Taunton School is synonymous with its neo-gothic main building and iconic clock tower that overlooks the green swathe of playing fields at the front of the school and 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of this flagship building.
We’ve been looking back through the archives to find out more about how it came to be the school we recognise today.
The current site on Staplegrove Road wasn’t always the home of Taunton School. Before 1870, the school occupied a site at the end of Wellington Road, close to where the Tesco store now is.
It was decided that a new more spacious location was required, and so the Fairwater Estate at the North end of Taunton was purchased in 1867 for £5475.
The foundation stone of the new building was laid in October 1867 and it was completed in the spring of 1870. In total, the build cost £16,189, around £2 million in today’s money. The commission was given to popular local builder of the day Henry Davis whose other works are dotted throughout the county town, including nearby Hestercombe House.
An opening ceremony took place on 14th June 1870 which involved a procession from the old school, led by a fife and drum band, to the new site, followed by a grand luncheon attended by the great and good of the local community. A prize giving was held later that day, a tradition that we still continue with the Commemoration held on the last day of term when awards are presented to students for outstanding achievements.
Taunton School continues to evolve to suit the needs of each generation of students that walks through its halls. This is in evidence this year with the construction of a new state-of-the-art dining room, officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal on 9th December.