The history of Sparsholt College has been published in advance of its 125th anniversary in 2024. Written by Dr John Lander, a College governor, access to much material and conversations with dozens of former staff and students have combined to produce a comprehensive story. It deals with the peaks and troughs of experiences, and details a wide range of issues.

Founded at Old Basing in 1899 with a curriculum consisting of just three subjects, the Hampshire Farm School moved to its present site at Sparsholt in 1914, the transfer being even more challenging as its opening coincided with the start of World War 1. To the original 251 acres a further 187 acres of adjoining land were bought in 1935.

The book tells of fulfilling careers and business successes of former students, long-lasting friendships, support for local communities, training recruits for the Women’s Land Army in two world wars, experiments to increase farm productivity, the development of inventions and, on the other hand, times of low student numbers, periods of financial difficulties, debates about whether the College should be moved or closed down, and disputes that led to acrimonious discussion. The net result, though, is of an institution whose staff constantly showed their determination to offer valuable training to learners to give them opportunities to achieve flourishing futures.

There is scarcely a land, environment, animal or leisure sector business in the Hampshire and Wiltshire region that will not have Sparsholt in its DNA. Tens of thousands of students have passed through the College and there are generations of Sparsholt alumni continuing to make their mark locally, regionally and nationally – a lasting human legacy.

Priced at £12, copies of A Place of Transformation, are available from the author at