Wellington College, Berkshire

Wellington College is a co-educational day and boarding independent school in 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.

Wellington College
Dukes Ride

, ,
RG45 7PU

Coordinates51.3643°N 0.8067°W / 51.3643; -0.8067
TypeBritish Public School
Independent school
Boarding & Day School
MottoVirtutis Fortuna Comes
('Fortune Favours the Bold')
Heroum Filii
('The Children of Heroes')
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
FounderH.M. Queen Victoria
Department for Education URN110125 Tables
Chairman of the Board of GovernorsPeter G.C. Mallinson, BA, MBA
MasterJames Dahl
Second MasterCressida Henderson
Staff150 (approx.)
Age13 to 18
Enrolment1100 pupils (approx.)
Houses17 (15 boarding, 2 day)
Gold, Black, and Light Blue
PublicationThe Wellingtonian
Former pupilsOld Wellingtonians
(most commonly) OWs
Campus400-acre (1.6 km2) rural campus
AffiliationsG20 Schools
The Rugby Group

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]

The school is a member of the Rugby Group, which includes Harrow, Radley, Shrewsbury, and Winchester, and is also a member of the G20 Schools group.


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.[6]

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.

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.[7]

The Wellington Academy

Wellington has sponsored the founding of a new independent state school in Wiltshire, The Wellington Academy,[8] 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.


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.[9] The main buildings were designed in a style loosely termed "French Grand Rococo",.[10] The chapel, notably only half its originally intended size, was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott.[11] 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.[12] The grounds contain many unusual ant and spider species, and were frequented by the entomologist Horace Donisthorpe, who collected extensively there. The grounds also contain a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Wellington College Bog.[13]

Masters of Wellington College

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.[14]


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.[15][16] 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. 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,[17] and until recently three Eton Fives courts, now a café bar as part of the sports club.[18] 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.[19]

Wellington Television (WTV)

Wellington College's online television channel, WTV., was founded in 2011.[20] 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,[21] where it interviewed former King Constantine II of Greece, Karen Darke, Colin Jackson and Jasmine Whitbread.[22][23]

In the past, WTV interviewed Ben Goldacre, Alexander Armstrong, AC Grayling and Tim Smit at the 2012 The Sunday Times Festival of Education.[24] WTV created a James Bond parody featuring Headmaster Anthony Seldon[25] 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”.[26]

In 2015, as an opening film for the school's Speech Day, WTV created a parody[27] 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',[28] 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'[29] and 'Solo'.[30] Similarly to 2017, WTV produced the opening film for Speech Day 2018, 'Speech Day Pitch',[31] 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.

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

Combined Cadet Force (CCF)

The Wellington College Combined Cadet Force, or CCF, has existed in its various forms since 1880. Commissioned members of the teaching staff who serve as CCF officers are attached to The Duke of Wellington's Regiment. The college also traditionally has two teams of field gun runners, and two runs are made annually at the college speech day.[32] 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.[33] 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.[34] In response to criticism, in 2006, it introduced 'well-being lessons' to the curriculum, 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.[35] 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.[36] 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."[37]


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.[38] 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.

House Colours Insignia Gender Boarding or Day Housemaster or Housemistress
AngleseyMaroon and BlueA StarFBoardingR. E. Loaring
ApsleyBlue and BlackA PineappleFBoardingA. C. Christodoulou
BensonBlue and SilverA RoseMBoardingD. M. G. Clements
BeresfordMedium Blue and BlackA HorseshoeMBoardingK. G. Reesby
BlücherBlack and WhiteA Fleur-de-lisMBoardingS. A. S. Owen
CombermereGold and BrownA LionFBoardingS. M. L. Mackenzie
HardingeGreen and BrownAn AnchorFBoarding (Sixth Form only)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 MoonMBoardingO. J. Peat
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. Larkin

The Orange, Combermere, Hopetoun, and Anglesey were all formerly boys' houses but converted to girls' houses between 2005 and 2011.[39]

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.[40]

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.

See also



    1. "The Wellington College". Charity Commission. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
    2. "Wellington's History". Wellington College. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
    3. Roberts, Andrew (17 February 2011). "The Duke of Wellington: Soldiering to Glory". BBC History. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
    4. "Wellington College pupils lie down in tribute to WWI fallen". BBC News. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
    5. Webb, Sam (9 November 2012). "The glorious dead: Students re-enact horror of Somme in tribute to former pupils killed in the trenches of the First World War". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 6 January 2014.
    6. "Visit by Her Majesty the Queen". Wellington College. Archived from the original on 11 June 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
    7. Two Awards in One Week - Wellington College. ISBI Schools. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
    8. The Wellington Academy.
    9. Johnson, Paul. "John Shaw, Junior (1803-70): A Brief Biographical Introduction". Victorian Web. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
    10. "History". Wellington College. Archived from the original on 24 August 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
    11. "Chapel At Wellington College With Porch Colonnade And Gateway Adjoining West End". Historic England. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
    12. "Magic Map Application". Magic.defra.gov.uk. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
    13. "Wellington College Bog SSSI". Natural england. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
    14. Gallagher, Brendan (11 February 2009). "Thom and Max Evans named in Scotland's Six Nations team to face France". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
    15. "O'Donovan puts on a fine performance as Wellington make history at Twickenham". Mail on Sunday. London. 7 April 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
    16. Baines, Huw. "Wellington College record historic double". Scrum.com. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
    17. "Racket Courts". Tennis & Rackets Association. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
    18. "Fives Courts". Wellington College Sports Club. Archived from the original on 12 May 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2009.
    19. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
    20. Vimeo - WTV
    21. "Conference". Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
    22. "WTV". Vimeo. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
    23. RSIC Tuesday
    24. "The Sunday Times Festival of Education" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 May 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
    25. 4 years ago (29 May 2013). "Operation Sycamore on Vimeo". Vimeo.com. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
    26. "Wellington College :: Independent Schools Inspectorate". www.isi.net. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
    27. Wellington Television (25 May 2015), Happy - Dr Seldon, retrieved 1 November 2017
    28. Wellington Television (7 September 2017), Planet Wellington | Speech Day 2017, retrieved 1 November 2017
    29. "Pink Pav Sessions - YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
    30. "Solo - YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
    31. Wellington Television (28 May 2018), Speech Day Pitch | Speech Day 2018, retrieved 11 July 2018
    32. "Combined Cadet Force". Wellington College. Archived from the original on 14 September 2008. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
    33. "Girls to take part in field gun run at Earl's Court". BBC News. 9 December 2012.
    34. "School takes bullying 'seriously'". BBC News. 11 April 2005. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
    35. Halpin, Tony (10 November 2005). "Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees". The Times. London. (subscription required)
    36. "OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement" (Press release). Office of Fair Trading. 21 December 2006. Archived from the original on 10 June 2008.
    37. "Private schools send papers to fee-fixing inquiry". The Daily Telegraph. London. 1 March 2004. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
    38. "Houses". Wellington College. Archived from the original on 18 April 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
    39. "Ten Year Development Plan". Wellington College. Archived from the original on 24 June 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
    40. "The Old Wellingtonian Society". Wellington College. Archived from the original on 24 August 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2008.

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