Christ’s Hospital is a remarkable school and offers pupils from all backgrounds the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential and to develop their interests and talents in a caring and supportive environment.
Christ’s Hospital, Past & Present
Christ’s Hospital (CH) is one of the famous Royal Hospitals of London, whose foundation marked the beginning of the social services in Tudor England. Inspired by a sermon by Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London, the young King Edward VI instructed the Lord Mayor, Sir Richard Dobbs, to appoint a committee of leading citizens to consider remedies and relief for the City’s homeless poor. Their work, and subsequently their philanthropy, led to the founding of the five great Hospitals all supporting different needs. CH, established in the monastery of the Grey Friars in Newgate Street, embraced the task of educating and nourishing the destitute children of the City and took children of all social backgrounds and ages.
In November 1552, CH opened its doors to 380 pupils and, within a year, the number had increased to over 500. Many children, including 100 of the first 380, were infants who were sent away to CH Hertford to be looked after. When they reached 10 they returned to CH London. Find out more about our unique history and quirky traditions by visiting our timeline page.
Christ’s Hospital Today
Christ’s Hospital is an independent co-educational boarding and day school of 900 pupils with an equal mix of boys and girls aged 11-18. The School is located in West Sussex in the south east of England. It is situated in stunning countryside between London and Brighton, 20 miles south of London Gatwick and 38 miles from London Heathrow. The School is fortunate in having its own mainline railway station with regular trains to London, Gatwick Airport and the South Coast.
Pupils’ fees are assessed according to family income, so that 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 enriches our school community and offers our pupils unique opportunities as we prepare them to take their place in the world.
“Whilst other school fee assistance schemes have come and gone, Christ’s Hospital has stuck to its charitable aims since it was founded in 1552: educating the financially, socially and otherwise needy for free, or at a reduced rate, in a caring boarding environment. Today these pupils sit happily alongside the full fee payers and the School’s pupil profile is one of which its royal founder, Edward VI, would have been proud.” Kate, former parent.
Although Christ’s Hospital is predominantly boarding, our day pupils enjoy exactly the same routine as the boarders, apart from sleeping at school. The extended boarding week allows pupils to make the most of the vast array of day, evening and weekend activities on offer and helps foster the strong sense of community within the School.
Christ’s Hospital prides itself on the outstanding young people who move on each year. Friendly, forthright and entirely unpretentious, our leavers take with them the confidence and resilience they will need to achieve success at university and make meaningful contributions to society.
Why we are called Christ’s Hospital
Christ’s Hospital’s name derives from being founded in the parish of Christchurch, London. During the Middle Ages, hospitals served different functions from modern institutions. Medieval hospitals were alms houses for the poor, hostels for pilgrims, or hospital schools. The word “hospital” derives from the Latin noun hospitium and came to signify hospitality.
One hundred years after the founding of Christ’s Hospital and the signing of the Royal Charter by Edward VI in 1553, a painting was commissioned to celebrate this historic event.
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.