About the School

‘A child’s mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.’

Hill House is the oldest London school in which every aspect of the daily administration of the school remains in the care and control of the founding family. It is a school that enables children from all over the world to have the opportunity to follow an English curriculum while learning that every nation is equal but different and that peaceful co-existence comes from mutual respect, understanding and consideration for others from diverse backgrounds.

Hill House was founded in Switzerland in 1949 moving to La Tour-de-Peilz in 1951 when the building in Hans Place, London was also opened. The guiding vision was that the modern child must be educated for a world community. He or she must be taught to understand that all nations depend on one another; learn to live with children of other nationalities; respect that which is unknown and often very foreign to them, and thus open the doors to belong to a world which each day becomes smaller. Hill House became the first school to teach in two different countries at the same time with the same children.

Hill House has always had an annex in Switzerland. The purpose built house in Glion, 2,500 feet above Lac Léman, hosts specialist courses throughout the year for selected pupils from London, providing experience of a boarding school environment in the setting of a mountain village in the French speaking canton of Vaud.

To assist the proprietors in the governance of the school they are supported by a Senior Advisory Group, drawn from a range of backgrounds, that meet regularly throughout the year.

The Townend family

The Townend family

A History of Hill House School

1949 July 15 Hill House starts with 20 students in the Institut auf dem Rosenberg, St. Gallen, Switzerland
1950 December 28 Winter courses start in Zermatt
1951 June 4 The English School in London opened at Hill House
August 1 Hill House International College starts at La Tour-de-Peilz
September 13 Hill House Pre Prep School opened in Hans Place
1952 January 21 The Duke of York’s ground first used for football and cricket
July 4 The American section moves from Hill House to Grosvenor Square
August 1 Hill House Tutors started at Hill House
1953 August 22 The British Ambassador attends Hill House International College students’ reception at La Tour-de-Peilz
1956 November 7 Prince Charles in Hill House uniform. The first Heir to the English Throne to wear a school uniform and attend school outside the Royal Home
1957 April 5 Hill House extension opened with 23 additional rooms
July 8 H.M. Queen, Prince Philip and Princess Anne attend the School Sports Day
1958 April 16 Colonel Townend elected a Chelsea member of the London Assembly
July 1 Hill House International Chalet opened at Vennes, Lausanne
1959 July 12 First Upper School Summer Course held in Switzerland
December 13 First Upper School Ski Course held on the Rochers-de-Naye
1960 April 27 Hill House becomes a Preparatory School with 150 boys
September 20 Hill House in Switzerland moves from Lausanne to Glion-sur-Montreux
1964 September 7 The complete conversion and equipping of Hill House in London, completed after 13 years of continuous building
1965 September 6 Hill House changes from a Preparatory School to an International Junior School, with 200 Boys
October 11 Work starts on the foundations of the new Hill House at Glion
1966 September 13 The new Hill House at Glion opens with two Upper School forms. Hill House becomes the first school in the World to have two buildings, each in a different country, but with the same boys
1968 July 13 Haute Cime, the highest point of the Dent du Midi, 10.696 feet, reached for the first time by Hill House boys after a two-day climb
1969 September 2 Hill House expands to 300 boys, divided into twenty-five forms, twenty-two in England and three in Switzerland
1972 September 5 Hill House expands to 400 boys, divided into thirty-six forms
October 1 John Budgen builds the school organ
1973 August 31 The second ten year building programme completed, giving the school 65 rooms in London and 15 in Switzerland
1976 September 4 Hill House reaches its maximum size of 675 boys, divided into 56 forms in England plus two forms in Switzerland, exactly twenty-five years after the school started in London in September 1951 with one boy
1977 January 11 Pre-prep section with 16 forms moves to Milner Street
1978 April 28 Hill House Top School starts in Flood Street
1980 April 22 Small School for boys aged 3 to 5 years opens in Old Church Street
1981 January 14 The first weekly General Assembly held at St. Columba’s Hall
September 23 Public announcement at the General Assembly that Hill House would start enrolling girls and become fully co-educational
November 16 Small School moves to Flood Street with 16 forms
1983 June 20 The number of girls in the school passes 100. For the first time girls go to Glion and pass the Common Entrance Exam to Public Schools
1984 February 14 Mrs. B.M. Townend, founder of Hill House School, dies peacefully in her sleep at her home in Glion, Switzerland
September 1 The number of girls in the school passes 200 and the total in the school reaches 903, divided into 70 forms
November 19 The three Glion Divisions, 10 forms, move into new classrooms in Pont Street
1986 January 30 Mr. Huon Mallalieu, the school’s first pupil in 1951, unveils the portrait of Colonel Townend by Mr. Michael Noakes, PPROI, RP
1987 March 18 Colonel Townend made a Freeman of the City of London at a ceremony in the Guildhall
1988 September 1 The total number of boys and girls in the school passes 1,000 with 120 full time teachers
1989 February 23 Hill House is the subject of the BBC “40 Minutes” programme, which is repeated in England on April 9 and again on September 20 and shown in various countries overseas
May 14 Australia television start filming in London and Switzerland for their Hill House documentary shown in Australia and New Zealand in “60 Minutes”
October 23 Hill House in Switzerland expanded to take 44 boys and girls
1990 April 18 The number of girls passes 400
November 1 Upper School moves into Nos. 15, 17, 17a Cadogan Gardens
1993 January 1 Full time teaching staff reaches 120 tutors plus 20 part-time Music Tutors
January 13 The Oval Indoor Cricket School used every morning
1994 April 20 Transitus and Pre-prep are joined together to form Middle School of 10 forms
1999 April 23 700 former pupils attend an evening reception in St. Columba’s Hall to celebrate the School’s first 50 years
2002 October 26 Colonel Townend dies having been Headmaster for 51 years. He is succeed by his Son and Daughter-in-Law
2005 January New Annexe opens in Pont Street with 14 additional rooms
2009 October Purchase of the former Welsh Congregational Chapel in Radnor Walk to become Founders’ Hall, a centre for Art, Drama, Music, IT and Sport