RepositoryJesuits in Britain Archives
TitleWimbledon College
LevelSub fonds
DescriptionRecords of Wimbledon College from its establishment in 1892 up to and including the 125th anniversary celebrations held in 2017. The collection includes early correspondence, property deeds, a fee book, a rough entrance exam book, College publications, plans, photographs, four files relating to Donhead Preparatory School, and minutes and correspondence of the College's Board of Governors. Further and fuller records are held at Wimbledon College's own archive.
Admin_HistoryWimbledon College is a Catholic boys' school run by the Society of Jesus in South London, which first accepted pupils on 18 January 1892.

Jesuit priests had served the small Catholic community in Wimbledon from their base at Manresa House in Roehampton since the 1870s. In 1887 the English Provincial, Fr Edward Purbrick SJ, formally accepted control of the mission at Wimbledon from the Bishop of Southwark and in so doing secured an agreement that the Society of Jesus could establish a school in the area. The site of the first Jesuit school in Wimbledon was in the parlour of the presbytery at 3 Cranbrook Road with just two pupils (the Lloyd brothers) initially. Fr James Nicholson SJ was the first headmaster. The Jesuit school was housed at several other temporary locations in 1892, including at a site adjoining the All England Lawn Tennis Courts.

Towards the end of 1892 Fr John Clayton SJ, then Provincial, sanctioned the purchase of Wimbledon School on Edge Hill. Madame Edith Arendrup, a wealthy Catholic widow who had supported the establishment of the church of the Sacred Heart, contributed funds for the deposit to secure the property. Wimbledon School, known as Brackenbury's, had been founded by the Rev John Matthew Brackenbury as an Anglican military academy. The Jesuits moved to this new site in 1893 with a cohort of 23 pupils.

The College rapidly expanded as the Catholic population of Wimbledon grew. An Army Department, or Army Class, operated between 1898 and 1921 to cater for students studying to take army, navy and civil service examinations. The College chapel was opened in 1910. 129 old boys died in the First World War; a war memorial was opened in the college chapel in 1922. In 1929 the Coombe Lane sports ground was purchased. In 1933 Donhead Lodge, a large house just across the road from the College, was purchased to establish a preparatory school for the College.

Up until the start of the Second World War Wimbledon College had been an independent fee-paying school. Under the headmastership of Fr John Sinnott SJ (1937-1950), the College was granted aided school status and school fees were abolished. In 1948 the College became an aided grammar school. Under the headmastership of Fr Robert Carty SJ, Wimbledon College again changed its status in 1968 to a voluntary aided comprehensive high school. The College has maintained this status into the twenty-first century.

The College has 1300 pupils, including a joint sixth form with the all-girls Ursuline High School. The first lay headmaster, Mr Adrian Laing, was appointed in 2011. Along with other Jesuit schools in the United Kingdom, Wimbledon College is supported and advised by the Jesuit Institute.

The College's 125th anniversary was celebrated in the 2016-2017 academic year with a programme of events, the publication of an up-to-date school history and a whole school Mass held at Westminster Cathedral.

Notable alumni include: Fr Peter Milward SJ, Shakespeare scholar and missionary in Japan; Sir Michael Quinlan, civil servant; Sir John Keegan, military historian; Bishop Nicholas Hudson, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Westminster; Peter Duffy QC, barrister.

For a full history see: Anthony Poole, 'A History of Wimbledon College' (1992) and Ignatius St Lawrence SJ, 'Donhead Revisited: Wimbledon College Preparatory School 1933-1983' (1983).
Related Material - Records of the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon: see PC/2.
- Wimbledon College Magazine: 1942 (Jubilee Number 1892-1942), 1968, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1982, 1985, 1992 (Centenary Magazine) and The Wimbledonian: 1996-1997, 1999-2005, 2007, 2011; 2015-2016.
- Papers of Fr John Sinnott SJ (Headmaster, 1937-1950): see index card.
- Epistolae Generalium IV: P. Anderledy 1884-1892, ff.35, 38, 96, 103, 105, 211.
- Historical notes on the Wimbledon Mission of the Sacred Heart: see Memoranda Vol. 1, pt II, ff. 101-102 (ref: 14/2/16). Includes narrative of the beginnings of the mission and the role of Madame Arendrup, and copy of the letter of the Bishop of Southwark [John Butt] giving consent to a college of higher education and copy of the agreement between the Bishop of Southwark and Edward Purbrick SJ [English Provincial].

Printed material:
- Ignatius St Lawrence SJ, 'Donhead Revisited: Wimbledon College Preparatory School 1933-1983' (1983). Library ref: BY.41.W
- Anthony Poole, 'A History of Wimbledon College' (1992). Library ref: BY.41.W
- Bernard Quinlan, 'Wimbledon College 1995-2004: a decade of challenge, change, leadership' (2004). Library ref: BY.41.WQ
- Bernard Quinlan (ed.), 'The Sinnott Years 1937-1951: Memories of schooldays at Wimbledon College under a great headmaster in the shadow of world war'. Library ref: BY.41.WQ2
- Michael Holman SJ and Michael Smith SJ, 'Wimbledon College Centenary', Chaplains' Weekly 2085 (1992), pp. 3-4.
- Michael Holman SJ, 'Wimbledon College Centenary', Jesuits & Friends 22 (Summer 1992), pp. 12-13.
- Anthony Poole, 'Text of address to Old Wimbledonians Centenary Dinner, 28th March 1992', Letters & Notices 91.403 (1992), pp. 107-114.
- Archives at Wimbledon College (1980). Library ref: 'Archives ref.'
- Anthony Poole, Simon Potter and John Austin, 'Wimbledon College: The First 125 Years' (2016).

References in Blackett's letterbooks (ref: 10/4):
- Vol 2, f. 140-141 (South Wimbledon), 162 (Aynhoe, 1910).
- Vol 5, f. 124 (1911 accounts).
- Vol 16, (1 Spencer Hill) f.417 (College) f.57, f. 72 (Wimbledon Park).
- Vol 17, f. 8 (Wimbledon College), 22, 160 (Coombe Lane), 364 (New schools at West Barnes), 365 (various Wimbledon properties), 372 (playing fields at Wimbledon College), 380 (Wimbledon College), 390-1 (Wimbledon College, new schools at West Barnes), 393 (Wimbledon College), 397 (West Barnes & Wimbledon Catholic Institute), 413-416 (Wimbledon Catholic Institute and various properties in Wimbledon), 426 (Wimbledon Catholic Institute), 432-3 (Aynhoe & South Wimbledon), 439 (various properties in Wimbledon), 450 (new schools at West Barnes), 453-4 (new schools at West Barnes; South Wimbledon), 496 (Wimbledon College).
- Vol 18: ff 1-2 (Aynhoe lease), 80 (Wimbledon College).
- Vol 19. ff 220 (Wimbledon College), 230 (Wimbledon College), 240 (Wimbledon College), 294 (Wimbledon College), 320 (loan to Wimbledon College), 487 (new schools at West Barnes).
- Vol. 20 ff 16 (Wimbledon College), 280 (Wimbledon accounts).

Wimbledon College Archives, including material relating to Wimbledon School (1860s-1870s), Wimbledon College Army Department and Wimbledon Mission: contact the College archivist at
AccessConditionsThe papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to archive material in the Jesuits in Britain Archives.

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