It was in 1901 that the Salesians started a small school for the boys of the district, by taking charge of an orphanage in Queen’s Road, Farnborough. This work was undertaken at the urgent request and with the full encouragement of the ecclesiastical authorities of the Diocese of Portsmouth. The first school was home to approximately 40 boys and was housed in what was previously an old tin factory.
As the number of boys increased and as boarding requirements became heavier, more building took place. A new dormitory was added, a small refectory and some additional classrooms. As the First World War drew near, the new wing and tower comprising dormitories, lavatories, etc., on the upper floor, and the staff refectory and up-to-date kitchens on the lower floor, were created.
During the Great War 58 former pupils fought and died for their country and many others took part and were awarded several decorations. In 1916 the area which is now the playground was acquired. The playing fields in Park Road were bought and were used in the War effort for the Grow More Food campaign. It was not until after 1921 that they came into full use. In 1927 property to the north of the playground was purchased.
During the interwar period, new classrooms were built on the far side of the church lawn, the offices of the Prefect of Studies were extended and the Cadet Force hut and new classrooms were built. Tennis courts, Ambulacrum (the covered way in the playground) and the area at the junction of Reading Road and Peabody Road were turned into a preparatory school. The number of students also continued to grow during this time, with the total role reaching approximately 200 pupils prior to the Second World War.
The end of the War brought many different emotions with the editor of the first postwar School Magazine writing:
“Among the townsfolk here in Farnborough, the College has come to be known as “The School of heroes,” so outstanding the deeds of gallantry which it’s former alumni have performed, so many the decorations they have won.”Salesian College Magazine, 1946
Complete figures of the number of Old Boys who served in the war are not available but incomplete records indicate it was over 500 who served.
In 1956 work began on the present Blackburn Building. It provided ten new classrooms, a new hall, gymnasium and changing rooms. In 1963 new laboratories and a lecture hall were built alongside the new school.
Salesian College finally became an independent grammar school in 1966. In 1970 the preparatory school was discontinued and three years later the Salesian Sisters left. In 1979, for the first time in its history, Salesian College had no boarders. From then on it became exclusively for day pupils.
In 1997 the Delmer building was completed, providing the school with new I.C.T. facilities, Art rooms, Staffroom, Technology Suite, Classrooms and Office accommodation. In 1998 the Sean Devereux Sixth Form centre was refurbished and extended. In 1999 the original College building at Sherbourne Road was demolished and in its place now stands the parish church Our Lady Help of Christians.
The College has continued to grow in numbers, moving from two form entry to its present four form entry in Years 7-11, to reach the 600 students it is today. In 2007, the College welcomed girls into the Sixth Form for the first time as the Sixth Form became Co-educational. The College also continues to thrive, and over the last 10 years has expanded its facilities with the new McGuiness Music School, Wilson 3G Pitch, and Sutherland Wing.
Salesian College continues to be Excellent
Salesian College Farnborough is delighted to announce that the College continues to be graded ‘Excellent’ by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (equivalent to Ofsted ‘Outstanding’).
Mr Gerard Owens, Headmaster said, “I am overjoyed that the inspectors witnessed and reflected what we see every day: that Salesian College develops a family community where people matter most and whose outstanding levels of academic progress, sporting excellence, creative achievement and exemplary behaviour are facilitated by our compassionate and caring ethos.”
“We are extremely proud that the vision of St John Bosco continues to be recognised as excellent and that, as he himself said “…education is a matter of the heart”.