Port Regis School

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Port Regis School
Port Regis school, Motcombe - geograph.org.uk - 402560.jpg
Main building
Motto Altiora peto
(I seek higher things)
Established 1881
Type Independent preparatory school
Headmaster Stephen Ilett
Location Motcombe Park
Coordinates: 51°01′12″N 2°12′57″W / 51.019867°N 2.215725°W / 51.019867; -2.215725
Students c. 360
Gender Mixed
Ages 3–13
Houses 4
Colours Navy & Maroon         
Website portregis.com

Port Regis School is a co-educational preparatory school located in 140 acres of parkland on the Dorset Wiltshire border in southern England, situated between the towns of Shaftesbury and Gillingham.

In 2009 Which school? said of Port Regis that it had "long been a market leader in the prep school world"[1] while the Tatler Schools Guide 2014 described it as "a prep school with public-school facilities (...) Simply the shiniest, best-equipped prep around".[2] In 2014 the Independent Schools Inspectorate judged Port Regis to be 'excellent' in all nine inspected categories.[3]


The original school was founded by Dr Alfred Praetorius in 1881 in Weymouth Street, London.[4] 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.[5]

In September 1943 Port Regis was evacuated to a wing of Bryanston School in Blandford.[6] 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.[7]

The three most recently constructed school buildings are Cunningham Hall (1992), Farrington Music School (2003) and the JM Upward Academic Centre (2008).

Boarding houses[edit]

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[edit]

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-).[8]

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.[9]

The abstract painter Roger Hilton taught art at the school from 1946 to 1947.[10]

Lt. General Sir Hugh Cunningham was chairman of the school's governing body from 1982 to 1994.[11]

Notable former pupils (Old Portregians)[edit]


  1. ^ Wendy Bosberry-Scott, ed., Which school? (2009), p. xxiv
  2. ^ http://www.tatler.com/guides/schools-guide/2014/prep/port-regis
  3. ^ http://www.isi.net/schools/6788/
  4. ^ http://www.portregis.com/362/welcome/history-of-port-regis
  5. ^ 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..."
  6. ^ a b Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy, Half an Arch: a memoir (2004), pp. 55–56
  7. ^ a b c Tim Graham, The Royal Year, 1991 (1992), p. 46
  8. ^ http://www.portregis.com/362/welcome/history-of-port-regis
  9. ^ 'Prichard, David Colville Mostyn', in Who's Who 2012 (London: A. & C. Black, 2011)
  10. ^ Adrian Lewis, Roger Hilton (Ashgate Publishing, 2003), p. 4
  11. ^ 'Cunningham, Lt-Gen. Sir Hugh (Patrick)' in Who's Who 2012 (London: A. & C. Black, 2011)
  12. ^ 'BLOM-COOPER, Sir Louis (Jacques)', in Who's Who 2012
  13. ^ http://www.bathrugby.com/team/academy/academy-squad/max-clark
  14. ^ Western Daily Press 20 March 2010 at jasperconran.com, accessed 8 February 2012
  15. ^ http://www.paulcoxartist.com/Biography.html
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ "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. 
  18. ^ Julian Freeman, 'Heath, Adrian Lewis Ross (1920–1992), artist and art teacher' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (OUP, 2007)
  19. ^ McGinness, Mark (2008) "Father of the modern obit: Hugh Massingberd (1946–2007)", The Sydney Morning Herald, Weekend Edition, 5–6 January 2008, p. 56
  20. ^ Richard A. Storey, 'Rootes, (William) Geoffrey, second Baron Rootes (1917–1992), industrialist', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (OUP, 2007)
  21. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0788935/
  22. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/winter-sports/31925014

External links[edit]