Cheltenham College is a co-educational independent school, located in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. One of the public schools of the Victorian period, it was opened in July 1841. A Church of England foundation, it is well known for its classical, military and sporting traditions, and currently has approximately 640 pupils.
HistoryTwo Cheltenham residents, G. S. Harcourt and J. S. Iredell, founded Cheltenham College in July 1841 to educate the sons of gentlemen. It originally opened in three houses along Bays Hill Terrace in the centre of the town.
Within two years it had moved to its present site—with Boyne House as the first College Boarding House—and soon became known simply as Cheltenham College. Accepting both boarding and day boys, it was originally divided into Classical and Military sides until the mid-twentieth century. The 1893 book Great Public Schools by E. S. Skirving, S. R. James, and Henry Churchill Maxwell Lyte contained a chapter on each of what they considered England's ten greatest public schools; it included a chapter on Cheltenham College. It is now an independent fee paying school, governed by Cheltenham College Council. A few girls were admitted in 1969 and then in 1981 when the first girls' house opened, the Sixth Form became fully co educational. In 1998, girls were admitted to all other years, making the College fully co-educational.
In 1865, a Junior Department was added to the main College buildings. In 1993 it opened its doors to girls and also opened a pre-Prep department, Kingfishers, for 3–7-year olds.
Work and serviceIn the First World War 702 Old Cheltonians were killed in the service of their country, and a further 363 died in World War II. Cheltenham's military past is recognised by the fact that it is one of only three schools in England to have its own military colours. Queen Victoria School in Dunblane, Scotland, also has Colours.
The names of those Old Cheltonians killed in World War I are recorded in the College Chapel, completed in 1896, which to a degree resembles King's College Chapel, Cambridge and is one of the chapels of an English public school. The names of those killed in the World War II are displayed on the memorial in the College's dining hall.
Cheltenham has approximately 640 pupils between the ages of 13 and 18. The fees are upwards of approximately £30,000 per annum, making it amongst the most expensive schools in the United Kingdom. The school is now co-educational and maintains a strong academic reputation, with the majority of pupils going to The Russell Group Universities, and around 7% going on to Oxford and Cambridge universities. Both GCSE and A Level results are among the highest in Gloucestershire.
There is also a prep school, Cheltenham College Preparatory School, most of whose pupils go on to the senior school.
Cheltenham has links with the Wynberg Boys' High School in Cape Town, South Africa—an all-boys boarding school coincidentally established in 1841, the same year as Cheltenham.
StructureCheltenham College consists of a preparatory school and senior school and educates students from ages 3 to 18. The boarding programme is also available to preparatory school students.
RugbyCheltenham compete with larger single gender schools. The first inter-school rugby football match was played between Rugby School and Cheltenham College, Cheltenham beating Rugby; and the "Cheltenham Rules" were adopted by the Rugby Football Union in 1887. Cheltenham reached the final of The National Schools 7s Festival four times, winning the competition in 1998, 2003 and 2004; Cheltenham Prep's 7s team were joint winners of the Rosslyn Park National 7s Prep-school tournament in 2017. Cheltenham's rugby XV was undefeated in the 2008 and 2017 season.
Eddie Butler, former Welsh, Babarian and British Lions International Rugby player, taught French at the school.
The schools Director of Rugby is former Gloucester Rugby and England Rugby player Olly Morgan.
RowingThe Boat Club was founded in 1841. The Boat House itself is located at the foot of Tewkesbury Abbey on the banks of the River Severn. Key events in the rowing calendar are; Schools' Head of the River Race, The National Schools Regatta and Henley Royal Regatta. At the 2013 National School's Head of River, the 1st IV+ came first in their division.
RacketsCheltenham College plays Rackets where, at times, they have dominated the Queen's Club Public Schools Competition; Cheltenham has been National Champions three times from 2003 to 2011. Chris Stout won the Foster Cup at Queen's Club in December 2011. The current World Champion, Jamie Stout, is an Old Cheltonian as well.
PoloCheltenham were National Schools Champions in 1997, 1998, 2004, & 2005 and Arena Champions in 2004, 2005 & 2006.
CricketCricket is one of the main sports that is played in summer. Cheltenham College enjoys a longstanding tradition of cricket and is the home of the Cheltenham Cricket Festival. Gloucestershire County Cricket Club played its first game at the College cricket ground in 1872, making this the longest running cricket festival on an out-ground, in the world.
HousesThere are eleven houses, two of which are day houses: Southwood for the boys and Queens for the girls. Ashmead, Chandos, College Lawn and Westal are the girls' boarding houses. The boys reside in Boyne House, Christowe, Hazelwell, Leconfield, and Newick House. Leconfield also hosts day students.
The Senior Housemaster is Richard Penny
''If....''Cheltenham College was used to film the majority of the school scenes in the popular 1968 British film If...., starring Malcolm McDowell, although an agreement between the school's then Headmaster, David Ashcroft, and the film's director, Lindsay Anderson, prevented the filmmakers from crediting the school. Additional interior scenes were filmed at Aldenham School in Hertfordshire, which gained sole accreditation in the film's closing credit. Two Surrey public schools, Charterhouse School and Cranleigh School, had also negotiated to appear, but pulled out of negotiations once the subject matter of the film became clear.
Victoria Cross recipientsFourteen Victoria Crosses have been won by Old Cheltonians, with only Eton College, Harrow School, Haileybury College, and Wellington College, having higher totals..
The list of names, with age and rank at the time of the deed that merited the award of the VC, is as follows:
- Lieutenant Andrew Cathcart Bogle, 78th Regiment, Oonao, India, 29 July 1857, aged 28
- Mr William Fraser McDonell, Bengal Civil Service, Arrah, India, 30 July 1857 aged 27
- Midshipman Duncan Gordon Boyes, RN, HMS Euryalus, Japan, 6 September 1864, aged 17
- Captain George Nicolas Channer, 1st Gurkha Rifles, Perak Expedition, 20 December 1875, aged 32
- Lieutenant Teignmouth Melvill, 24th Regiment of Foot, Isandlwanha, Zululand, 22 January 1879, aged 36
- Lieutenant Reginald Clare Hart, Royal Engineers, Afghan War, 31 January 1879, aged 30
- Lieutenant John Duncan Grant, 8th Gurkha Rifles, Gyantse Jong, Tibet Expedition, 6 July 1904 aged 27
- Captain Douglas Reynolds, Royal Field Artillery, Le Cateau, France, 26 August 1914, aged 31
- Lieutenant Philip Neame, Royal Engineers, Neuve Chapelle, France, aged 26
- Lieut. Commander Edward Courtney Boyle, RN Submarine E14, Sea of Marmara, Dardanelles, 27 April 1915, aged 32
- Second Lieut. George Raymond Dallas Moor, Hampshire Regiment, Krithia, Dardanelles, 5 June 1915, aged 18
- Lieutenant Colonel James Forbes-Robertson
- Sergeant Frederick Charles Booth, 1st Rhodesian Native Regiment, Johannes Bruck, East Africa, 12 February 1917, aged 26
- Commander Robert Edward Dudley Ryder, RN, St Nazaire, 27 March 1942, aged 34
George Cross recipient
- Kempster, Major André Gilbert. Royal Armoured Corps; Algeria, 21 August 1943
- Nick Abendanon – England International Rugby player
- Michael Baines – First-class cricketer and British Army officer
- Henry Baird – First-class cricketer and British Army officer
- Tom Beim – England Rugby International
- Francis Brandt – First-class cricketer
- James Brettell – First-class cricketer
- Jamie Chadwick – Racing driver
- Neville Cohen – First-class cricketer
- Charles Garnett – First-class cricketer
- Allan Jay MBE – five-time-Olympian foil and épée fencer, and world champion.
- George Kennedy – First-class cricketer
- Frank Kershaw – First-class cricketer
- Chris Sandbach, cricketer
- Percival Sanger, first-class cricketer and an officer in both the British Army and the British Indian Army
- James Stout – Rackets World Champion
- Ollie Thorley - Gloucester Rugby player
- Arthur Tyler – First-class cricketer and British Army officer
- Geoffrey Wood – cricketer
Notable former pupils in other fields
- Lindsay Anderson film director
- Brigadier Charles Douglas Armstrong – Head of the British Special Operations Executive liaison mission to the Chetniks in Yugoslavia, 1943-44
- Tim Bevan – Co founder of Working Title Films
- Charles Eliot – Former British Ambassidor to Japan and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong
- Jack Davenport, film and television actor
- Sir Alan Haselhurst – Former Deputy Speaker & MP
- Adam Henson – Farmer and TV Presenter
- Chris Hill, businessman, CEO of Hargreaves Lansdown
- Hichamuddin Hussein – Malaysian Politician
- Lawrence Hugh Jenkins – Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court and Bombay High Court
- Gavin Lambert, screenwriter, novelist and biographer
- Lieutenant Commander Mike Lithgow OBE – chief test pilot Vickers Supermarine and holder of absolute World Speed Record 1953
- Chef McDang – TV Celebrity Chef
- Rageh Omaar, ITV News correspondent and presenter, formerly with BBC News and Al Jazeera English
- Alfred Pullman – RAF Officer killed in Mau Mau Uprising
- Ivor Richard, Former Labour Cabinet minister, British Ambassador to the United Nations and Shadow Leader of the House of Lords.
- W. H. D. Rouse – Pioneering British teacher who advocated the use of the Direct Method of teaching Latin and Greek
- Iain Sinclair, poet, novelist, editor, filmmaker, publisher, playwright and book-dealer
- Mark Stone - Journalist / Foreign Correspondent
- Ts'o Seen Wan — Founder of St Stephen’s College, Hong Kong
- Patrick White – Nobel Prize in Literature
- Edward Wilson, physician, polar explorer, natural historian, painter and ornithologist
- Ken Yeang – Architect
Principals, Headmasters and Head
The full list of past principals and heads is contained in Cheltenham College Who's Who 5th edition, 2003, and is as follows:
- *Rev. Alfred Phillips, D.D. 1841–44
- *Rev. William Dobson, D.D. 1845–59
- *Rev. Henry Highton, D.D. 1859–62
- *Rev. Alfred Barry, D.D. 1862–68
- * Rev. Thomas William Jex-Blake, D.D. 1868–74
- *Rev. Herbert Kynaston, D.D. 1874–88
- *Rev. Herbert Armitage James, D.D. 1889–95
- *Rev. Robert Stuart de Courcy Laffan D.D. 1895–99
- *Rev. Reginald Waterfield, D.D. 1899–1919
- *Henry Harrison Hardy 1919–32
- *Richard Victor Harley Roseveare 1932–37
- *Arthur Goodhart Pite 1937–38
- *John Bell 1938–40
- *Alan Guy Elliott-Smith 1940–51
- *Rev. Arthur Godolphin Guy Carleton Pentreath 1952–59
- *David Ashcroft 1959–78
- *Richard Martin Morgan 1978–90
- *Peter David Vaughan Wilkes 1990–97
- *Paul Arthur Chamberlain 1997–2004
- *John Stephen Richardson 2004–2010
- *Dr Alex Peterken 2010–2018
- *Crispin Dawson
- *Nicola Huggett 2019 –
- Heads of the Junior School
- *Rev. Thomas Middlemore Middlemore-Whithard 1863–65
- *Francis Joseph Cade OC 1896–1910
- *Charles Thornton OC 1911–23
- *Basil Allcot Bowers OC 1923–33
- *William Donavan Johnston 1933–46
- *Hugh Alan Clutton-Brock 1946–64
- *William Philip Cathcart Davies 1964–86
- *David John Allenby Cassell 1986–91
- *Nigel Iain Archdale 1992–2008
- *Adrian Morris 2008–2010
- *Scott Bryan 2010–2012
- *Noll Jenkins 2012–2013
- Heads of the Preparatory School
- *Jonathan Whybrow 2013–2018
- *Tom O'Sullivan 2018 –