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History and archives

The Cheltenham Proprietary College, as it was originally known, was founded in 1841 by two Cheltenham residents - G.S. Harcourt and J.S. Iredell, with the purpose of educating the sons of gentlemen.

It originally opened in three houses along Bays Hill Terrace in the centre of the town. Within two years it had moved to its present site, with Boyne House as the first College Boarding House and soon became known simply as Cheltenham College. Taking both boarding and day boys, it was originally divided into Classical and Military sides until the mid-twentieth century.  It is now an independent fee paying school, governed by Cheltenham College Council. A few girls were admitted in 1969 and then in 1981 when the first girls' house opened, the Sixth Form became fully co educational. In 1998, girls were admitted to all other years, making the College fully co-educational. 

For more information, please see the below publications:

  • M.C. Morgan: The First Hundred Years (1968)
  • T.S. Pearce: Then and Now, 1841-1991 (1991)

In 1865, a Junior Department was added to the main College buildings.  The foundation stone for a new Junior School, on its present site across Thirlestaine Road, was laid in July 1908 and the Junior School opened there in September 1909.  In 1993 it opened its doors to girls and also opened Kingfishers for 3-7 year olds.

For more information, please see the below publication:

  • T.S. Pearce: Celebr08! (2008)

For further information please contact one of the members of the Archive staff:

Mrs Christine Leighton, Archivist c.leighton@cheltenhamcollege.org
Mrs Jill Barlow, Assistant Archivist j.barlow@cheltenhamcollege.org
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