Our tour starts here on North Front looking up, from above, at the main College buildings, built in the 1850s and a fine example of 19th century Baroque architecture. The Foundation Stone, laid by Queen Victoria in 1856 is clearly visible as we make our way through Great Gate into Front Quad.
This elegant quadrangle, surrounded by three boys boarding Houses (Blucher, Hill and Lynedoch and do please visit the Houses Page for information on all our Houses) acts as the main entrance hub to the College as well as housing our Reception, the Porters Lodge, the Admissions Department and Great School.
Great School served as the main classroom when the College opened in 1859! Now refurbished, the room acts as meeting room, lecture venue and, most importantly, as a memorial to those Wellingtonians who fell in service of their country in the two World Wars. Their names, displayed on House Boards, provide the focus for our Acts of Remembrance every November.
The Hardinge and the Combermere Houses book-end these gracious quads, which are in so many ways the beating heart of Wellington life, playing home as they do to the V&A, the Library, the Chapel and Dining Hall. Trees, fountains and sculptures create a quiet and calm space despite being the hub around which so much Wellington life revolves. Think Central Park to Manhattan, Hyde Park to Piccadilly and you’ve got it in one!
The Mallinson Library
Open the Victorian cover of the Mallinson Library to enter a world of research just a click away. State of the art digital technology, modern pods and Harkness tables rub shoulders with quiet corners and the very latest must-read fiction creating a dynamic learning space that pupils see as uniquely their own. The heart of the College’s intellectual life, the Mallinson Library really is an academic facility fit for the 21st century.
The still centre of Wellington, the Chapel plays an important role in the weekly life of the Wellingtonian. Gilbert Scott’s beautiful building provides an oasis of calm in the midst of the school where children from all denominations are always welcome. The Wellington themed stained glass windows, commissioned in 1948 (after the previous windows fell foul of a stray German bomb) still provide an inspirational vision of the power of education to transform ordinary lives.
V & A
Wellington’s very own coffee-shop is the next stop on our tour. Skinny Lattes to go or leisurely cappuccinos allow for a cosmopolitan and thoroughly modern experience for pupils and staff alike. A natural venue for informal meetings, light lunches or simply catching up with the latest gossip, the V&A is second only to the Maths Department as every pupil’s most favourite Wellington haunt!
Breakfast, lunch and supper for well over a 1000 every day ensures the Dining Hall is one of the busiest (and most important) stops on our tour. A simple cafeteria system, and crenellated mealtimes ensures minimum queuing and maximum eating time. As with everything at Wellington, choice is the order of the day, and our pupils are delighted that Sodexo, our excellent caterers, see Wellington as very much their flagship school.
Just a short walk from the main College buildings finds us ready for lessons in the various laboratories and classrooms that make up the Science faculty. Biology, Chemistry and Physics are all separate entities under the overall aegis of science, and all boast the latest in scientific educational provision, as well as embracing the best of the Harkness principles that inform so much of our teaching at Wellington.
Art School and DT
Pride of place in the Kent Building is the Design Centre, which boasts the latest in CAD technology and space for our aspirant designers to shape and fashion a new world. Our Art Department occupies its own uniquely designed building (by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, OW) right next door. Inspired by the architecture, Wellington’s artists play with light, shade and space to see their world through different eyes.
Languages & Maths
Hola! Mesdames et Messieurs, wir sind angekommen bei the Modern Languages Department. Opened just a few years ago, this purpopse-built building allows all Wellington pupils to study any number of modern foreign languages of their choice in a dynamic and interactive setting just a stone’s throw from the main buildings. On the other side of the road our Maths Department is housed, a home of logic and learning for each and every Wellingtonian.
As the name suggests this building used to be home to the pommel horse and parallel bars, but has now been transformed into a multi-purpose space that changes with the seasons. Concerts, Plays, Conferences and Exams all take place within its walls. It is somehow very Wellington that physical boundaries are so often blurred and transformed.
Only a few metres from the Old Gym and you’ll find yourself transported to Beijing as you enter the Mandarin Centre, physical symbol of Wellington’s desire to reach out to other cultures and to recognise the importance that China plays in the Modern World. With a team of resident Mandarin speakers, the centre is living proof of Wellington’s inclusivity and a constant reminder of our three Wellington International schools in Shanghai and Tianjin.
This iconic early 70s building nestles organically within the contours of the landscape and is the hub of Humanities teaching at Wellington. History, Politics, Geography and Economics all have their home here, as do Classics and English. Large and airy classrooms, open spaces and Harkness tables ensure that the cut and thrust of pupil debate and learning is ever-present in this important corner of the College.
West Side Story? Les Mis? A Symphonic Concert? Our Country’s Good? A Dance Show?
Whatever takes your fancy will probably be on stage somewhere in our new G W Annenberg Performing Arts Centre – either in the 350 seat Christopher Lee Theatre (refurbished in honour of our most diabolical Old Wellingtonian – think Dracula and Saruman), or the magnificent Annenberg itself, which boasts a two-tier 1200 seat auditorium and the capacity to stage the most ambitious of shows, and certainly equal to the quality of the professional-level productions regularly staged at Wellington. The two theatres are linked by the Cultural Living Room (an open studio space), which allows for a whole variety of rehearsals, experimental work and exhibitions.
Thanks to the Annenberg Foundation, Wellington’s new performing arts complex stands out as a beacon of excellence and a powerful symbol of the way the arts can transform both lives and communities – as well as providing a truly West End experience in the most beautiful of settings.
Close your eyes and listen and you’ll know immediately that we’ve arrived at the Music School. From arias to arpeggios, the school comes alive to the sound of music with practices and performances spilling out from the Music School walls. Individual practice and teaching rooms, with larger performance spaces, the Music School is superbly equipped to enable Wellington’s musicians scale the heights.
The imposing buildings and manicured lawns provide a stunning backdrop to many of Wellington’s most celebrated annual events, such as the Festival of Education, the Graduation Ball and the Iconic Master’s Callover on Speech Day. Moving into Waterloo Hall transports us back to the 19th century: this grand and formal room, home to concerts, lectures, dinners and dances was refurbished in 2015 as a living shrine to the Battle of Waterloo, its oak-panelled walls adorned with memorabilia.
Situated at the West End of South Front, the Master’s Lodge is home to James Dahl and his family who regularly host informal gatherings for the Wellington pupils there. With family life at the centre of College, the Lodge stands as an important symbol of Wellington truly being a home from home for all its pupils. The repairs to the front of the building bear witness to the German bombs which struck on 8th October 1940, killing the Master, Bobby Longden, as he stepped out of his front-door.
Apart from a confusing period in the 1980s when it was actually painted green, the Pink Pavilion very much lives up to its name as the focal point for Wellington College cricket, overlooking as it does the main College Cricket pitch and home to countless generations of outstanding cricketers, including current Surrey and England Lions players Sam and Tom Curran.
Just a short walk down from the Pink Pavilion and you will arrive at the permanently and professionally staffed Health Centre. The Centre has 9 bedrooms, full day facilities, and a team of 10 nurses on hand 24/7 during term-time to provide medical care and advice for all Wellington pupils should they ever need it. The College also employs a counselling team who are particularly experienced at dealing with teenagers. In addition, the Health Centre can provide asthma clinics, travel and vaccination advice, diabetes monitoring, sports massage, physiotherapy and the occasional chiropodist!.
Named after the 12th Master of Wellington, Hugh Monro, this iconic pavilion allows a perfect view of the unfolding action on Bigside (Wellington’s premier Rugby pitch) and one of our all-weather hockey pitches beyond. The perfect venue for after-match teas, spectators from all games are always guaranteed a warm, dry and lavish welcome under its soaring canopies.
If the Chapel is the spiritual home of many Wellingtonians, then Grubbies is perhaps the venue remembered with most affection by all, having served as the Tuck Shop for as long as anyone can remember. Snacks and sweets are still very much available, but these days the College Shop (as it’s officially known) is the only outlet where Wellington Uniform is stocked and sold.
The newly refurbished Studio gives our many dancers the space, privacy and freedom to inspire and delight, due to its dynamically sprung floor, picture windows and stunning views across Turf and back to College. Our full-time Head of Dance oversees both an academic and co-curricular programme of dance, and, whatever a pupil’s terpsichorean aspirations, the studio provides a hub and a home for all those with twinkle toes!
Our massive indoor Sports Centre houses an indoor pool, Squash, Rackets and Real Tennis courts, an extensively equipped fitness centre and technically challenging indoor climbing wall. Basketball, Badminton and Indoor Hockey all have their home here too, although from time to time the huge Indoor Hall plays host to school exams, parents conferences and even the House Singing competition!
Right next to the Sports Centre is our main Astro pitch, home to Girls Hockey in the Michaelmas Term, and Boys Hockey in the Lent Term. With our U14 girls becoming national champions at the Olympic Park in 2016, the Mansergh really is the field of dreams for so many of our budding sportsmen and women.
Outdoor Swimming Pool
This vast expanse of water, a lido-like throwback to the 1930s, comes into its own in the second half of the summer term when it comes alive to the gasps and shrieks of our intrepid early morning swimmers, determined to win the title of fully-fledged Maniac. The Maniacs trophy is awarded only to those brave enough to swim two lengths, before breakfast, every single day in June come wind, rain or shine – #onlyatWellington – but it’s surprising how many do complete the course. And where better on sunny afternoons than down by the pool to reflect on yet another fantastic year at Wellington!
With the College ranked as the best school in the UK for golf five years out of the past seven, it is no surprise that our own professionally designed 9-hole course is so popular with pupils, staff and parents at Wellington. With beautiful, tree-lined fairways, the course plays home to beginners and budding Rory McIlroys alike, and remains open throughout the entire year.
Nestled behind Crowthorne railway station — built in 1859 at the request of the College Governors to give pupils an easy means of reaching the school — is Derby Field. Home to many a rugby and cricket match on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons throughout the year, Derby Field provides a wonderful space to host many of the 25+ sporting fixtures in which our pupils participate on a weekly basis.
And where better to finish our tour than at Crowthorne station, with its quick and easy trains into Reading and Guildford. We hope you enjoyed this look around the Wellington College campus and have got a feel for some of the buildings and facilities we have. Of course, no virtual tour can match a visit in person to the College and we do hope that you will be inspired to come and visit us for real very soon.
Thanks for accompanying us on the tour round our grounds. We’d love to meet you in person and for you to get the real feel of our school…