History of Kingsmead

Founding of the School

Kingsmead School was founded at the turn of the last century by Arthur Watts, a mathematics scholar who graduated with First Class honours from Cambridge. He taught for 11 years at Arnold House, Chester, which later became part of Kings School. A staunch Christian, his interest in Scripture Union and Seaside Missions for Children brought him to Hoylake, in those days a small fishing village with vast stretches of golden beach and sand dunes. Liverpool was a hive of commercial activity, and the recently electrified railway link with Wirral could carry children to a new school; Kingsmead opened in 1904, with eight pupils.

By 1906, when the new Bertram Drive building was complete, the school had 36 boys and 12 boarders. Arthur’s brothers Hamilton and Henry joined as teaching staff and formed the backbone of Kingsmead School for many years. Following the death of Arthur’s father, his mother Marianne moved to Hoylake and built Verulam next to the school – named after her home in St. Albans – Verulam being the Roman name for the town.

Excursions were frequent and in 1907 the first school trip to Moel Fammau took place, a tradition which continues to this day. In 1908, a small library was set up and games of cricket and football were a priority. Sports were an important means of promoting confidence and physical fitness among pupils.

Key Milestones

1904 – Kingsmead School opens
1905 – Move to Bertram Drive
1906 – Verulam built next to the school as the Sick Bay
1911 – Additional building work and school grows to 61 boys. Inauguration of Old Boys Club with motto ‘Dominus Vitae Robur’ (The lord is the strength of my life).
1918 – The end of the First World War; 13 Old Boys had lost their lives.
1923 – Introduction of Preparatory school
1928 – Hamilton Watts resigns due to ill health
1945 – The school grew steadily after the war with 175 pupils registered. Gordon Watts becomes Headmaster taking over from his father after returning from serving in the RAF.
1953 – David Watts takes over leadership of Kingsmead from his brother
1953 – 58 School expansion including catering facilities, playing fields, gardens and purchase of Carlton Cottage (now Meadway)
1959 – Death of Arthur Watts, founder of Kingsmead School
1964 – School became co-educational and pre-prep opens
1966 – Kingsmead became a charitable trust
1968 – Indoor pool built
1975 – Girl boarders arrive at Kingsmead
1977 – The Theatre built
1983 – First prep school in England to establish an official exchange link with a French school via the Central Bureau for Education Visits and Exchanges