive consultation in the summer term which concluded in July. There were a wide range of opinions from all stakeholders including pupils, parents, staff, alumni, local community and governors. Since the outset of the consultation, openness and transparency have guided discussions. 

The consultation focused on three key areas:

  • the current motto of ‘Serve and Obey’;
  • the use of ‘Aske’ in the name of the Trust and schools; and
  • the statue, paintings and other items related to Aske.

In some areas complete agreement was found on the way forward, in others, opinion was divided. But the Trustees took all points of view into consideration before agreeing the action to be taken.

The current motto, ‘Serve and Obey’, will be dropped by the Trust and by our schools. There was overwhelming agreement that its 16th Century origins need explanation and are no longer relevant to the society in which we live. It is important that pupils and staff feel a connection to any motto or strapline that will be adopted and discussions will begin on a new one as part of the Trust’s ongoing work on culture. 

There was a wider range of views regarding the use of ‘Aske’ in the name of our Trust and schools. Those in favour of its removal think that Aske’s investment – however small – was offensive, unacceptable and at odds with today’s values. Others thought that our school names are overly complicated and need refining, and that an opportunity has arisen to do this.

Those in favour of retaining ‘Aske’ believe that, through the legacy that founded the Haberdashers’ schools, Robert Aske benefitted generations of children. They also felt that historic acts should be viewed in the context of their time or that removing the name could be seen as tokenistic. 

Having taken all views into account and accepting that there will be inevitable disagreement, Trustees have decided that ‘Aske’ will be removed from school names and from the trading name of the Trust – this includes letterheads, signage and visuals in everyday use. It will be retained in the formal, legal name of the Trust, in recognition of the significant contribution made by the Aske Charity. The new trading name of the Trust will be Haberdashers’ Academies Trust South. This will be in use with immediate effect. 

Changes will be made on websites, letters and prospectuses and these changes will be seen quickly. The process for uniforms and school bags will take time and there is no expectation that current pupils purchase new uniform until they would ordinarily have done so.

This has been a challenging and complex discussion and every single voice has been an important part of the process. The Trust now has a range of learning opportunities: to support the understanding of historical acts, to look at events from different perspectives and to encourage the debate of difficult issues. To support this, we will seek to re-purpose the statue of Aske at Hatcham College. A formal committee will meet to review the extensive restrictions over its treatment and aim to contextualise it in a way that ensures alignment with the Trust’s values and longer-term educational objectives. 

There is an understanding and acknowledgement that not everyone will agree with the actions that are being taken, there will be some people who do not. Despite this difference, there is a unity for all involved and a genuine shared interest of our schools and pupils at heart. 

Askean Rugby Club – Change of Venue

We are now permanently based at The Rectory Field in Charlton Road, SE3 8SR (satnav, use SE7 7EY).

We have a Pre-Match Buffet on Sat 18th September, cost £10, for our first official function at our new Home.  The Pitchero website should hopefully be updated this week with the information on the new address.

‘Friends of Askean RFC’

One of the big big events at the Askean Rugby Club Dinner will be launch of a new charity ‘Friends of Askean RFC’, which has been created to support the rugby club and the local community.

It follows a very generous donation by a former player, Mike Lalley, who wants to put something back for all the good times he enjoyed playing for Askeans.

We are launching the ‘Friends’  website – It is your website and, with your help, we will update it on an on-going basis. Including details of a number of new planned and regular events.

‘Friends’ In Deed

We are excited about this new project and want as many Askeans as possible to get involved in the events and the website.

If you’d like to help the launch, there is a Just Giving page that will be opening next week,  for a  short while.Our aim is to build on the legacy and ensure the future of Askean Rugby
Watch out on the website and just updates and future emails.

Thanks for reading,

Steve Homewood,                    Paul Walsh, 

Chair Askean RFC                   Chair ‘Friends of Askean RFC’

The Club at Well Hall, Kidbrooke Lane, London, SE9 6FLRegistered Charity : 119261, England and Wales.

Click here to see the website

Old Askean AGM 8th July 2021 – Draft Minutes

Minutes of the 134th Annual General Meeting of the Old Askean Association

held by Zoom on Thursday 8th July 2021.

         The President A.T. Jordan-Smith took the chair and opened the meeting at 6 pm.

Present:                        NR Goodman                          R J Sandler

                                      S K Homewood                      A Bolton

                                      D C Johnson                           D Barrett

                                      A Jordan-Smith                       G Fairburn

                                      B R Mellish                             A Ayling

                                      M R Nason                               T Pitman

                                      M J Nicholls                            G Lambert

                                      D G Powell  

          Apologies for absence were received from the following members: 

                                                M C Black                              P Ayling

                                                R Pawley                                 G Bunce

                                                G V Wickens                          P Duggan

                                                R Noble

1.   To consider and adopt the Minutes of the 133rd Annual General Meeting (published in the Old Askean edition Nov 2019)

      Proposed:   B Mellish      Seconded:  T Pitman  Carried


Ladies, gentlemen, friends, family and of course all Old Askeans, young and old. As my third year in office comes to an end, who would have thought the past 15 months would have caused us so much upheaval and uncertainty in the world that we are now living in. So here we are for which will be our last (I hope) OAA AGM, and committee zoom meeting, I for one am looking forward to getting back to normality, or whatever it looks like at least post pandemic….

I would like to follow on by thanking all of you that have helped me in my third term, albeit under zoom meeting conditions and as President of the Association, it again, has been an honour and a privilege to undertake this role. 

At this time in the proceedings, I would normally have reported what a bumper year that we have had through our social’s events and the like bit COVID put pay to that and here we are at the AGM and still not managed to see you all face to face. Worry ye not!! The committee has come together bi-monthly to hold their meetings via zoom and as always, they have been fun and productive, and we have been thriving behind the scenes.

This year the committee have met to discuss OASLA, the School Pavilion Development and more recently Robert Aske and his association with the slave trade. Thanks goes out to those who have given input and your feedback has been greatly received.

We have seen some changes this year on the committee, notably Dennis Johnson finally leaving us to enjoy some peace and quiet. A massive thank you from me for all that you have done, not only for me, but the committee and all Askeans, you will certainly be missed and tough shoes to fill. I hope that this does not come as news to you all, but Gary Bunce has now taken over as Editor of our ever-popular magazine and all contact details can be found on the OA website. 

Whilst I have been in office the OAA Golf Society has been resurrected and again we are waiting for dates where we will be able to thrash a few balls around and sup a beer or two. The City Diners again will be advertising some lunch dates in the not-too-distant future, and we will be resuming our Advent lunch in November. Please look out for all dates on the website as we again have arranged our Annual Lunch at the RAF Club next April.

The Askean RFC has survived the COVID season, and this again is down to the continued support and hard work of the committee and in particular Ian Lunn. A big thank you goes to the current squad who have stuck together and look forward to next season resuming. They have an event coming up which I would like to share with you.


I am very pleased to announce that the End-of-Season, New-Season, Launch of the Friends of Askean RFC Charity Dinner is to be held on: –


The event is at RECTORY FIELD







This is a unique night for the Club, particularly with the launch of our new Charity – it is open to all members/players/supporters/your partners/family etc. What better way to celebrate our enforced incarceration? Come along and join us for an evening of fun, food, drink and, most importantly, a chance to meet with your old (ex) teammates to discuss lockdown stories and tales of yesteryear.

As usual, we will be looking for good friends of the club to help the younger members who may otherwise not be able to join in. Remember our younger days when we were ‘entertained’ by the older club members plying us with alcohol. It will be greatly appreciated if you can confirm to me your contribution, whatever sum you are able to offer. Just confirm to me how much you would like to contribute, and I will give you my bank details to make a transfer.

The committee are always striving to organise events throughout the year as to accommodate everyone’s tastes. It goes without saying that without your support and attendance, these events would not be able to be held and I must say in some beautiful and historical buildings, so I urge you to keep supporting them and ensure that you bring another OA or a friend along to the next one, as we can only grow and get better. 

Thank you again for all your support and look forward to seeing you soon.

Andy Jordan-Smith


Old Askean Association

2018/19; 2019/20; 2020/21

Proposed B R Mellish     Seconded A J Bolton             Carried

3.   To consider and adopt the Annual Accounts of the Association for the years ending 31st March 2020 and 31st March 2021. The Treasurer mentioned that no queries have been raised and there is a large surplus due to little activity and no items sold. The magazine costs have been covered by subscriptions. The Accounts were discussed and put to the meeting. 

Proposed:    A Jordan-Smith             Seconded:  T Pitman           Carried

  4. To elect the Officers of the Association for the year 2021-2022

      There were no nominations from the members, therefore the Committee has nominated:

      President………………………………………………………………………….. A T (Andy) Jordan-Smith 

      Immediate Past President…………………………………………………… M J (Mike) Nicholls

      Senior Vice President………………………………………………………… G (Gary) Bunce

      Junior Vice President…………………………………………………………. P (Peter) Ayling

      Membership Secretary and Registrar…………………………………… A J (Alan) Bolton

      Secretary…………………………………………………….      R J (Richard) Sandler                                                                                

      Treasurer……………………………………………………………. S K (Steve) Homewood

      Social Secretary                                                                            N R (Roger) Goodman

      Proposed:   R J Sandler         Seconded: A Jordan –Smith       Carried en bloc

  5. To elect two Ordinary Members of the Committee for the years 2021-2022

      P J (Paul) Duggan is retiring and has offered himself for re-election

      The committee has nominated M C(MC) Black and P J (Paul) Duggan

      BR (Barry) Mellish is deemed to have been re-elected in 2020 (when covid19 prevented   the holding of an AGM) and has one year to serve. The Committee has been unable to nominate a second member and will fill the remaining vacancy under Rule 5.10 

      Proposed:   R J Sandler         Seconded:  A Jordan-Smith               Carried

6. To consider any Resolutions or Business previously given in writing in accordance with Rule 8·4. 

    None were given 


The President said that Dennis Johnson is stepping down from the Committee and was warmly thanked by all members for his many and valuable years of service

Alan Bolton gave a list of new members and a list of those that have sadly died since the last AGM in 2019 and they are:

New Members since the last AGM in 2019

  • Alan Ayling
  • Mark Bowen 
  • Gareth Davies 
  • Hatim Dungawalla
  • Ian Ferguson
  • Joe Grossi 
  • Ian McAllister
  • Trevor Pitman
  • Carl Thomas

Members who have died since the last AGM in 2019

  • Donald Ballantyne
  • Phil Bingham
  • Peter Collison
  • Robert Dawe
  • Peter Dunkle
  • Harry Edwards
  • Tony Harding
  • Alan Scott
  • Roy Smith
  • Ian Valentine

The President reported that he has found some more information relating to Peter George Fogden under the ‘Freedom of Information Act’ and as some of you remember it was, he who was remembered by the Askean RFC Scoreboard. AJS hopes to put a small piece together for the next addition of the magazine highlighting his relatively short live until he was MIA presumed killed.

There was a general discussion over the controversy of Robert Aske and his links with the slave trade. Steve Homewood stated that the school has a 3 stage plan to investigate by research; canvassing the views of students, parents, teachers and alumni and finally evaluating what they find before coming to any decision. The Haberdashers Company, who still owns the land, will not permit the removal of Haberdashers from the school title. . The company still funds to the extent of £300000 pa and therefore has a major stake in what is to happen at the school.

The President reported that the school motto “Serve and Obey” is under severe threat as not being appropriate for the modern era.

Dennis Johnson pointed out that the statue of Robert Aske is listed and therefore safe from removal at present. 

The views of The Hatcham Association were of interest to the meeting and Steve Homewood reported that the 3 representatives at the zoom meeting were firmly against any change of name.

From a social perspective, Steve Homewood reported that the City Diners would restart in September. Roger Goodman confirmed that the Advent Lunch is still, at present, going ahead.

Finally, Geoff Fairburn has an original artist’s impression of The Kidbrooke Squash Courts which he will pass on to the Committee.

The meeting closed at 6.35pm with a vote of thanks to Barry Mellish for facilitating the use of Zoom for the meeting


Some memories of Pete Collison

Some of us were at school with Pete from 1959 – 1966, to say that we stunned by his untimely death is to put it mildly. His widow Lindy is trying to gather as much information as she can about Pete during his early years. There are some Youtube Video clips that have been put together which you might find interesting and amusing:

Pete Collison RIP

It is with deep sadness that we have to announce the death of Pete Collison who died a few days ago. Pete was at Aske’s from 1959 – 1966. Pete lived in South Africa and his memorial service is being held on Monday 19th July. The service will be streamed and details will be published when known. We offer our condolences to his widow Lindy and all his family and friends.

Advent Lunch Thursday 18th November 2021

We are hopeful that this lunch will take place this year. It will be held at Chislehurst Golf Club and we will start gathering from just after noon for a splendid luncheon at 1:00pm.

Further details, menus and booking forms will be available nearer the date.

Please put this in your diary now!