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.


Note added 23/01/22

Old pupils and staff may be interested in a reference to Kenneth Burley’s piano playing of the School Song and Assembly hymns, in the Post:     Allan – Troubador from Hatfield


Have you checked recently the other HS Pages/Posts listed and hotlinked in the list at the top right of most of  the HS pages ? The titles don’t say everything, and new edits and new Posts are being added often.

This page was added on 30/04/2020.

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  • I remember a One Night Stand parody of the school song which we sang in 1965

    Youth is the time for Mann’s,
    To plot the course with beer,
    And youth’s the time for Courage,
    For bitter bright and clear,
    With knowledge and the strength,
    That all good drinking brings,
    With light and brown and bitter,
    We’ll ser er er erve all living drinks.

    I can still manage the tune !!!

    By Mick Ansell (15/11/2021)
  • Continuing from Dudley Barker, I too remember David Hutton appearing at each end of a long photo, one end with a broad grin of success. Interestingly I also remember KH’s copy of this photo which has one cropped end without the usual margin so that His copy has only one image of his middle son.

    By Michael Hutton (09/11/2021)
  • It was good to see the School Song again after such along time. Thanks to David Hutton as I remember he had a duplicate position on each side of one large school photo!
    He ran from one side to the other end when the moving camera caught him twice! Can anyone remember this?

    By Dudley Barker HS 1961-69 (23/01/2021)
  • Message for Stephen Dumpleton:

    Hi Stephen – this is the only way I have to reach you. You might be interested in some of the other Hatfield School pages on OurHatfield, including the PC-friendly version of One Track Mac I just posted.
    There’s also a list of some current contact names near the top of the page named just ‘Hatfield School’ with most comments. email me on [chris@wolery-crh.co.uk] if you have any photos or anecdotes to share.
    Regards, Chris Hepden HS 1957-64

    By Chris Hepden (29/08/2020)
  • I remember the Hatfield School Song. In fact I still have my old ‘Songs of Praise’ harmony edition hymn book which has the words of the song on a piece of paper stuck on the front inside end paper.

    I also remember that the lads in the 6th form fairly quickly made a parody of the 3rd and 4th lines which invariably got belted out whenever the school song was sung in the morning assembly – perhaps once or twice a month and at the beginning and end of the school year.

    Youth is the time for plans
    To plot the course we’ll steer
    And Youth’s the time for Courage,
    And other makes of beer….

    By Steve Dumpleton (13/07/2020)