Our History

The girls in blue: Our proud and colourful heritage

“One of our oldest old girls worked at Bletchley at the time of the Engima code-breaking, another has been the official doctor on several expeditions to the Himalayas, another is regularly seen on television as a team captain on Call My Bluff. At Tormead, anything is possible!”—Lady Hall, 2002

By the turn of the 20th Century, enlightened parents were considering giving their daughters a serious education. Some middle-class girls were even considering the possibility of employment – at least before marriage.

And that’s where the Tormead story starts…

Starting life in 1905 at Glebefields (a house in Lower Edgebrook Road, Guildford), the enigmatic Countess Zola Waloska was the first headmistress of a small private school with a handful of pupils.

A few years later, we moved to our current site when the owners of Tormead House invited the school to use their premises. It had originally been named ‘Tormead’ because the family came from Torquay and the house stood in a sloping meadow.

Tormead remained a small, slightly eccentric, but very happy school – while surviving the threats of a takeover in 1912, near financial collapse in 1935, and the two World Wars; led by a succession of determined headmistresses supported by equally committed staff.

Through the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, demand for places continued to exceed supply – and new buildings and renovations continued to enhance the school. Meanwhile, boarding provision eventually ended in 1988.

The school’s centenary year of 2005 was then celebrated in style, including a visit from the Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion.

In September 2020, David Boyd joined us as Tormead’s first-ever male Head – so the next exciting chapter in our history begins…

Where next?


Our Future