Hatfield School Song.

David Hutton

Dear Lorna Searls,
After such a long time, you may well have found the answer to your request posted 5/7/16.

As I have no way of knowing, here is a copy of the original manuscript, with the three verses of words and some other notes.

After discussion with several old HS friends and progressive excavation of various aural memories, Beryl Foster who is still a professional musician, came up with this original version:

Barbara Hutton writes in her biography of Kenneth:

“When we were about to leave for Hatfield in 1953 Dyson was at Winchester [School] for a concert and Kenneth asked him if he would compose a school song for us.  He said, ‘Have you any composition of mine in mind as a model?’  We said yes.  ‘Then get new words written for it and use it with my blessing.  If I compose a new song you might not like it, and it would be a waste of money!’  Dyson was, incidentally, the father of the great scientist Freeman Dyson, a Wykehamist.”

This is how it appeared in the Hatfield School Magazine (issue 58) of July 1958:


When the School started in 1953 one of the things we lacked was a School Song. I asked a famous British composer, Sir George Dyson, if he would compose a tune for us, but Sir George very wisely replied: “I don’t think it would be  very sensible for you to ask me because if I composed one and you did not like it you would still have to have it, wouldn’t you! But if there is some other tune of mine which you like, why not get new words set to it?”. In fact I had been very struck by the tune of Dyson’s Music to John Masefield’s Poem “The Seekers”, which had been sung at a Schools’ Music Festival in March and so I tried to get someone who was willing to do this, namely Mt. Cyril Swinson, of St.albans, who had written words for St. Albans’ Pageant of that year.

The next difficulty was time. Our Opening Ceremony was planned for Friday, 11th December, 1953, and late in November there was still no sign of a song. Fortunately when given some ideas and asked to turn them into verse, Mr. Swinson wrote quickly and the 120 pupils had just seven days in which to learn words and tune.  Here are the words:


Youth is the time for plans

To plot the course we’ll steer

And Youth’s the time for courage,

For visions bright and clear.

With knowledge and the strength

That all true learning brings,

With love and truth and beauty

We’ll serve all living things.


The sky, the earth and the sea

New mysteries reveal

For men to harness and control

All for the common weal.

In triumph and dismay

Let men always recall

That Science is the servant

And not the master of us all.


But we must prove true masters

Of ourselves and then our work,

Immune from all temptation

To loiter or to shirk.

With knowledge and the strength

That all true learning brings,

With love and truth and beauty

We’ll serve all living things.

The explanatory note was written by Dr. Hutton (known to me as Kenneth, or KH among my schoolfriends), and I expect the ideas he mentions giving would have included serving, learning, discovery, avoidance of temptation to loiter or shirk, and that science is the servant not the master – the last a very important theme then in the discussion of the role of science in WWII.

If you have difficulty in making a copy of the manuscript from this webpage, please email me at davidghutton+Hatfield@gmail.com.

Beryl’s full version (three verses with piano) is also available in various formats, e.g. PDF.


This page was added on 30/04/2020.

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