Port Regis School
(I seek higher things)
|Type||Independent preparatory school|
|Colours||Navy & Maroon|
In 2009 Which school? said of Port Regis that it had "long been a market leader in the prep school world" while the Tatler Schools Guide 2014 described it as "a prep school with public-school facilities (...) Simply the shiniest, best-equipped prep around". In 2014 the Independent Schools Inspectorate judged Port Regis to be 'excellent' in all nine inspected categories.
The original school was founded by Dr Alfred Praetorius in 1881 in Weymouth Street, London. A few years later it moved to Folkestone and in 1921 to Kingsgate, Broadstairs, in the grounds of which stood an ancient arch, erected by Earl Holland to commemorate a chance landing by Charles II in 1683. This provided the name of the School, Port Regis, "Gate of the King".
In the 1930s, while at Broadstairs, the school was unusual in offering scholarships for the sons of physicians.
In September 1943 Port Regis was evacuated to a wing of Bryanston School in Blandford. After a brief stay at the Earl of Verulam's home at Gorhambury, the School moved in 1947 to Motcombe Park, one mile (1.6 km) from Shaftesbury in Dorset, where it has been ever since.
In 1972 the freehold of the property was acquired. More recent developments include the building of the Jowett sports hall, opened in 1980 by Anne, Princess Royal. The Centenary Hall was opened in 1984.
On 22 February 1991, the Queen's Hall, which houses a heated swimming pool and competition-standard gymnasium with sunken trampoline, was opened by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, while their grandchildren Peter and Zara Phillips were at the school.
The three most recently constructed school buildings are Cunningham Hall (1992), Farrington Music School (2003) and the JM Upward Academic Centre (2008).
The Prep school and Pre-Prep together consist of around 360 pupils, with roughly half of them boys and half of them girls. There are five boarding houses:
- Grosvenor (girls aged 11 to 13)
- Huxley (girls aged 7 to 11)
- Prichard Hall (boys aged 11 to 13)
- Stalbridge (boys aged 7 to 11)
- Talbot (boys aged 10 to 13)
Staff and governors
Since 1933, Port Regis has had just five headmasters: John Upward (1933-1968), David Prichard (1969-1993), Peter Dix (1994-2010), Benedict Dunhill (2010-2015) and Stephen Ilett (2016-).
David Prichard, headmaster from 1969 to 1993, chaired the National Conference for Governors, Bursars and Heads from 1981 to 1993 and simultaneously chaired the Independent Association of Preparatory Schools in 1989–90.
Notable former pupils (Old Portregians)
- Kwame Anthony Appiah, British philosopher, cultural theorist, novelist and professor at New York University
- Sir Louis Blom-Cooper, barrister, author, and chairman of the Press Council
- Bo Bruce, singer and songwriter
- Myles Burnyeat, Emeritus Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the University of Cambridge
- Max Clark, professional rugby player at Bath Rugby
- Jasper Conran, designer
- Sebastian Conran, designer and member of the UK Design Council
- Tom Conran, restaurateur
- Paul Cox, artist and illustrator whose works have been commissioned by the Folio Society, Royal Mail and several newspapers and current affairs magazines
- Rebecca Deacon, private secretary to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
- John Deeker, pyrotechnician who designed the fireworks display for the 1981 royal wedding of Charles and Diana
- Adetomiwa Edun, actor who starred in the British TV series Merlin
- Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy, biographer, historian and novelist
- Nick Greenstock, English international rugby player
- John Gunter, Emmy Award-winning set designer
- Adrian Heath, artist
- George Hurst, Chief Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
- Daisy Lewis, actress who starred in Downton Abbey and Doctor Who
- Felix Lowe, author and cycling journalist at Eurosport and France_24
- Hugh Massingberd, journalist and genealogist, known as the father of the modern obituary
- Amelia Maughan, bronze medal-winning swimmer at the 2014 Commonwealth Games
- Tim Payne, English international rugby player
- Peter Phillips, son of Anne, Princess Royal
- Zara Phillips, daughter of Anne, Princess Royal
- Oliver Pritchett, journalist and humourist at the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph
- Henry Pyrgos, Scottish international rugby player
- Prince Rashid bin El Hassan, member of the Jordanian Royal Family
- Geoffrey Rootes, 2nd Baron Rootes, industrialist and Chairman of Chrysler UK
- Bruce Sharman, film producer and production manager/supervisor of Star Wars (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
- John Stephen, founder of the prestigious Chinawhite nightclub in central London
- Lloyd Wallace, gold medal-winning aerial skier
- Wendy Bosberry-Scott, ed., Which school? (2009), p. xxiv
- Homes and Gardens for May 1940, in vol. 21 (1940), p. 427: "Port Regis, Broadstairs, is a preparatory school which has scholarships for sons of medical men..."
- Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy, Half an Arch: a memoir (2004), pp. 55–56
- Tim Graham, The Royal Year, 1991 (1992), p. 46
- 'Prichard, David Colville Mostyn', in Who's Who 2012 (London: A. & C. Black, 2011)
- Adrian Lewis, Roger Hilton (Ashgate Publishing, 2003), p. 4
- 'Cunningham, Lt-Gen. Sir Hugh (Patrick)' in Who's Who 2012 (London: A. & C. Black, 2011)
- 'BLOM-COOPER, Sir Louis (Jacques)', in Who's Who 2012
- Western Daily Press 20 March 2010 at jasperconran.com, accessed 8 February 2012
- "John Deeker". The Daily Telegraph. 21 June 2012.
His prowess was built during a long career with Pain's, Britain's biggest firework company... ...When Deeker bought the company in 1980, it was the culmination of a lifelong fascination with fireworks. He already knew almost everything about the business, having worked there for more than 30 years, mostly as its managing director.
- Julian Freeman, 'Heath, Adrian Lewis Ross (1920–1992), artist and art teacher' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (OUP, 2007)
- McGinness, Mark (2008) "Father of the modern obit: Hugh Massingberd (1946–2007)", The Sydney Morning Herald, Weekend Edition, 5–6 January 2008, p. 56
- Richard A. Storey, 'Rootes, (William) Geoffrey, second Baron Rootes (1917–1992), industrialist', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (OUP, 2007)