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History of College

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 was situated within three houses along Bays Hill Terrace in the centre of the town, but just two years later it had moved to its present site on Bath Road and became known simply as Cheltenham College.

Both boarding and day boys were admitted to study (with lessons divided into Classical and Military sides until the mid-twentieth century) and many went on to excel in their chosen professions. Prominent Old Cheltonians include T H White (author of The Sword in the Stone), Edward Adrian Wilson (explorer, artist and scientist who died on Captain Scott’s infamous journey to Antarctica) and Cyril Kenneth Bird, pen name Fougasse (cartoonist best known for his editorship of Punch magazine and WWII warning propaganda posters).

In 1969, the first girls were admitted to study and a dedicated house was established in 1981 when the Sixth Form become co-educational. In 1998, girls were admitted to all other years and now occupy five girls’ houses, in addition to six boys’ houses.

For further information please contact our Archive department: archives@cheltenhamcollege.org