Wimbledon College

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Wimbledon College is a government-maintained voluntary-aided Jesuit Roman Catholic high school for boys aged 11 to 19. The school is based at Edge Hill, Wimbledon, London. It was founded in 1892 "for improvement in living and learning to the greater glory of God and the common good". Its seal says in Latin, "College of the Most Sacred Heart". It is affiliated with the Sacred Heart Church and Donhead, its main feeder preparatory school.


The school stands on a site where in 1860 John Brackenbury had purchased two large meadows below the Ridgway known as Tree and Boggy Fields. Brackenbury had helped to run Nelson House School, in Eagle House, Wimbledon High Street. His success there was such that in 1859 he took out a mortgage on the land below the Ridgway and founded the Anglican Preparatory Military Academy in 1860, also known as “Brackenbury’s”. The grounds of this college were so attractive that the school was opened to the public once a week. Among the alumni of Brackenbury's were rugby union international Henry Bryden and Alfred D'Orsay Tennyson Dickens, son of Charles Dickens. Although initially successful, Brackenbury's declined under the control of the Rev. Charles Wynn, and closed in 1887. In 1892 it was purchased by the Jesuits and reopened as Wimbledon College.<ref name="Edge">Conservation Areas – Edge Hill</ref> The school became a grammar school in 1944 and a comprehensive school from 1969.<ref name="Edge"/>

Father Michael Holman became headmaster in 1995 and his main contributions to the school included an entire renovation of the old gym and swimming pool into a new Sports Hall, Learning Resources Centre (LRC) and IT Suite. Shortly after leaving the post of headmaster at the College in 2004, Father Holman was appointed the Jesuit Provincial for Great Britain. Since Father Adrian Porter's appointment as Father Holman's successor, the College has undergone further changes, including a new visitors' entrance; refurbished classrooms, the addition of an electronic registration system which is used in parallel with the traditional registration system, and the movement of the LRC and IT Department to the location of the Sixth Form Centre. The Centre has been relocated to the former LRC/IT Department site. Adrian Laing was appointed headmaster from September 2011 and was the school's first lay headmaster in its long history. Template:Citation needed


The College specialises in sports (especially rugby), extracurricular activities and Drama. A new music department was constructed in 2005. It is notable for its school productions and to assist in these a revolving stage has been built in the auditorium. At least one dramatic or musical show has been produced every year since 1972. The Strings Project was activated in 2005 to give 50 boys in Figures the opportunity to learn the violin, viola, cello or the double bass. Template:Citation needed

The College encourages students to take part in at least two of its wide selection of extracurricular activities. These range from a Drama club to the Chess club, and also from a Debating club to numerous optional school trips over the year. The College also has a selection of major and minor sports. Rugby is the biggest major sport and is played until Christmas. In 2010 Wimbledon College U13's won the Rosslyn Park National Seven's tournament, which is their biggest honour in the sport. During the lent term rugby is still played along with football. Template:Citation needed

In the summer term rugby is no longer played. Instead cricket and athletics become the major sports. Athletics is practised at Wimbledon Park athletics track and cricket is played on the usual playing field at Coombe Lane. During the last week of the academic school year there is House Cricket tournament where all the best cricketers from the four different houses (More, Fisher, Southwell and Campion) play. Also in the last week of the school year this a Sports day. All students participate. Years 7 and 8 have their sports day a day before years 9 and 10. The sports takes place at Wimbledon Park athletics stadium. Most track and field events are practised. The winner of the "A" team races get medals. The boy with the most medals on the day also get the "Victor Ludorum". On 4 May 2012, the U14A football team won The Collingwood Trophy, 3-2 in the final. Template:Citation needed


The Sixth Form has partnerships with the nearby Ursuline High School and Holy Cross School and Richard Challoner School in Kingston upon Thames.

The Prime Minister's Global Fellowship

The school has its first student attain a place on the prestigious Prime Minister's Global Fellowship programme in 2009.

Notable alumni

Template:See also

  • Sir Anthony Leggett – 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics winner
  • Peter Milward S.J., Shakespeare scholar and emeritus professor of English Literature at Sophia University, Tokyo
Science and Medicine
  • Prof. David Allison – Diagnostic Radiology & Imaging
  • Prof. Tom Connors – "Father of anti-cancer drug development'
  • Prof. Donal Bradley, CBE FRS – Molecular Electronic Devices and Applications – Director of the Centre for Plastic Electronics at Imperial College London
  • Jay Tabb – British footballer
  • Ben Ryan – England Rugby Sevens Head Coach
  • Joe McPartlin – Rugby – Oxford, Harlequins and Scotland
  • Brain Mullen – Rugby – Montferrand and London Irish
Entertainment, media and the arts
  • Christopher Hewett, actor
  • Tom Holland, actor
  • Des Kelly, journalist and columnist
  • George Malcolm, musician
  • Paul Merton, comedian, writer and TV presenter
  • Mike Paradinas, musician
  • Philip Stephens, journalist
  • Patrick Bishop, journalist and author
  • Victor Keegan, journalist
  • Andre Barreau, musician
  • Eugene Esmonde, WWII naval pilot, led attack on Bismarck, awarded the Victoria Cross after Channel Dash
  • Sir John Keegan, British military historian
  • Gerald Robert O'Sullivan, WWI Victoria Cross holder
  • Patrick Reid, Colditz Castle escapee (WWII); author
Politics, public service and the law
  • Peter Duffy, QC, barrister
  • Lord Patten, politician and life peer
  • Sir Michael Quinlan, British civil servant
  • Sir Nicolas Bratza, British jurist
  • Father Michael Holman


A list of Prefects of Studies (before 1944) and Headmasters (after 1944) with the years they were in the role. Template:Col-begin Template:Col-2

  • James Nicholson SJ (1892-3)
  • Herbert Thurston SJ (1893-4), scholar and friend of George Tyrrell.
  • William Crofton SJ (1894-6)
  • John Jaggar SJ (1896-7)
  • James O'Donohoe SJ (1897-8)
  • William Crofton SJ (1898–99)
  • George Jinks SJ (1899-1900)
  • George Pye SJ (1900-1901)
  • John Atkinson SJ (1901–03)
  • Henry Horn SJ (1903–17)
  • William Bodkin SJ (1917), previously headmaster at Stonyhurst College.
  • Alfred Meyer SJ (1917–18)
  • John Manning SJ (1918–23)


  • Bryan Gavan Duffy (1923–26), son of Charles Gavan Duffy and brother of Frank Gavan Duffy.
  • Conyers D'Arcy SJ (1926–36), brother of Martin D'Arcy.
  • Ignatius Scoles SJ (1936-7).
  • John Sinnott SJ (1937–50), oversaw the college becoming a grammar school in 1944.
  • Ignatius St Lawrence SJ (1950–60)
  • Richard Manners SJ (1960–68)
  • Robert Carty SJ (1968–75)
  • Peter Hackett SJ (1976–80), previously headmaster at Campion School, Hornchurch.
  • Patrick Cooper SJ (1980)
  • Francis Barnett SJ (1980–85)
  • Michael Smith SJ (1985–95)
  • Michael Holman SJ (1995-2004), principal of Heythrop College.
  • Adrian Porter SJ (2004-2011), former headmaster of St Aloysius' College.
  • Adrian Laing (2011–present)


See also

  • Sacred Heart Church, Wimbledon
  • Donhead
  • Ursuline High School, Wimbledon
  • List of Victoria Crosses by School



External links

Template:Jesuits in Britain Template:Schools and colleges in Merton