Wellington School Digital Archives

Welcome to Wellington School's Online Archive

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Wellington School was first opened as Wellington Academy, in 1837, by Headmaster Benjamin Frost, in the building we still know today as School House. This was the year Queen Victoria ascended the throne, and the population of Wellington was just under 5000.

The first Register of Pupils still in the School dates from 10 December 1883, and the first Register of Confirmations in the Chapel of St. Michael and St George of Wellington School dates back from the 1940s.

Most of what we can learn today about the School comes from the School Magazines, which have evolved considerably since the first edition was published in 1898, under the heading of “The County School Magazine”. For this reason, much of the first entries into the Digital Archive contains Magazines from across the years.

The first entry in the very first School Magazine reads:

“It is with some trepidation as to the success of our venture that we present this, our first number, to our readers; we have come to the conclusion, that from the increase in our numbers, there is no reason why we should not possess a magazine, and one which should deal with matters of interest to those who are now at School … as well as to make our paper available to … those, who, in the past, have been in any way connected with us.”

The Magazine was published in the early days three times a year, in April, July and December, and has been published annually since that time, with one or two exceptions. Many of our alumni still possess their own, unbound copies of these magazines, and they provide a rich depiction of life in the early twentieth century, as well as a record of the major events at School. They are also a good source of information about members of the Old Wellingtonians’ Association, founded as the “Old Boys’ Association” in 1905.

Accounts of School life during the two World Wars makes for interesting reading.

The editorial at the beginning of the School Magazine dated July, 2014 ends “Not only have we given of the past, but our present boys are leaving us prematurely … and some have exchanged the prefect’s cap for the officer’s sword”. There then follows a long “List of Old Boys Serving Their Country” and a poignant collection of extracts from letters written to Masters at School. For the Editorial from April 1939, we learn that “As we go to press, the outstanding topics of conversation in School are the International situation and the Sports – both equally complicated, and to the local mind, of equal importance”.

Many of the School’s Archives have been placed in the Somerset Heritage Centre, which researchers are welcome to visit. But it has long been hoped that a digital archive can also be offered for Old Wellingtonians, amateur historians and family members to view. There are many thousands of pages of Archives which could be uploaded into this site, but all at some cost. The School has therefore paid for the cost of the first documents and we hope to be able to add to it, as funds become available.

Registration is free through the Old Wellingtonians’ Association website, and we would welcome your feedback.