A Walk Down Dragon Lane …

Mar 21, 2023

This term, we took a (virtual) stroll down Dragon Lane with the Hardmans, a family that has been through the Dragon for five generations. The first generation of the Hardmans to attend the Dragon, in 1879, was James Hardman (OD 1881), along with his brother George (OD 1886). When James’ son, Wallace Hardman (OD 1910) arrived at what was ‘OPS’ aged 9, in 1906, Skipper recalls in his diaries that, at his father’s request he allowed the School an extra half-holiday in honour of the occasion! Wallace’s brother, Sir Donald Hardman (OD 1913) was the third member of the family to join the Dragon.

Following in James’ first Hardman family footsteps down Bardwell Road were his sons, grandsons, great-grandsons and great-great-grandsons. The Hardman family is believed to be the direct, unbroken parent-child fifth-generation ODs.

This term, we took a stroll with James’ (OD 1881) great-grandson and great-great-grandsons, James (OD 1979) and his sons Alfie (OD 2009), Hector (OD 2012), and Will (OD 2013).


My Dragon connection

James: Great-grandson, grandson, son and father of ODs
Alfie: Great-great-grandson, great-grandson, grandson, son and brother of ODs
Hector: Great-great-grandson, great-grandson, grandson, son and brother of ODs
Will: Great-great-grandson, great-grandson, grandson, son and brother of ODs

My time at the Dragon School in three words

James: Iliad and Odyssey
Alfie: Lost my marbles
Hector: Rugby, football, cricket (duh)
Will: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (tuck days)

When I was a young Dragon, I wanted to be

James: England Cricket Captain
Alfie: England Cricket Captain
Hector: England Cricket Captain
Will: England Cricket Captain

The superpower I wish I had

James: Eternal youth
Alfie: Numeracy
Hector: Just a bit of pace could have made all the difference
Will: Time travel.

Eggy or marble runs?

James: Marble roll-up (marbles was a bit different at the Dragon in the 70s)
Alfie: Marbles… when I had them
Hector: Eggy
Will: Eggy

My inspiration growing up

James: Han Solo (surely an OD) from the original 1977 Star Wars
Alfie: Alan Shearer
Hector: Cristiano Ronaldo (he’s still my inspiration tbf)
Will: Hasbulla

At the top of my bucket list

James: To see an awesome aurora
Alfie: I would say to take a set of tennis off my Dad but that’s become a mental mountain so I’ll say to surf Nazare
Hector: Hopefully too young to be considering that
Will: To be one of the 13-year-olds in my Dad’s class

My most memorable moment at the Dragon

James: Giving JBM a kiss when she did my French lines for me
Being bowled for 98 when my Godparents came to watch.  The ball hit the back of my bat, hit my shoulder, rolled down my arm and trickled on to the stump.  Actually, the memorable bit was Dad putting a hole in his Panama
Scoring a hundred at Caldicott – it was such a road
Scoring a hundred at home

My biggest achievement

James: Surviving my first year as an “older” trainee maths teacher.  Every day was a new humiliation at the hands of a few 13-year-old children.
Alfie: Getting my dream job copywriting and making adverts
Hector: Winning the Foster Cup (National Schools Rackets Championship) at Queens.  Unlike the others’ lame achievements, this is actually worth boasting about as the person I beat in the semis is about to become World Champion
Will: Doing three ‘trebels’ in one sitting at Newcastle University (a treble is three cups with three shots in each cup)

The advice I would give to my younger self

James: Independent, free-spirited, resilient, down-to-earth, probably not averse to getting into a bit of trouble, maybe a bit scruffy and certainly not a snotty-nosed Cothiller, Caldicotter or (heaven forbid) from down the road
Alfie: There is hope once you no longer have to do Maths & Science
Hector: Just because it doesn’t involve a ball doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not legit
Will: Put a fiver on Leicester winning the Premier League in 2016

In one sentence, what does it mean to be a Dragon?

James: You have to earn it for it to have worth so just remember that what you get out of every aspect of your life – your studies, your careers, your relationships – will depend on how much you put in.
Alfie: Yeah, what Dad said.
Hector: Getting stuck in, doing your best and trying hard to make it look like you’re not trying too hard.
Will: Fun, easy-going and confident

Since my Dragon days …

James: I went on to Eton and Bristol University and worked for many, many years at Reuters (which I loved). After a very brief retirement, I joined the first “Now Teach” cohort, retraining to be a Maths teacher at a school in Wembley (another career I love – very rejuvenating). I have been married to Sasha for 25 years and have three sons but my favourite child is my dog, Taw. We live in London.
Alfie: Went to Stowe and Manchester University and now living in Amsterdam working as a copywriter at Cloudfactory advertising agency
Hector: Went to Eton and Durham University and now living in Brixton, working for EY
Will: Went to Rugby and Newcastle University and now working as a Panamax Ship Broker at Howe Robinson in London


Would you like to take a ‘walk down Dragon Lane’? Please get in touch with the Development team; we’d love to hear from you.

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