KIng's Mead School
Mr EPG Barrett MA writes: King's Mead School opened in 1914 when the main body of the new building in Belgrave Road was completed and the nucleus of the school moved from the nearby Hamilton House (then a school called St David's) to the new premises expressly designed to take up to 60 boys of preparatory school age (8 to 14 years) as boarders. The design of the school is said to have been based on the King's College Choir School, Cambridge where Mr CE Whelon, the first Headmaster of King's Mead had taught. Additions to the buildings were made from time to time as the years passed and the number of pupils increased. These included the Headmaster's private quarters, the Library, an extension to the dining room, the Chapel, the gymnasium with stage and carpenter's shop with the Sick Wing over the gym, additional classrooms and new changing rooms - also staff cottages and bungalows in the grounds and "Boundary House". Amenities added over the years included a tuck shop, a swimming pool, two cricket pavilions, a hard tennis court, model yacht sailing pond, roller skating area, a rifle range, a sandpit, boy's gardens, science room, history room, model trains room, and music room. The playing fields were extensive and amounted to nearly 10 acres of ground in front of the school buildings.
In 1918 Mr Whelon retired and handed over the school and Headmastership to Mr DLS Shilcock in whose hands the school went from strength to strength right up to the outbreak of war in 1939 when it moved temporarily to safer pastures near Bideford in Devon. In the meantime the premises were occupied by a Convent until the school returned to Seaford in 1945. Douglas Shilcock remained Headmaster for 33 years retiring in 1951 when my wife and I arrived on the scene with Mr P Holme (MA, Oxon) as Joint Headmaster. Our aims on taking over were to maintain the excellent reputation the school had won over the years for the physical and spiritual welfare and happiness of all its boys, and also to try to raise the scholastic standards at a time when admission to the country's Public Schools was becoming increasingly competitive and, together with this, to improve the school's competence on the games field which had become part of the school's life. In time we had a scholarship record to be proud of and a reputation for success in helping the less academically gifted over the hurdle of Common Entrance Examination.
Mr Holme retired as Joint Headmaster in 1961 in order to take up a similar appointment at Horris Hill School, near Newbury following the sudden demise of one of the partners there. EPG Barrett MA was then appointed as Headmaster and Mr MP Rawlins as Assistant Headmaster. During the next 20 years most of the many independent schools in Seaford faced severe economic problems and were forced to close. It was no longer possible for the smaller school (King's Mead had about 80 boys in 1960) to pay its way and at the same time to equip itself to meet the revolution in educational methods at that time taking place. Sadly it was decided that the best alternative for us was to amalgamate, if only partially, with another school geographically better situated and with similar aims and status. In September 1968 a number of King's Mead boys joined Stoke Brunswick School near East Grinstead , and the school premises in Seaford were sold, to be subsequently turned into a housing estate. One of the most cherished buildings was the chapel and its stained glass - now on display at the Seaford Museum.