Bedales celebrates 125 years

Posted on 25th January 2018

Bedales School is holding a number of celebratory events and activities to mark its foundation 125 years ago in January 1893 by John Haden Badley.

A concert on 6 February performed by pupils from Bedales, Dunhurst (Bedales Prep) and Dunannie (Bedales Pre-prep) will mark the re-opening of the school’s freshly refurbished Grade 1 listed Arts and Crafts Lupton Hall, built in 1911. Also over the next two terms, a number of former students will return to perform at the school, including musician Marika Hackman (19 April) and writer, broadcaster and former MP Gyles Brandreth (30 June). The Eckersley Science Lecture will be given on 17 May by Professor Roger Penrose of Oxford University, expert on general relativity and son of Bedales head girl of 1919. Tickets are available from Bedales Events.

A centre-piece of the 125th celebrations will be an ambitious 125 km four-day expedition for a group of students and teachers. The walkers, including Headmaster Keith Budge, will hike from the site of the old school, Lindfield near Haywards Heath, to the present site in Steep in June. This journey, very much in the tradition of John Badley’s early camping expeditions, will cover much of the South Downs Way. Pupils, parents, teachers and alumni will be able to track the group’s progress and to walk with the group along the route.

A new history timeline has been published on the Bedales website charting the foundation of the school and key milestones in its 125 year history alongside significant national and international events. On 27 January 1893, one 12 year old and two 14 year old boys arrived at Lindfield at a house called Bedales, rented by John Badley. Five years later, in 1898, the first girls joined the school and Mr and Mrs Badley were able to realise their ambition that Bedales should be for girls as well as boys. In 1900, the Badleys moved the school to its current estate in Steep, having purchased Church Farm and the farm house, Steephurst from Jane Balfour for £8,000. Members of the school community are invited to submit additional historical material to provide richer insights to life at the school.

Headmaster Keith Budge commented:

“I am looking forward to celebrating the educational vision of John Badley and the distinctive Bedales heritage as part of our 125th anniversary. Since its foundation in 1893, Bedales has innovated, championing a broad arts-rich education with students at its centre. I think that if John Badley visited today, he would recognise his powerful student-centred legacy - an environment that encourages creativity, independent thinking, learning through doing, and tolerance of difference.”  

Find out more about Bedales 125 celebrations | Bedales in the local press