School History

Humble Beginnings

Southwell School was founded on the vision of one man, Mr Cecil Ernest Ferris, who was born at Southwell, England, a market town near the city of Nottingham.  He moved to New Zealand to start a new life and soon realised the need for a church school where boys could have a “fuller” education than that which was provided by the country schools.  Mr Ferris announced he would start a private school for boys and call it Southwell School.  In November 1911 Mr Ferris started Southwell School with one boy, Robert Oliver and later, Vernon Wilkinson, at Allington Homestead which is now the site of Melville High School.  As the roll grew they moved to many sites around Hamilton.

Mr H G Sergel joined the staff and was appointed Headmaster in November 1917.  In 1921 Mr H G Sergel bought Southwell School and moved it to its present site.  In 1948 Mr H G Sergel handed the School over to his children to manage and operate. The School was then privately owned, until 1963 when the Sergel family gifted the School to become a non-profit making Education Institution administered by a Trust Board.

The history and traditions of Southwell School have been recorded in a History Book launched in conjunction with the Centenary Celebrations in 2011.  For more information about the history of Southwell School and about our book click here.
Allington Homestead        Allington House, the first site of Southwell School