The United Services College at Westward Ho!

“… Twelve bleak houses by the shore!”

Today the twelve houses have been split up into flats, as they were when the school took them over in 1874, and they look a bit sorry for themselves, though there is some renovation going on.

George Beresford (‘Turkey’) reported in his book Schooldays with Kipling (1936), that the villas and terraces and hotels of Westward Ho! did not ‘constitute a thriving township.’ But this made it easy for the school to lease ‘ample acreage for football and cricket fields’. Below the terrace of lodging houses which became the United Services College, the Pebble Ridge still stands firm against the Atlantic rollers sweeping in across Bideford Bay.

The seascape, as ‘Turkey’ put it, is magnificent, and ‘the Atlantic Ocean (is) on duty day and night, providing a full service of rollers, waves, and breakers’, much as it did when ‘King’ took the boys of his House down to bathe, while their tormentors cheered. (‘An Unsavoury Interlude’)

Following a series of mergers, United Services College later became part of Haileybury & ISC in Hertfordshire, where Rudyard Kipling’s memory is held in high regard, and Kipling House is named after him.

See The Haileybury connection
by Andrew Hambling.