Cranleigh Prep School officially opened its doors in September 1913 after the headmaster of Cranleigh senior school announced seventeen acres of land would be bought across the road for a school for younger pupils, called the ‘Preparatory House’ at Speech Day 1912.
There was one building (The Old House), owned by the Hardy household, where a few pupils younger than 14 went to lessons, but it was still very much part of the senior school community. Apparently, on the first day of school, somewhere between 20 and 25 pupils turned up!
R.A.H. Mehrtens was appointed the first official the headmaster; there is not a lot known about Mertens, but we can guess what his character may have been like from one particular end of year report of a pupil, who he described as being the ‘biggest non-entity’ he had ever had. This boy went on to become the Lord Chancellor of the Exchequer for England and Wales!
At the start of this school’s era, the only building was a shortened version of where the library, dining hall and girls’ boarding house is currently. Growth has certainly been rapid in more recent years.
The school has certainly changed in appearance greatly and one of the biggest changes has been the transition from an all-boys’ school to taking in girls for the first time in 2001.
More information about the foundation and early years of Cranleigh School can be found at http://www.cranleigh.org/1865/