History of Chesham Prep School
Chesham Preparatory School was founded by Mrs Christina Adlington in Chesham in 1938, a qualified teacher who had moved to Buckinghamshire from London. Together with her husband Ernest, who as the school increased in size acted as Bursar, Mrs Adlington soon assembled a dedicated team of people with sufficient talent and enthusiasm to make a success of the new enterprise.
Of the school’s early years, Mrs Adlington previously told the tale:
“A chance meeting brought me in contact with Miss Norah Sells who said that the little local Dame school in Chesham was closing down and a small private school was needed in the town. “That night the telephone rang and an unfamiliar voice said, ‘I hear you are starting a school’. I replied ‘Am I?’ Such is the grapevine in Chesham!
“On January 18th 1938 we set up school in a large upstairs room on the corner of Station Road in what was then the Conservative Club. The outbreak of war brought a large influx of people into Chesham and facilities in Station Road were no longer sufficient for the school’s needs. But, luckily, the tenancy of Orchard Leigh House was offered by a Mr Martin Mash and – in May 1940 – negotiations for a three year lease were concluded. The premises of Orchard Leigh House had previously been occupied by Champney’s Health Home and the necessary adaptions were made with the minimum of fuss. When the severe bombing of London took place, we were inundated with pleas for residential accommodation which resulted in our having 15 evacuees, and so our own living space was drastically reduced. During the war years we coped with a large number of children, and we were dependent on such staff as were available, It is to these staff that we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude for their loyalty and cheerful devotion during the many difficulties of this time. My aim for the school has been that it should provide an opportunity to enable parents from a wide cross-section of the community to choose independent education in a school with a family atmosphere and a Christian background”