Olive Willis wanted the new school to be on a hill, in the countryside and yet within reach of a town and a railway station. In 1921, her sister Dorothy came across a house in Berkshire which met all these requirements, The Cloisters, which had been built during the First World War for an organization which called itself the ‘School of Silence’ but had fallen victim to financial troubles. The purchase was completed in December 1921 and the school moved during the Easter holidays of 1922 along with many of the buildings from Kent, including the Chapel.

Water was an initial problem during that first dry summer until the ever-resourceful Miss Nickel drove a deep borehole close to the original water tower and struck an excellent source. The new school offered endless possibilities for the girls to enjoy the surrounding countryside; the grounds consisted of over 100 acres of woodland and open hillside and the woods beyond the school gates were theirs to explore.

Tours & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House is to experience it for yourself. Book a personal tour or join us at one of our Open Mornings, available throughout the year.

Book your tickets | Academic Conference – Maximising Pupils’ Potential | Thursday 13 June 2024
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