Above Nav Container

Off Canvas Navigation Container

Notable Alumni





The Foundations

Pangbourne College is a thriving, co-educational day and boarding school which is home to 430 boys and girls aged 11-18. In 2017, the College celebrated its Centenary Year, with a look back over 100 years of fascinating history and change. The brief history below explores some of the major changes in the past 100 years.

Originally called The Nautical College, Pangbourne, the school was founded as a training ground to produce high quality officers for the British Merchant Navy and prepare boys for the rigours and demands of life at Sea. Links were quickly established with the Royal Navy, and from its foundation the cadets (what pupils were known as until 1969) wore the uniform of the RNR Officer Cadets. The tradition of the uniform continues today, with our pupils wearing the No2 uniform for their day-to-day uniform, and the formal No1 uniform for major College events.


No1 uniforms on display at Founders' Day 1935.


The current girls' No1 uniform as displayed at the 2017 Centenary Flower Festival.


Becoming Pangbourne College

A major shift occurred in 1969, when The Nautical College Pangbourne became Pangbourne College. This change reflected changing times, with the reduced importance of the Merchant Navy to British industry, and an increase in applications to university and careers outside of the Merchant or Royal Navy.

Among those alumni educated prior to 1969, many achieved success in the Forces, with 20 Admirals, two commanding officers of the Royal Yacht Britannia, and one Second Sea Lord.  Since 1969, Pangbourne alumni have achieved success in a wide variety of business, sport and other industries. For example, two have become Lord Mayors of the City of London, and several have represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games.

Until 1927 life at the Nautical College mirrored life at sea, right down to hammocks instead of dorm beds. 


When an Old Pangbournian became Lord Mayor of the City of London in 2015, the Marching Band was invited to play in the Lord Mayor's Parade.


Going Co-educational

Another major shift occurred in 1996, when Pangbourne College welcomed its first full intake of girls and became fully co-educational. Since 2007, there have been two Chief Cadet Captains of College (Heads of School) per year, one boy and one girl. Today, 35% of the pupil body are girls, with plans in place to increase this further.

One of the earliest female single scullers to take to the water in 1996.


All Form 3 pupils earn their DofE Bronze Award as part of the College's outdoor activities programme, with many going on to earn Silver and Gold Awards.


The Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel

In addition to the original Devitt House and other buildings, our other iconic building was opened at the turn of the 21st Century. In 2000, Her Majesty The Queen opened the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel on her third visit to the College. Open to the public, this national memorial to the Falklands War was built to commemorate the 255 men and three women who lost their lives during the 1982 conflict.

The Chapel serves as the spiritual centre for College life. College Sunday services are held here, including a Remembrance Sunday Service in November. Each June, veterans of the Falkland Islands conflict and their families are welcomed back for a Remembrance Service. 

Above: the magnificant stained-glass window in the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel, designed by John Clark and given by Falkland Islanders to the Chapel. It evokes the sea, sky and landscapes of the Falkland Islands. 

This image was taken during the Centenary Flower Festival in October 2017, hosted within the Chapel.


The Flag Values

In 2006, the College adopted seven Flag Values, which underpin everything we do as a College and describe our ethos and outlook. They are Kindness, Resilience, Selflessness, Moral Courage, Integrity, Initiative and Industry. Our ethos is that of a pupil-centred, nurturing community, aiming to develop skills including teamwork, leadership, self-discipline and service in our pupils.

The seven Flag Values of Pangbourne College