Christ's Hospital

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Christ's Hospital's buildings in London in 1770.

Christ's Hospital is a school which is now in Horsham, West Sussex, United Kingdom, and was formerly in London.

In 1552, shortly before Edward VI died, it was founded by the boy king in response to a sermon from Nicholas Ridley concerning the problem of vagrant children in London. Opened as a co-educational establishment in the City of London in the former Greyfriars monastic buildings, the Royal, Religious and Ancient Foundation soon outgrew its accommodation, and satellite institutions were used (especially in times of fire or epidemic).

Charles II of England granted a charter in 1673 to provide for the foundation of the Royal Mathematical School within Christ's Hospital. The intention was to train poor boys in mathematical and scientific skills that would prove useful in navigation and trade and to supply apprentices to merchant and trading companies involved in the exploration and mercantile expansion of the emerging British Empire. John Flamsteed was among the first to teach astronomy to pupils at the school. The current Head of the RMS is Mr Alan Smith.

The girls' school moved to Hertford in the 18th century. The boys' school moved to the present location in 1902 (buildings by Aston Webb and Ingress Bell) with the girls' school re-unifying in 1985. Among artworks to be seen at the school are a monumental frieze painted by Antonio Verrio , and the largest unsupported roof in Europe in the dining hall, and a series of mural panels in the chapel by Frank Brangwyn.

Links with the City and the Lord Mayor of London are maintained, with an annual parade through the City of London on St Matthew's Day and a regular place in the Lord Mayor's Show.

The school is best known for the Tudor uniform: long blue coat, breeches and bands for boys (a complementary uniform was introduced for girls on re-unification of the schools). One of the Christ's Hospital traditions is marching into lunch each day with the band.

Unusually for an independent school in England and in keeping with its original charitable purpose, fees (tuition and board) are paid on a means-tested basis, with many pupils paying no fees at all.

Christ's Hospital is the school that the documentary Rock School, to be shown on Channel 4 during 2005, is set in. The documentary involves former KISS star Gene Simmons teaching 13 to 14 year olds how to become rockers.

Former pupils (known as Old Blues) include:

Samuel Pepys was never a pupil but served on the governing council for a time.

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