At the suggestion of the Master of Dulwich College, Thomas Mason opened Dulwich College Preparatory School for 13 pupils in January 1885. Links with the College are strong but the school has never been an integral part of it. Such was the Prep’s reputation that within two years numbers had risen over a hundred. Today, known simply as Dulwich Prep London, it has become one of the most prestigious, and largest, preparatory schools in the country.
The school, which moved to its present site in 1893, enjoyed a period of steady growth and stability during the first part of the last century but the war period brought problems. In 1939 the school evacuated to Cranbrook in Kent, but because of the risk of invasion it moved again, and spent the rest of the war in Betws-y-Coed in North Wales. A small sub-section reopened in London in 1940. Despite considerable upheaval and the hardships of the time, the school returned to Dulwich in 1945 and steadily regained its pre-war reputation. From 1891 boarders had lived in the homes of the headmaster and members of staff, but during the war a home for boarders was acquired at Brightlands in Gallery Road.
In 1957 the school became a Charitable Educational Trust, thus securing its future. Since then more land has been acquired, new buildings constructed and old ones totally renovated. All levels of the school now have modern facilities. A spacious teaching block called the Betws Building was opened in 1995, a self-contained music school in 1989 and afully equipped sports hall in 2008. A new nursery school was opened at Brightlands in 2007 and most recently the Pennock Centre, a fantastic Science and Technology facility named after a former Chairman of Governors, was opened in 2015.