The Founder – W.E. Frost, Headmaster 1883-1920

The story has often been told of a day in September 1883 when a thirty three year old man called Mr Frost sat down for tea with his mother, sisters and four little boys.  After eating much cake, a school was born.

This was nearly one hundred and thirty years ago and these facts seem quite easy to understand. Mr Frost was our school’s first Headmaster (there have been ten others since), and Ardvreck is known as one of the finest prep schools within the United Kingdom. Yet facts do not always tell the whole story and to understand this particular narrative we are required to probe deeper and to use our imagination.

When these four little boys were politely eating their ‘milk and buns’ it was widely known that Mr Frost was one of the outstanding school masters of his generation. He was the sub-warden of Trinity College, Glenalmond and he was pro-active and forward thinking for his time.  A bright future in the Senior School world lay in store. It can be argued that leaving the security of Glenalmond, Mr Frost took a great risk in having tea with four little boys, because unless the numbers grew, things would not work out.

Mr Frost believed that a prep school would provide children with an excellent education which would then serve as the foundation for all that followed. He believed that his prep school would allow children to achieve the highest of academic standards (something he would term as the ‘pursuit of truth’) whilst exploring many other aspects of life including sport, music and outdoor pursuits. In its first eleven years, the school moved from various sites until it found its present home and it is no small surprise that Mr Frost secured a lease on some land which we now use as our playing fields.  This man of vision could see what was important for prep school children which involved a blend of academics and physical activities. Long before the concept of ‘health and well-being’ entered our educational vocabulary, Bill Frost was laying the foundations for many of our cross-country successes.

Moreover, Mr Frost believed that he could make a difference to the life of every child. He was good humoured and possessed a great wit. He took a great interest in all that the pupils did and from these humble beginnings he put together a team of outstanding staff who had high expectations of themselves and their pupils but who could also provide a unique and broad education.

Under the leadership of Mr Frost, the school grew rapidly and by 1903 it numbered fifty pupils.

In 1908, Ardvreck celebrated its Silver Jubilee (25 years) and many former pupils returned to the school out of affection and respect for its Founder.

The Boer War and the First World War saw Ardvreck lose a total of sixty eight pupils. In addition, Walter Frost, Mr Frost’s brother lost his life in the Boer Conflict. The loss of these gallant sons would have caused Mr Frost enormous heartache; Ardvreck had shaped these young people before the horrors of war took its course.

I am sure that it is no coincidence that Mr Frost retired in July 1920 at the same time in which the Ardvreck Memorial with the names of 64 pupils was unveiled in Crieff Parish Church. Forever loyal to the past and present of Ardvreck, with this final and fitting memorial, his work was now done.

Why not have a look at our Potted History to find our more about the years from 1920 until the present day.