We are extremely proud of our school’s rich heritage.
S. Anselm’s was founded in 1888 by William Storrs Fox, originally as a boys’ boarding preparatory school. He chose the school’s timeless motto ‘Esse Quam Videri’ – ‘to be rather than to seem to be’.
Over its 130 history, S. Anselm’s has evolved to become one of the leading co-educational independent schools in the North of England and true to its motto, the school’s traditional values of honesty and integrity remain.
The school flourished under Mr Storrs Fox, and each of his successors have added vital new dimensions to the running, facilities and ethos of the school.
1888 – Cambridge graduate and naturalist, Mr Storrs Fox opened the school without the promise of a single child as a pupil but established its reputation within a year
1889 – construction of the Aviary on the site of the now Headmaster’s Lawn (lasting less than a decade)
1894 – addition of the Dining Room wing and Museum
1900 – the S. Anselm’s uniform was introduced, with the recognisable S. Anselm’s blazer (which is largely unchanged)
1903 – new classrooms and a sanatorium were built to cater for increasing numbers of pupils
1927 – installation of electricity with electric lighting in throughout the main buildings
1947 – Headmaster Mr Piper introduced the school house system of four houses: Churchills, Nelsons, Pitts and Wellingtons (two further houses added subsequently were short lived)
1948 – the new War Memorial Library was opened in memory of those who had lost their lives in WWII (it was raised to the ground by fire in 1949 and rebuilt)
1951 – the Peak District was the first area to be designated a National Park
1959 – a new science block was opened
1963 – an outdoor swimming pool was built to commemorate the school’s 75th Anniversary, and with it, the inter-house swimming gala became a firmly established S. Anselm’s tradition
1976 – completion of a new school wing consisting of a hall/gymnasium (now the Hargreaves Hall), linking to the main school by the present corridor
1976 – with the introduction of the Pre-Preparatory Department, the school become fully co-educational, admitting its first four girls
1986 – the languages and art department building were created with the huge arched window in the art room
1991 – the Hay Field was transformed into Piper’s Field (now known as Top Field)
1992 – the Nursery was opened in dedicated, refurbished facilities (formerly Field House)
1998 – the Millennium Project was unveiled, setting out a grand new design for the school
1999 – the Millennium Sports Hall was opened by the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire
2004 – the 240 seat Hargreaves Hall, together with new light corridors and classrooms were opened (the final phase of the Millennium Project)
2007 – updates to the school uniform introduced kilts for the girls and allowed Prep School boys to wear trousers for the first time
2014 – opening of the new Library
2015 – opening of S. Anselm’s College, offering education to GCSE
2015 – first S. Anselm’s Piano Competition held
2016 – launch of the ®LEGO Innovation Studio
2017 – launch of the full sized all weather Tarbatt Astro turf on the former Bottom Field
2018 – Secret Garden created and unveiled with dedication of a new S. Anselm’s rose
2021 – S. Anselm’s Preparatory School awarded UK Prep School of the Year by Tatler Magazine
2023 – S. Anselm’s became part of the Birkdale family of schools