Paddock Wood Finishing school, lightwater


Updated August 2017

I spent just 12 months at this lovely school when I was 16yrs old.  You may have been one of the lucky ones who returned for a 2nd year, or maybe you attended the Summer School. However long you spent at Paddock Wood, it’s clear by your surfing the internet and finding this, that it holds a special place in your heart.

The year I attended PWFS was September 1975 to June 1976;  I re-took some O Levels, learned to cook ‘Cordon Bleu’ with Mrs Pengelly in The Lodge, played tennis with Robert Frost and with the officer cadets from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and learned how to look graceful whilst walking up and downstairs in a ball gown wearing high heals and long kid gloves to beyond my elbow, all with books on my head. I learned how to get in and alight from a sports car wearing short skirts which were “all the rage” as my mum used to say, and I more seriously learned how to type, take shorthand and the basics of double entry book keeping, all the necessary life skills to take me forward into the next chapter of my life. I was a typical Paddock Wood girl.

School House

I knew the school and its grounds had been sold many years ago for housing, but one sunny day in the summer of 2009, I revisited Lightwater as I wanted to see just what (if anything), was left that I would recognise.  Google Maps had shown me that from the air at least, School House, the Lodge and the large pond still existed.  As I drove along the Red Road in Lightwater, on the edge of the army ranges that still border the school today, I turned into the now well-established, housing development. I followed my instincts and tried to see if anything was familiar.  I took one or two wrong turns but eventually came upon a lovely clearing between the tightly built houses. There I saw School House still standing after last setting eyes on it 37 years previously; it brought a wave of excitement over me, remembering the friends I still am in touch with today and where I shared a bedroom with a Lebanese and a Bahraini girl in the eves on the 2nd floor overlooking Savill House. 

The Lodge

I parked my car and wandered slowly on foot a little further, wondering what I might find. Like Alice in Wonderland, I was wide eyed and in awe of my surroundings becoming familiar. Val Savill’s ornamental pond with its pretty bridge, the archway leading from School to Savill House and smaller pond close to Savill House and.......The Lodge, all still there looking beautiful if just a little older.

In one of the new resident’s gardens, the house next to where The Lodge still stands, are the original entrance gates into Paddock Wood, just off the Red Road. Remember them? Tall and built in sandy coloured brick, with stone spheres on the top of them. I’ve included a picture in my photo collection here on this website for you to see.

School House & The Lodge have barely changed on the outside, they look much the same as they did in 1976, as do Val Savill’s landscaped gardens, with may of the original trees, fountains, small ponds etc that are in so many of our own Paddock Wood photographs. 

Savill House

Very sadly Savill House has been demolished and 2 apartment blocks in the same Cape Dutch style as Savill and School Houses, have been built not on Savill House’s footprint, but just behind where Savill House stood. 

I’ve done vast amounts of research about the school both locally and on the world wide web; when it started, the reasons behind its beginnings and found out a little about Mrs Savill’s history too.  You’ll find some of the information on other pages of this website, the more full story of our school is in a book I’ve compiled.  To navigate to other pages, please whizz to the top of this page and next to the word ‘Welcome’ you’ll see links you can click on, to find out more.                                                          


If you’d like to be added to the growing database of Paddock Woodians - we number well over 300 now - of if you know a former Paddock Woodian, or if you know someone who might be able to help me with my research, no matter how large or small the information I’d love to hear from you and/or them.  You can contact me directly by email:

I’m waiting to share with you all I’ve unearthed about our wonderful school and its amazing, highly decorated and well-respected Principal Mrs Rosette Savill. Who knows, perhaps even a former student or two, from the days you were there!  Do get in touch!

Thank you

                                    Pippa Anderson


Welcome to my website, dedicated to our former school

top left: School House

top right: the Lodge

bottom r & l: garden pond and archway to Savill House