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News > 300th > History of Churcher's College, 1881-1919

History of Churcher's College, 1881-1919

We continue to look back at the history of Churcher's College, from 1881-1919.
8 Mar 2022

Article taken from 'The History of Churcher's College' by Donald Brooks and Gillian Clarke.

1881-1919 The Move

It required something extraordinary to solve the problem. This came in the form of ten acres of land south of the old road to London; it was a gift of quite extraordinary generosity from Mr William Nicholson, a Governor, who had purchased the land from Magdalen College, Oxford...

With glorious views of the South Downs and spacious fields, there could have been no better site for a Petersfield school and impossible to miss en route to Portsmouth from London. The Old College closed on 24 June 1877; the new, costing £13,000 from the Foundation's accumulated funds, opened on the 15th September 1881. 

The Charity Commissioners, in 1876, confirmed the Governors' full control of the internal running of the school; boys entered at the age of 8 and remained until 17; the curriculum was to include Technology and Science and there were to be Foundation Scholarships (boarders) and Churcher's Scholarships for local boys. Richard Churcher's edict for a layman Headmaster was waived, on the grounds, one assumes, that it precluded at that time many of the most eligible candidates. At any rate, it began a run of clergyman of the highest credentials until 1924. In 1881 the Rev. Giles Andrew, M.A. Cantab, a Classics man, joined the one assistant master and 34 boys (including 15 boarders) in the school built for 100 day boys and 50 boarders.

Not surprisingly, many of the rooms remained unfurnished for years and the fields were, literally, let out for grass. However, things began to move: a science lab was equipped and a woodwork shop provided; five courts were built and well used. The large central classroom was employed as a gym. There is no doubt that the 12 years of Mr Andrew's tenure saw the school equipping itself for an academic and sporting future. It is intriguing that the prize list included awards for traditional subjects but also for agriculture and a collection of wild flowers. Mr Andrew left, still comparatively young, for a vicarage near Bakewell.

He was followed in 1893 by the Rev. William Bond, M.A. Cantab, a 1st Class mathematician, and a schoolmaster of formidable experience. In 1895 a further teacher was engaged. These few staff stayed for a long time; J.H. Smith remembered them well: stories of their (pupil induced?) idiosyncrasies echo down the years. The magic name of Hoggarth appears in 1911. Financial strictures forced the Governors to apply for Aid to the local education authority, specifially for help in equipping labatories and financing science staff. (Salaries reached £400 in 1901 - teachers in 1950 did not start on much more). So the College came under Board of Education Regulations for Aided Secondary Schools; in 1907, Aided Schools were expected to give maintenance allowances according to the means of the parents.

So many events occured during Bond's time that you are again referred to Smith's account and to the Churcherian magazine which started in 1913. Sport flourished - a cricket coach/groundsman was appointed and football with a round ball was no doubt popular. The Cadet Corps was enrolled on Trafalgar Day 1905, and a photograph, poignant with faces not to survive the World War, is displayed in the school today. The Joliffe Library was established and the Old Churcherians' Club was founded in 1907, after a ceremony dedicating the College Gates to the late John Bonham Carter, former Chairman of Governors. Mr Bond retired, aged 69, in 1919, his tenure extended by the long agony of the War. He was a Headmaster who knew every boy in the school because he taught him.

Look out for next month's article, 1919-1935 Between the Wars.

To read the previous article, 1722-1877 The Old College, click here.

You can view Churcher's College online archive here.

To buy 'The History of Churcher's College' visit our online shop here.

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