The House began life in 1836 and was named Cotton in 1931 after Bishop George Edward Lynch Cotton, former Assistant Master of Rugby School, Master of Marlborough College and Bishop of Calcutta. It was requisitioned by the Armed Forces in 1941 and re-opened at the end of the war. A beautiful memorial by Poole Pottery stands over the fire place at the end of the dining room and is a reminder of the House’s contribution in the First World War.
Cotton is, according to the boys, undoubtedly the friendliest House in the School and stands in a more residential part of the campus close to the Sports Centre and tennis courts. Originally a Georgian town house, Cotton has undergone several building phases giving it real character. During their first year in the House, the boys in Cotton sleep in two equally sized dormitories and work in individual studies downstairs. After that first year, every boy in Cotton enjoys their own individual study bedroom.
The House has a wonderful quad with floodlights and an artificial surface that allows year round games and activities. It has several Common Rooms as well as a cosy wood panelled tutor’s room and a large back garden. It is perhaps of the relationships between the boys which gives us the most pride. There is no sense of hierarchy and the boys mix amazingly well throughout the year groups.
Cotton boys are asked to consider others in our community, to respect them for their strengths and to help them in their weaknesses. The boys are contributors and people who will relish every challenge thrown at them, whether in the classroom or on the games field. Rugby School offers a huge range of activities and the boys in the House are doers rather than spectators.
Everyone in this community should feel that they have something to offer and should not be afraid to give of their all in whatever they do. We are very lucky in Cotton to have county sportsmen, academic scholars, Grade 8 musicians and fine actors. We are also fortunate to have boys who are none of the above but still strive for excellence in their own field.
Michael Powell, who is a former Warwickshire County Cricket Captain, provides a wealth of support and advice to the boys and House staff using his experience as a former Housemaster in previous roles before joining Rugby. Aside from keeping a watchful eye over the boys of Cotton, Michael runs the Cricket program throughout the Advent and Lent Terms and also works with both the Rugby and Hockey teams.
Alex Burge joined Cotton House as Deputy Housemaster in September 2018 having previously tutored in both Sheriff and Griffin. He is the Head of Business and teaches the subject and Economics to the Sixth Form and coaches three terms of major sport. A keen sportsman himself, Alex needs no excuse to display his competitive side, either on a staff side or on the back lawn of Cotton. He brings a wealth of experience in pastoral care having spent six summers working at an American sleep-away camp in Pennsylvania. Outside School, Alex loves to travel as much as possible with recent trips including Morocco, Singapore, Jordan and Montenegro.
Sammie O’Connor joined Cotton as Resident Matron in November 2022. She has a wonderful rapport with everyone in the House and is a very kind and considerate member of the house team. Sammie is passionate about helping others and plays a crucial role in the care and welfare of the Cotton House boys. When the boys return to house during the day it is Sammie and Jasmine, the Matron team, that looks after the boys’ daily needs.
Sammie enjoys spending time with her family, reading, travelling, and lives in Cotton House with her husband Steve, son Archie and Benji the dog.