History of the School

The School's first headmaster in 1843, William Randall Lee, established the school in Brighton.  It was known at first as Connaught House but almost half a century later two of the founder's sons brought the school here to Ashdown House where its centenary on this site was celebrated in 1986.

The estate here is an ancient one indeed: records show that a chapel was consecrated here in 1296.  The Tudor manor which still forms one wing of the school dates from about 1575 but it was not until 1794 that Latrobe finished our famous central block before he won even greater glory in America.

In 1910 the school was taken over by Arthur Evill, whose wife Kathleen was a grand-daughter of W.R. Lee, and they were succeeded in 1934 by Aidan and Joan Wallis, who steered the school through the difficult years of the war and the unwelcome publicity of two bombs narrowly missing the house. Field Marshall Lord Slim, whose children were here, supported the decision to stay put and the school flourished.

During the war years, despite two bombs narrowly missing the school, Field Marshall Lord Slim, whose children were here, supported the decision to stay put and the school flourished.
The post war years saw the school's numbers doubling and its scholarship record became one of the finest in the country.

In 1975 Ashdown House became a charitable Trust with a board of governors and shortly thereafter the decision was taken to welcome the first girls. 

Over the following 30 years a programme of modernisation and extension was undertaken:  the outdoor pool was replaced by a superb indoor version, the dining room and kitchen moved to a purpose built building, the Theatre and Music block, and the East Wing were built to accommodate the growing numbers.  At the turn of the millennium the Jungle Block was constructed and this now houses our junior children and three superb Science labs.

In 2009 Ashdown merged with the Cothill Educational Trust providing new opportunities such as regular visits to The Chateau de Sauveterre in southern France and The Old Malthouse, a wonderful geography and science field study centre.