History and Archives

The Cowper-Coles family owned the Ditcham estate in its heyday for about 200+ years until the mid-1860s. At that time the House was a hunting lodge and in the classical style of architecture. Laurence Trent Cave bought the Estate in 1887 and commissioned the well-known architect Sir Reginald Blomfield to build the House as we see it today. In 1940 the House was requisitioned by the Royal Navy as a convalescent home for wounded sailors and a train service was established to bring the sailors from Portsmouth to a station at Woodcroft Halt. After the Second World War the school was bought by a Catholic Educational Foundation and became a Preparatory School for Boys.

In 1976 the school buildings and 16 acres of land were bought by the School’s Founder, Mrs Patricia (Paddy) Holmes. She felt that educational changes introduced in the 1970s were having a detrimental effect on the education of children in the Portsmouth area and determined to establish an Independent School where she could create a curriculum which could meet the needs of local children.

The School opened on 14th September 1976 with 97 pupils on roll. The School has now established itself as an educational gem situated in the uplifting and inspirational surroundings of the South Downs National Park. Today the School admits boys and girls from 2 ½ to 16 and numbers have risen to 380+.

The Ditcham Archive

The School’s “Ditcham Connect” group is currently working to establish and maintain “The Ditcham Archive”.  Fortunately, given its relatively recent foundation, we are able to benefit from the memories of our Founder and several of her original staff and this is helping us enormously with our efforts – however, your memories and memorabilia are of equal value to the School and we invite you to get involved and contribute too!

There are many ways in which you can get involved, to help us fill the gaps from years gone by – particularly between 1976 and 2016

  1. The Ditcham Gazette – do you have copies of the DG you might loan or donate to the School Archive?
  2. The DPS Year Book – do you have copies of the DPS yearbook you might loan or donate to the School Archive?
  3. Do you have copies of DPS newsletters, your academic records, and reports, school trip photographs etc that you’d be willing to loan or donate to the School Archive?
  4. Do you have your old school uniform or blazer that you would be happy to donate or loan to the School Archive?
  5. Share your memories – perhaps your first day of School with all those stand out details that were special to you?

If you think you can help in any way please contact the Bursar, Denise Allen, in the first instance at or telephone 01730 825659 and ask for Denise.

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Life at Ditcham Park

Zach

Zac

Future DJ and Producer

Zac

Future DJ and Producer

Ditcham has encouraged me to flourish even in areas where I didn’t know I had skills. I am extremely proud to be Head Boy and to be able to help others as I was helped myself.

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Freddie

Future Secret Agent

Year 1

Freddie

Future Secret Agent

Year 1

I like playing in class. We play dress up games and I make the costumes for my friends. I want to be a spy when I am bigger.

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Jake

Future Performer

Jake

Future Performer

Performer. Ditcham has given me the confidence to develop as a performer – singing AC/DC at our Arts Festival was a bit different from what I usually sing in the cathedral choir; I loved it.

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Joseph

Future Policeman

Joseph

Future Policeman

I like all the books in Nursery. My favourite book is the one about sharks. When I am big I want to go and see lots of sharks underwater. I also want to be a policeman and drive a police car with a loud siren

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Nelly

Future Doctor

Nelly

Future Doctor

I love the creative feeling of school – there’s so much going on and everyone seems involved in something special. The responsibility of being Deputy Head Girl is one I am relishing.

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Zac

Future Engineer

Year 6

Zac

Future Engineer

Year 6

My teachers are really funny and they are always introducing something new and letting me do what I love. I want to be an engineer; I have been engineering paper planes this week.

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Daisy

Future Mechanical Engineer

Daisy

Future Mechanical Engineer

I feel supported by everyone at Ditcham – in my learning, my singing, my sport and dance.

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