The school was a public fee paying school for 10 to 18 year olds. Fees were £12 per annum (£4.00 per term) and students had first to pass an entrance examination. Scholarships were available. The first Headmaster was Sidney C Nunn with Miss W E Wilkinson as Senior Assistant Mistress.
When opened the school had 73 pupils and four members of staff. It was however built to accommodate 400-450 pupils and numbers gradually grew to meet this target.
In the school Prospectus for 1931 the ‘subjects of instruction’ were:
Classical and Modern Languages
with provision made for Physical Training
The school colours were green, white and red and the badge or crest, which is still in use today, was taken from that part of the Borough of Godalming’s coat of arms that illustrated Godalming’s connection with the See of Salisbury.
Among the school governors at the time was Lady Jekyll, wife of Sir Herbert Jekyll, brother of Gertrude Jekyll the celebrated Victorian landscape gardener. On 28th May 1931 Lady Jekyll held a garden party for staff and pupils of the school at the family home at Munstead House. This became an annual event which in 1934 became the Parents Association Garden Party and was transferred to the School.
Other notable events during its first year of existence were the Dramatic Society production of Julius Caesar, numerous visits including; the Royal Mint, the Tower of London and the Royal Victoria and Albert Docks, and a Christmas Party.
As well as a Parents Association, there was also a Parents Dramatic Society and a Wednesday Afternoon Mother’s Sewing Party. Later on the school/parents decided to sponsor a bed at the local hospital and held annual Sales of Work to raise money for this purpose.
A school magazine called the ‘Godhelmian’ was established.
Amongst the more unusual lessons that the pupils were taught was Civics which was seen as very enlightened and forward thinking for its time. Each pupil also had a plot of garden to tend and carry out plant trials (possibly as a result of the Jekyll connection) and visits to the RHS Gardens at Wisley became an annual event. Swimming was also taught by a special instructor in the River Wey at Charterhouse.
One of the more unusual features of the school was its orchard.
In tribute to the contribution of Lady Jekyll and Dr Page to the school, the two school Houses were named Munstead and Page. Initially the students were separated in girls and boys groups. These were later subdivided, when pupil numbers grew, into:
Munstead House :
McKenna – named after Pamela McKenna daughter of Lady Jekyll
Freyberg – named after Barbara Freyberg daughter of Lady Jekyll
Page House :
Mallory – named after George Mallory (an Old Carthusian) who attempted to climb Everest and perished in the process
Phillips – named after Mr. “Jack” Phillips, the wireless operator of the “Titanic” who stayed at his post and went down with the ship. He went to school in the Borough, at Farncombe school, and is Godalming’s most famous son.