Famous Old Parkonians

Since its foundation back in 1902, the School has produced more than 10,000 “Old Parkonians”.

From academics, leading businessmen and Civil Servants to television presenters, sportsmen and musicians – here are just a few of their stories.

Raymond Baxter (1922-2006):

Raymond Baxter was a British television presenter and writer. He is best known for being the first presenter of the BBC’s long-running popular science show, Tomorrow’s World, continuing for 12 years, from 1965 to 1977.

Baxter flew Spitfires with the RAF during the Second World War, subsequently moving into Forces Broadcasting and then to the BBC.

Raymond Horace Blyth (1898-1964):

A conscientious objector during the First World War, Blyth qualified as a teacher before moving to Korea and then Japan, where he was interned as an enemy alien during the Second World War. After the War, he became professor of English at Gakushuin University and tutored Crown Prince (later Emperor) Akihito in English.

Blyth’s extensive writings did much to popularise Zen philosophy and Japanese poetry in the West.

Sir Trevor Brooking (1948- ):


He left Ilford County High School with 11 O-levels and 2 A-levels. His father took him to see his first West Ham United game at Upton Park, a 1–1 draw againstLiverpool on 19 April 1958, when he was nine years old. Aged fifteen he was scouted by Tottenham, Chelsea and West Ham. Their manager, Ron Greenwood watched him with scout Wally St Pier. He was offered apprenticeships by all three clubs with only West Ham allowing him to stay on at school to finish his studies. Despite his parents being offered £500 and a car by manager Tommy Docherty to gain his signature for Chelsea he remained at school signing an apprenticeship deal with West Ham on 24 July 1965, his parents receiving no fee.





Varun Chopra (1987- ):

He is an English cricketer, who captained the England U-19 cricket team in series against Sri Lanka in 2005 and India in 2006. He made his First Class debut for Essex in 2006, becoming the youngest player to score a century for Essex in county cricket when he scored 106 in a drawn game against Gloucestershire.

At the end of 2009 Chopra moved to Warwickshire; he toured Australia with the England Lions in 2013, and was appointed captain of Warwickshire in 2014.

In 2016, Varun returned to Essex, as the Club won promotion back to Division 1 of the County Championship.

Ronald Hutton (1953- ):

Ronald Hutton is an English historian who specializes in the study of Early Modern Britain, British folklore, pre-Christian religion and contemporary Paganism.  A professor in the subject at the University of Bristol, Hutton has published fourteen books and has appeared on British television and radio.

Dame Kathleen Lonsdale, DBE FRS (1903-1971):

Dame Kathleen Lonsdale was an Irish-born crystallographer, who finally proved that the benzene ring was flat by X-ray diffraction methods in 1929. During her career she attained a number of firsts for a woman scientist, including one of the first two women elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1945 (along with Marjory Stephenson), first woman tenured professor at University College London, first woman president of the International Union of Crystallography, and first woman president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

She studied at Woodford County High School for Girls, then transferred to Ilford County High School for Boys to study mathematics and science, because the girls’ school did not offer these subjects.

John Angus Lyall (1940-2006):


Watched by West Ham manager, Ted Fenton, and chief scout Wally St Pier, Lyall was offered a place at West Ham aged fifteen. In October 1955 he joined West Ham United as a groundstaff boy, with duties such as bootcleaning, painting the football stands and wages clerk. He played youth team football as a left back. In February 1957 he won his only significant international honour when he played for England Youth in a 7–1 victory over Luxembourg at Upton Park. In 1957 he was also a member of the West Ham side which lost 8–2, on aggregate, to Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup Final.

He made his senior debut in April 1959. His first team career was interrupted and prematurely ended by a serious injury to his left knee. In January 1964 after making 36 appearances in all competitions, aged 23, he was diagnosed with an inoperable, generally disarranged knee and retired from playing professional football. Lyall was granted a testimonial game by West Ham which was played in April 1964 and netted him £3797. He was offered the role of part-time youth team manager.

Arjun Rajyagor:

One of the more recent graduates of ICHS, Arjun is most well know for his appearance on and eventual win of the reality television show “Young apprentice” In which 16-17 year olds compete with intellect and ingenuity for a large cash prize.

Derek Smith (1931- )

As a Grammy nominated musician, jazz pianist Derek Smith has had a varied career spanning 70 years working in concerts, television and films. He has performed with Frank Sinatra, Pavarotti, Benny Goodman, Placido Domingo and Robert Palmer to name a few. He also performed for Ronald Reagan at the White House.

He currently lives with his wife in New York.


For more famous Old Parks – see the entry for people educated at ICHS on wikipedia.

If you can help us to add more names to the wikipedia list, or to fill in more information on the alumni, please do get in touch with the Association.

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