The establishment of Cothill House in 1870 is essentially the foundation for the Cothill Educational Trust of today. The school started its life in Darlaston Hall in Meriden, Warwickshire by its founder C W Carles, a graduate from Lincoln College, Oxford. In 1879, when larger accommodation was needed, the school moved to the current site we know today. Cothill House was originally the parsonage occupied by the first Vicar of Dry Sanford, the Rev. H C Adams who had founded Dry Sandford Village/Church School in 1870. The property was purchased by C W Carles for the sum of £2900 and he set about expanding the school by building six dormitories, the Dining Hall and the Big Schoolroom. The fees were £100 per annum (boys under 13, 80 guineas), with a termly £1 charged for washing and £2 for Music. The boys started school when they were old enough to commence the Latin Grammar. In 1879 there were a total of 29 boys in the school; by 1881 the number had risen to 40.
The school changed hands in 1894 due to the ill health of Mr Carles. It was acquired by Messrs Dauglish and Knowles for the sum of £3000 – they had both been prominent athletes at Harrow. It was at this point that the first documentation of the school was initiated with names of boys entering the school, recorded on the honours boards situated in the Dining Hall – a tradition which still occurs today. In the early 1900’s the boys were taught Latin, Greek or Modern, Maths, French and English. The uniform consisted of a flannel shirt with an Eton collar, a Knickerbocker suit and strong boots. The boys had a daily cold bath and were allowed one weekly hot bath. Lunch in the Dining Hall was plentiful, with maids offering beef or mutton. After lunch extra fruit was provided to those whose parents had paid for it.
During the Great War, the day to day life at Cothill seemed largely uninterrupted but for the occasional aeroplanes flying over the school, which the boys were allowed out of the classroom to watch. There was one day, great excitement when an Old Cothillian landed in a Sopwith plane on an adjacent field to pay his respects to the Headmaster. However, there was a constant reminder of the war, when boys were sent for to be informed of a death in the family. On the 12th November 1918, Mr Dauglish announced the end of the war. Cakes and tinned fruit were provided for tea and the boys marched around the grounds waving flags. In 1920, a War memorial was commissioned, costing £400. It occupies the north wall of the Dining Hall and contains the names of 31 Old Cothillians that died in the war. Mr Dauglish continued to run Cothill for a further four years after the war; he was superceded by Mr Tomkinson who had always kept meticulous records regarding the finances. Messrs Dauglish and Tomkinson both received a salary of £50 per term and by 1922 the fees were £45 per term. In 1924, three tennis courts were created behind the cricket pavilion and a nine hole golf course was laid out. Senior boys were responsible for the upkeep of the bunkers and greens.
1927 saw the departure of the Tomkinsons and the arrival of Sam (aged: 39) and Dorothy Pike (aged: 37) and their three children. Mr Pike saw his job as training the Cothill boys to be the future leaders of Britain, men of integrity, wise, tolerant, kind men of vision and Christian ideals.
More to follow....