In 1552, the young King Edward VI responded to an impassioned sermon on the needs of London’s poor, and summoned the preacher, the Bishop of London, to talk more about these pressing needs. It was suggested that Edward should write to the Lord Mayor of London, to set in motion charitable measures to help the poor.
Christ’s Hospital was consequently founded in the old buildings vacated by the Grey Friars in Newgate Street and provided food, clothing, lodging and learning for fatherless children and other poor men’s children. The children were not only cared for but prepared for the job market. Money for such reform was raised by the City of London. The Church, businesses and householders in London were asked for donations. Governors were elected to serve the school. In November 1552, Christ’s Hospital opened its doors to 380 pupils and within a year, the number had increased to over 500.
Kind Edward became patron and founder and a Royal Charter was signed to this effect by Edward eleven days before his death in 1553.
The mission of Christ’s Hospital has remained virtually unchanged for over 460 years. Christ's Hospital continues to fulfil its original charitable aims to provide boarding education to boys and girls in social, financial or other need.
Christ's Hospital Today
Christ’s Hospital offers an independent education of the strongest quality to children with academic potential, from every corner of society in a compassionate and sympathetic environment.
Pupils’ fees are assessed according to family income. It is a child’s ability and potential to benefit from a Christ’s Hospital education that determines their selection. This results in a social and cultural diversity that strengthens our School and offers our pupils unique opportunities as we prepare them to take their place in the modern world.
We believe in the benefits of a rounded and balanced education for our pupils. In practice, this means that as well as a challenging academic programme, pupils are also involved in music, art, drama, public speaking, community action and sport.
The School has an impressive history of high academic achievement with an average of 10 pupils each year taking up places at Oxford or Cambridge, and 98% of leavers going on to top universities in this country and abroad.
The School’s Facilities
The Christ’s Hospital campus is stunning. From the moment you arrive you’ll see that it is glorious. Sweeping sports fields, beautiful buildings and the spectacular quadrangle are immediately visible.
We have 16 boarding houses, two upper sixth form residences, our own purpose-built theatre, modern sports centre, music school and art school. The School has implemented a programme of continued refurbishment.
All pupils and teachers live on site, creating a secure space, with a wide range of activities on their doorstep. The seven-day week full boarding school environment provides opportunities for pupils to develop their interests and talents, and to live and work successfully with others from a diverse range of backgrounds.
Alumni (Old Blues)
With a history as long and a rich as ours, it is not surprising that there are many famous alumni (known as Old Blues). From the 19th and early 20th Centuries, writers and poets including Charles Lamb, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Edmund Blunden. From the world of music, conductors Sir William Glock, Sir Colin Davis and Charles Hazlewood. From academia, we are proud to have educated recent principals of Oxbridge colleges – Elizabeth Llewellyn-Smith (St Hilda’s), Ruth Deech (St Anne’s), and Alan Ryan (Warden of New College, Oxford).
Journalists Bernard Levin and Con Coughlin; trade unionist John Edmonds; aviation engineer Barnes Wallis; senior members of the military including General Sir Garry Johnson and from the world of politics Michael Stewart (former Foreign Secretary).
A number of Old Blues have gone on to make a career in sport, most notably former Sussex and England bowler John Snow and of course the current England rugby player Joe Launchbury and more recently cricketer Stuart Whittingham. Theatrical Old Blues include Olivier Award winners Howard Davies (stage director), Roger Allam (actor) and Michael Wilding (actor). Film actors and directors such as Jason Flemyng, Susannah Fielding and Peter Hewitt, screen writers for television including Clive Exton, and comedians who include Mark Thomas and Holly Walsh have all benefitted from a Christ’s Hospital education.