At the outbreak of the Second World War, Eric Millard is a teacher at The Hall Preparatory School in Hampstead. Assuming that London will soon be a target for German bombs, worried parents ask him to take a small number of boys to Claydon House School in North Buckinghamshire. Mr Millard agrees but, when the threatened bombing raids fail to materialise, he brings the boys back to London.
In September, as the Battle of Britain subsides, London finally becomes a target for daily bombing raids. The Blitz has begun. The lives of the boys are once more entrusted to Mr Millard, who this time takes them to Waterperry House near Oxford.
Others soon join the evacuees and in June they move to a new site at Farnham Royal. This now becomes known as ‘The Long Close School’.
The reputation of the school attracts more boys – boarders from London and day boys from the local area – so that by the end of the war, there are 66 boys in attendance. What started out as a temporary establishment has become a much valued new school. Accordingly, when the lease at Farnham Royal comes to an end, Mr Millard decides to move Long Close to permanent premises in Upton – in the former home of Queen Victoria’s dentist – where it remains today.
David Turner joins Long Close School as a Junior Assistant Master. Married to Mary, daughter of Mr Millard, Turner rises through the ranks to become Deputy Head.
Over thirty years after first helping to evacuate boys from war-torn London, Eric Millard retires as Headmaster, to be replaced by his son-in-law David Turner.
Under the careful stewardship of David and Mary Turner, Long Close evolves to meet the needs of a changing world. By 1988, when the couple retires, there are no longer any boarders, but there are a record number of pupils, including both boys and girls, with ages ranging from 3 to 13.
Long Close School becomes part of Cognita – a worldwide group of schools founded by Sir Chris Woodhead, former head of Ofsted. The number of pupils gradually increases to over 300, with the Senior School opening in September 2006. Long Close retains a close-knit family feel and respect for its heritage and traditions.
Long Close School will officially celebrate its 80th anniversary in 2021 with events for alumni and current families.