Garden House School was founded in 1950 by Margery de Brissac Bernard (1896-1994). Miss de Brissac educated the offspring of diplomats and Prime Ministers including Winston Churchill and Alec Douglas-Home. Although not trained as a teacher, she had great experience of life, working at the Admiralty during WW1 and being a Red Cross nurse.
Following the end of WW2, she taught ballet in London. Success as a ballet teacher led Miss de Brissac to establish her own School. As a ballerina, her style, personal discipline and moral stance appealed to teachers and parents alike.
The essential principles established in those early years of goodness, kindness, forgiveness and a happy, purposeful energy remain at the core of the School and the essence of the Garden House child. Miss de Brissac was a memorial to dance, music, singing and learning, values which remain pivotal to how Garden House School thrives and develops.
In 1973, Miss de Brissac handed the ownership of Garden House School to Mrs Jillian Oddy, a parent at the School and now the Principal. Garden House has grown gradually. In 1973 it was a pre-prep for boys and girls with a smattering of older girls. The School has flourished, accepting girls to 11 years of age. In 1989, the Boys School was established and since 2009, boys may continue their education at Garden House to the age of 11. Garden House boys and girls are educated separately, except in Kindergarten. They are together for meals and for After School Clubs. In the 1990s, Garden House School opened in New York. Close links exist between the London and New York Schools.
In 2004, the School moved to a purpose-designed building in Turks Row. The girls and boys continued to be taught separately. The School is family-run and privately-owned. It is considered among the most prestigious pre-prep and prep schools in central London.
While respectful of our history, Garden House is grounded in the present while looking to the future for our children. Garden House prides itself on the long-term commitment of its core staff and the fact alumni return as parents themselves or as teachers. The School has an aesthetic which celebrates the appreciation of beauty in all its forms, with kindness as key.
+ SCHOOL GARDEN
The Garden House School garden is situated within the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, a short walk from the School.
The Garden is used in conjunction with the Curriculum. For example in Geography, when the children are studying rocks and soils, they work in the garden. In Biology, when studying how plants grow from seeds or studying insects and butterflies, the children spend time in the Garden. There is an open area to accommodate a class for discussions or teaching.
Each week, the Garden is tended by enthusiastic members of the After-School Gardening Club. Pupils, having chosen which vegetables and flower seeds they wish to grow, harvest their produce. They are in charge of their own plants and nurture them by watering and weeding. Their endeavour is well-rewarded with the children reaping bumper crops of carrots, cabbages and tomatoes. Flowers are cut and pot flowering plants are potted on for the children to tend at home.
From time to time, the Gardening Club hold sales of their produce outside the School. Through the use of organic leftovers from the School's kitchen we have established a wormery. The wormery produces fertiliser for the vegetable beds.
The Garden has two distinct areas. One segment comprises raised plant beds in which flowers and vegetables are grown. The other contains a wildlife garden with plants chosen to attract butterflies. The insect pile was created to attract a broader range of fauna to our flora, including insects and ladybirds.
The children and teachers prepared the ground to plant a living willow arch. The wildflower garden has been enlarged and the stepping stone path allows the children to immerse themselves in this meadow. The School Garden is an area of activity, productivity and learning but also one of tranquility. A far cry from its central London location and a valuable addendum to the School.
To find out more about the Royal Hospital Chelsea and to support their ongoing development programme click here Royal Hospital Chelsea.