Sidney Lodge

Sidney Lodge opened to its first six girls in May 1892 at a large house on the corner of Western Road. In its early years it was run by Lady Green and her two daughters, Kate and Lucy. At that time, and indeed for several more decades, Sidney Lodge and Glenlee were the two most expensive boarding houses and were socially rather exclusive, taking girls mainly from wealthy upper-class families. (Boarding fees were standardised only in 1934, when a flat rate for all houses of £141-159 per annum, depending on age, was introduced.)

In 1914 Sidney Lodge moved to its present home, which was originally called Bayshill House. Built in 1860, it stands on the site of an earlier house belonging to Lord Fauconberg, where George III stayed during his visit to Cheltenham in 1788. The first occupant of Bayshill House was Baron de Ferrieres, Mayor of Cheltenham and a considerable benefactor to the town over many years.

The girls were not overjoyed at the move. “Our only consolation” one of them wrote, “is that the house is taking its name with it.” Their old house, meanwhile, was renamed Eversleigh and given over to the staff and girls of Eversleigh House in Parabola Road, which was about to become a College-run Red Cross hospital for the duration of the First World War. Since Bayshill House became Sidney Lodge in 1914 it has been enlarged and modernised several times. In 1930 a new wing was added and central heating installed. In 1939 it was extended again, and the number of girls in residence increased from 29 to 38.

At the outbreak of war in 1939, all the College buildings were requisitioned by the Government. Most of the boarders, divided for the time being by age-group rather than by house, were placed in temporary boarding houses in and around Cheltenham. Sidney Lodge was fortunate in being one of the seven houses which were back in College hands by January 1940, after just one term, but it re-opened with groups of girls of all ages from various houses. Normal boarding house life was not restored until after the war. The Housemistress Mrs Restell-Little, who had looked after the house through most of the war, left in 1944 to become the first House Mother at Bredenbury Court, the new College preparatory school in Herefordshire.

In the 1960s, Sidney Lodge was threatened with closure because, being relatively small, it was uneconomical to run. In 1971, a move to the more spacious Hatherley Court was suggested as a solution to the problem; however, the following year Council decided that Hatherley Court itself would have to be sold because it was too far from College. To the relief of the staff and girls, Sidney Lodge remained as it was, for the time being.

In 1985 the house was further extended, raising the full complement from 41 to 66 girls. At the same time two new Sixth Form boarding houses, Beale and Cambray, were built in the grounds. Although linked to the old house, these low-rise buildings are so successfully concealed within the boundary walls that, from the outside, Sidney Lodge appears almost unchanged.

In the summer of 2000, the dining room at Sidney lodge was extended and refurbished, creating an attractive and convenient room for everyday use and a good venue for social occasions.

HOUSEMISTRESSES

1892 Lady Green
1899 Miss K Green
1905 Miss L Green
1914 Mrs Sealy
1917 Mrs Brandreth
1925 Miss E Wraith
1935 Miss E Faulkner
1936 Miss F Sadler
1939 Miss R Wace
1940 Miss D Brsinovich
1940 Mrs G Restell-Little
1945 Mrs Downing
1946 Miss M Silverwood Cope
1947 Miss K Roberts
1958 Mrs M Francis
1975 Mrs K Simmons
1977 Mrs I Line
1978 Mrs H Ezzy
1981 Mrs B Barrett
1984 Miss S Carroll
1989 Mrs E Lindsay-German
1997 Mrs M Anderson
1999 Mrs R Bamber
2001 Miss M Ralph
2011 Mrs T Doughty-Davies
2013 Miss S Wiseman
2016 Mrs S Godfrey