Cambray

The name of Cambray has been associated with College from the very beginning. The original Cambray House was a fine Georgian house with a large garden on the site of the present Cambray Court flats in the town centre. Early members of College were proud to recall that the Duke of Wellington had stayed in it for six weeks in 1823. In 1853, when College was founded, Council leased the house from the owner Mr Baynham Jones; a schoolroom was added on, and there the first 82 pupils assembled on 13th February 1854.

Cambray House original

Twenty years later, when the numbers had grown to over 200 and College had moved to its present site, Cambray House became, for a time, a boys’ school. Then in 1889 Miss Beale herself bought it and made it, once more, part of College. For 25 years it was used variously (and often simultaneously) as an overflow school for girls on the College waiting list, a reduced price boarding house for poorer students, a school for ‘backward girls’ and a practice school for trainee teachers from College’s Secondary Training Department. It boasted ‘a properly built Swedish gymnasium’, a facility not commonly found in girls’ schools at that time. After 1914 it was used purely as a boarding house. (The fees in 1919 were 63 guineas per annum.) It was finally sold for demolition in 1937.

Cambray as a name, however, had too long an association with College to be abandoned. It was immediately bestowed on a red brick boarding house in Western Road previously called Downside, which since 1921 had housed juniors aged 8-12. When the girls from the old Cambray moved in, these younger girls were transferred to another house, the newly-opened Hatherley Court.

In 1938 Cambray was amalgamated with Glenlee, and the following year, before the outbreak of war, the house which had been Cambray was leased to the Air Ministry. It remained in Government hands throughout the war, as indeed did several other boarding houses, the whole of College having been requisitioned in September 1939; only the main buildings and a few houses were given back by the end of that year. During the war many of the boarders, divided by year group rather than by house, were accommodated (and to some extent taught as well) in ‘temporary houses’ in and around Cheltenham.

Cambray reopened, at last, in 1946. When the College preparatory school, Bredenbury Court in Herefordshire, closed in 1957, Cambray took in 23 girls from the top class who were awaiting entry to College. In 1962 the house was sold to the Cheltenham Old People’s Housing Society (founded by College’s third Principal Lilian Faithfull) and is now a nursing home, St Faith’s.

As before, the name survived. This time it was given to the modern boarding house built in 1960 to replace Bayshill Lawn, in Parabola Road, which had been destroyed by a German bomb on December 11th 1940. In 1982 this new Cambray was renamed Elizabeth and became a senior house for second-year Sixth Form girls. The Cambray girls, its previous occupants, had meanwhile moved next door into what is now Eversleigh (the home of the three junior day girl houses), which took the name Cambray until 1984. In 1985 the present Cambray was opened.

The present Cambray is one of two new senior houses erected in the grounds of Sidney Lodge in 1984-5. These two houses, designed by Dyer Associates, offer some of the most comfortable accommodation in College. The second house is called Beale, in memory of College’s most famous Principal.

HOUSEMISTRESSES

1889 Mrs Wright
1897 Miss Morison
1905 Miss Plummer
1906 Miss Thomas
1907 Miss K Bubb
1920 Miss M Pearson
1928 Miss R Laws
1946 Miss J Girling
1947 Mrs Clough
1949 Miss I Evans
1953 Miss J Hayward
1958 Miss R Lawrence
1969 Mrs A Hill
1975 Miss H McTurk
1981 Mrs E Hayward
1985 Mrs D Owen
2000 Mrs F Dooley
2004 Mrs J Roberts
2012 Miss H Washbourne
2014 Mrs A Mukasa