Great lives start at Southwell

Our History

Our History

Humble Beginnings to World Class

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.

Southwell was a boys only school from 1911 until 2000 when it went fully co-ed and in 2011 celebrated it’s Centenary. From one staff member and one student in 1911 Southwell presently has 600 students and 100 staff. It’s present day all-round education cherishes it’s traditions, history and the people who over time have made it the great school it is today.