ISC - The Imperial Service College

The Imperial Service College plays a fundamental role in the character and history of Haileybury. The amalgamation of the two Colleges in 1942 re-established links which stretched back to the founding of the United Services College in 1874 by Cormell Price. It also cemented the place of Rudyard Kipling in the history of Haileybury itself.

ISC - The Imperial Service College

Early days of the ISC

In Autumn 1906, the United Services College made its final move, settling into a merger with St Mark's School at Windsor under its Headmaster, the Reverend C N Nagel.

From slow beginnings, the school increased in size from its original 60 pupils and, in 1910, it was mooted by the Imperial Service College Trust that the USC should change its name.

On 21 November 1911, a meeting of the Board of Governors decided to change the name of the "Old Coll" to that of the Imperial Service College, under the headship of E G A Beckwith, formerly headmaster of the Army School.

The merger of the ISC with Haileybury

For the next 30 years, the ISC became well-established at Windsor but by 1940 concerns were raised again that numbers were dropping.

Across the UK, there had been a national fall in public school numbers. In Haileybury alone, by 1940 numbers had dropped by 140 boys which began to threaten the very future of the College itself.

In the second half of 1941, following private conversations between two members of the Haileybury Council, Lord Aldenham and HE Seebohm, and two governors from the ISC, it was proposed that the two schools should merge.

Haileybury and Imperial Service College

On 9 January 1942, the Haileybury Council unanimously approved the amalgamation of Haileybury with the ISC.

However, this was easier said than done as during these early war years a number of Haileybury's buildings had been requisitioned by the Ministry of Health as an emergency war hospital.

Fortunately, after careful negotiation, space for the merger was made available at Haileybury for ISC pupils in Le Bas and Batten, which had been released by the Ministry.

A new chapter for the ISC

In 1942, when the two schools came together, 68 years after Cormell Price took 12 Haileyburians to "the Coll", 128 pupils made the journey back to start a new educational chapter in the Hertfordshire countryside.

It was important that the merger should be a success and that the new boys should not feel out of place in their new home.

The ISC's Lawrence House took over the original Haileybury Lawrence, with Major Nicholls as Housemaster and M G R Kingsford as House Captain.

The ISC's Connaught and Roberts Houses formed into a new house at Haileybury, Kipling House, as an affectionate and fitting reminder of the ISC's perhaps most famous son. Its House colours of black and green are quite deliberate too, mirroring those of two of the ISC's own Houses, Cambridge and Connaught.

Many of the ISC's memorials and archives were also transferred to Haileybury, as was the school's motto, "Fear God, Honour the King".

A fitting reminder and a permanent celebration of "the Coll" and its role in British history.

The old ISC at Windsor

Following the merger, the buildings in Windsor were now largely redundant. The bulk of them were sold off and used for other purposes although the prep school survived as Haileybury Junior School.

That school merged with Lambrook school in 1997, becoming known as Lambrook Haileybury. However, after 12 years this arrangement came to an end and, in 2009, all connections with Haileybury ceased.

Kipling honoured and remembered

Rudyard Kipling had a profound affection for "the Coll", as he described the USC. This continued long after it had become the ISC.

When Kipling died in 1936, his widow presented to the ISC the manuscript of Stalky & Co, his early novel loosely based on life at the USC in Devon. The manuscript was transferred to the newly-amalgamated Haileybury and Imperial Service College.

This, and Kipling House, stand as proud reminders of the USC and the ISC, ensuring a permanent reminder of Kipling's love of "the Coll" and establishing for all time Haileybury's proud links with one of Britain's greatest writers. This link was recently reinforced when the Kipling Society Library was transferred to Haileybury in 2014, where it is now maintained.

Learn more about Haileybury's history

Since 1809, the history of Haileybury has been associated with a number of educational establishments, fundamentally entwined with the history of the College as it stands today. Read more about these here:

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