The Allanian Society has had many iterations over the years. The first record of an Allanian gathering is in 1854, when 'between thirty and forty' former pupils presented former Master John Findley with a gold watch and enjoyed a convivial dinner together.
Regular gatherings started in the 1890s with an Old Boys’ Committee arranging participation in sporting events. The inaugural Reunion Ball was held in 1895 and this, the first of its kind in the region, became a successful annual event organised by a committee of both Old Boys and Old Girls.
An Old Allanians’ Association was established in 1912 for former pupils of the Boys’ School. It succeeded the sports committee and was itself succeeded after the war by a War Memorial Committee. In 1928 it was rebranded as the Dame Allan’s Old Boys’ Association.
For the former pupils of the Girls’ School, the Rose Fair served as an annual reunion and an active Old Girls’ Guild had been established before 1915. In the 1930s, Old Girls’ sports teams were organised using the school playing fields and Dame Allan’s Old Girls’ Association was formed. After lapsing at the start of the war, it was revived in March 1942.
In the post-war years, each association had its own calendar of regular social and sporting activities, including the DAOBA Golf Competition for the Murray Cup and, later, the Harold Clark Trophy, which ran at least as early as the 1930s.
Whilst folk memory holds that the worlds of Boys’ and Girls’ Schools were firmly independent, there were various joint events over the years. For example, the 1962 DAOGA New Year Ball advertised “A few tickets available to DAOBA”. There were joint events surrounding the opening of the buildings in Fenham in 1935 and the 250th anniversary in 1955 as well as events raising funds to support development.
The associations worked together on the Fifty Years at Fenham event of 1985 and the Evacuation Reunions organised from 1989 onwards by Jack Castling. This marked the beginning of closer collaboration and plans for merger were actively considered. In 2004 the associations merged to form the Old Allanians’ Association enabling all former pupils could be part of one association in time for the celebration of the tercentenary. There were successful subject-themed dinners started at this time which were well-attended by former pupils and staff of both schools.
In 2008 a new constitution was adopted, in which the term 'Allanian' properly includes both alumni and current pupils as well as staff and governors past and present. Thus creating the Allanian Society you know and love today.