Cranleigh Prep School centenary celebrations

Francesca, Elliott, Dillon (Head boy), Amelie (Head girl), Georgia and William. Picture submitted
Francesca, Elliott, Dillon (Head boy), Amelie (Head girl), Georgia and William. Picture submitted

On Speech Day in the summer of 1912, the Headmaster of Cranleigh School announced the School’s plan to purchase 17 acres of land and build a Preparatory School, opposite the main school gates.

The Revd R.H.C. Mertens was appointed Headmaster and the School opened its doors at the start of the Michaelmas Term in 1913.

100 years later, Cranleigh Prep School is hosting a variety of events to celebrate its centenary year. Proceedings kicked off on Saturday, March 2 with Dudley Manning, deputy director of sport, and soon to be Housemaster of the boys’ Boarding House, taking part in 100 mile run, raising £2,135 for the 6th Form charity, Frensham Ponds Sailability.

There was great excitement on Friday, May 10 as staff, children, governors, some parents and other guests gathered to witness Michael Roulston, Headmaster of Cranleigh Prep from 2000 to 2008, open the Roulston Centenary Building.

This splendid new, eco-building, with wooden clad classrooms and subtle, ‘game lodge’ curves, was the brainchild of current Head, Michael Wilson, who drew inspiration from his childhood in Kenya.

Festivities continued on Friday, May 24, with a rousing Summer Concert.

A variety of orchestral and vocal ensembles performed music from different decades, including a superb opening from the Concert Band playing a ‘Centenary Fanfare’, written by Bob Wilson who is band master at Cranleigh Music.

Pupils, staff and parents then enjoyed a magnificent Centenary Tea Party, the highlight being an enormous chocolate cake big enough to feed all 320 pupils, with the school crest on.

It was an inspiring and fitting way to finish the first half of a very successful term.

Looking ahead, the Prep School will be hosting a cricket match on Sunday, June 9, to celebrate Mike Howard, the Senior Master’s, 100 terms teaching at Cranleigh Prep School. Players will include former pupils and staff.

The Centenary theme will be maintained throughout the term, whether on Speech Day or with a Time Capsule being buried in the school grounds at the End of Term Assembly, to a whole school Centenary Art project, a Centenary Year Book and a Centenary painting of the School, by local artist and Cranleigh Prep School teacher, Peter McNiven.

In the autumn, a Centenary Copse will be planted, with trees and shrubs purchased by children and parents in the school.

A plan, personalised with the names of the donors, will be in place as a permanent reminder of the benefactors.

Former pupils, who purchased and planted the trees in the original Orchard in 1947, will return to plant new trees and restore the Orchard to its original condition later in the year.

This exciting series of centenary events provide an apt reminder of the enormous progress and development of Cranleigh Prep School as it enters its second centenary.

The 29 scholarships, (academic, art, sports and music) that have been awarded to pupils this year are a fitting example of the many areas of success achieved by the children in this wonderful, very happy Surrey Prep School.

Pictured here left to right are Francesca, Elliott, Dillon (Head boy), Amelie (Head girl), Georgia and William.