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PUPIL RECORDS OF KING EDWARD’S SCHOOLS AT GUILDHALL LIBRARY


BACKGROUND

The present day King Edward’s School, Witley, has evolved slowly from Bridewell Royal Hospital founded in 1553 by King Edward VI. Children were taken into Bridewell and apprenticed to learn trades from the late 16th century. They were trained by "artsmasters" who were craftsmen and tradesmen, not schoolmasters. The artsmasters resided in the Hospital where they kept, fed and instructed their apprentices.

The first schoolmaster was appointed in 1632 to teach apprentices reading and writing for a couple of hours a week. Subsequent schoolmasters were appointed at intervals but the apprentices were only permitted to attend until they could read and write.

In the 18th century the apprentices were often punished for disobedience to their masters and for absconding and rioting, attributed by the Bridewell governors to their close contact with the prisoners. There was considerable debate towards the end of the century amongst officers and governors about the real purpose of Bridewell. The educational party won, no more apprentices were accepted into Bridewell, and in 1830 a new House of Occupations opened at St George’s Fields, Southwark, away from the corrupting influence of the prisoners.

The House of Occupations accepted children (boys and girls) aged 8 - 18 from the City, County of Middlesex and Borough of Southwark. There were apprentices at first in the House of Occupations but the focus of the school was clearly on educating children and there are no records of apprenticeship after 1837.

In 1860 a new charity scheme was established for Bridewell Royal Hospital (BRH). The House of Occupations was renamed King Edward’s Schools (for boys and girls) though still funded by BRH. Under the new scheme, children could be admitted from anywhere in the UK at 10 (girls only); 11 or 12 (girls or boys). The pupils were taught reading, writing, arithmetic, geography and history and they were trained in occupations as well. The girls generally entered domestic service when they left school; boys went to factories, city firms or the armed forces. Several headmasters forged a strong link with the Royal Navy and many boys entered the Navy on leaving school.

In 1867 the boys’ school moved to Witley in Surrey where it remains to the present day. The school is known as King Edward’s School, Witley. The girls’ school remained at Southwark and became known as King Edward’s School, London. In 1922 the girls’ school closed, after which grants were made to other educational establishments for girls in lieu of direct provision of education for girls. In 1952 King Edward’s School, Witley, became co-educational, an early example of a 20th century boarding school for boys and girls.


RECORDS OF ADMISSION, DISCHARGE AND LATER CAREER (BOYS)

All registers give name, age, date of admission, description of character on admission and date of discharge. NB The years given are those of admission, not birth.

Years covered School name Ms no. Description
1835-44 House of Occupations 33159/1 Admission and discharge register, indexed
1844-54 House of Occupations No records
1855-60 House of Occupations 33159/2 Admission and discharge register, indexed. Also gives date of birth.
1860-7 King Edward’s Schools 33159/2 Admission and discharge register, indexed. Also gives date of birth.
1867-80 King Edward’s School,Witley 33159/2 Admission and discharge register, indexed. Also gives date of birth.
and 1867-78 KESW 33161/1 Register of inmates. Arranged alphabetically. This also gives name and address of relatives; conduct and occupation whilst in school; and to where discharged.
1879-89 KESW 33161/2 Register of inmates. Arranged alphabetically. This also gives name and address of relatives; conduct and occupation whilst in school; and to where discharged.
and 1881-1900 KESW 33159/3 Admission and discharge register, indexed. This also gives date and place of baptism; occupation in school; to where discharged.
1890-1927 KESW 33161/3-4 Registers of inmates. Arranged alphabetically. Also give name and address of relatives; conduct and occupation in the school; where discharged. RESTRICTED ACCESS

Admission and discharge registers after 1900 have been retained by King Edward’s School, Witley who also hold photographs, school magazines (The Edwardian) and plans of Witley.

ALL MANUSCRIPTS WHICH HAVE RESTRICTED ACCESS REQUIRE PERMISSION FROM KING EDWARD’S SCHOOL, WITLEY. Please enquire at the Manuscripts Desk for further details.


RECORDS OF ADMISSION, DISCHARGE AND LATER CAREER (GIRLS)

All registers (except Ms 33162 and 33163/1-3) give name, age, date of admission, description of character on admission and date of discharge. NB The years given are those of admission, not birth.

Years covered School name Ms no. Description
1835-44 House of Occupations 33159/1 Admission and discharge register, indexed.
1844-ca.48 House of Occupations No records
ca.1848-ca.1880 All three names 33162 Discharge register, not indexed. Does not give age, date of admission or character but does give also name, address and occupation of employer; reference about the employer and details of the girl’s service there.
and 1855-67 All three names 33159/2 Admission and discharge register, indexed.
and 1858-78 All three names 33160/1-2 Registers of inmates. Arranged alphabetically. Also give place from which admitted; conduct and achievement in school; name and occupation of relatives.
and 1874-88 King Edward’s School, London 33163/1 Character reference book. Not indexed. Does not give character on admission but does also give conduct in school; name and address of employer and position to which appointed (e.g. housemaid).
1879-95 KESL 33160/3 Register of inmates. Arranged alphabetically. Also gives place from which admitted; conduct and achievement in school; name and occupation of relatives.
and 1889-1905 KESL 33163/2 Character reference book. Not indexed. Does not give character on admission but does also give conduct in school; name and address of employer and position to which appointed (e.g. nursery maid).
1895-1920 KESL 33160/4-5 Registers of inmates. Arranged alphabetically. Also give place from which admitted; conduct and achievements in school; name and occupation of relatives. RESTRICTED ACCESS.
and 1905-22 KESL 33163/3 Character reference book. Indexed. Does not give character on admission but does also give conduct in school; name and address of employer and position to which appointed (e.g. nursery maid). RESTRICTED ACCESS.

In 1922 King Edward’s School, London, closed. Records of King Edward’s School, Witley, after this date, including records of the co-educational school from 1952, have been retained by the School, as have photographs.

ALL MANUSCRIPTS WHICH HAVE RESTRICTED ACCESS REQUIRE PERMISSION FROM KING EDWARD’S SCHOOL, WITLEY. Please enquire at the Manuscripts Desk for further details.


Last updated May 2006

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