Bellairs

Bellairs, the new junior day girl house, is named in honour of one of College's ‘founding fathers’. It was at the house of The Reverend Henry Walford Bellairs, H M Inspector of Schools for Gloucestershire, that the decision was taken, on 30 September 1853, ‘to establish in Cheltenham a Proprietary College for the education of Young Ladies ...’. Present at that meeting, besides Mr Bellairs himself, were the Principal and Vice-Principal of Cheltenham College, founded 12 years previously, and three other local gentlemen; these six formed the first governing Council. Shortly afterwards, the Reverend Francis Close, a prominent and highly-influential churchman, was offered the honorary position of President of the Council, and Mr Bellairs took on the much more active role of Vice-President.

Five years later, when the young Dorothea Beale applied for the post of Lady Principal (as it was then called), the Reverend Bellairs gave her his full support and won her trust and friendship in return. Miss Beale's diary records that he came to breakfast with her on the day after she was appointed. She then unexpectedly faced questioning and criticism from certain members of the Council over her religious views (a very serious matter in mid-nineteenth century Cheltenham), which so dismayed her that she thought of resigning the post. Mr Bellairs' wise guidance, and no doubt his influence with the Council, saved the situation, and Miss Beale entered on the long Principalship which was to lay the true foundations of College as we know it today. Mr Bellairs saw it through almost to the end: appointed a Life Member of Council in 1875, he died only in 1900, a mere six years before Miss Beale herself.

Meanwhile he was very much a 'founding father' in another sense too. At least four of his daughters, Mary, Annie, Frances and Gertrude, passed through College in the early years, and his two small sons, Walter and Alban, were in the mixed Kindergarten - a record probably seldom equalled, even in those days of large families.

The new house is based at Eversleigh, the newly-refurbished Day Girl Centre in Parabola Road, which is also the home of St Clare and Glengar, the other two junior day girl houses. The Bellairs tie and scarf are black with narrow bands of green, white and gold: colours derived from the College coat of arms and its heraldic daisy.

HOUSEMISTRESSES

1999 Miss T M L Black
2008 Mrs J Noel-Davies
2012 Mrs S Sandys
2016 Mrs I Mitchell (maternity cover)
2017 Mrs V Davidson