The official reunion website for old Carmel
College pupils to visit for all things Carmel
The school was founded in 1948 by the late Kopul Rosen. In June 1997, the school was closed. The distinctive concrete synagogue, dining hall, and amphitheatre, designed by local architect Thomas Hancock, are Grade II listed buildings; the Julius Gottlieb gallery and boathouse, designed by Sir Basil Spence, is Grade II listed.
The Mansion House was an old manor house with particular significance. Agatha Christie (who lived nearby in Wallingford) used it as the basis for the mansion in her 1952 play The Mousetrap.
The Headmaster's study was also the room used for the final briefing of the reconnaissance mission following the Dam Busters raid. The first reconnaissance aircraft over the target was a Spitfire PR IX from 542 Squadron, flown by Flying Officer Jerry Fray. He had left nearby RAF Benson at 07:30hrs to ensure that he could be at the Dams in good light. Two other sorties were flown over the Dams that day. The resulting photographs were the first to be published in the press. Up until then all reconnaissance tasking had been carried out under the strictest secrecy.
The 2011 film, 'The Iron Lady' featured a scene where Margaret Thatcher is perfecting her prime-ministerial voice, which was shot on location within the Synagogue of Carmel College.
It was attended by children from the age of 11 until 18 - although earlier on there was a preparatory school which took children from around the age of 8. Later a girls' school was built - about a mile from the main campus, although the buildings were never actually used for this purpose. Instead, it was turned into a junior school in the late 1960s for children up to the age of 13, when they then moved to the main school.
Girls were later admitted into the main school, starting at the sixth form in the early 1970s. However there were daughters of teachers at the school even before this, including the youngest daughter of Carmel's founder Rabbi Kopul Rosen, who was a pupil in the late 1960s. The Junior school was closed down several years before Carmel closed, and the buildings sold.
A Brief History Lesson...
Carmel had several boarding houses, which changed regularly throughout the school's life. The final boarding houses were as follows:
- Mansion House - 1st, 2nd, 3rd year male.
- Ridgeway House - 4th & 5th year male.
- Mongewell House - 4th - U6th male.
- School House & Sherman House - L6 & U6 male.
- Newnham House - 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th year female.
- River Court - L6 & U6 female.
- Chalmore House
Earlier house names included Gilbert House, Montefiore
House, Alexander House, Raleigh House and others.