Welcome to the Old Taptonians Website.
Tapton House School, founded in Chesterfield in 1931, has seen many students and staff pass through its doors. A large number are now scattered throughout the globe. This site is a means for Old Taptonians to get in touch and make contact with their old school colleagues. To enrol into the OT website simply click on the bottom of the frame 'Len Thompson Email' and send me your information as shown on the 'How to join' page. Former colleagues who have email addresses can be contacted via the Internet please see the Contacts page. If you wish to communicate with those who don't have email facilities let me know and I will provide you with postal addresses or telephone numbers.
Over the years I have written two books about Tapton. The first book 'Memories of Tapton House School', written in July 1999, is a collection of the memories of more than 50 pupils and staff supported by suitable articles from The Taptonian magazines where appropriate. It results from a request by several Old Taptonians after they had read my autobiography Life Down t'Lane, which contained a chapter on Tapton House that I attended from 1949 to 1953. The book is dedicated to all the pupils and staff who are unfortunately unable to return to Tapton, to wander through the grounds, to sit in the Peace Gardens and reflect on the marvellous times we had in that wonderful part of Derbyshire. I am sure that even if they can no longer return physically, many of their spirits will be there. If you don't believe me just be there on 15 June (the anniversary of its opening) or mid-day on the last Saturday in June in any year (the day of the OTA picnic). You will see what I mean. If you want to know more about the book please click on my website shown below.
During the course of my research for that book I soon came to realise that the house itself had a long and interesting history with a fascinating number of owners and residents. In addition and much to my surprise, I discovered no one had attempted to write a comprehensive history of the house before. So I took up the challenge and produced the second book 'A History of Tapton House'. Foreword by Robert Stephenson Roper a relative of George Stephenson. Unfortunately Robert passed away last year and will be sorely missed since he loved to visit us at Tapton.
This book explores the history of Tapton House and its residents from 1794, when it was built, to the year 2000. The residents included Isaac Wilkinson, a wealthy Chesterfield banker, who built the house; George Yeldham Ricketts, who managed to get rid of a fortune, left to him by Isaac, very quickly; George Stephenson the railway engineer, Clay Cross industrialist, horticulturalist and friend of Joseph Paxton of Chatsworth House fame and the Markham family, industrialists and civic leaders Charles, Rosa, Charles Paxton, Arthur and Violet. In its time Tapton has been an elegant home, a ladies boarding school, a co-educational school and finally a college of further education. The book contains many previously unpublished illustrations and will appeal to those who are interested in discovering more about the house and the people who lived and worked there in the nineteenth and twentieth century. It also gives us a chance to revisit the period when it was Tapton House School, to discover yet more about the place and people we loved so much.
Because the history of the house covered a period of more than 200 years a wide range of research was necessary. This was done by correspondence, email, telephone, facsimile and personal visits to various sources. For example Chesterfield Library Local Studies, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the British Museum, the Science Museum, Elder Yard Chapel, Chesterfield Town Hall, Biwater's Clay Cross Co, to name but a few. In addition material was also generated from people who had been involved in the production of 'Memories of Tapton House School' and who, like me, were interested in piecing together this historical jigsaw. Whether readers are Old Taptonians or merely interested in this lovely Georgian mansion I hope you enjoy this book, discovering as I did, the life and times of the people who shaped its history. More information can be obtained by clicking on my website below.
Comments by Old Taptonians on both books can be found in the Review pages.
The newspage contains the latest news relevant to the School or the House plus some old photos to bring back those pleasant memories of yesteryear. It also offers the facility for listening to 'Life Down t'Lane'. With the assistance of Chesterfield Library the book has now been converted to CD. To give Old Taptonians an idea of the content and quality of the CD, part of Chapter 1 'Introduction and Background' and part of Chapter 4 'Tapton House Grammar School' are now available. Just visit the newspage and click on one of two buttons. 'Memories of Tapton House School' is also available on CD. If anyone is interested in the CDs please contact me via telephone or email as shown below.
Readers of my book 'A History of Tapton House' will have seen 'Excerpts from the Headmaster's log book 1931-1949' on pages 169 to 184. It has generated so much interest that I have decided to include the whole log book on this web site. I firmly believe that his love of Tapton House School, from his School Charter through to his day to day management of school affairs and his personal benevolence (just one example of his giving thousands of daffodil bulbs for planting each year, which no doubt still contribute to the beauty of the park after all these years) is a monument to the man himself.