St Joseph’s, Dorking’s only Catholic School, was founded at Falkand Grove in 1873 by Minna the Duchess of Norfolk. The school remained at the site adjacent to St Joseph’s Church until 1970, when the present building on Norfolk Road was purchased from the Trustees of Powell Corderoy School. In 1975, St Joseph’s – under Surrey reorganisation – ceased to be a primary school and re-opened as a first school with 42 children on roll. In 1995, the school was re-established as a primary school under the Surrey Age of Transfer re-organisation.
The number of children attending St Joseph’s over the years has fluctuated greatly, from 10 in 1873 to 189 at the present. The school was, of course, affected by the two World Wars: in 1914 Belgian refugees were taken in, and in 1940, 78 evacuees from Mitcham joined the school.
In 1887, the Servite Order of Nuns took over the teaching at St Joseph’s and they continued to run the school, often in very difficult and cramped conditions, until 1970.
St Joseph’s, which celebrated 125 years of Catholic education in 1998, is proud of the role it has played in the history of education in Dorking and continues to provide an excellent primary education for all the children in its care.