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The Victorian building
(Lungfuls of Inspiration)
|Type||Independent preparatory day school|
|Founder||Mr Edward Baily|
|Ages||3 months–13 years|
|Houses||Baily, Dowling, Irving, Parry|
The school was established in 1890 as a boarding school for boys aged 8–13 by Edward Baily and his wife Ruth.
Baily bought the land from the Titsey Place estate as he loved the views of the Weald and the Ashdown Forest and thought the site healthy and bracing. The first cohort of 38 pupils was accommodated and taught in a purpose-built Victorian building that remains at the centre of the school today.
In 1962 the school was bought by Tim Dowling and merged with his Bickley Hall School in Bromley, Kent—resulting in the double motto and double badge known today. Hazelwood School became a registered charity and was incorporated as a limited company in 1968. Girls were first admitted to the school and a Pre-Prep department established in 1978. Boarding continued at the school until 1999.
History of the school
Edward Baily founded Hazelwood School as an educational boarding establishment for boys in 1880. The first site for the school was in Balsham, Cambridgeshire with just two boys. In 1884, with a dozen more boys, the school moved to Warlingham in Surrey before finally settling on our current site in Limpsfield, Surrey in 1890 with 38 pupils.
Mr Baily bought the land from the Titsey Estate as he loved the views of the Weald and the Ashdown Forest and thought the site healthy and bracing. The first cohort of 38 boys were accommodated and taught in the purpose-built Victorian buildings which still form the heart of the school today. In addition to the main Victorian building, Mr Baily added a chapel, grass tennis court, cricket pitch with pavilion, fives court, outdoor swimming ‘bath’, Chestnut cottage and Oak cottage. The original Chestnut and Oak cottages were used as accommodation for staff and senior boys. Great pride was taken in the chapel building, with many adornments being added throughout the 1890s. Additional land was bought in 1903 to serve as a football field. In 1906, Edward Baily and his wife, Ruth, retired to Herefordshire. 1906-1930
Following Mr Baily's retirement in 1906, Mr Lifton-Wynne, who had worked at the school many years, took over the management of the school. This period in the school’s history was overshadowed by war and, less seriously, recurring attacks of influenza. In the post war period, Mr Hugh Crauford Irving took over as Headmaster. He established the House system with two Houses named after Old Boys who had served during the First World War: Cather and Hansen. The fabric of the school’s buildings remained much the same during this period, although regular improvements were made to the chapel.
1930s and 1940s
Mr Parry took over as Headmaster in 1938, on the eve of the Second World War. During the war, the site was bombed, which resulted in the loss of the original Victorian pavilion and fives courts. These were rebuilt in the late 1940s along with the Oak and Chestnut cottages, which needed to house the growing number of boys and staff.
Chestnut was used as married quarters for staff and accommodation for senior boys. Oak cottage housed three masters, matron and more dormitories for senior boys. In 1949, a new changing room was also added to the site. By the end of the 1940s, there were in the region of 70 boarders so another House was added to the House system: Blacker-Douglass, named after another Old Boy who served in the First World War.
1950s and 1960s
Throughout the 1950s, there were 70 boys boarding at Hazelwood. Despite the healthy numbers on roll, post-war austerity and rebuilding, necessitated by wartime bombing, meant that the school fell on hard times.
In 1962, Godfrey R V 'Tim' Dowling (b. 1917) bought the school and merged with his own school, Bickley Hall, Bromley. The school mottos also merged, resulting in the double badge emblem.
The school remained privately owned by Mr Dowling until 1968 when it became a registered charity and was incorporated as a limited company. The newly formed Board of Trustees / Governors bought the freehold from the Dowlings. Mr Dowling remained as Head until his retirement in 1974.
In 1972, Mr Dowling oversaw the completion of a series of new buildings to the site. A multi-purpose hall replaced the 1940s cricket pavilion and fives court. This was used as a gymnasium, dining hall, music room and kitchen space, with three classrooms, library and staff room upstairs. More classrooms were built in front and to the side of the main Victorian building.
In the late 1970s, new Headmaster Mr Bawtree had Chestnut cottage adapted for use as a pre-preparatory school for children aged 5–7 years. Oak cottage continued to be used staff accommodation and all boarders were moved to the main Victorian building. In 1979, two lower tennis courts were added.
With a new pre-prep. and the admittance of girls, the number of pupils on roll rose considerably during this period. A new House System was established in 1976: four Houses named after past Hazelwood Headmasters: Baily, Irving, Parry and Dowling.
Mr Bawtree continued his development of the site into the 1980s with a new indoor swimming pool to replace the outdoor swimming bath in front of Oak cottage. He also added a new Creative Arts Centre. In 1987, a violent storm caused the lavish Victorian chapel to be destroyed so plans were put in place for its replacement.
In 1990, the new chapel was opened. The new chapel formed part of a performing arts block, which housed the music department and a theatre. Mr Bawtree retired in 1995 and was succeeded by Mr Synge. In 1996, Mr Synge opened the new purpose-built Chestnut building to house the increasing number of pre-prep children attending the school. This gave them their own classrooms, hall and playground. In 1999, a technology block called Willow was added to house the ICT suite, science laboratories, design technology room, art studio and kiln room. The development of this front part of the site led to the relocation of the cricket pitch and the addition of more car-parking space to the front of the school. Also in 1999, the boarding element of the school ceased and Hazelwood begun to operate as an independent day school.
In 2003, the Sports Hall was built adjoining Willow building. Following the departure of Mr Synge in 2004, Mr Hawkins took on the post of Headmaster for a year, followed Mr McDuff in 2005. In 2009, Hazelwood merged with Laverock School, a local girls’ preparatory school, situated in central Oxted. The Laverock site was developed to open as a 50-week nursery called The Larks, operating as part of the Hazelwood charity.
2010 - date
Mrs Maxine Shaw became headmistress in 2010. Hazelwood’s vision evolved with the implementation of new initiatives and ideas: logo rebranding, the purple octopus concept and a greater opportunity for outdoor learning. The number of pupils on roll soared to over 500. In 2013, a Forest Schools programme started and in 2014, a classroom in the trees was built to complement the school’s commitment to outdoor learning.
Also in 2014, a vast building project was unveiled to replace the 1970s classrooms to the front and side of the main building.
In 2015, The Larks was rebranded as Hazelwood School Nursery and Early Years for children aged 6 months to 4 years.
Mrs Shaw left the school at the end of the summer term 2016 to take over as headmistress of St. Paul's Junior School (previously called Colet Court) Lindie Louw took over as the schools second headmistress from September 2016, after many years as Deputy Head at the school.
Notable Old Hazelwoodians
- Arthur Carr, former England cricket captain
- Lieutenant Geoffrey St George Shillington Cather VC
- John Denison-Pender, 1st Baron Pender, Conservative politician
- Brigadier Percy Howard Hansen VC DSO MC Croix de Guerre
- Alexander Keiller, British archaeologist and businessman
- Rear Admiral Niall Stuart Roderick Kilgour CB
- Henry Surtees, British motor racing driver
- Jeremy Thorpe, British politician
Notable former members of staff
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