Title ID 1370Collection ID274
TitleFan Court: Preparatory School for Boys
Date[ca. 1930s]
CollectionFan Court School
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurEducationalNon-fictionActuality/Factual
ThemePublic Services
KeywordsChildren Education Leisure Time Activities Schools Sport
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionNot known
ParticipantsMr. T.C. Elliott (Headmaster); Mrs T.C. Elliott; Colonel MacGregor (Honorary Treasurer); Mrs MacGregor
FormatBlack & White Silent
Duration15 min. 10 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


This amateur film with intertitles contains outdoor shots of the pupils, staff and grounds of Fan Court Preparatory School for Boys at Chertsey. Many of the images are posed group shots, capturing the participants between classes and during sporting activities.


Shots of the school gates and grounds lead the viewer to the main school building. A queue of boys in school uniform wait for Sunday School - they start to play fight as the queue lengthens. Exterior shots of the school and the boys doing cross country in the extensive grounds follow. A number of posed shots show some of the adults connected with the school - the Principal Mr T.C. Elliott and his family, and a group of teachers (male and female). The boys keep themselves entertained between classes by putting golf balls, playing football and eating hot soup and biscuits on a winter's morning. Fireworks and a bonfire light the night sky on Guy Fawkes night. The junior eleven football team are seen in training before playing against a team from Cordwalles School. The senior eleven football team and two of the youngest juniors are paraded for the camera before the school breaks up for the Easter holidays.

Contextual information

The production context of Fan Court. Preparatory School for Boys (1930s) is not known, but it is likely that it was filmed as an informal record of the school and its members, to be screened to pupils, parents and staff.

Fan Court School for Boys was founded in 1932 and was originally based at The Lodge in Banstead - it had only 9 pupils. In 1934 Mrs Violet Hay purchased the school as a Christian Scientists boys' prep school and moved it the Fan Court Estate at Long Cross, Chertsey (700 acres which had been divided up and sold after the death of its owner Sir Edward Stern in 1933). The campus comprised the mansion and approximately 29 acres of the former estate. The Ministry of Education carried out the school's first inspection in 1941, finding it 'efficient'. In 1948 The Friends of Fan Court Association was formed as a fundraising body for the school. In 1979 the campus was sold when the boys school amalgamated with the Claremont School for Girls in the previous year, forming Claremont Fan Court School in Esher.

Fan Court, Preparatory School for Boys [1930s] serves as a visual document of an independent, single-sex prep school pre-Second World War. Independent, fee-paying schools have been an integral, albeit small, feature of the education system in England and Wales during the 20th and 21st centuries. They have traditionally served the education needs of the upper-middle class and upper-class, typically providing boarding facilities (as evidenced in the film by the presence of suitcases when the boys leave for the Easter holidays). Screen Archive South East holds two other films of Fan Court School, [Boys at Fan Court - Pre-1939] (1930s) and Fan Court (1952 - 1955), whilst [Girls at Claremont School] (1930s) and [Girls at Claremont School] (mid-1930s) offer amateur records of Fan Court's 'sister' school for girls.

Related titles

Related resources


Tringham, H.J.F. The Story of Long Cross. n.p.: n.p., 1934

A history of Long Cross, Chertsey. Copies of this book are available at the Surrey History Centre.


The National Archives

The National Archives at Kew houses records relating to Fan Court School dating ca. 1941. The National Archives' database is searchable online.

Surrey History Centre

The Surrey History Service collects and preserves archives and printed material relating to all aspects of the history of Surrey. The Surrey History Centre (SHC) houses two collections relating to Fan Court School dating 1922-1979, including log books, admission registers, photographs and personal letters. The SHC collections catalogue is searchable online.


Claremont Fan Court School

The website for Claremont Fan Court School which was the product of the amalgamation of Fan Court School for Boys and Claremont School for Girls in 1978.