Great Ealing School

Great Ealing School was situated on St Mary's Road, Ealing W5 London and was founded in 1698. In its heyday of the 19th century, it was as famous as Eton or Harrow, being considered "the best private school in England".[1]

Schoolboys with hoops painted by W. J. Franklin in 1809


The school first took up residence in Ealing's Old Rectory. This was a moated house with a magnificent garden which stood next to the church of St Mary where Ranelagh Road now runs and all the way northward, along St Mary's Road to Warwick Road. The school had a swimming pool, cricket greens, tennis courts and the once famous Fives courts. A row of five cottages were used as studies. Opposite the school was the parish workhouse, where the poor and infirm slept three or more to a bed.[2][3]

The future King of France, Louis-Philippe, taught mathematics and geography at the school. He did this to support himself whilst living in exile in Twickenham between 1800 and 1815. [4] Eventually, the Rectory succumbed to dry rot and had to relocate in 1847.[2]

It moved from the north side of St. Mary's Church in Ealing on the eastern side of St Mary's Road to the western side of the same road and was renamed The Owls, which then formed part of its crest. In 1874, it became a day school teaching vocational subjects such as bookkeeping. In 1879, it changed again, becoming a school for Jewish boys.[5]

It closed in 1908 and the roads Cairn Avenue and Nicholas Gardens now stand upon the grounds. The latter is named after the famous headmastering family of its greatest period.[5]


  • "The education was first-rate, particularly in the classics, and as there was no alternative to learn, the boys progressed rapidly, and the school turned out some bright fellows." Benjamin Armstrong, pupil and vicar.
  • "We had cricket and rounders, and in the winter months football; petty fives against every petty wall; hopping and hopscotch, patball and trapball, prisoner's base (or bars?), tops of several kinds, and multiform games of marbles." Francis William Newman, pupil (1812–1821).


  • Rev Dr David Nicholas - 1790s
  • George Nicholas
  • Francis Nicholas
  • Charles Morgan in 1874
  • Dr John Chapman from 1881

Notable studentsEdit


  1. ^ Lesley Adkins (2004). Empires of the Plain: Henry Rawlinson and the Lost Languages of Babylon. New York: Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 0-312-33002-2.
  2. ^ a b McEwan, Kate (1983). Ealing Walkabout: Journeys into the history of a London borough. Cheshire, UK.: Nick Wheatly Associates. pp. 40–42. ISBN 0-9508895-0-4.
  3. ^ Neaves, Cyrill (1971). A history of Greater Ealing. United Kingdom: S. R. Publishers. pp. 91–93. ISBN 0-85409-679-5.
  4. ^ a b Ealing and Brentford: Education, A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 7: Acton, Chiswick, Ealing and Brentford, West Twyford, Willesden (1982), pp. 162-170. Date accessed: 2008-06-04.
  5. ^ a b Oates, Jonathan (May 2008). "The days when this grand school truly was 'great'" (PDF). Around Ealing. UK: Ealing Council: 27. Retrieved 4 June 2008.
  6. ^ Hole, Robert (2004). "Pearce, Zachary (1690–1774)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 4 June 2008.

Coordinates: 51°30′23″N 0°18′26″W / 51.5064°N 0.3072°W / 51.5064; -0.3072