Cranleigh School celebrates 150th anniversary in style

Cranleigh School's 150th anniversary celebration service SUS-150510-110833001
Cranleigh School's 150th anniversary celebration service SUS-150510-110833001

On Tuesday September 29 Cranleigh School celebrated 150 years of providing leading independent education and launched the special year with a service in the newly refurbished chapel.

The school welcomed its very first pupils on this day in 1865.

To mark the occasion the Bishop of Guildford addressed a congregation of staff and pupils, including the great, great, great, great grandson of the very first Headmaster, Joseph Merriman.

Ollie Pope, a promising cricketer who plays for Surrey, is one of a long line of Merriman’s family who have attended the school.

He opened the proceedings by welcoming the visiting dignitaries and said his ancestor would be proud of the School he helped to create: “From what I hear of Merriman he was a great believer in working and playing hard and that is certainly the Cranleigh way,” he said.

Cranleigh was originally established to provide an education for the sons of the local farming community.

It was founded with the motto, Ex Cultu Robur (from culture comes strength), which is still used today and which provides an ethos of full participation in both academics and co-curricular activities.

It remains a successful formula and today the School enjoys record-breaking examination results as well as pupils who achieve at the highest level in sports, music and drama.

Current Headmaster, Mr Martin Reader, said: “Cranleigh has certainly come a long way in its first 150 years. From the 27 boys we had in 1865 we are now large enough to provide incredible opportunities for our pupils. Yet we have retained the family ethic and Christian principles and we are still small enough for every individual pupil to be known and nurtured; all of which is a continuation of the founding ethos when our distinct boarding community was launched so many years ago.”

The thriving nearby Cranleigh Preparatory School was launched in 1913; and in 2015 the newest addition to the Cranleigh family will also celebrate a birthday.

Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, situated at the heart of Saadiyat Island, the Emirates’ island of culture, opened its doors to the first pupils at the Junior School in 2014, and the Senior School opens this year.

Mr Reader added: “Cranleigh has a remarkable success story in its relatively short history. We are all looking forward to celebrating that history over the coming academic year, and to building the foundations for another 150 years of education here.”

Plans to commemorate the anniversary include a specially commissioned war memorial, a musical production, a book of Cranleigh’s history and a conference on the theme of Culture to explore the wider meaning of Ex Cultu Robur.

A website dedicated to the first 150 years of Cranleigh School launched today and can be found via the School’s website,

Report and picture contributed by Cranleigh School.