Within 20 years of its foundation the School had already moved
three times. However, none of the accommodation used was
‘purpose built’ and many logistic difficulties were encountered.

In 1919 the School moved to Eversley Court, its ‘home’ for over
40 years. Even here, despite the addition of a ‘new wing’ in 1930,
the outdated specialist facilities were considered inadequate for
the new era of Secondary education.

In was only in 1962, with the move to a new site in King’s Drive,
that the School was housed in ‘purpose built’ premises.

GROVE HALL 1899-1904

This was previously a Church in Saffrons Road comprising
a large hall (nave) with a slightly raised platform at one
end (chancel) and two adjoining small rooms (the vestries).
The accommodation was adequate whilst numbers were
small but they had increased to 100 by 1903.

The Head later reported “that all classes were held in
one room; if anyone entered his ears would be assailed
by a medley of French and Latin phrases, (not always
accurately pronounced) geometrical and geographical
terms, whilst his nose would be affected by odours
arising from chemical experiments”


Built on land at the bottom of Grove Road given to the Borough by the
Duke of Devonshire to be used as Municipal Library and for educational
purposes, the Institute was officially opened in August 1904.

Moving the School to occupy
the whole of the second floor
satisfied the Duke’s proviso
and provided substantial and
well equipped accommodation.

Games were played at
Hampden Park on Wednesday
and Saturday but pupils had to
walk the streets at ‘playtime’
and ultimately seniors and
juniors were obliged to follow
certain prescribed routes,
thus preventing congestion in
Grove Road which had been
a source of vexation to the
Headmaster and others’!

Proximity to the Railway Station extended the catchment area of
the School outside the Borough boundary as far north as Heathfield;
thus ‘County’, one of the final four Houses of the School was ‘born’.

The phenomenal growth of the School in the period to the end of
the War (1918 – 235 pupils) meant it was imperative that new
accommodation be found.


This very large building built on a hill-top site to the north of the
Town Centre was bought for £9,250 by the Borough Council who
spent an extra £4,500 on adaptations and furnishing.

First built as an Edwardian family home it became a prep school
(Ascham) which located elsewhere and Royal Navy Air Service
quarters during the War.

An inspection by the Board
of Education commended
the wisdom of the Council
“who had provided beautiful
surroundings conducive not
only to good health but to
better work”

In the absence of specialist
facilities the timetable had
to be constructed to allow
boys to travel to the Art
School and the ‘old’ Science
labs in the Technical
Institute. In due course
small extensions provided a
Gymnasium and Workshop
and a Library and Art Room
developed internally.

However there were no facilities for Science Labs or an Assembly Hall
until 1930 when a new wing was constructed and according to the Head
“the Labs were admirably planned and equipped whilst the Hall, although
not as large as we would have wished, was acoustically perfect”

Games still took place at Hampden Park and a playground (and drill
square) was provided by asphalting over a grass area; the other grass
area was ‘out of bounds’ and provided an attractive area with mature
trees as the backdrop.

KING’S DRIVE 1962-1977

At the end of the War Eversley Court, once occupied with such delight,
was becoming increasingly shabby and the facilities (small rooms,
narrow corridors, outdated specialist facilities and no sports field on site)
were considered inadequate for the new era of Secondary education
following the 1944 Act. An inspection report in the early 1950’s praised
the working of the School but severely criticised the premises and
inadequate conditions in which that work had to be done.

Following some year’s deliberation a new site on completely open land
off King’s Drive was approved in January 1957.

Here for the very first time
the School was housed in
purpose built premises, built
in two instalments and
officially opened in 1962,
although as rooms became
available teaching was
gradually transferred there
over a period of eighteen
months previously.

The splendid new facilities surrounded by sports fields were enjoyed
until amalgamation with the Girls High School in 1977 meant the end
of the Boys only Grammar School after 78 years and the beginning of
the present Comprehensive system in the Borough.

The 'new' Eversley Court | Back to top |

PHOTO OF 1939  


During the early part
of the Second World
War the School shared
its premises and
facilities with a School
from London but the
sudden appearance
of enemy forces on
the French Coast
sent the School into
hurried temporary
exile to Hitchin (Herts)
where it shared the
premises of the Boys
Grammar School
from July 1940 to
December 1942.

The Cadet Corps
march past at Hitchin
in the early 40's