Godalming, Surrey> Picture Gallery> Godalming Section> This page
The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Godalming, Surrey
A selection of photographs and postcards of a Surrey country town
Frith Hill: Hillside Boy's School, 1879 & 1887
Hillside, 1879 - the house, pupils and staff


The top photograph is of the headmaster, staff and boarders of Hillside School. They are seated on rugs and chairs on the lawn in front of the school building, which had originally been built as an Hydropathic Establishment. This photo is enlarged in the following three images so we can see what everyone looked like. If you have an ancestor who was at the school at this time, please get in touch (contact details are in the footer).

1879. The house, pupils and staff - part
Left hand side. 18 pupils and 1 master.

1879. The house, pupils and staff - part
Centre. The headmaster, 3 masters, 15 pupils.
Mr. Curteis is holding his mortar board in his left hand.

1879. The house, pupils and staff - part
Right hand side. 1 master, 11 pupils.

Arthur Mapletoft Curteis, the headmaster, had been a master at Sherbourne School before moving to Godalming[1]. He was a son of George Curteis of Canterbury and matriculated from University College Oxford on 25 March 1852, aged 18. The following year he was elected a scholar of Trinity College and was awarded his B.A. in 1856 and an M.A. in 1858. He became a Fellow at Trinity in 1857 and held the fellowship for two years before moving on[2].

Whilst at Hillside he put forward a number of boys for scholarships to public schools. For example, in 1885 H. E. G. Wylie won a scholarship to Uppingham worth £30[3] and Exhibitions to Radley College were awarded to H. C. Frith and E. B. Leach[4]. In 1890 A. S. MacDowall won a Junior Scholarship to Marlborough[5].

Mr. Curteis also played a role in the public life of the town. He was made a magistrate in 1893, was a member of the Town Council and Burial Board and for a time Chairman of Farncombe Football Club. He retired from the school at the turn of the century and was settled in Kent in 1901.

The next two images were almost certainly taken at the same time as the photograph of the schoolboys with their teachers.

Hillside School, 1879
Unnumbered. Four female members of staff and a young girl are sitting on the lawn
in front of the house.

Hillside School, 1879, another view
No.5064. Four female members of staff and one male are standing by the back gate.
The girl standing by herself was probably Nora Margaret Curteis,
who would have been about 8 years old.

The next three pictures show Hillside, 8 years later. Two are of the exterior, and the final photograph is of the drawing room.

Hillside School, 1887
The school building had been extended.
The date is written in pencil on both this photo and the one below.

Hillside School, 1887. Another view
This view of the side of the building shows the new addition.
The premises had been enlarged by about a third. In 1881 there had been
37 boarders and in 1891 there were 35. In addition to the Headmaster
and his family, other members of staff lived in.

The images here are from a small book of photographs containing mostly 8.5 by 6.5 inch prints. In the front are these five nineteenth century photographs (excluding the enlargements of the large group photograph) of the boys' school, taken by a professional photographer whose identity is unknown. They appear to show Hillside before and after the building of an extension. The album's owner wrote the following in pencil inside the front cover: Nora M Curteis, of Hillside, Godalming. April 20th 1889. Her album also contains other pictures of Godalming, of Oxford and places she may have visited. They are stuck down, so we cannot see any messages, etc., on the back[6].

Nora Margaret was the youngest daughter of Arthur Mapletoft Curteis, headmaster Hillside School, and his wife Helen Maria. She was born on Sherbourne and died at the Eden Sanitarium in Darjeeling, whilst travelling in India, on 21 October 1901[7]. An announcement of her death stated that she was of Singtom Tea Estate, where her eldest sister lived at the time, and aged 31[8]. Her album survived and has been passed down through her family.

Drawing Room, Hillside School, 1887
The drawing room at Hillside School. It was lit by gas lamps.
Family treasures and paintings are on the walls and side tables; the bookcase is full and larger
volumes are stacked on a chair in the corner. A violin case has been left on a low chair whilst there is
sheet music on the grand piano which has its tail end, supported by one leg, fully extended. It was
about 5 feet wide. From its size in relation to the wide four panelled Victorian door, it looks as if it
may have been a concert grand. There is even a set of filing drawers underneath, necessary in
a headmaster's home.
And no Victorian chair was without an antimacassar to keep the back clean.

All five photographs of the exterior of Hillside School scanned and provided by Gavin Robinson. The three enlargements of pupils and staff are from the first of these images.
The interior is a modern photograph of one of the drawing room, taken by Jocelyn Robinson, and added in March 2024.
All are part of and © the Poyntz-Wright family archive, published here with their kind permission.
Page researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] Information from the 1871 census and "Western Gazette" 23 January 1880. Kelly's 1878 Directory" (under Farncombe also under Commercial) also shows Mr. Curteis resident in Godalming. He had left Sherbourne in 1876.

[2] Foster, Joseph (1888) "Alumni Oxonienses: the members of the University of Oxford", 1715-1886; their parentage, birthplace and year of birth, with a record of their degrees. Being the matriculation register of the University", p.328.

[3] "Pall Mall Gazette", 20 April 1885, Uppingham School.

[4] "Reading Mercury", 27 June 1885.

[5] "Reading Mercury", 2 August 1890.

[6] With thanks to both Jocelyn and Gavin Robinson for their help with some of the details.

[7] British India Office Wills & Probate, 1902.

[8] "Englishman's Overland Mail", 24 October 1901.

Godalming Pictures Index
Next page
Previous page
Elsewhere on this website
Godalming, Surrey (about)
Godalming, Surrey: Murder, Trial and Execution, 1817-18

Hillside: Hydro, Boy's School & Hotel