Worksop College

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Worksop College
Worksop College logo.png
Motto Semper ad coelestia
Established 1890
Type Independent day and boarding school
Religion Church of England
Headmaster Gavin Horgan
Chairman of the Governors C J D Anderson, MA
Founder Canon Nathaniel Woodard
Location Worksop
S80 3AP
DfE number 891/6001
Staff 157
Students 458
Gender Co-educational
Ages 13–18
Houses 8
Colours Navy blue, black and gold
Publication The Worksopian
Former pupils Old Worksopians
Affiliation Woodard Corporation

Worksop College (formerly St Cuthbert's College) is a British co-educational independent school for both day and boarding pupils aged 13 to 18, in Worksop. It sits at the northern edge of Sherwood Forest, in Nottinghamshire, England. Founded by Nathaniel Woodard in 1890, the school is a member of the Woodard Corporation and Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, and has a strong Anglo-Catholic tradition.


Construction began in 1890 on St Cuthbert's College with the sinking of a well and laying of a foundation stone. Cuthbert's College would be the last school to be personally opened by Woodard himself; Worksop College was officially opened on 5 September 1895, with 5 masters and 44 boys.[1] The land on which the school was built was donated by the 7th Duke of Newcastle and the (now) tree-lined drive was donated by the Duke of Portland. In the beginning buildings were scarce, with only the Great Hall and East Wing complete - with a temporary chapel also in place. St Cuthbert's chapel which stands today was opened in 1909 after Lord Mountgarret made funds available. Mountgarret did not live to see the finished building; the new building was opened by Lady Mountgarret in 1909. Original plans for the College chapel had included a large spire, however these plans were scaled back due to lack of funds. Cuthbert's College was renamed the Worksop College by Fred Shirley during his time as Headmaster.

Shirley years[edit]

Under Shirley the school prospered and a huge building programme was undertaken - the Sanatorium, Squash courts, Eton Fives courts (replaced in the 1960s by the chemistry department), staff houses, Old Theatre, Art School, West Wing and the top proportion of the North Wing were all completed. Shirley's plan was to turn Worksop into the Eton of the Midlands. Such was Shirley's influence, the then Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald attended 1934 Speech Day. By 1935 when Shirley left for King's Canterbury, pupil numbers had risen to 500 and the school had created a good reputation amongst English Public Schools.

The 1950s and 1960s[edit]

The 1950s and 1960s were another period of growth for the College. New buildings that appeared at this time included the gym (now demolished), swimming bath (opened in 1954), Churchill Hall Theatre, Chemistry Department and Talbot House (now School House and language department). A new rugby pitch was leveled in 1954; Jeff Butterfield led a Worksop College XV to victory against Worksop RFC in the opening match.

1980 to present[edit]

The 1980s and early 1990s were difficult years for Worksop College with pupil numbers falling (as in most public schools in the UK) and little school development took place. An extension to the Churchill Hall was made in 1981 which would form the newly established Craft and Design Centre. Roger Knight was appointed head in the 1991. Knight departed the College in 1993 to take up a post with the Marylebone Cricket Club and Roy Collard was appointed as headmaster. Not long after Collard started as head, Worksop celebrated its centenary and HRH The Princess Royal opened the new school ICT centre. Other recent developments include the increased provision of ICT facilities, refurbishment of dated boarding accommodation, new teaching facilities and the new Sports Hall (opened 2003). In addition, in the last few years, there has been the construction of two astro pitches which allow hockey to be played at a high level. A new girls boarding house was opened in early 2007.

A new Headmaster Gavin Horgan, formerly Deputy Rector of Glasgow Academy, arrived in September 2012. At the same time the prep school came directly under his overall leadership, being renamed Worksop College Preparatory School, Ranby House.


As with the majority of independent schools, Worksop College is split into houses. There are a total of 8 houses which are currently open and one which has closed.

Boys' houses
  • Mason House (formerly Cross, opened in 1895)
  • Pelham House (formerly Fleur de Lys, opened in 1895)
  • Talbot House (formerly Crown, opened in 1897)
  • Portland House (opened in 1948 when Prep moved to Ranby)
  • Shirley House (opened in 1925)
Girls' houses
  • Derry House (opened in 1978)
  • Gibbs House (opened in 1986)
  • School House (opened in 1930, closed in 1986, re-opened in 2007)

Closed house:

  • Mountgarret (formerly Lion, opened 1895, closed 1993)

Talbot House[edit]

Talbot House can trace its roots back to 1897 when the Crown Dorm was opened to cater for the growth in pupil numbers at the College. Crown Dorm later became Talbot House (named after Revd. Arthur Henry Talbot provost 1897–1927).

The current housemaster of Talbot House is Ian Parkin who started his role in September 2012.

Talbot remains the only boys house to have been located away from the main College buildings - it was located in the current location of School House from 1965 until the mid-1980s. Talbot is currently housed in the former School House quarters.

Mason House[edit]

Cross Dormitory opened in 1895 and originally contained 45 boys. It was renamed to Mason House after David Ivor Mason. The current housemaster, who joined in 2014, is P.Murray, a former member of the army forces and a member of the worksop college CCF.

Pelham House[edit]

Originally known as Fleur De Lys Dorm, Pelham House obtained its current name in 1925 and was named after the Duke of Newcastle, a significant benefactor to the College.The current housemaster is T.Franse .Pelham can boast the founder of the Samaritans Chad Varah as their most famous exponent. It is an all boys day and boarding house.

Portland House (Motto: Craignez Honte)[edit]

Portland House is the newest of the boys houses at Worksop College and was opened on the former Preparatory School wing which by the time Portland had opened moved to a separate site at Ranby House School. The name Portland is derived from the Duke of Portland who was a founding benefactor of the College. However in 2015, the house closed and the boys merged with Pelham house. It will be reopened as the year 7 and 8 house.

Shirley House[edit]

Shirley House was named after Worksop College headmaster Fred Shirley in 1925. The house became co-educational in 1991 and reverted to an all boys house in 2008.

School House[edit]

Originally a boys house (opened in 1925), School House is now an all-girl day house. The house actually closed in the 1980s and was only re-opened as recently as 2007. The house is currently situated in the old Gibbs building located at the at north-west of the main school.This building has been renamed the Meynall Building. The building was originally opened in September 1965 as the new Talbot House.

Derry House[edit]

Derry is an all girl house. It is situated near the Great Hall and usually holds around 50-60 girls.

Gibbs House[edit]

Within the last 10 years, Gibbs House now occupies a purpose built facility on the former site of the 1st XV rugby pitch.

College buildings[edit]

Worksop College is a Grade II listed building.[2] It has many fine buildings styled in Tudor Revival including:

  • The Great Hall, the centrepiece to Worksop and the first building to be completed. One of the largest rooms in Nottinghamshire, its hammerbeams are spectacular; the original design was based upon Westminster Hall. By R H Carpenter[2]
  • The Chapel, in gothic revival style opened in 1906. The structure was based upon that of Westminster Abbey and the ceiling contains many passages of Latin verse (specifically these are the words of the Te Deum). By Aston Webb[2]
  • The East Wing, the first wing of Worksop to be opened, was blessed in 1895 by the Bishop of Southwell. It was one of the wings added by B D Thompson in 1907, 1928, 1931 and 1934[2]
  • The Squash Courts were once lit by natural light, but the former roof has now been replaced by a mezzanine ceiling. The courts are an excellent example of early squash courts. The balcony is particularly noteworthy as the courts were designed in back to back format which is quite rare.[citation needed]


The school has published a magazine, the Cuthbertian from 1895 to 1920, when the titled was changed to the Worksopian. [3]


The Dorm Run[edit]

The Dorm Run is first mentioned in 1902 and was traditionally always run on Shrove Tuesday, however this tradition ceased in the 1950s. The current Dorm Run course is a 3.6 mile route through Clumber Park. Although the course is relatively short from a cross-country perspective, it is notoriously difficult due to the undulating terrain. The current Dorm Run record is currently held by Jack Buckner who ran 18:35 in 1980.[4]


Rugby was first introduced at Worksop College in 1921. In the early days many College players were capped by the England Public Schools XV - the first being George Laing in 1930. Laing was also 'invited' to play for Blackheath upon completing his studies at Worksop.[citation needed]

The finest seasons of rugby were enjoyed in the late 1930s and early 1940s where the college remained unbeaten for a number of years. Nim Hall was a member of the College 1st XV for three years between 1940 and 1943 and went on to captain England in the early 1950s.

The appointment of England and British Lion Jeff Butterfield in 1954 as a master at the College, quickly led to a surge in success. In 1960 the College rugby sevens team captained by D.E. Tarbatt and coached by Butterfield, reached the final of the Roslyn Park competition, narrowly losing out to the Belfast Acadeemicals in the final.[5]


Hockey has been played at Worksop since 1929 when it was introduced as an official sport after being played for a number of years by "enthusiasts" prior to this time. Worksop has a fine hockey tradition and has been producing national, international and club players ever since those early years. The sandy soil at the College meant that pitches were well-drained which helped to keep playing surfaces in good (and relatively dry) condition. Fine seasons of hockey were recorded in the early 70s and 80s with a number of sides remaining unbeaten for a number of years.

In the early days, fixtures were mainly enjoyed against local clubs and schools with little in the way of tournaments. Later, Worksop took part in the annual Public Schools Hockey Festival (Oxford) for many years. In the late 1990s, Worksop started entering the County Schools competition and quickly found success there. The mid to late 2000s were probably the most successful seasons for hockey at Worksop with the boys 1st XI winning a number of Midland titles and finishing as national semi-finalists in 2006/2007 (losing to Kingston Grammar School) and losing finalists in 2007/2008 (losing to Dean Close School). Success hasn't just been limited to the boys, the girls 1st XI finished runners up to Repton School at the 2009/2010 national finals. Most recently the College under 16 boys finished runners-up to Whitgift School in the National Indoor Championships in 2016.

There are currently three Old Worksopians in the England/Great Britain hockey setup:


Worksop has a fine athletic tradition, having produced a number of international athletes over the years:

England Schools champions[edit]

  • P.R. Brunyee (Talbot 1951-1956) - intermediate boys 110y hurdles champion 1955 and senior boys 120y hurdles champion 1956
  • M. Lambley (Shirley 2001-2006) - junior boys hammer champion 2002, senior boys hammer champion 2005

Junior AAA champions[edit]

  • W. Heath (Pelham 1926-1931) - 100y and 220y champion 1931
  • W.B. Thompson (Mountgarret 1949-1954) - 200y low hurdles champion 1954
  • J.R. Buckner (Talbot 1975-1980) - 1500m champion 1980

Senior AAA champion[edit]

  • J.R. Buckner - 5000m 1986 and 1992, 10k road 1985


  • J.R. Buckner - Seoul 1988, 5th place 5000m and Barcelona 1992, semi finals 5000m
  • T.C. Buckner (Talbot 1976-1981) - Barcelona 1992, semi-finals 3000m steeplechase

Commonwealth/Empire Games[edit]

  • P.R. Brunyee - Cardiff 1958, heats 120y hurdles
  • D.M.W. Griffiths (Mason 1954-1960) - Perth 1962, heats 880y and mile
  • J.R. Buckner - Edinburgh 1986, silver 5000m
  • T.C. Buckner - Victoria 1994, 5th 3000m steeplechase
  • M. Lambley - Delhi 2010, qualifying hammer

European Championships[edit]

  • J.R. Buckner - Stuttgart 1986, champion 5000m (championship best performance)
  • W.R.G Foster (Portland 1971-1975) - Helsinki 1994, 31st marathon

Other representatives[edit]

  • M.P. Hay (Mountgarret 1968-1973) - GB under 23 decathlon 1975
  • S.T. Lewis (Shirley 1988-1993) - Wales junior 3000m steeplechase 1993
  • S.D. Heggie (Portland 1989-1994) - GB Under 23 400m 1994

Notable Old Worksopians[edit]

Former students of Worksop College are referred to as Old Worksopians.

For summaries of notable Old Worksopians see Notable people educated at Worksop College.

(See also Category:People educated at Worksop College)

Notable masters[edit]


  1. ^ "Information". Worksop College. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d 1370073
  3. ^ "Old Worksopian". Worksop College. Retrieved 2 May 2016. 
  4. ^ Old Worksopian Society. "Dorm Run - Old Worksopians". 
  5. ^ "Rugby Sevens Team List - Fixtures and Results". 
  6. ^ [1] TES accessed on 7 October 2011
  7. ^ [2] accessed on 7 October 2011
  8. ^ [3] ESPN accessed on 7 October 2011

External links[edit]