The Preparatory School

“The Preparatory Class has made a capital start under the direction of Miss Brimley. Nine boys have joined and several more are shortly expected. The School House dining-hall is used as a classroom, and the small boys are kept quite distinct from the rest.”

[The Brentwoodian, November 1892, p. 5]

No list has survived of the nine boys in the first class of Brentwood Preparatory School. However, in October of that year, the sports day programme mentioned a ‘Preparatory School race’ [November 1892, p. 6]. The winners included Monty Bean (Headmaster Edwin Bean’s son), and Ronald Savill (who died in April 1917 whilst serving with the Essex Regiment).

One of the first pupils in the Prep class was J. H. N. Ashbee (later a Classics Master at Brentwood School). He recalls in an article in the July 1948 Brentwoodian: “It was presided over by a middle-aged lady, called Miss Brimley, who wore dark glasses, took the little boys on her lap and dealt out punishment among the larger ones with a heavy black cylindrical ruler.”

In the Speech Day address by the Headmaster in 1893, the success of the new Prep class was given special mention [November 1893, p. 5].

By December 1908, the number of pupils had increased to 18, and seemed to be out-growing the School House dining room [December 1908, p. 2]. In 1910 the class, now looked after by Miss Powell, was moved to the former chemistry room [December 1910, p. 1].

Miss Powell retired as Headmistress in July 1917 and was succeeded by Miss Elsey, assisted by Miss E. Haynes [July 1917, p. 3.] Miss Elsey had joined the staff in 1911. She looked after the Prep boys for 30 years until her retirement in 1941 [April 1941, p. 1.]. According to her obituary in 1945 “she was delighted when she found outstanding ability, and some will recall the pleasure with which she told how a future Wrangler at the age of five enquired the correct spelling of eschscholtzia.”* [December 1945, p. 3].

In 1918 the Prep moved into the newly acquired Roden House [July 1918, p. 2].

*Genus of 12 annual plants in the poppy family

Want to find out more?

Brentwood School Archives includes Preparatory School photographs (from the 1920s), programmes of prize-giving ceremonies (from 1901), and a complete run of the Prep magazine, Incipe (which started in 1993), as well as other documents relating to the Prep. Please contact the Archivist for more information.

Prize giving 1901