The school's original home - Mowden Hall, Staindrop Road, Darlington

Mowden Hall School was founded in Darlington by Mr Frank Marchbank in 1935. The school was evacuated to Fallbarrow, Windermere at the start of the war, before acquiring its present impressive site at Newton Hall, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in 1945. Originally a traditional, boys-only, boarding preparatory school, Mowden Hall soon became well-known as one of the north's leading schools.

Much work was done in the school's early years at Newton to convert the former home of the Joycey family, which had been built in 1835 by the distinguished northern architect John Dobson, into a fully-functioning prep school.

If you wish to know more about the early years of the school, you can read the Founder's own entertaining history, covering the years 1935-1958, elsewhere in this section of the website.

Below is a timeline, showing the main developments that have occurred over the course of the school's 70-year history.

1935 The school was founded at Mowden Hall, Darlington by F.H. Marchbank.

The school was evacuated to Fallbarrow, Windermere.


The school moved to its present site at Newton in Northumberland at the end of the war.


Mowden became a charitable trust with a Board of Governors


The swimming pool was installed, but being outdoor and unheated, its use was limited to the finer days of June and July.

1968 The rolling parkland was levelled and drained to create good playing surfaces for sports. Four new cottages were built to house staff and their families.

A modern classroom block was built.


The sports hall was completed.


In September a terrible fire swept through the main building, causing major damage, but fortunately no casualties. Rebuilding took place over the year that followed, during which time, lessons took place in temporary buildings and former classrooms made way for dormitories.
The first girls entered the school and Mowden soon became fully coeducational.


A purpose-built and highly practical theatre was constructed, which enabled music and drama to flourish as never before. It was opened by the actor Robert Hardy.


The pre-prep department was opened by Professor David Bellamy and has been a thriving section of the school ever since.


The former stables and out-houses were reconstructed to provide modern and spacious teaching facilities for Art, Science, Maths and English.


Mowdenians in their 7th Year started spending a term at the spectacular Château de Sauveterre, near Toulouse in south-west France. By agreement with the château's owners, Cothill School in Oxfordshire, Mowdenians still benefit from a whole term being taught French and all other subjects by French teachers, as well as making many invaluable educational and cultural trips in the region.


The swimming pool was enclosed, heated and extensively modernised.


A nursery school was set up in Arts Cottage, providing a natural transition for young pupils to move into the reception class of the pre-prep, next door.


A new playing field was prepared and laid out to take three hockey and rugby pitches behind the staff houses.
A new cricket pavilion was built alongside the cricket pitch established on Park Field.


Extensive renovations took place at the Château de Sauveterre, resulting in a thoroughly up-to-date teaching and living environment in what is still a beautiful 1820s building, containing much of the original furniture and fittings.

2007 Mowden Hall becomes part of the Cothill Educational Trust, ensuring the school's long-term stability, continuity and success.

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