Eastbourne College
Old Wish Road

, ,
BN21 4JY

Coordinates50°45′46″N 0°16′52″E / 50.7627°N 0.2811°E / 50.7627; 0.2811
TypePublic school
Private day and boarding
MottoEx oriente salus
("The haven [the bourne] from the East")
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
FoundersWilliam Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire and other prominent Eastbourne citizens
Local authorityEast Sussex County Council
Department for Education URN114650 Tables
PresidentPeregrine Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire
Chairman of the College CouncilPhilip Broadley[1]
HeadmasterTom Lawson
ChaplainDaniel Merceron
Age13 to 18
Houses5 day, 5 boarding
PublicationThe Eastbournian
The Old Eastbournian
Former pupilsOld Eastbournians

Eastbourne College is a co-educational fee-charging school in the English public school tradition, for boarding and day pupils aged 13–18, in the town of Eastbourne on the south coast of England. The College's headmaster is Tom Lawson.


The college was founded by William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire, and other prominent Eastbourne citizens in 1867.[citation needed]

The college is in the Lower Meads area of Eastbourne, a mainly residential area. Most of the school buildings are on a central campus area but many others are scattered in the immediate vicinity, such as the Beresford hockey and the links rugby pitches.

The motto, Ex Oriente Salus, is a play on "Eastbourne", meaning "The haven [the bourne] from the East". Salus also means health or salvation, the latter making an allusion to Christ, who came, from the English point of view, from the east.


Charles Hayman, an Eastbourne medical practitioner and member of the town's first council, together with other prominent local citizens, decided an independent school should be established and the support of William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire, was sought. He was supportive of the venture and provided 12 acres (4.9 ha) of land for purchase at a modest price. This link with the Cavendish family is evidenced by the stag in the arms of the school.

From 1867 to 1869 it occupied Ellesmere Villa, now called Spencer Court; the location is now marked by a blue plaque. Architect Henry Currey was assigned by the duke to design a new school building, and College House, now School House, was built in 1870. The school chapel was constructed that same year.

During the 1880s, the school went through an impoverished period. Through the intervention of George Wallis, first mayor of Eastbourne and the work of new headmaster Charles Crowden, formerly of Cranbrook School, the school was saved from financial disaster.[2]

The college admitted its first girls in 1969 when the sixth form became coeducational, becoming one of the first HMC schools to admit girls. The college is now fully coeducational.

In 2005 the school was one of fifty of the country's leading private schools which were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel, exposed by The Times, which had allowed them to drive up fees for thousands of parents.[3] 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.[4]

Front view of the Wargrave House

Boarding and day houses

Boarding houses
Day houses
former houses

Many of these houses were donated to the school in wills and named after their benefactors; for example, Powell was given to the college by Stanley Powell.

Eastbourne College in 2008

Extracurricular activities

Combined Cadet Force

The school's CCF corps was founded in 1896.[2]


Sport is played at the many facilities around the college (including College Field which has been used for training by teams such as South Africa upon arrival in the UK and some internationals) and at various locations around the town acquired by the college. Former pupils who have achieved sporting success include rugby players Hugo Southwell (Scotland and London Wasps) and Mark Lock (Leeds Tykes) and cricket player Ed Giddins.

Each term at the college has a single primary sport:

Term Boys Girls
Michaelmas Rugby union Hockey
Lent Hockey Netball
Summer Cricket Tennis

There are also alternative sports, including football, cross country, swimming, golf, tennis, squash, rowing, sailing, Rugby fives, fives, and rounders. The school owns a boat house nearby the campus.[5][6]

Birley Centre

On 17 October 2011, Gus Christie, chairman of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, opened the Birley Centre.[7] It was named after Michael Birley, former Headmaster of Eastbourne College (1956-1970), and now has facilities such as a recording studio and a state of the art theatre space.

In popular culture

The Southern Railway made great use of steam locomotive names for publicity, and the carrying of pupils to boarding schools at the beginning and end of school terms was a significant traffic flow.[8] Locomotives of the 'V' or "Schools" Class, introduced in 1930, were hence named after prominent English public schools. The fifteenth locomotive, no. 914, was named Eastbourne after the college. Built at Eastleigh in October 1932, no. 914 remained in service until withdrawn by British Railways in July 1961.[9]


Notable Old Eastbournians

Former pupils

See also: Category:People educated at Eastbourne College

Former pupils are known as "Old Eastbournians" and are members of the Old Eastbournian Association.


Victoria Cross holders

Two Old Eastbournians have won the Victoria Cross:[15]

Military Cross holders

Notable staff



  1. ^ "Structure of the School".
  2. ^ a b "College Timeline". Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  3. ^ Halpin, Tony (10 November 2005). "Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees". The Times. London.
  4. ^ "OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement". Office of Fair Trading. 21 December 2006. Archived from the original on 10 June 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  5. ^ StudyLink, Britannia (20 August 2021). "Eastbourne College Guide: Reviews, Rankings And More". Britannia StudyLink Malaysia: UK Study Expert. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  6. ^ "Eastbourne College BC". British Rowing.
  7. ^ "Birley Centre cements college links with town". Eastbourne Herald. 17 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Maunsell V 'Schools' class 4-4-0". Southern E-Group. 19 June 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  9. ^ "Maunsell V 'Schools' class 4-4-0 - Data". Southern E-Group. 10 February 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "A History of Music at Eastbourne College from its Foundation in 1867 until 2012 and the Opening of the Birley Centre", 31 January 2021
  11. ^ "Adam Mynott". BBC News. 12 July 2004. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  12. ^ Burke's Peerage, vol. 3 (2003), p. 3872
  13. ^ "Player profile: John Young". CricketArchive. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
  14. ^ Roland Beamont#cite note-0
  15. ^ Webster F.A.M., (1937), Our Great Public Schools, (Butler & Tanner: London)