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Mount Kelly can trace its roots back to late 1860s following a bequest from Admiral Benedictus Marwood Kelly, to found a school for the ‘sons of naval officers and other gentlemen’.

Admiral Kelly was a very successful 19th Century Admiral and played a significant role in the elimination of the slave trade… more about him here…

In recognition of Admiral Kelly’s generosity, William, 8th Duke of Bedford gifted land from his Tavistock estates for its construction. The School opened in October 1877 under the Headmastership of Robert West Taylor, late fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, who previously taught at Rugby School, with twelve boys on the school roll. Since its foundation, the School has flourished, both in numbers and in reputation, and was one of the first of the great Victorian public schools to become co-educational in the 1970s.

The school has merged with other institutions at various points, first with Newton College in 1940 and more recently with Mount House School in 2014. Mount House School also boasts an illustrious heritage. Founded in Plymouth in 1881, it moved to Tavistock 1940 and quickly established itself as the leading boarding prep school in the South West, sending boys and, since 1996, girls on to many of the most prestigious public schools in the country.

Pupil numbers across the School now exceed 600, and although traditional in many ways, the School is very forward thinking. As our 5 Year Strategic Plan indicates, the future is very exciting for Mount Kelly.

A mark of the confidence with which the Foundation is looking to the future is the recent construction of a new 50m Olympic swimming pool, which opened in September 2016. This has enabled the internationally renowned Mount Kelly Swim Programme to grow and develop. Led by Emma Collings-Barnes, alumni of the swim programme have won a total of 37 Olympic and Commonwealth medals over the last 30 years, counting amongst their number Sharron Davies and two-times Commonwealth Games Silver Medallist Cameron Brodie. Other outstanding recent successes include the achievements of Claire Cashmore, the IPC World Champion, and the current World Champion Para Triathlete Lauren Steadman, read more here

Other famous Mount Kelly alumni include: Dawn Airey, CEO at Getty Images (former Yahoo executive and Chairman of Channel 5); Lord Owen, former Foreign Secretary and Leader of the SDP; novelist and former ITN correspondent Gerald Seymour; author Peter Hitchens and his journalist brother Christopher; actor Adrian Lukis; former England Rugby Captain Philip de Glanville; Adedayo Adebayo who played rugby for England between 1996-1998; and endurance swimmer and ocean advocate, Lewis Pugh.