Wellington College
Dukes Ride

, ,
RG45 7PU

Coordinates51°21′51″N 0°48′24″W / 51.3643°N 0.8067°W / 51.3643; -0.8067
TypeIndependent school
boarding & day school
MottoLatin: Virtutis Fortuna Comes
(Fortune Favours the Brave)
Latin: Heroum Filii
(Sons of Heroes)
FounderQueen Victoria
Department for Education URN110125 Tables
Chairman of the Board of GovernorsPeter G.C. Mallinson, BA, MBA
MasterJulian Thomas
Second MasterRobin Dyer
Staff150 (approx.)
Age13 to 18
Enrollment1100 pupils (approx.)
Colour(s)Black and Gold    
Former pupilsOld Wellingtonians
Campus400-acre (1.6 km2) rural campus
AffiliationsG20 Schools
View of the main College buildings and South Front.

Wellington College is a British co-educational boarding and day independent school in the village of Crowthorne, Berkshire. Wellington is a registered charity[1] and currently has about 1,050 pupils aged between 13 and 18.[2] It was built as a national monument to the first Duke of Wellington (1769–1852), after whom the College is named.[3] Her Majesty Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone in 1856 and inaugurated the School's public opening on 29 January 1859.

Many former Wellington pupils fought in the trenches straight after leaving school during the First World War, volunteering for military action, a conflict in which 707 of them lost their lives.[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 School and Charterhouse School, and is also a member of the G20 Schools group. The Good Schools Guide calls the school "a serious player in the field of education".[6]


Wellington College was granted its royal charter in 1853 as the Royal and Religious Foundation of The Wellington College, and was opened in 1859. Its first Master[Note 1] was Edward White Benson, later Archbishop of Canterbury. The college's Visitor is HM The Queen.[7]

Originally, the school supported children of deceased officers who had held commissions in the Army. In 1952 a Supplementary Royal Charter extended the privilege of eligibility to the orphan children of deceased officers of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force. A recent change 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 Governors, died in acts of selfless bravery. However, only a minority of the children at the school come from military families.

By the 1950s and 1960s, the school was considering becoming co-educational, but 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.

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.[8]

The Wellington Academy

Wellington has sponsored the founding of a new independent state school in Wiltshire, The Wellington Academy,[9] 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.[citation needed]


The college was designed by John Shaw, Jr., who had also 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 helped choose 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.[10] The main buildings were designed in a style loosely termed "French Grand Rococo",[11] and the chapel was designed by George Gilbert Scott.[12] There have been many modern buildings, the best of which follow Shaw's style while still being modern: for example, the new Nicholson modern foreign-languages building.


Wellington College stands on a 400-acre (160 ha) estate in South-East England, near Reading, Berkshire. The grounds of the college include a golf course and woodland in addition to playing fields. The woodland area of the college is listed as a local nature reserve called Edgbarrow Woods.[13] The grounds contain many unusual ant and spider species, and were frequented by the entomologist Horace Donisthorpe, who collected extensively there.[citation needed] The grounds also contain a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Wellington College Bog.[14]

Masters (headmasters) of Wellington

Former pupils

Main article: List of Old Wellingtonians

Notable former pupils include historian P. J. Marshall, Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck, military historian Sir Michael Howard, clergyman and author Revd. Canon David Watson (evangelist), 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– ), writer George Orwell (who transferred 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, and the rugby union players James Haskell and the brothers Max and Thom Evans.[15]


Wellington College was one of the 21 founding members of the Rugby Football Union, and pupils at the school have played rugby union. 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.[16][17] Wellington have a national reputation for Rugby. 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.[citation needed] 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,[18] and until recently three Eton Fives courts, now a café bar as part of the sports club.[19] 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 same year as 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 (as of 2016 Georgie Ely and George Hayes) typically publish up to six print editions of the magazine each year. Past editors include Louis Elton and Simon Soros.[20]

Wellington Television

In October 2011, Wellington College students founded WTV, an online television channel.[21] The channel is operated entirely by students and puts out student-related episode-based content every few weeks as well as one-off short films. WTV created a James Bond parody featuring Headmaster Anthony Seldon[22] which was featured in the February edition of Private Eye.

In the past, WTV has interviewed Ben Goldacre, Alexander Armstrong, AC Grayling and Tim Smit at the 2012 Sunday Times Festival of Education.[23] During the Round Square International Conference,[24] WTV interviewed former King Constantine II of Greece, Karen Darke, Colin Jackson and Jasmine Whitbread.[25] In 2014, it interviewed Simon Singh and Will Poulter, as well Katie Hopkins.

Recently, since 2015, WTV has created the opening films to the school's Speech Day, of which most notably was the 'Happy' Parody film[26], based on Pharrell Williams hit-single, 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 most recent of the Telegraph Festival of Education with interviews with Gyles Brandreth and Ellie Bamber.

In 2017, WTV produced a film called 'Planet Wellington'[27], 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'[28] and 'Solo'[29].

The executive producers of WTV are currently Harry Harper, Angus Neale and James Wilson. In the past, executive producers have included Tom Probert, Gabriella Farah, Jonny McCausland, Toby Byer, Sebastian Width and Zach Topley.

Combined Cadet Force

The Wellington College Combined Cadet Force, or CCF, has existed in its various forms since 1880.[citation needed] Commissioned members of the teaching staff who serve as CCF officers are attached to The Duke of Wellington's Regiment.[citation needed] The college also traditionally has two teams of field gun runners, and two runs are made annually at the college speech day.[30] 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.[31] 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 school has been the subject of reports on bullying.[32] In April 2006, the college attracted widespread publicity when it became the first school in the UK to introduce 'happiness lessons' to the curriculum,[33] 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.[34] 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.[35] 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."[36]


There are 17 houses at Wellington. Most contain boarders and a small number of day pupils, although two, Wellesley and Raglan, accept only day pupils.[37] Each house is either an 'in-house' or an 'out-house'. In-houses are located within the main school buildings and quads; out-houses are located elsewhere on the grounds. Each house has aspects distinguishing it from other houses, such as its own colours and emblem, as well as different locations around the college.

House Colours Emblem Gender Boarding or Day House Master/Mistress
Anglesey Maroon/Blue Star F Boarding R. E. Loaring
Apsley Blue/Black Pineapple F Boarding A. C. Christodoulou
Benson Pale Blue/Silver Rose M Boarding D. M. G. Clements
Beresford Light Blue/Black Horseshoe M Boarding K. G. Reesby
Blücher Black/White Fleur de Lis M Boarding S. A. S. Owen
Combermere Gold/Brown Lion F Boarding L. Fisher
Hardinge Green/Brown Anchor M/F Sixth Form Boarding C. M. Oliphant-Callum & S. N. Y. Jobson (girls)
Hill Purple/Silver Skull and Crossbone M Boarding J. Giannikas
Hopetoun Yellow/Blue Moon and Star F Boarding M. V. Ogilvie
Lynedoch Navy Blue/Black Iron Cross M Boarding M. J. Cawdron
Murray Purple/Black Moon M Boarding I. J. Sutcliffe
Orange Orange/Black Double-headed dragon F Boarding T. F. & J. C. Wayman
Picton Pink/Brown Eagle M Boarding D. R. Edwards
Raglan Red/Silver Panther M Day A. M. Wilkinson
Stanley Red/Blue Unicorn M Boarding E. B. R. Venables
Talbot Maroon/White Iron Cross M Boarding J. S. White
Wellesley Pink/White Pelican F Day K. A. Larkin

The Orange, Combermere, Hopetoun and Anglesey were previously boys' houses, but changed to girls' houses between 2005 and 2011.[38]

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.[39]

The Old Wellingtonian Society maintains a register of names of all who have passed through the college since the school's opening in 1859 and the addresses of all living alumni.

See also


  1. ^ The headmaster is known as "the Master"


  1. ^ "The Wellington College". Charity Commission. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Wellington's History". Wellington College. 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. ^ The Good Schools Guide.
  7. ^ "Visit by Her Majesty the Queen". Wellington College. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  8. ^ Two Awards in One Week - Wellington College. ISBI Schools. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  9. ^ The Wellington Academy.
  10. ^ Johnson, Paul. "John Shaw, Junior (1803-70): A Brief Biographical Introduction". Victorian Web. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
  11. ^ "History". Wellington College. Archived from the original on 24 August 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2008. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  12. ^ "Chapel At Wellington College With Porch Colonnade And Gateway Adjoining West End". Historic England. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Magic Map Application". Magic.defra.gov.uk. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  14. ^ "Wellington College Bog SSSI". Natural england. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "O'Donovan puts on a fine performance as Wellington make history at Twickenham". Mail on Sunday. London. 7 April 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
  17. ^ Baines, Huw. "Wellington College record historic double". Scrum.com. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
  18. ^ "Racket Courts". Tennis & Rackets Association. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
  19. ^ "Fives Courts". Wellington College Sports Club. Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014. ((cite web)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ Vimeo - WTV
  22. ^ 4 years ago (29 May 2013). "Operation Sycamore on Vimeo". Vimeo.com. Retrieved 24 April 2017.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  23. ^ The Sunday Times Festival of Education
  24. ^ Conference
  25. ^ RSIC Tuesday
  26. ^ Wellington Television (25 May 2015), Happy - Dr Seldon, retrieved 1 November 2017
  27. ^ Wellington Television (7 September 2017), Planet Wellington | Speech Day 2017, retrieved 1 November 2017
  28. ^ "Pink Pav Sessions - YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  29. ^ "Solo - YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  30. ^ "Combined Cadet Force". Wellington College. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
  31. ^ "Girls to take part in field gun run at Earl's Court". BBC News. 9 December 2012.
  32. ^ "School takes bullying 'seriously'". BBC News. 11 April 2005. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
  33. ^ "True happiness is a lesson well taught". Times Educational Supplement. London. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2006. ((cite news)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  34. ^ Halpin, Tony (10 November 2005). "Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees". The Times. London. (subscription required)
  35. ^ "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. ((cite press release)): Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  36. ^ "Private schools send papers to fee-fixing inquiry". The Daily Telegraph. London. 1 March 2004. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  37. ^ "Houses". Wellington College. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
  38. ^ "Ten Year Development Plan". Wellington College. Retrieved 23 April 2008.
  39. ^ "The Old Wellingtonian Society". Wellington College. Retrieved 7 September 2008.