Princess Helena College

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PHC Hitchin
, ,

Coordinates51°54′34″N 0°16′58″W / 51.90943°N 0.28291°W / 51.90943; -0.28291Coordinates: 51°54′34″N 0°16′58″W / 51.90943°N 0.28291°W / 51.90943; -0.28291
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
Local authorityHertfordshire
PresidentThe Duchess of Gloucester[1]
HeadMrs Sarah Davis
GenderCo-ed (from Sept 2019 Boys in Years 7 and 12)
Age11 to 18
HousesGloucester, Windsor and York
Colour(s)purple, green

PHC is a co-educational independent day and boarding school for students aged 11 to 18 in Preston near Hitchin in Hertfordshire, England.

Set in 100 acres of beautiful Hertfordshire countryside, Princess Helena College combines academic excellence with a wide range of co-curricular opportunities and outstanding individual attention.

The school is housed in a Queen Anne country house, formerly known as Temple Dinsley, which was redesigned by Edwin Lutyens, at the same time as the gardens were designed by his great friend, Gertrude Jekyll.[2] The house is listed Grade II* on the National Heritage List for England, and the gardens and landscaped park are listed Grade II* on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.[3][4]


Princess Helena College was founded by Miss Sophia Williams in 1820 for daughters of officers who had served in the Napoleonic Wars and daughters of Anglican clergy. It was originally established in Mornington Crescent, London, before moving to Regent's Park and then Ealing. The school moved to Temple Dinsley in 1935.[1] In 1874, Princess Helena, Queen Victoria's third daughter, became President of the college, and the school has enjoyed royal patronage ever since. From 2019, the college will accept boys at age 11 and age 16.

House system[edit]

Each new pupil is allocated to one of three Houses: Gloucester, Windsor or York. The House system offers a platform for pupils of varying ages to work together, whether it be choreographing a House dance or researching for public speaking. House points are awarded for each event and students can also earn points for excellent pieces of work.[citation needed]


There is one Boarding House, which is situated in the Main School. Year 11 and Sixth Form students have single rooms while all other year groups share rooms with a number of peers depending on their age. There are common rooms, kitchens and other spaces for relaxation and games. Boarders have access to music practice rooms and sports facilities in evenings, together with a varied range of weekend activities.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c "History". Retrieved 26 April 2008.
  2. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1307766)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 April 2008.
  3. ^ Historic England, "Princess Helena College, Temple Dinsley, with terraces, steps, walls, railings, gates, pergolas, and garden buildings (1307766)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 15 February 2018
  4. ^ Historic England, "Temple Dinsley (1000919)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 15 February 2018

External links[edit]