Skip to content ↓

“A small and extraordinarily caring prep school with traditional values which produces self-assured and considerate children who go on to schools all over the country.”

Good Schools Guide

History of Wellesley

The entry book at Wellesley goes back to 1866 when the school was called Conyngham House and was sited in Ramsgate. The present building was constructed in its earliest form in 1898. Just before the First World War the school was sold to the then Headmaster Shirley Russell. Two of the partners, Herbert Day and Leonard Moon (the international cricketer and footballer) were killed in the war. 1928 saw the arrival of John Boyce who soon became a partner.

Although Shirley Russell was still Headmaster in 1939 it was John Boyce and his assistant Billy Williamson who saw the school through the Second World War evacuating to three hunting lodges at Rannoch. During the war the Army took over the school at Broadstairs and in 1946 the evacuees returned. John Boyce continued as Headmaster with John Brooker and John Blackwell as his partners until 1964 when Bill and Tessa Sale moved into the main school.

In 1966 the school became a trust and in 1968 Bill Sale became sole Headmaster. 1969 saw the amalgamation with St. Peter's Court another local prep school. Shortly afterwards as a result of the generosity of the Ridgeway family the junior school, the old hall and the chapel were built. Four years later the senior form rooms and the geography room were completed between the chapel and the old part of the school.

Girls joined in 1977 when the Orchard was bought from the Boyce family and converted into a boarding house with additional accommodation for House parents. During Bill Sale's latter time the sports hall, music and art block were added and the swimming pool was completely rebuilt. Bill and Tessa retired in 1990 and were succeeded by Richard and Judith Steel. Their tenure saw the construction of the Centenary building incorporating science laboratories, design and information technology and carpentry workshop. Richard and Judith retired in 2006.

Simon O'Malley took over as Headmaster in 2006.  He and his wife, Katy, have seen Wellesley continue to grow and the school has enjoyed considerable success academically, on the games field and in the arts. 

Gavin Franklin took over in September 2017 and the School continues to flourish in all areas as Gavin, and his wife, Claire, lead Wellesley House into its next exciting phase.