The Arnold Embellishers

The Arnold Embellishers is a society whose purpose is to add to the beauty and dignity of the College environment through a variety of 'embellishments'.

The original Embellishers League first met under the chairmanship of Mr EC Arnold on 29 June 1919. It was a secret society with membership by invitation only. The Arnold Embellishers is today a thriving 'open' society with 150+ members drawn from OEs, parents, staff and friends of the College.

Their subscriptions help to improve the life of the school in imaginative ways beyond the remit of the bursar. They enhance the College precincts in such ways as the Governors might not feel essential or affordable.

This is an exciting time for the AEs with so many opportunities to enhance the life of the College community in its 150th anniversary year and with our own centenary on the horizon. Please read all about us below and pick up the phone to find out more about getting involved.

Current projects

  • Every pupil at the College was invited to enter the 2017 Wettern Prize, held periodically to find ideas to enhance their College community.
  • The AEs have again sponsored the College Music Department's annual Young Musician of the Year competition.
  • Leading sundial designer, David Harber (whose projects include wall-mounted designs at Yale, Oxford and Windsor Castle) was commissioned by the AEs to create a large sundial which has been placed on the prominent southern wall of the Nugee Building as a lasting celebration of this magnificent building opened in the College's 150th anniversary year. You can read more about this here.
  • The AEs are investigating how artworks, both by College pupils and by celebrated artists including OEs, can be displayed in the P150 buildings.
  • The AEs are working with Nugent and Arnold Houses to produce Head of House boards.


We very much welcome newcomers to our ranks which are open to OEs, staff and friends of the College. Members subscribe annually whatever sum they see fit, generally not less than £15 per annum; life membership is also available. As a legal component of Eastbourne College Incorporated, the society is able to reclaim gift aid on donations and subscriptions. We meet socially once a year for an Annual General Meeting on the Saturday of the OE reunion and entrust our ongoing management to an elected committee.

Please send membership enquiries to The Arnold Embellishers at Marlborough House, Old Wish Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4JY, by email at or by phone on 01323 451901.

Recent embellishments

It is impossible to walk for more than a few yards within the school without coming across an embellishment. These have ranged from the provision of an OE flag to substantial improvements to the Memorial Hall including the erection of bronze panels to commemorate the 174 OE dead of the Second World War.

Chapel curtains
Curtains behind the altar in College Chapel have been funded to disguise the new video screen.

Memorial Building paintings
Two oil paintings, of the 7th Duke of Devonshire and of Mr Arnold, who were both major figures in the development and growth of the College, have been restored. They are now hanging in the two wings of the Memorial Building (which are named after them).

Chapel Yard
Six olive trees in planters were installed in the Chapel Yard in January 2008.

Old Wish Road lamp standards
In September 2007 three modern street lamps in Old Wish Road were replaced by original Victorian cast iron columns and surmounted by replica Victorian lamps. This project, which the Embellishers funded to the tune of £6,000, has been led by OE Embellisher Richard Crook.

Ypres First World War Memorial
On Thursday 27 September 2007 a plaque in St George’s Memorial Church at Ypres was dedicated to the memory of the 165 Old Eastbournians known at the time to have lost their lives in this war. This has since been updated and replaced with a new plaque to reflect the 174 casualties now on the Roll of Honour.

The Wettern Prize
The award-winning design by Chris Cheng (Gonville 2001–06) for an avant garde mural for the 'Crystal Palace' arcade was installed in 2011 at a cost of £6,077. The mural was constructed by Identity, the company run by Michael Gietzen (Reeves 2001–03).

Birley Centre
During 2012 and 2013 we spent £7,245 on display equipment for the Birley Centre foyer.

Memorial Hall
The AEs funded the creation and installation of new tablets in the Memorial Hall to commemorate ten further Old Eastbournians whose sacrifice in the Great War had been discovered by the College archives team. Generous donations towards the cost were received from Embellishers and others. The memorial tablets were dedicated on Remembrance Sunday 2014.

Emmy Award
The AEs funded a Perspex box which displays one of the 11 Emmy Awards won by celebrated composer and musical director Ian Fraser (formerly Ian Sykes, Pennell 1945-51) and generously donated by his widow. The display, in the foyer of the Birley Centre, also includes a short biography of Ian Fraser, together with one of his Oscar nomination certificates and his conductor's baton.

Memorial Field
A new plaque to record the origins of Memorial Field - given to the College by OEs to recognise the debt to their contemporaries who gave their lives in the Second World War, was installed in the lych gate, thus completing a project championed by the College archivist, Michael Partridge, to honour all known OE war casualties.

The Pennell Helmet
Thanks to the generous support of Embellishers, we were able to purchase for the College the 1878 pattern officer’s blue cloth helmet, with its case, of OE Henry Singleton Pennell VC. It is hoped this will be displayed, together with his medals, in the new College buildings.

Spencer Court
To commemorate the 140th anniversary of the College’s foundation, at 11am on 22 September 2007, OE Reunion Day, the Embellishers placed a plaque on the boundary wall of Spencer Court, the College’s original 1867 home.  This was unveiled by OE Embellisher John Elliott in a ceremony attended by the Town Mayor and hosted by Chairman of Governors, Sir Ian Forbes.

Annual General Meeting

This is usually held at the College on the day of the OE reunion in September.

Pictured here are members of the committee on the day of the AGM on 16 September 2017 when a ceremony marking the installation of the 150 anniversary sundial was held. Pictured left to right are John Templeton, Roger Sloley, Chris Nicholson, Vicky Henley, sundial designer David Harber, Jenny Lush, Michael Partridge and Roger Fendall. College staff representatives David Ruskin, David Stewart and James Wooldridge are absent from the photo as they had College duties.


The Arnold Embellishers committee consists of:

Chairman Vicky Henley (née Crawshaw) (Nugent 1975–77)
Treasurer and Membership Secretary    Chris Nicholson (Wargrave 1961–65)
Secretary Jenny Lush (former College staff)
Committee members Roger Fendall (Blackwater 1954–58)
  Jim McCue (School 1977–81)
  Michael Partridge (Blackwater 1946–51)
  David Ruskin (College staff)
  Roger Sloley (Powell 1954–57)
  David Stewart (College staff)
  John Templeton (Blackwater 1955–59)
  Wayne Trinder (College staff)
  James Wooldridge (College staff)

The bird motif

In 1924 Mr EC Arnold, former headmaster of the College and a notable ornithologist, published a book, British Waders, which included a watercolour drawing of an American stint, which was also reproduced on the cover of the book.

As Mr Arnold was our founder, we have commissioned the manufacture of a Society tie and scarf/tie pin which both carry this motif. The tie is handmade in pure silk and retails from Marlborough House or the School Shop for just £10 (£11 including postage), as does the pin.


The Arnold Embellishers have published a number of books in recent years, which can be ordered by contacting us at or 01323 451901.

Maverick Airman
The biography of Frederick Minchin, OE by Michael Partridge. Minchin, with his CBE, DSO, MC and Bar and three mentions, is the College's most decorated First World War serviceman after Lionel Rees VC. He afterwards became one of the first civil airline pilots and died in 1927 in a valiant attempt to become the first to fly the Atlantic from east to west. This fully illustrated hardback book, A5 format, hardbound, is available to OEs and the College community at the special price of £10.00, plus £2.00 for UK postage (normal price £12).

Eastbourne College in the Second World War
In December 2010 the Embellishers published this book, an anthology of writings about the College’s life and survival in the Second World War. Extensively illustrated with never before published photos of staff, boys and events from those momentous days, most of which have been captioned with the aid of Radley-era OEs, this 80 page A4 book is a bargain at just £5.00 plus £2.00 for UK postage.

Nobody's Business
The autobiography of Gordon Carey, Headmaster 1929–38
Chorister at King's, Cambridge, scholar, Stag and head of school, scholar of Caius, rugger blue and Barbarian, educational secretary at the Cambridge University Press, infantry officer 1914-18 (Croix de Guerre), Fellow of Clare, headmaster of Eastbourne College, RAF staff officer in the Second World War, subsequently editor, indexer and man of letters, yet in his own eyes a 'Nobody'. This is an extraordinary story of a distinguished, complex Old Eastbournian. It is for sale at just £10.00, plus £2.00 UK postage and packing. 320 pages, 30 illustrations, A5 format, hard bound.

A Guide to the College
A Short Historical Tour for Parents, Visitors and New Pupils
A 20 page A4 booklet which suggests a walking tour of the College campus, fully illustrated in colour. It describes and dates most of the major buildings and items of historical interest.  It can be purchased for £3 or downloaded from this website.

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