Sir John Brunner family pay special visit to college

Sir Hugo Brunner

Students and colleagues at Sir John Deane’s recently welcomed three very special guests with an important family connection to the College.

Sir Hugo Brunner, whose great grandfather was Sir John Brunner, the British Chemical Industrialist and MP, visited the college on Friday accompanied by cousins James Blyth and Georgina Gold.

During their visit, the family were taken on a guided tour of the College and met with the Principal and senior students Beatrice Lofthouse and Oliver Bracegirdle.

Oliver, who also has a special family connection to the College as a direct descendant of the 16th century grammar school’s first headmaster, John Bracegirdle, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to be part of this unique experience, and interesting to listen about Sir John Brunner's life and work told by his family." 

Sir John Brunner co-founded the wealthiest British chemical company of the 19th century, Brunner Mond & Co, and stood as an MP for the Liberal Party.

It was thanks to his generosity, that in 1907 the College moved to its current riverside site in Northwich following the donation of the land as a 350th anniversary gift.

To this day the Brunner name is given to the College’s historic hall, where a portrait of Sir John Brunner takes centre stage. 

Sir Hugo Brunner

Principal Kerry Kirkwood added: “We were thrilled and honoured to welcome the Brunner family to Sir John Deane’s.

“Sir John Brunner plays such a crucial part in the history of the College and, more than 100 years on, his legacy continues to benefit generation after generation of children from Northwich and the wider area.”

Sir Hugo Brunner, the former Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, was visiting the area to discover more about his ancestor’s links to Northwich and plan a special celebration to mark the centenary of Sir John Brunner’s death in 2019.

Pictured above: From Right, Georgina Gold, Beatrice Lofthouse, James Blyth, Oliver Bracegirdle and Sir Hugo Brunner.