PHC through the years

1820  PHC, previously The Adult Orphan Institution (AOI), opened at 32 Mornington Place (Hampstead Road) with 16 pupils. It was founded by Princess Augusta and Mrs Sophia Williams, to educate orphaned girls whose fathers had been in the Services or Church, and had died. 

1824  The school moved to 11 St Andrews Place, Regent's Park, designed by John Nash.

1838  Queen Victoria became Patron of PHC.

1874  Princess Helena, third daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, became President of the College.

1879  The AOI became Princess Helena College for Young Ladies and High School for Girls.

1880 Name shortend to Princess Helena College.


1881  Prince Leopold of Albany laid the foundation stone for the new School to be built in Ealing. The stone is now laid within the walls of the present School underneath Arches.

1882  PHC moved to Ealing from Regent's Park, and was officially opened by Princess Helena.

1886  The Royal Charter was granted.

1887 The marble bust of Queen Victoria was acquired.

1888 Lacrosse was introduced (first girls' school in England). 

1897  PHC Old Girls' Association (now PHC Alumnae Association) was started.

1902  PHC’s motto adopted, ‘Fortis qui se vincit.’ 

1920  PHC's 100th birthday.

1923  Princess Helena died aged 77. Princess Helena's daughter, Princess Helena Victoria became President.

1935  PHC moved from Ealing to Temple Dinsley. 

1938  The House system was introduced: Gloucester, Windsor and York.

1947  HRH The Duchess of Gloucester succeeded Princess Helena Victoria as President.

1952 HM The Queen became Patron.

1992  The Dower House was refurbished and visited by HRH Duchess of Gloucester on June 1st and the Princess Alice Hall was built.

1995  PHC celebrated its 175th anniversary with a service at Westminster Abbey.

2000 HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester died and was succeeded as President by her daughter in law, the present Duchess of Gloucester

2003  New Science Centre and Art Centre opened by HRH the Duchess of Gloucester.

2014  The Orchard replanted.

2015 PHC representatives celebrated the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at the Patron's Lunch on The Mall.  

2016  Plans developed for a new Performing Arts Centre.

2017 Visit of HRH The Duchess of Gloucester to dedicate the foundation stone for the new PA Centre, plant a rose in the replanted Rose Garden and to open the Heritage Wall.

2018 PHC announces it will welcome boys from September 2019 - a new co-educational era begins.