When Prior's Field School opened on 23 January 1902, it was the fulfilment of a dream for Julia Huxley, niece of the poet Matthew Arnold and granddaughter of Dr Thomas Arnold, the headmaster of Rugby immortalised in the novel Tom Brown’s Schooldays. She had long cherished an ambition to open her own school. Having bought a five-acre plot and a moderate sized house designed by Charles Francis Annesley Voysey, a member of the Arts and Crafts Movement, she started her “high class school for girls” with just one boarder and her dog, five day girls and her seven and a half year-old son, Aldous.
For more about the history of the school, click here.
The Huxley Club is a school organization which incorporates the Old Girls’ Association (PFOGA), the PSA and the Friends of Prior’s Field. It brings the whole community under one umbrella and embraces all the different constituents of our school community. Please visit each section for more information.
A few of the famous faces who have attended Prior's Field School include:
OB 1902 - 1904 Writer. Aldous Huxley was one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. His mother was Julia Huxley, the founder of Prior's Field. He spent the later part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1963. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and wide-ranging output of essays, he also published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts.
Senior Fashion Style Editor, Vogue China.
After Grace’s time boarding at Prior’s Field with her sister Amy (now an Architect), she went to study at Central St Martins in London. Grace then worked at ID magazine for 8 years before moving from London to the Shanghai office to help launch the highly successful Vogue China. Grace is now based in the Hong Kong Vogue China office and is an influential figure in the Chinese Fashion industry.
OG 1941 - 1943 British philosopher of morality, education and mind, and writer on existentialism.
Baroness Warnock was created a life peer in 1985 as Baroness Warnock, of Weeke in the City of Winchester. She is a patron of The Iris Project and President of the British Dyslexia Association. To read more about Baronesss Warnock and her work please look at the 2013 edition of the Huxley magazine.
British author and playwright. Enid was best known for the 1935 story National Velvet which was filmed in 1944 with Elizabeth Taylor. She married Sir Roderick Jones (Chairman of Reuters) but continued to use her maiden name for her writing. She lived at North End House in Rottingdean, near Brighton, Sussex, the garden of which inspired her play The Chalk Garden which premiered on Broadway in 1955.
Her great-granddaughter is Samantha Cameron, wife of the United Kingdom's current Prime Minister
Painter and singer. She created richly coloured pictures notable for their symbolic and visionary qualities.
Blacker's pictures were commissioned for and exhibited in cathedrals in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. In England, her most conspicuous work is seen in sets of paintings on themes such as the Creation, displayed from time to time in Winchester, Windsor and Durham.
(born 5 April 1971) is best known for her roles in costume drama. She appears as Ruby Pratt, one of the major characters, in the BBC1 series Lark Rise To Candleford. Other roles have included Mrs Forster in the Emmy-winning British 1995 series Pride and Prejudice and Maria Bertram in a 1999 film of Mansfield Park. She also played Queen Victoria in the BBC-TV production Victoria & Albert in 2001.
The McKenzie Sisters
OG 1932 - 1936 Scottish poet. Elma first came to public attention with her poem ‘Thoughts After Ruskin'. She won a scholarship to Somerville College, Oxford to read English in 1941 and worked for the BBC and as a freelance writer and translator.
OG's 1921 - 1925 Scottish Painters. The McKenzie sisters specialised in wood engraving and water colouring. Daughters of the accomplished architect, George McKenzie, Winifred and Alison came to PF shortly after the Great War. They studied art at Glasgow School of Art and the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London. During the Second World War Winifred volunteered to assist Canadian and French Soldiers. Alison and Winifred taught at Dundee College of Art. A biography entitled “The McKenzie Sisters”, charting the family history for more than a century was published in 1996 (by A Clark).
Madeline Countess of Bessborough OBE
(born 29 January 1964, in Swansea, Wales) is a British interior designer and television presenter. She is best known for being a designer on the BBC shows Changing Rooms and House Invaders.
OG 1991 - 1998:
Actress, Writer and Teacher.
Having trained at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Annabel’s career has led to a wealth of on-screen and stage performances, from film and television to Shakespearian stage roles.
OG 1950 – 1955
OG 1950 – 1955
Founder of ‘The New Art Sculpture Garden’.
The New Art Centre was founded in 1958 by Countess Bessborough. The original gallery was located in Sloane Street, London. In 1994 it was relocated to Roche Court in Wiltshire, a nineteenth-century house in parkland. Together with the grounds, Roche Court is now used as a sculpture park and educational center where work is shown inside and out providing asurvey of sculpture for the enjoyment of the public. The New Art Centre represents various artists' estates. Including Barbara Hepworth, Kenneth Armitage and Antony Gromley.