The Rev. Sir George Glyn’s diaries for the period 1873 to 1876 refer to the Prices from Park Side being frequent guests at his dinner parties. This house was on the east side of the Kingston Road just south of Ruxley Lane; Timbercroft was the avenue leading to the house. In 1879 Park Side became Parkside prep school and the following brief notes based on a history of the school published in 1978 may be of interest, particularly as, for a small school, it appears to have achieved some remarkable results.
Parkside was founded by Mr. T. Hill, a Scholar of Queen’s College, Oxford, with four boys. By the 1920s there was accommodation for 45 boarders. In April 1933 the school left Ewell and, after just over a year in Downs Road, Epsom, it transferred to East Horsley, where it remained until it moved to its present premises at Stoke d’Abernon in 1979. Today’s school has 42 boarders, 163 day boys and 90 pre-prep boys, and the prospectus makes it clear that the facilities have improved somewhat on those of 1879, when the only lighting was oil lamps and candles, and water had to be pumped by hand from a spring to fill the cisterns. In fact, by the 1920s Parkside could boast of having a very fine dining room, a private chapel and a large gymnasium.
The history of the school in the Ewell period of 1879 to 1933, shows that boys went on to some of the top public schools, including Eton, Winchester, Clifton, Malvern, Wellington and Haileybury. One Parkside ex-pupil commented that the teaching had been so good that when he moved on to Eton he hardly required to do any work for several years.
An early pupil, who afterwards became the Maharajah of Morvi, brought with him his Indian valet and two cooks (whose services were declined) as well as an English groom and carriage. Other pupils of note were L. Boyd Neel, who eventually formed the Boyd Neel Orchestra, and T.K. Walls, who trained and rode racehorses before the Second World War and acted in the West End after the war. He was the son of the actor Tom Walls.
The headmaster from 1902 to 1916 was Alfred Vaughan Pott. It is indicative of the slaughter of junior officers in the First World War that of the boys he had taught and who were old enough to fight, about a quarter were killed. In the war six Parkside boys won the MC, and two the VC, one of whom was A.B. Turner, who single-handed halted a German thrust down a communication trench. He was seriously wounded and died three months later. A brother of A.B. Turner, V.B. Turner, who was at Parkside in 1912, won the only El Alamein VC in the Second World War as a Lieut. Colonel in command of a battalion equipped with 19 six pounder anti-tank guns. They repulsed successive waves of German tanks in an action that lasted 14 hours. Col. V.B. Turner was severely wounded but refused aid until the last tank was destroyed. He survived until 1973. There can be few small prep schools able to claim so many war heroes, including three Victoria Crosses.