Wellington College, Berkshire

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Wellington College
Wellington College crest.png
Dukes Ride

, ,
RG45 7PU

Coordinates 51°21′51″N0°48′24″W / 51.3643°N 0.8067°W / 51.3643; -0.8067 Coordinates: 51°21′51″N0°48′24″W / 51.3643°N 0.8067°W / 51.3643; -0.8067
Type British Public School
Independent school
Boarding & Day School
Motto Virtutis Fortuna Comes
('Fortune Favours the Bold')
Heroum Filii
('The Children of Heroes')
Religious affiliation(s) Church of England
Founder H.M. Queen Victoria
Department for Education URN 110125 Tables
Chairman of the Board of GovernorsPeter G.C. Mallinson, BA, MBA
MasterJulian Thomas
Second MasterRobin Dyer
Staff150 (approx.)
Gender Co-educational
Age13to 18
Enrolment1100 pupils (approx.)
Houses17 (15 boarding, 2 day)
Gold, Black, and Light Blue
PublicationThe Wellingtonian
Former pupils Old Wellingtonians
(most commonly) OWs
Campus400-acre (1.6 km2) rural campus
Affiliations G20 Schools
The Rugby Group
View of some of the College buildings from the South Front. Wellington College South Front.jpg
View of some of the College buildings from the South Front.

Wellington College is a British co-educational day and boarding public school near the village of Crowthorne, Berkshire, England. Wellington is a registered charity [1] and currently educates roughly 1,100 pupils, between the ages of 13 and 18, per annum. [2] It was built as a national monument to the first Duke of Wellington (17691852), in honour of whom the College is named. [3] Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone in 1856 and inaugurated the School's public opening on 29 January 1859.

Public school (United Kingdom) Type of independent school in England and Wales

A public school in England and Wales traditionally refers to one of seven schools given independence from direct jurisdiction by the Public Schools Act 1868: Charterhouse, Eton College, Harrow School, Rugby School, Shrewsbury School, Westminster School, and Winchester College. These were all-male boarding schools, but many now accept day pupils as well as boarders, and the 'public school' label now includes two day schools, St Paul's and the Merchant Taylors'.

Crowthorne town in Berkshire, England

Crowthorne is a village and civil parish in the Bracknell Forest district of south-eastern Berkshire. It had a population of 6,711 at the 2001 census, increasing to 6,902 at the 2011 Census. Crowthorne is best known for Wellington College, a large co-educational boarding and day independent school, which opened in 1859 and for Broadmoor Hospital, one of three maximum security psychiatric hospitals in England, which lies on the eastern periphery of the town.

Berkshire County of England

Berkshire is one of the home counties in England. It was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, and letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council. The county town is Reading.


Many former Wellington pupils fought in the trenches during the First World War, a conflict in which 707 of them lost their lives, many volunteering for military service immediately after leaving school. [4] A further 501 former pupils were killed in action in the Second World War. [5]

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

The school is a member of the Rugby Group, which includes Harrow School, Radley College, and Winchester College, and is also a member of the G20 Schools group. The Good Schools Guide calls the school "a serious player in the field of education". With school fees of up to £39,750 per annum, Wellington College is considered to be one of the country's most prestigious schools. It is also famously strong in all kinds of sports, frequently winning large national competitions. [6]

The Rugby Group is a group of 18 British independent schools. The group was formed in the 1960s as an association of major boarding schools within the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. As with the Eton Group, which was formed a few years later, headmasters and heads of the academic departments meet annually in rotation to discuss matters of common interest.

Harrow School English independent school for boys

Harrow School is an independent boarding school for boys in Harrow, London, England. The School was founded in 1572 by John Lyon under a Royal Charter of Elizabeth I, and is one of the original seven public schools that were regulated by the Public Schools Act 1868. Harrow charges up to £12,850 per term, with three terms per academic year (2017/18). Harrow is the fourth most expensive boarding school in the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

Radley College Boarding school near Radley, England

Radley College is a boy’s public school near Radley, Oxfordshire, England, which was founded in 1847. The school covers 800 acres (3.2 km2) including playing fields, a golf course, lake and farmland.


Wellington College was granted a royal charter in 1853 as "The Royal and Religious Foundation of the Wellington College", and was opened in 1859. Its first Master, which is the title of the headmaster, was Edward White Benson, who later became Archbishop of Canterbury. The college's Visitor is H.M. the Queen. [7]

Royal charter Document issued by a monarch, granting a right or power to an individual or organisation

A royal charter is a formal grant issued by a monarch under royal prerogative as letters patent. Historically, they have been used to promulgate public laws, the most famous example being the British Magna Carta of 1215, but since the 14th century have only been used in place of private acts to grant a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organisations such as boroughs, universities and learned societies.

Edward White Benson Archbishop of Canterbury

Edward White Benson was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1883 until his death. He was the first Bishop of Truro, serving from 1877 to 1883, and began construction of Truro Cathedral.

Archbishop of Canterbury senior bishop of the Church of England

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. The current archbishop is Justin Welby, who was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 21 March 2013. Welby is the 105th in a line which goes back more than 1400 years to Augustine of Canterbury, the "Apostle to the English", sent from Rome in the year 597. Welby succeeded Rowan Williams.

Originally, the school educated sons of deceased officers who had held commissions in the Army. In 1952 a Supplementary Royal Charter extended the privilege of eligibility to the orphan sons of deceased officers of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force. By the 1960s, the school was considering becoming co-educational, but for some years the lack of financial resources prevented it from doing so. The first girls were admitted into the Sixth Form in the 1970s, and the school became fully co-educational in 2005. A recent change to the scheme of reduced fees early in 2006 extended the privilege to the orphan children of deceased servicemen or servicewomen of Her Majesty's Armed Forces irrespective of rank, and to the orphan children of persons who, in the sole opinion of the Governors, have died in acts of selfless bravery. However, only a minority of the children at the school now come from military families.

Royal Navy Maritime warfare branch of the United Kingdoms military

The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.

Royal Marines marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom

The Corps of Royal Marines (RM) is the amphibious light infantry and one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy. The Royal Marines were formed in 1755 as the Royal Navy's infantry troops. However, the marines can trace their origins back to the formation of the English Army's "Duke of York and Albany's maritime regiment of Foot" at the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company on 28 October 1664.

Royal Air Force Aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain.

On 6 September 2013, readers of The Week magazine voted Wellington College "The Most Forward-Thinking School in the UK", and four days later Tatler magazine chose Wellington College as the "Best Senior School in Britain", at its Schools Awards evening in London. [8]

<i>Tatler</i> British Magazine established in 1901

Tatler is a British magazine published by Condé Nast Publications focusing on fashion and lifestyle, as well as coverage of high society and politics. It is targeted towards the British upper-middle class and upper class, and those interested in society events. Its readership is the wealthiest of all Condé Nast's publications. It was founded in 1901 by Clement Shorter. Tatler also has editions in local languages in mainland China, Taiwan and Russia. The editions in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines are in English. Tatler promotes indigenous British culture by arranging "debutante ball" events in these foreign countries.

The Wellington Academy

Wellington has sponsored the founding of a new independent state school in Wiltshire, The Wellington Academy, [9] which opened in 2009.

Wellington College International

Wellington is in partnership with Wellington College International Tianjin, in the city of Tianjin in mainland China, modelled on the buildings and ethos of the college, and which opened in August 2011. Wellington is also partnered with Wellington College International Shanghai, in the city of Shanghai (also in mainland China), now open.[ citation needed ]


The college buildings were designed by John Shaw, Jr., who had previously worked as an architect for Eton College. For its time, the design of the College was unusual compared to the popular form, but Prince Albert, who assisted in choosing the architect, was more interested in Shaw's classical approach, having already seen the architect's design for the old Royal Naval School in New Cross, London. [10] The main buildings were designed in a style loosely termed "French Grand Rococo", [11] . The chapel, notably only half its originally intended size, was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott. [12] There have been several modern buildings, the best of which follow Shaw's grand rococo style: for example, the new Nicholson modern foreign-languages building.

The college was used as a filming location for Series Two, Episode Ten of the Netflix series The Crown , where it was used to depict Kensington Palace (designed by Sir Christopher Wren). One of the college's original mottos Heroum Filii is visible in a scene of the Queen arriving at the palace and the college's official motto, Virtutis Fortuna Comes , is visible in a scene of the Queen leaving the palace.


Wellington College stands on a magnificent 400-acre (160 ha) estate in South-East England, near Reading and Sandhurst. The grounds of the college include a 9-hole golf course, extensive woodland, and many playing fields, particularly those for cricket and rugby. The woodland area of the college is listed as a local nature reserve called Edgbarrow Woods. [13] The grounds contain many unusual ant and spider species, and were frequented by the entomologist Horace Donisthorpe, who collected extensively there.[ citation needed ] The grounds also contain a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Wellington College Bog. [14]

Masters of Wellington College

The first Master of the College, E. W. Benson, by Hubert von Herkomer. AbpEdwardWhiteBenson.jpg
The first Master of the College, E. W. Benson, by Hubert von Herkomer.

Former pupils

Notable former pupils include historian P. J. Marshall, Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck, Field Marshal Sir Geoffrey Baker, military historian Sir Michael Howard, clergyman and author Revd. Canon David Watson, architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, impressionist Rory Bremner, Adolphus Cambridge, 1st Marquess of Cambridge, author Sebastian Faulks, language school pioneer John Haycraft, political journalist Robin Oakley, actor Sir Christopher Lee, Liberal politician George Ferguson, who became the first elected Mayor of Bristol (2012–2016), writer George Orwell (who would, in later years, transfer to Eton), author Rupert Croft-Cooke, poet Gavin Ewart, composer John Gardner, world champion motor racing driver James Hunt, Leader of the House of Lords Lord Strathclyde, journalist and television presenter Peter Snow, the UK Pop Idol winner Will Young, BRIT Award-nominated singer Nerina Pallot, the rugby union players James Haskell and the brothers Max and Thom Evans. [15]


Wellington College was one of the 21 founding members of the Rugby Football Union, and pupils at the school have historically played schoolboy rugby of the highest standard. In 2008, the College became the first school to win the Daily Mail Cup at both U15 and U18 level in the same year, beating Millfield School and St Benedict's School, Ealing in their respective finals at Twickenham on 2 April 2008. [16] [17] In 2014/15 Wellington College 1st XV won the Rugby World School Team of the Year award, in addition to the National Rugby Awards Team of the Year Prize. They also won the National Daily Mail Trophy title, as well as the Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s Open.[ citation needed ] A number of Old Wellingtonians play professional rugby union, including: James Haskell (England), Paul Doran-Jones (England), Max Lahiff (Bath), Sam Edgerly and Christian Lewis-Pratt (both England 7s), Max Evans and Thom Evans (Scotland) Brett Herron (Bath), Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins), Seb Adeniran-Olule (Harlequins), Conor Dolan (Wasps), Rory Brand (London Irish), Matt Williams (London Irish), Isaac Curtis-Harris (London Irish), Tom Parton (London Irish) and Madison Hughes (USA 7s). The school has one of only around 20 racquets courts in the UK, [18] and until recently three Eton Fives courts, now a café bar as part of the sports club. [19] The school has a clay pigeon shooting range on site, also having its first female captain of shooting in 2016: Amy Cribb. Wellington College has been named as number one golf college in the UK on a few occasions with wins in 2009 at St Andrews and 2012 at Carnoustie in the Independent Schools Golf Association (ISGA) National Finals.

The Wellingtonian

First published in 1859, the year of the College's Foundation, The Wellingtonian has provided coverage of the current affairs of Wellington College and the wider world for over 150 years.

Student writers contribute to the magazine; student designers design the magazine; and student Editors compile the magazine. In recent years, The Wellingtonian has featured interviews with famous alumni of the College, including Sebastian Faulks and Will Young.

The editors of the magazine typically publish up to six print editions of the magazine each year. [20]

Wellington Television (WTV)

Wellington College's online television channel, WTV., was founded in 2011. [21] The channel is operated entirely by students and produces student-related episode-based content every few weeks as well as one-off short films. WTV debuted at the 2011 Round Square International Conference, [22] where it interviewed former King Constantine II of Greece, Karen Darke, Colin Jackson and Jasmine Whitbread. [23] [24]

In the past, WTV interviewed Ben Goldacre, Alexander Armstrong, AC Grayling and Tim Smit at the 2012 The Sunday Times Festival of Education. [25] WTV created a James Bond parody featuring Headmaster Anthony Seldon [26] which was featured in an article in the February 2014 edition of Private Eye. In 2014, it interviewed Simon Singh, Will Poulter and Katie Hopkins at the 2014 The Sunday Times Festival of Education. A 2014 Independent Schools Inspectorate integrated inspection report on Wellington College noted that “the innovative use of new media, as demonstrated by WTV, enriches parental communication, providing a detailed insight into the life of the pupils at the school”. [27]

In 2015, as an opening film for the school's Speech Day, WTV created a parody [28] of Pharrell Williams' hit-single 'Happy', which was featured in many national newspapers. Alongside supporting many of the school's other societies through various documentary-style films, WTV has been acclaimed for its work at the Telegraph Festival of Education with interviews with Gyles Brandreth and Ellie Bamber.

In 2017, WTV produced a film called 'Planet Wellington', [29] feeding off the success of the popular BBC series 'Planet Earth II', for the opening of the 2017 Speech Day. The 2016-17 year also saw the creation of the series 'Pink Pav Sessions' [30] and 'Solo'. [31] Similarly to 2017, WTV produced the opening film for Speech Day 2018, 'Speech Day Pitch', [32] in which the Master pushed his vision for the 'Five I's' while the student team continued to bring exclusive coverage of the Pearson Festival of Education with headline interviews with Piers Morgan and Susie Dent. In December 2018, WTV's 2012 interview with humanitarian Peter Dalglish was used in an episode of Al Jazeera's 101 East, entitled 'Nepal's Children at Risk'.

DukeBox Radio

Initially launched in October 2016, DukeBox is the official radio station for the Wellington family of schools. It was founded by Barry Reilly, teacher at The Wellington Academy, to be a large, collaborative project between the numerous Wellington schools. The idea was to have a 24-hour radio station for students across the Wellington family to use as a creative outlet, and populate with their own programmes about anything and everything.

Since its launch, DukeBox has been a great success within the Wellington community. In the 2017-18 academic year it peaked at 3,500 unique listeners and around 70 hours of unique content created by students each week.

DukeBox also brought with it a different way of learning through podcasts. The many available on their website cover topics from English exam questions, to History revision and lectures. Students have praised the resources available, some saying that they "wouldn't have passed their exams without it" and that "it gives a different way to go over things you have learnt in lesson, rather than reading a textbook". There are also a variety of non-subject based podcasts available, such as the various interviews conducted by students and the weekly piece put together by Wellington College Master Julian Thomas, 'The Master's Voice'.

The current station manager is Elliott Sharman, former pupil of The Wellington Academy.

You can find the DukeBox website here: www.dukeboxradio.com

Combined Cadet Force (CCF)

The Wellington College Combined Cadet Force, or CCF, has existed in its various forms since 1880.[ citation needed ] Commissioned members of the teaching staff who serve as CCF officers are attached to The Duke of Wellington's Regiment.[ citation needed ] The college also traditionally has two teams of field gun runners, and two runs are made annually at the college speech day. [33] In 2012 field gun teams from the College took part in the British Military Tournament at Earl's Court, including female runners for the first time at the event. [34] The Wellington College CCF is split into seven categories. These are Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Marines, Cavalry, Drum Corps and Marching Band. The current RSM is Hugh Walsh


The school has been the subject of reports on bullying. [35] In April 2006, the college attracted widespread publicity when it became the first school in the UK to introduce 'well-being lessons' to the curriculum, [36] in conjunction with a team at Cambridge University.

In 2005 the school was one of fifty of the country's leading independent schools found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel, exposed by The Times newspaper, which had allowed them to drive up fees for thousands of parents. [37] Each school was required to pay a nominal penalty of £10,000 and all agreed to make ex-gratia payments totalling three million pounds into a trust designed to benefit pupils who attended the schools during the period in respect of which fee information was shared. [38] However, Mrs Jean Scott, the head of the Independent Schools Council, said that independent schools had always been exempt from anti-cartel rules applied to business, were following a long-established procedure in sharing the information with each other, and were unaware of the change in the law (on which they had not been consulted). She wrote to John Vickers, the OFT director-general, saying, "They are not a group of businessmen meeting behind closed doors to fix the price of their products to the disadvantage of the consumer. They are schools that have quite openly continued to follow a long-established practice because they were unaware that the law had changed." [39]


There are 17 houses at Wellington. The vast majority are composed of boarders with a small number of day pupils also, although two, Wellesley and Raglan, are day-pupil exclusive. [40] Each house is either an 'in-house' or an 'out-house': in-houses are located within the main school buildings and quads while out-houses are located elsewhere on the college grounds. Each house has aspects distinguishing it from other houses, such as its own colours, insignia, and arms (with the arms of each house being incorporated into one of each of the stained glass windows within the college chapel). Each house was named in honour of a significant figure in history, most usually although not exclusively figures associated with the many campaigns and battles of Wellington; notably the Blücher is named in honour of general field marshal von Blücher, the Combermere is named in honour of field marshal Stapleton Cotton, and the Stanley is named in honour of the longest serving leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party the 14th Earl of Derby.

HouseColoursInsigniaGenderBoarding or DayHousemaster or Housemistress
AngleseyMaroon and BlueA StarFBoardingR. E. Loaring
ApsleyBlue and BlackA PineappleFBoardingA. C. Christodoulou
BensonBlue and Silver A Rose MBoardingD. M. G. Clements
BeresfordMedium Blue and BlackA HorseshoeMBoardingK. G. Reesby
BlücherBlack and WhiteA Fleur-de-lisMBoardingS. A. S. Owen
CombermereGold and Brown A Lion FBoardingS. M. L. Mackenzie
HardingeGreen and BrownAn AnchorM & FBoarding (Sixth Form exclusive)S. N. Y. Jobson
HillPurple and WhiteA Skull and CrossbonesMBoardingP. R. Mann
HopetounYellow and BlueA Moon and StarFBoardingP. P. & S. C. D. Gutteridge
LynedochNavy Blue and BlackAn Iron CrossMBoardingM. J. Cawdron
MurrayPurple and BlackA MoonMBoardingI. J. Sutcliffe
OrangeOrange and BlackA Double-headed EagleFBoardingT. F. Wayman
PictonPink and BrownAn EagleMBoardingD. R. Edwards
RaglanRed and GreyA PantherMDayG. D. Carr
StanleyMaroon and Light BlueA UnicornMBoardingC. M. Sutton
TalbotMaroon and WhiteAn Iron CrossMBoardingJ. S. White
WellesleyPink and WhiteA PelicanFDayK. A. Harrison

The Orange, Combermere, Hopetoun, and Anglesey were all formerly boys' houses but converted to girls' houses between 2005 and 2011. [41]

The Old Wellingtonian Society

The Old Wellingtonian Society is the alumni society for the college and was founded in 1890. The Old Wellingtonian Society was set up to further the interests of the college and its past and present members, and to keep former pupils in touch with each other and with the school. [42]

The Old Wellingtonian Society maintains a register of names of all who have passed through the college since the school's establishment in 1859 and the addresses of all living alumni.

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