Our history

Discover more about the history of Downe House using our interactive timeline.


Founded by Miss Olive Willis and Miss Alice Carver at Downe House, the former home of Charles Darwin, in the village of Downe in Kent.


The School moved to Berkshire in March 1922 to start the Summer Term. Whole buildings are moved from Kent to Cold Ash. Construction of a new kitchen, music rooms and a gym started. Six classrooms and a laboratory are built and the Studio is completed.


The Library is opened by the Duchess of Atholl. The staff house on Red Shute Hill becomes the Medical Centre.


Excavation and construction of an outdoor swimming pool begins.


The new Dining Room and the South Wing (now Tedworth) are opened.


The Concert Room, Chemistry and Biology Labs are built.


A view from the Cloisters.


Every year, Seniors’ Weekend welcomed back alumnae with a massed gym display in the Cloisters.


The School’s 50th birthday: Construction starts on the Jubilee Hall and a commemorative tree is planted to mark the anniversary.


The first Science Block is opened by Professor Dorothy Hodgkin and Garden House was built as a Sixth Form Block.


Aerial view of the Downe House campus – the first aerial image of the school taken.


The new Science Block is opened by Lady Plowden, Old Senior.


The French Project begins and moves to Veyrines-de-Domme in 1991. Cohorts of girls start to spend a term in France which has become a highlight of every girl’s education at Downe House.


Mrs Emma McKendrick is appointed Headmistress – Mrs McKendrick is still Headmistress today.


The Farr Centre is opened by Old Senior, Clare Balding, a world-renowned TV presenter.


Downe House celebrates 100 years! Centenary celebrations include an event at St Paul’s Cathedral in London attended by four Headmistresses, Reunions for the DHSA, an Academic Study Day, Institution of the Medley Lectures, a Staff Fun Day, and a Girls’ Fun Day. Dr Christian Alexander, a member of the music staff, is commissioned to compose an opera ‘Olive Triumphant’ and a commemorative mulberry tree is planted by the Concert Room.


New Lower School Boarding Houses are opened to accommodate Darwin, Hermitage and Hill.


The Murray Centre opens – with a new 250-seat Auditorium, Library, Collaborative Learning space and a Coffee Shop.


Opening in 2021, Downe House Muscat is the world’s first authentic international girls’ school partnered with a premium all-girls’ school from the UK.

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The best way to find out more about Downe House Muscat is to arrange a call with our team.