Bishop's Stortford College
|Type||Independent Day & Boarding school|
|Location||Maze Green Road
|Houses||9 (Senior), 4 (Junior)|
|Former pupils||Old Stortfordians|
Bishop's Stortford College is a co-educational independent school for day and boarding pupils from the ages of four to eighteen, with a 130-acre (0.53 km2) campus located on the edge of Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, England. As an "all-through" school it is a member of both the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools.
- in which Evangelical Nonconformists might secure for their boys an effective and Christian education on terms that should not be beyond the reach of the middle class generally. It was built on an old school called Newbury which is one of the Junior Schools Houses.
They approached the Bishop's Stortford Collegiate School, a non-sectarian school founded in 1850, and acquired the school buildings, naming the new educational establishment as the Nonconformist Grammar School.
Two grammar schools in the town proved confusing so in 1901 the name was changed to the Bishop’s Stortford College and the association became instead a board of governors with nominees from the Baptist, Congregational and Presbyterian churches on the panel.
The school’s first headmaster was the Reverend Richard Alliott and its first pupils were 40 in number. Rev Alliott led the school for 31 years and his successor Francis Young was also in post for 31 years.
It is notable that the school only had five head teachers during its first one hundred years:
- Rev Alliott (1869–99)
- F S Young (1900–31)
- H L Price (1932–43)
- A N Evans (1944–57)
- P W Rowe (1957–68)
- G C Greetham (1971–84)
- S G G Benson (1984–97)
- John Trotman (1997—2011)
- Jeremy Gladwin (2011- )
During its early years, the school built up a strong reputation in the sports field and swimming, and was one of the first schools in the country to have its own indoor heated pool, built in 1895. The Bishop's Stortford College Centenary Chronicle records:
- The new bath, which cost something in the region of £5000, was an immense addition to the athletic life and the amenities of the school. Before it was built, swimming was possible only in the summer term, in the part of the River Stort near the cattle market that had been railed off as a town swimming pool; here such things as broken glass bottles would be found at times on the muddy bottom with grave danger to the bathers’ feet. Now, with a heated bath under cover, it was possible to bathe the whole year round, and the swimming standards of the boys improved greatly.
Under the headmastership of Francis Young, the school continued to grow in both size and reputation. Young commissioned many of the red brick school buildings designed in the arts and craft style by Herbert Ibberson (an old scholar with an architectural practive in Hunstanton), acquired the sports fields which occupy 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land and, in 1902, took over an existing school for boys aged 7 to 13 years. The life of the Bishop's Stortford College Preparatory School began with just eight day pupils and eight boarders.
The Memorial Hall, Bishop's Stortford College’s most distinctive building, was designed in Georgian Colonial style by architect Clough Williams-Ellis who was known chiefly as creator of the Italianate village of Portmeirion in North Wales. The Memorial Hall was erected in 1922 to commemorate the 62 pupils who had lost their lives in the First World War. A second Roll of Honour was added in 1949, inscribed with the names of a further 154 former students who lost their lives in World War II.
In 1968 the school celebrated its centenary with a visit from the Queen Mother and in 1978 the first girls were admitted into its Sixth Form. The transition to full co-education throughout the school began in 1995 coinciding with the opening of a new Pre-Preparatory Department for both girls and boys aged 4 to 7 years.
Bishop's Stortford College today caters for girls and boys from the age of 4 to 18 years within the 130-acre (0.53 km2) campus.
Belonging to one of the Stortford houses continues to be a major part of life for all Senior School pupils and Prep School boarders. There are nine houses in total in the senior school; Benson House (girls day), Alliot House (girls day), Young House (girls boarding), Tee House (flexi-boarding girls), Sutton House (boys day), Collett House (boys day), Hayward House (boys day), School House (boys boarding), and Robert Pearce House (boys boarding).
The original school buildings are still in use and many facilities have since been added including accommodation for the Prep School, the Pre-Prep and extensions to the boarding facilities. The Charles Edward Centre houses ICT, Physics and Design and Technology and the Leo Price Theatre, which began life as a gymnasium, has been developed into a highly versatile performance venue.
The original indoor bath was replaced in 2002 by a modern swimming facility with a 25 metre, six-lane main pool, learner pool and large spectator gallery.
In 2005, a new home for the Pre-Prep was built with six classrooms, a large assembly hall, library, music room and IT suite.
In 2006, an innovative Science Action Centre was opened housing over 40 interactive displays. Believed to be the only one of its kind in a school in the UK, the centre is open to local schools, as well as being used as a learning resource for the College's own pupils.
The Ferguson Building (opened 2007) was added to the school campus providing a lecture theatre, IT suite and Sixth Form Centre. The Ferguson Lectures were launched at the same time. These focus on contemporary issues and are open to the public.
Facilities for hockey and tennis were extended in 2008, with the construction of a second astroturf and, a year later, a new Art Centre for the Senior School was opened.
The latest major development project, opening Autumn 2013, sees the rebuild of approximately one third of the Prep School to provide enhanced and extended accommodation.
The school has become one of the top performing independent co-educational schools in the UK.
Notable Old Stortfordians
- Sir Leonard Pearce (1873–1947), electrical engineer
- Grantly Dick-Read (1890–1959), obstetrician
- Brett Mackay Cloutman (1891–1971), First World War Victoria Cross
- Sir Charles Collett (1893–1971), Lord Mayor of London
- Sir Frank Alexander (1881–1959), Lord Mayor of London
- Percy Horton (1897–1970), painter
- Wilfred Bion (1897–1979), psychoanalyst
- Herbert Sumsion (1899–1995), Organist of Gloucester Cathedral
- Clifford Dupont (1905–1978), first President of Rhodesia
- Sir Leader Stirling of Glorat (c.1906–2003), Minister of Health of Tanzania
- Sir Dick White (1906–1993), Director-General of MI5, 1953–1956, and Chief of MI6, 1956–1968
- Alec Clifton-Taylor (1907–1985), architectural historian
- Edward Crankshaw (1909–1984), expert and author on the Soviet Union
- John Glyn-Jones (1909–1997), actor
- Sir Arnold France (1911–1998), Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, 1964–1968, and Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue, 1968–1972
- Roger Hilton (1911–1975), painter
- James Maxwell Fisher (1912–1970), ornithologist
- The Lord Greenhill of Harrow (1913–2000), Permanent Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Head of the Diplomatic Service, 1968–1973
- Peter Wright (1916–1995), Assistant Director-General of MI5 and author of Spycatcher
- Sir Arthur Bonsall (born 1917), Director of GCHQ, 1973–1978
- Geoffrey Cotterell (born 1919), novelist
- Drummond Allison (1921–1943), poet
- John Rae (1931–2006), author and former headmaster of Westminster School
- Dick Clement (born 1937), OBE, Television and Screen Writer
- John Heddle (1943–1989), politician
- Sir Stephen Lander (born 1947), Director-General of MI5, 1996–2002, and Chair of the Serious Organised Crime Agency, 2004–
- Robert Kirby (1948–2009), arranger, best known for his work with Nick Drake
- Andy Peebles (born 1948), broadcaster
- Derek Beales (born 1948), author
- Alan Lyddiard (formally Michael Kent), theatre and film director
- Warwick Morris, British ambassador to Vietnam and South Korea
- Hugo Barnacle, literary critic and novelist
- James Duthie (born 1957), hockey player and Great Britain team coach
- James Baxter (born 1967)
- Ben Clarke (born 1968), England rugby union player
- Bill Sharpe, keyboardist and founding member of jazz-funk band Shakatak
- Cherish Kaya, keyboardist and violinist in Florence and the Machine
- Huw Beynon, Broadcaster and Journalist for 3 News in New Zealand
- Nick Shearman (born 1970) Graphics Editor, The Wall Street Journal
- Martin Bubear (born 1968) novelist
- Alastair Lukies (born 1973) CEO & Co-founder of Monitise plc
- Charli XCX (Charlotte Aitchison), singer-songwriter
- Matthew Brown (1992–2010), painter
Notable teachers have included
- Viscount Bracken (1901–1958), publisher and politician
- Bernie Cotton, England and Great Britain hockey player and coach
- Eric Whelpton (1894-1981), travel writer and prototype for Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey
- Walter Strachan, artist and linguist
- "College Profile". Introduction. Bishop's Stortford College. Retrieved 2007-10-08.