School History

Gad’s Hill Place is world-famous as being the former home of author Charles Dickens, who lived here from 1856 until his death in 1870. It is here that he penned his classic novels “Great Expectations” and “A Tale of Two Cities” and entertained a number of renowned guests, including Hans Christian Andersen.

In the 1920s, Gad’s Hill Place was converted into a school for girls and opened its doors to our first pupils in 1924. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, pupils were evacuated to the Lake District, where lessons continued for several years while Gad’s Hill was used by the Women’s Royal Naval Service. In September 2001, the school became fully co-educational, admitting boys throughout.

Gone, however, are the days when the school could be housed solely in an 18th century country manor house.  In recent years the school has developed the site against the backdrop of the historic house.  After a lengthy process, planning consent was finally secured in July 2010 to develop entirely new accommodation for the whole School and in 2013, we opened a brand new Lower School for the Kindergarten and Juniors, which also houses a number of facilities used by pupils of all ages: a music suite, sports hall, assembly hall and catering and dining facilities.  These facilities provide future generations of pupils, aspiring sports stars, budding young musicians and actors with the resources that they need to thrive and excel.

It is hoped and anticipated that the second phase of the project will see the demolition of a mix of buildings erected through the school’s history and the construction of a new Upper School.  In recent months, some consideration has been given to developing a more phased approach to delivery of the new Upper School buildings.  Once the new Upper School is complete, the historic house will be leased to a charity established to see the building used as a heritage and educational resource, celebrating the life and work of Charles Dickens.