Clive House at school in Newport to be renamed next year

A house at a boarding school in Shropshire named after the Clive of India will be renamed after war poet Wilfred Owen – with another house being named after a coronavirus hero.

Robert Clive
Robert Clive

Haberdashers’ Adams, based in Newport, said Clive House will be named after Wilfred Owen, who lived in Oswestry, in September next year.

It comes as they revealed their new fifth house would be named in memory of Dr Alfa Saadu who died from coronavirus in March after returning to the frontline.

A debate had been started over whether Robert Clive, who lived near Market Drayton, should continue to represent the school in light of his actions in India.

Past and present members of the school raised their concerns in light of the Black Lives Matter movement sparked by the death of George Floyd in the United States.

Phil North, head of Clive House, said: “Shropshire-born Wilfred Owen was a compassionate and forward-thinking man who saw the enemy as human beings and was outraged by the suffering of the young men around him.

“I’m very happy that the school community has chosen to honour his memory and look forward to leading Owen House from September 2021.”

A consultation had been launched by education chiefs with 830 responding to a questionnaire – with those against the name citing his ill-treatment of Indians.

The controversial military officer – and East India Trading Company official – waged battles in India and established the military and political supremacy of the company in Bengal.

A statement from the Senior Leadership Team at the school, during the outcome of the consultation results, said: “A house renaming is a symbolic act which both illustrates our sympathy for those expressing this anger and shows how we are playing our part in helping to eradicate racist attitudes.”

Other houses at the school include Darwin House, named after Shrewsbury-born Charles Darwin, Talbot House after Earl of Shrewsbury Sir John Talbot and Webb House after Dawley-born Captain Matthew Webb.

Dr Alfa Saadu

A new fifth house at the school has been named in tribute to Dr Alfa Saadu – named Saadu House – in tribute to the NHS worker who died after returning to help fight against the pandemic.

The healthcare worker received the accolade following his commitment to the NHS. He retired in 2017 but returned due to Covid-19 in late March which he died from.

Dr Saadu, who attended the school from 1963 to 1970 as a boarder, went on to study medicine and became medical director at Ealing Hospital and later deputy medical director at the London North West University NHS Trust.

Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the former president of the Nigerian senate, said: “Late Dr Saadu provided leadership for our people in the diaspora as he served for many years as chairman of the Kwara State Association of Nigeria (Kwasang UK). Back at home, he was a community leader and traditional office holder as Galadima of Pategi. He will be sorely missed.”

Dr Alfa Saadu in his days at the school.

The new house is required as the school is expanding and will be welcoming an additional 30 pupils into Year 7 each year starting in September next year.

The new Year 7 class will be joined by Sixth Form pupils and together they will be the founding members of the new Saadu House.

Headmaster Gary Hickey said: “Our school has stood for nearly 400 years and I can’t think of a more fitting way to introduce a new house into 21st century Adams than by honouring one of our own who gave so much in the service of others.

“He is a worthy role model for our young people, and I know this will be universally applauded by those who knew him from school.”

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