The Beginning of Dover College
The Beginning’s of Dover College;-
A gentleman called Robert Chignall (1840 – 1925) opened a small preparatory school in what is now St Martin’s House at Dover College in the 1860s for his main school at Westmount on the Folkestone Road.
On the 15th September 1871 the Dover College Company Limited was set up by a group of local business men, lead by the then Mayor of Dover, Dr Astley. at which point Robert Chignall relinquished all financial interests in St Martin’s House.
Dover College was established as a place of learning for the local community of Dover, under the Headmastership of the Revd. Canon W. Bell. MA (front row centre of the photo)
By the end of the year, pupil numbers at Dover College had risen to twenty – one. Most were under fourteen, now thought of as being preparatory school age.
One boy was just nine and several were ten. Of those twenty-one, nine were of public-school age, the oldest being fifteen. There were seven boarders and fourteen dayboys.
A 150 years later, after surviving two World Wars, which included two forced evacuations, the College grounds being taken over by the Army in the First World War and subsequently the Royal Navy during the Second World War, the “Great Depression” or “Great Down Turn” in the 1930’s, the flu pandemic of 1918 and more recently the Covid 19 pandemic.
The College has changed and adapted during its 150 years, and continues to do so, we only need to look at the last eighteen months to see how the College has adapted and grown stronger under its current Headmaster Mr Simon Fisher BA, who only took up his post in August 2020.
To celebrate Dover College 150th Anniversary, the College will be holding a special service in the College Chapel tomorrow “Founders Day” 12th September 2021.