Founded in 1841, Kilbracken moved to its current site on Hillbrow 100 years later, as an extension to the former prep school of poet and Old Rugbeian Rupert Brooke. The House is named after the family title of John Arthur Godley, a brilliant classicist at Rugby and Oxford, who went on to become Private Secretary to Gladstone and Under Secretary of State for India, as well as the longest serving Chairman of Governors. Godley’s father was the founder of Christchurch, New Zealand.
Kilbracken enjoys an abundance of space, both inside and outside. The Hillbrow pitches form our front garden, providing the boys with the perfect venue for recreational sports. While a sizable back garden, enclosed by trees, offers a delightful summer haven and venue for barbecues, summer balls and games. The Collingwood Centre (Sixth Form centre) is conveniently located opposite and the Sports Centre is also very close by – a short walk across Hillbrow. The Science, Design and Art Departments are also a mere 30 seconds walk away. Kilbracken boys loom large in the School’s life: Kilbracken boys are often captains and secretaries of sport teams, both ‘major’ and ‘minor’, bringing frequent success in House competitions, especially for rugby, cricket and soccer; School drama productions often feature Kilbracken boys in leading roles, while the House has a reputation for its energy and collective enjoyment in House singing competitions. Our abundant common rooms are for all age groups (including our House basement gym and weekend of hot tubs!) and one of the reasons why the year groups interact so well together and are comfortable in each other’s company.
For the Sixth Form, the Blue Anchor Society is a particular highlight and is characterised by a warmth, kindness and togetherness that epitomise the entire House. In short, Kilbracken is more than a House to the boys; it’s their second home.
Saul Foulds joined as Housemaster of Kilbracken in September 2017 having previously spent 16 years as a Housemaster, French teacher and Head of Cricket at Forest School in North-East London. He teaches French across the School and is never far from the hockey astros in the winter and the cricket pitches in the summer. Saul’s wife, Becky, is a doctor and also bakes for the boys in the House whenever possible. Their two young sons complete the Foulds family and they take great pleasure in being around the Kilbracken boys whenever possible.
After finishing his PhD at Durham, and completing postdoctoral work in the US, Barnaby Chesterton joined Rugby’s Classics department in 2018, becoming a tutor in Kilbracken at the same time. Following three years as a middle and upper school tutor, he took the maxim that ‘Kilbracken is not just a House, but our Home’ quite literally, and moved into the House, and the DHm role, in September 2021.
In addition to his work in Kilbracken and the Classics department, Barnaby is Head of World University Applications, an Arnold Foundation tutor, and is joint Master i/c of the F Block academic scholars. When not at home down the far end of the House, he can most likely be found up a fell in the Lakes, lost in the Highlands, or leading enthusiastic Classics students around various corners of the Mediterranean, particularly on the school’s trips to Rome, Sorrento, and Athens. He paints (badly), plays the banjo (even worse), and occasionally considers publishing his thesis (doesn’t bear thinking about).
Barnaby has the good fortune of tutoring the new Year 9 in House; above all, he enjoys helping the boys find what they’re good at, and what they’re passionate about, to get the absolute most out of their time in Kilbracken.
Tina McDonnell joined Kilbracken as resident Matron in September 2018, but has more than 20 years of experience of working at Rugby School, most recently as Deputy Matron of Cotton House. Cotton boys still come down the Barby Road to say hello to Tina, but the Kilbracken boys have certainly claimed her as their very own. Tina lives in a flat at the front of the House and is central to looking after the boys’ welfare. She cares deeply about the boys and knows each one extremely well. Tina is often seen being followed around the House by her loyal hound, ‘Giggsy’.