Time Line History of Royal Alexandra and Albert School

The history of what is now The Royal Alexandra and Albert School (RAAS) is an inspiring story of two separate charities, each dedicated to caring for and educating orphans or other infants and children in great need, run on almost identical lines, eventually coming together, nearly sixty years ago, to become the unique community that is RAAS today.

The Orphan Working School, established in 1758, eventually became the Royal Alexandra School. The Royal Albert Orphan Asylum, founded in 1864, became the Royal Albert School.

The Charities have enjoyed extensive Royal Patronage and interest for over one hundred and fifty years. Her Majesty the Queen is Patron of RAAS and the School's President is Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Gloucester.

Over two hundred and fifty years the Schools have supported more than twenty thousand necessitous children; those who we are proud now to call Foundationers. There are currently fifty Foundationers in the School.

The following Time Lines highlight some of the significant events in the history.

Orphan Working School/Royal Alexandra School 1758 - 1949
Royal Albert Orphan Asylum/Royal Albert School 1864 - 1949
Royal Alexandra and Albert School (Established 1949)

Orphan Working School/Alexandra Orphanage/ Royal Alexandra School
(1758 - 1949)

1758 10th May 1758, a group of "city men and men of business", gathered by the Reverend Edward Pickard, a Presbyterian Minister, meet at the George Tavern, Ironmonger Lane, in the City of London, to establish a Charitable Foundation for an "Orphan Working School" (OWS).

A Mrs Susannah Blackmore leaves a legacy of £50 to the Charity.

1759 House leased in Hoxton, then a village on the outskirts of London, renowned for its market gardens, to be the first school.

1760 First children 20 boys admitted to OWS on 3rd March, aged between six and nine years. First name on the admission register is John Livesay, aged 8, who leaves at age 14 to be apprenticed to a Weaver.

First annual fund raising dinner is held. (Later known as Annual Festival)

1761 Adjoining house in Hoxton leased and 14 girls admitted on 24th March. Kitchen clock purchased (still in use in the ballroom of Gatton Hall).

1774 OWS moves to a larger, purpose built, home in City Road, London.

1776 American Declaration of Independence

1778 Reverend Pickard, founder of OWS, dies.

1790 More than 80 children in the School.

1794 A Miss Mary Gibson leaves a legacy of £1,000 (£80,000 at current value).

1809 Mr William Wilberforce M.P., anti slavery campaigner and social reformer, a Governor of the Charity, donates 80 guineas to secure the immediate admission of Thomas Beman, who remains for 7 years.

1815 Napoleon defeated at Battle of Waterloo

1816 First occasion on which the Lord Mayor of London presides at the Charity's Annual Festival Dinner.

1818 Introduction of a school badge "to show members of the public that the boys and girls are pupils of the Orphan Working School".

1821 To celebrate the Coronation of King George IV, children are given a day's holiday and a celebration dinner of roast beef and plum pudding.

1825 First passenger steam train journey in Britain

1840 Severe outbreak of scarlet fever kills three children.

1841 Land is purchased on Haverstock Hill, North London, to build a new school.

1844 Author Charles Dickens makes the first of a number of annual donations to OWS and, thereby, becomes a Governor of the Charity.

1845 Corporation of London gives £600 to the School. Between 1845 and 1900, more than 20 City Livery Companies regularly support the Charity.

1847 OWS moves to its new home, Maitland Park, named after several generations of the Maitland family who have supported OWS since 1765.

159 children in the School.

Queen Victoria "commands" that a planned fund raising 'Fancy Sale', to be held in the new Maitland Park building before the transfer of the children, be under her Patronage. The sale lasts six days, attracts 14,000 visitors and raises £2,340.

1848 Following a French Revolution, six refugee orphans from an orphanage in Paris are taken in.

Robert Barclay, son of the founder of the Barclay's banking dynasty, makes a donation and becomes a Life Governor. Joseph Bazalgette, designer of London's sewer system and the Victoria Embankment, and William Cubitt, civil engineer and canal builder, become financial subscribers.

A 'Second and Final Fancy Sale' under the patronage of the Queen and the Duchesses of Kent, Gloucester and Cambridge, raises £1,200.

1850 Queen Victoria becomes the first Royal Patron of the OWS Charity and presents two hundred and fifty guineas to the School "for the purchase of a nomination during Her Majesty's life of one inmate into the School". The first Royal nominee, Joseph Parrett, whose mother had died of cholera, joins OWS in June.

1852 Lord Mayor of London presides at the Annual Festival (and on a further ten occasions between 1853 and 1919).

1856 Maitland Association of old scholars is founded.

1857 Maitland Association collects £400 in donations from Old Scholars.

1858 Centenary of OWS - "the first orphan school in the country to celebrate a centenary". Centenary appeal raises £5,000 (£430,000 at current value). Extension built to enable School to accommodate a total of 400 children.

1862 Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) becomes a Patron of OWS.

1864 A separate charity is founded by Frederick Barlow, under the patronage of Princess Alexandra, Princess of Wales, to build an orphanage for up to 200 infants until they are old enough to be accepted into OWS. The Archbishop of Canterbury contributes to the Building Fund.

1865 Alexandra Orphanage for Infants, situated at Hornsey Rise, London, admits first 12 infants on 23rd March. Prince of Wales joins the Princess of Wales as a Founding Patron and Duke of Cambridge (grandson of George III) becomes Founding President.

1868 Horace Brooks Marshall donates £1,650 to the OWS Charity.

1869 Opening of the Suez Canal

Bazaar held to raise funds for new Orphanage ", to which the Emperor and Empress of the French graciously present a set of Sevres china".

1870 HMS Captain, a new 'iron clad' ship of the Royal Navy sinks in a storm off Cape Finisterre and over 500 seamen perish. OWS admits a number of the orphaned children

1874 Duke of Cambridge presides at a Fundraising Banquet for Alexandra Orphanage.

Foundation stone is laid for a convalescent home in Harold Road, Newtown, Margate, to house up to thirty children.

1876 Amalgamation of the Charities of OWS and Alexandra Orphanage, into 'The Orphan Working School and Alexandra Orphanage', supporting 540 children of ages varying from infancy to 14 years.

Duke of Cambridge becomes President of the new Charity.

Horace Brooks Marshall joins the Board of the Charity.

1877 The Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) presides at the 119th Annual Festival, to commemorate the amalgamation, which raises £8,000 (£650,000 at current value).

The first edition of The Maitland Magazine for Old Scholars is published.

1878 A paddle steamer, The Princess Alice, sinks in the Thames, with the loss of "some six hundred souls". OWS takes in 24 of the orphans, bringing the total of children in the School to a record 572.

OWS purchases six adjoining burial plots in the East Wing of Highgate Cemetery.

1879 Prince of Wales, accompanied by Princess of Wales (Princess Alexandra), Duke of Cambridge (President) and his sister, Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck, open new buildings at Maitland Park, for the Alexandra Orphanage infants and juniors.

To commemorate the opening of the new buildings, Sir James Tyler donates a Presentation in Perpetuity of 750 guineas, allowing him and his successors to continue to admit a child 'in perpetuity' to OWS/Alexandra Orphanage.

1882 J J Colman MP, whose son Jeremiah would soon become the owner of Gatton Park, presides at the Annual Festival.

Seven members of the Royal Family are Patrons of OWS.

Horace Brooks Marshall donates £725 for stained glass windows for a new School Hall.

1886 Karl Benz patents first automobile

1887 Over 100 children admitted in Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee year, including twenty who had lost parents in a tragic theatre fire in Exeter, taking the School to a record 630 children.

1896 Horace Brooks Marshall dies.

1898 Horace Brooks Marshall, of the same name as his deceased father (later to be Lord Marshall of Chipstead) becomes Treasurer of the Charity.

1900 OWS takes in its five thousand five hundredth child

1901 Queen Victoria dies and King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra become Patrons.

1903 Duke of Cambridge, President for 43 years, dies.

1904 Prince of Wales (the future King George V) presides at the Annual Festival, which raises £11,000 (nearly £1M at current value) and consents to be President.

1905 Royal Assent given to an Act of Parliament "to legalise the amalgamation and consolidation of the Orphan Working School, the Alexandra Orphanage for Infants and the Convalescent Seaside Home for Orphans".

1908 Archdeacon of London conducts the 150th Anniversary Service for OWS, on Sunday 10th May in the School Chapel.

1910 King Edward VII dies. King George V, Queen Mary and Queen Alexandra assume Patronage.

1912 RMS Titanic sinks
OWS offers to take 20 children orphaned by the loss of the liner.

William Smith, Headmaster for 41 years retires, to be succeeded by his son who remains for a further 25 years.

1914 The First World War is declared

An estimated 250 Old Scholars enlist for active service.

1915 OWS Court of Governors agrees "that 20 children of warrant officers and non-commissioned officers who fall in the war be admitted without election". The first two were the sons of a Sgt. Gregory of the Hertfordshire Territorials, killed in France on Christmas Day 1914.

1917 Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII) becomes President.

1918 Old Scholar, Captain Bernard Stacey, awarded Military Cross.

November 11th - Armistice Day marks end of the first World War.

Forty four former scholars are known to have died on active service.

45 War Orphans being looked after in the School. Girls knit 419 pairs of socks for wounded soldiers.

1919 Influenza epidemic affects 250 children; 7 children and two staff die.

The Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII) becomes President.

Lord Mayor of London, Horace Marshall, Treasurer of the Charity, presides at the restored Annual Festival, at the Mansion House. (The Lord Mayor presides at four Festivals between 1919 and 1927. All other Festivals up to the outbreak of Second World War are held in the Halls of City Livery Companies)

1922 Prince of Wales presides at 164th Annual Festival, which raises £23,000 (£900,000 at current value).

1923 OWS changes its name to Alexandra Orphanage.

Roll of Honour, carved and gilded to the design of an Old Scholar, is unveiled, listing the former scholars and member of staff known to have been killed in action in the recent war. (This memorial board is now in the entrance to the Chapel)

Leslie Woodgate, soon to become the first BBC Chorus Master, is appointed organist and choirmaster.

1925 Queen Alexandra, a Patron of the Charity since her arrival in England some sixty years earlier, dies.

1926 General Strike in Britain

Joseph Rank, a Governor for more than 20 years, presides at the Annual Festival.

A Mr Edwin Gould, an American who had previously visited the School, sends £3,000 from the United States. Part of this donation is spent on "sports clothing and outfits for the whole school"

1927 Alexandra and Albert Orphanages' combined total of admissions in their respective histories passes 10,000.

1932 Robert Hogg, Old Scholar and former Board member of the of the Charity, dies aged 96. He had joined OWS, in the City Road, in 1836.

1933 Prince Albert (who became King George VI) presides at the Annual Festival and visits the School.

1935 School Choir represents Britain in an international broadcast called "Youth Sings Over the Frontiers". Columbia Broadcasting Company of America broadcasts the Choir singing a special programme of British Folk Songs.

1936 King George V dies and King Edward VIII becomes Patron. Following the abdication of King Edward VIII, King George VI becomes Patron. Duke of Kent (a son of King George V) becomes President.

Lord Marshall of Chipstead, Treasurer for 38 years, dies.

Two broadcast services from the School Chapel, feature the School Choir.

1938 President formally opens the Marshall Memorial Gymnasium, dedicated to the memory of Lord Marshall, and marking 70 years of support from the Marshall family.

Foundation decides the School should eventually move from Maitland Park, its home for more than ninety years. The Duxhurst Estate near Reigate in Surrey is purchased.

Leslie Woodgate, organist and choirmaster, and composer of the School Song, retires because of pressure of BBC duties.

The 180th, and final, Annual Festival is held at the Merchant Taylors' Hall.

1939 Six hundred Old Scholars attend the last Annual Re-union to be held before the outbreak of war.

In August, with war looming, Infants and Juniors are evacuated from Maitland Park to a large house, Woodham Place, at Horsell Common, near Woking, in Surrey.

On 1st September, at one hour's notice, senior children and staff are evacuated to be billeted with families in the Bedford area.

3 September - War is declared

4th September - Aircraftsman Kenneth Day, Old Scholar who joined the Royal Air Force, is the first British serviceman to be confirmed killed in action, on his 21st birthday. He was buried by German officers, with full military honours

1940 In February, senior children and staff are re-united at the National Camps Corporation Bishopswood Farm Camp, Kidmore End, Reading, for the duration of the War.

Woodham Place not large enough to accommodate influx of infants. A house on the Duxhurst Estate is renovated and the nursery moves.

Government requisitions Duxhurst Estate for military use. The Board purchases Elmcroft, a house at Goring-on-Thames, near Bishopswood Camp. Infants and Juniors are re-united at Elmcroft throughout the War.

1942 The Duke of Kent, President, is killed on active service. The Duchess of Kent becomes President in succession to her late husband.

1944 King George VI commands that the Alexandra Orphanage be henceforth known as the Royal Alexandra School, "in recognition of the long service to fatherless and motherless boys and girls which the Charity has provided".

1945 Second World War ends

Eleven former Alexandra Scholars and one teacher are known to have given their lives.

Of the approximately 300 children in the School, 84 had lost fathers in action and 23 had lost parents in air raids on London.

Surrey County Council suggests that Royal Alexandra School moves from its wartime accommodation at Bishopswood Camp, to be co-sited with Royal Albert School at Camberley, Surrey.

1947 Infants and Juniors move from Elmcroft to Duxhurst Park.

1948 The Boards of Management of the Royal Alexandra and the Royal Albert Foundations agree to an amalgamation of the Schools into the Royal Alexandra and Albert School.


Royal Albert Orphan Asylum/Royal Albert Orphanage/
Royal Albert School
(1864 - 1949)

1861 Queen Victoria's Consort Prince Albert dies.

1864 On 2nd February a group of gentlemen, under the chairmanship of William Morley Jnr., meets in the London Tavern "to establish an Asylum for thoroughly destitute orphan children".

An unfinished mansion, Collingwood Court, in 200 acres near Bagshot in Surrey, is purchased.

Queen Victoria consents to the establishment of The Royal Albert Orphan Asylum (RAOA) as a National Memorial to Prince Albert.

On 16th December, 51 boys and 49 girls are admitted. The first name on the admission register is Arthur Field Coaker, aged 10, having lost both parents to illness. The first girl's name is Sarah Ann Anstis, also aged ten, whose Father had been a carpenter.

1865 The Queen acts as patron and the Duke of Edinburgh opens a successful fundraising bazaar in the Guildhall, London, which raises nearly £1,300 (£115,000 at current value).

Mr (Later Sir) Cowasji Jehangir 'Readymoney', an eminent Parsi philanthropist, donates £500.

A further 50 children admitted.

1867 The Queen visits RAOA on 29th June, to inaugurate the Asylum, lay the foundation stone for a new dining hall and chapel and plant a commemorative tree. (The 'Queen's Tree', as it became known, still stands with the foundation stone beside it, within a housing development near Camberley)

1868 Queen Victoria becomes Patron of the Charity. The Duke of Edinburgh (second son of Queen Victoria) becomes President.

Two 'Trade Masters' employed to teach tailoring and boot making.

A marble bust of Prince Albert is purchased by the Management Committee from Matthew Noble, an eminent portrait sculptor. The Queen visits the sculptor's studio and suggests slight changes to the features of her late husband, to represent him in his more mature years. (The bust was originally placed in the entrance hall of the Asylum and is now in the Boardroom at Gatton Park)

1869 Royal Albert Old Boys' Association formed.

1872 Number of children being looked after rises to 193.

1873 The President (Duke of Edinburgh) presides at a fund raising dinner, which raises a much needed £3,000 (£240,000 at current value). The band of the Coldstream Guards performs.

1876 The Lord Mayor of London presides at a second fund raising dinner. The School band performs at the dinner at which £2,500 is raised.

1878 Twenty six orphaned children taken in, following the sinking of the paddle steamer Princess Alice in the Thames.

The Duke of Connaught, third son of Queen Victoria, visits from his home at nearby Bagshot Park. He accepts a pair of boots made for him by the boys and a pair of stockings knitted by the girls.

1880 Duke and Duchess of Connaught again visit the School.

Duke of Connaught presides at the Festival Dinner, attended by the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, which raises £2,000.

1882 Number of children rises to 223.

1883 An annual 'Commemoration Day' is established, to take place on, or as near to, 26th August, which had been the Birth date of Prince Albert. The Duke and Duchess of Connaught attend the first Commemoration Day, with over 1,000 people present.

William Morley, Founder of Royal Albert, dies.

1885 The President presides at the Festival Dinner.

1886 One thousand children have passed through the Asylum.

1887 Five orphaned children are admitted after the Exeter theatre fire.

1888 Lord Mayor of London presides at Festival Dinner

1894 Duke and Duchess of Connaught, with their two young daughters, attend the School Fete. One of the daughters, Princess Victoria Patricia, who later becomes Lady Patricia Ramsay, maintains her interest in the Charity for the following 80 years.

1900 Duke of Edinburgh, President of the Charity for 32 years, dies.

1901 Queen Victoria, Patron of the Charity, dies. King Edward VII becomes Patron and the Duke of Connaught becomes President.

1902 Proposal, for financial, reasons, to reduce number of children and close the girls' department.

Lord Mayor of London presides at the Annual Festival, which raises £7,000 (£600,000 at current value). An anonymous Old Scholar contributes a further £1,000 (£85,000).

1904 Decision taken to admit only boys and to reduce number to 100.

1906 Last girl leaves.

1908 Lord Mayor of London presides at Annual Festival.

1910 King Edward VII dies. King George V becomes Patron.

President presides at Commemoration Day.

1911 President presides at Festival Dinner. £6,000 is raised.

1912 Royal Albert Orphan Asylum becomes Royal Albert Orphanage.

1913 President presides at Commemoration Day and his daughter Princess Patricia (later Lady Patricia Ramsay) presents the prizes.

1914 Start of First World War

Following the outbreak of war, it is decided to increase the number of available beds to 170, to be able to take war orphans.

1915 Commemoration Day is cancelled because so many Old Scholars are on active service in the armed forces.

1917 The "Colonel John Kelly Holdsworth, RA, Scholarship Prize", for academic achievement, is established. Two boys tie as the first winners. A badge bearing the letter "H" is devised for winners to wear. (The prize is still awarded annually)

The President visits the Orphanage to inspect the boys.

1918 Armistice Day on, 11th November, marks the end of the War
Boys are given a half-day holiday.

1919 Twelve orphans of the War are admitted.

1920 Leaving age is increased from 15 to 16.

1922 Orphanage is recognised by the Board of Education as a Certified Efficient School, thus earning a per head grant for providing education.

1931 Duke of Connaught, President, institutes the Connaught Medal "to encourage Scholars in their studies and general being". (The Connaught Prize is still awarded annually)

1936 King George V dies and is succeeded as Patron by King Edward VIII and, on the latter's abdication, by King George VI.

1938 Age of admission is reduced from 8 to 6 years old.

It is announced that: "In order to mark the fact that the Royal Albert Orphanage was instituted in 1864 as a National Memorial to the Prince Consort, the King has been pleased to approve that members of the Royal Family, who are direct descendants of the Prince Consort, may allow their names to appear as Vice-Patrons". Nine members accept the invitation.

1939 3rd September - Start of Second World War

Boys are taught to knit and knitted garments are made for the benefit of British troops.

1941 Board approval given for the Royal Albert Orphanage to be known as the Royal Albert School.

Frank Burgess, an old Scholar and subsequent benefactor joins the Management Committee of the Charity.

1942 Duke of Connaught, President for more than 40 years, dies. He is succeeded by Duke of Gloucester. A Duke of Connaught Memorial Appeal raises more than £50,000 (equivalent to £1.65million today).

The Charity re-defines its main object as: "To provide a home, free from cost, or where circumstances permit, upon very reduced terms, for sons of men who have died or been killed in the armed services of the Crown, in air raids, civil defence or in war production, and orphans and boys for whom special conditions make it desirable that a home should be found".

Sir Stephenson Kent gives a wall plaque from his family, as a memorial to his nephew, a Major in the Northumberland Fusiliers. (This plaque can be seen in the entrance to the Dining Hall)

1945 Lady Patricia Ramsay becomes Vice-President.

First talks about whether the Albert and Alexandra Schools "might co-operate".

1946 Lady Patricia Ramsay presents prizes at Commemoration Day. Old Scholar, Mr James Cull, 86, who had left the School in 1874, attends, having been at every Commemoration Day since their introduction in 1883.

1947 The Board Chairman reports on negotiations for the amalgamation of the Royal Albert and Royal Alexandra Schools.

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, send the School a tier of wedding cake, following their marriage.

1948 Surrey County Council becomes responsible for the provision and cost of education at the School.

Field Marshall Viscount Montgomery of Alamein inspects the School Cadets. Two Cadets reach the finals of the National Boxing Championships at the Royal Albert Hall.

Agreement is reached on amalgamation with the Royal Alexandra School, to form the Royal Alexandra and Albert School.

1949 Field Marshall Lord Wilson of Libya and Stowlangtoft presents prizes at Commemoration Day.

1950 Field Marshall Sir Claude Auchinleck presents the prizes at Commemoration Day

Royal Alexandra and Albert School
(Established 1949)

1934 Gatton Hall, the Gatton Park home of Sir Jeremiah Colman, destroyed by fire. The mansion is rebuilt at a cost of £45,000.

1939 Gatton Hall and Gatton Park requisitioned for military use for the duration of the Second World War.

1942 Sir Jeremiah Colman, friend and benefactor to the Orphan Working School/Royal Alexandra School, for more than 65 years, dies.

1948 On 1st January the Managements of the Royal Alexandra and Royal Albert Schools are amalgamated.

Lady Colman, widow of Sir Jeremiah, sells the Gatton Park Estate to the Charity, for the £45,000 (£1.1M at current value) spent on re-building Gatton Hall after the fire in 1934, as a home for the new School.

The Foundation gifts land to Surrey County Council for the building of Junior and Secondary day schools.

King George VI and Queen Mary, widow of King George V, agree to be Patrons of the combined Charity. The Duke of Gloucester becomes President. The Duchess of Kent and Lady Patricia Ramsay, a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, are Vice-Presidents.

A child is admitted on Queen Mary's personal presentation.

The Infants Department moves from nearby Duxhurst Park into Gatton Hall.

1949 On 14th July, Royal Assent is given to an Act of Parliament, formally to amalgamate the two former schools into The Royal Alexandra and Albert School. The objects of the new Foundation are:

(1) To establish and maintain a boarding School for boys and girls who without one or both parents or whose special circumstances make it desirable that they should go to a boarding school.

(2) To bring up the boys and girls in the school on Protestant principles and to have them educated under arrangements provided by the statutory education authority.

The Gatton Association, of Old Scholars, is founded, incorporating the Maitland Association (Alexandra Old Scholars) and the Royal Albert Old Boys' Association.

Plans prepared to build boarding accommodation for 400 children.

Queen Mary and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attend a charity Film Premiere at the Odeon, Marble Arch London, to raise funds for the new School.

1950 Construction starts on Dining Hall, Sanatorium and seven Boarding Houses (Albert, Alexandra, Cornwall, Edinburgh, Elizabeth, Gloucester and Kent).

1951 Mr L S Deubert is appointed to be Headmaster of the new School.

1952 King George VI dies and Queen Elizabeth II becomes Patron.

James V Rank, first Chairman of the Board of Management of RAAS and friend and benefactor to the Schools for more than 30 years, dies.

Old Scholar, Newton Wells, leaves the School a legacy of £25,000 (£500,000 at current value).

1953 In January, the infants move into the newly completed Alexandra House.

Royal College of Heralds designs a Coat of Arms for the School.

Celebrated jockey, Sir Gordon Richards, makes a broadcast appeal for funds.

King George VI Memorial Fund donates £10,000 towards the cost of the Dining Hall.

After Easter, Senior girls from Bishopswood Camp move into Gatton Hall; Senior boys from Bishopswood and Collingwood Court occupy Albert, Cornwall and Edinburgh Houses; Junior girls move into Elizabeth House. Junior boys, left at Collingwood Court, are joined by Junior boys from Bishopswood.

Sanatorium is named The Nuffield Hospital, following a gift of £20,000 from Lord Nuffield.

2nd June - Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

Old Scholar, E J D Muggeridge, presents a television set to each boarding house and the school hospital, in time for children to be able to watch the Coronation.

Headmaster resigns because of ill heath and is succeeded by Mr W Fleming-Thomson.

The School suffers two separate outbreaks of poliomyelitis.

1954 In January, Junior boys move from Collingwood Court into Kent and Gloucester Houses.

Duke and Duchess of Gloucester visit the new School. The Duke "turns the first sod" for the foundations of the Junior Day School; the Duchess plants a tree (which stands outside the Headmaster's present office).

1957 A Warden, Mr Francis Wylie, is appointed to assume separate responsibility for the boarding function.

The Joseph Rank Memorial Chapel, dedicated to the memory of a long term friend and benefactor to the School, is officially opened by one of his daughters.

The J V Rank Memorial Window, above the dais in the Chapel, is unveiled at a special service, in memory of a former Chairman of the Foundation.

Lady Patricia Ramsay, Vice President, opens the Connaught Library in Gatton Hall, dedicating it to the memory of her father, the Duke of Connaught, a former President for over 40 years.

1958 On 10th May, the President, the Duke of Gloucester, and the Vice-President, the Duchess of Kent visit the School to celebrate the Bi-Centenary of the Charity. The President formally opens the tennis courts on Gatton Hall lawns, generously donated by Mr Bernard Sunley.

On 14th May, a Gala Performance of the hit musical My Fair Lady, at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, raises £23,000 for the School. (Current value £375,000)

Old Scholar, Ernest Muggeridge, a generous benefactor to the School over many years, celebrates his 90th birthday and receives a telegram from the President.

The former Convalescent home at Margate, built for the Orphan Working School in 1874 is sold.

1962 The Lord Mayor of London, Sir Frederick Hoare, visits the School.

1963 Ellis Evans retires as Head of the Junior School and Housemaster of Gloucester House, having been with the School for 39 years.

1965 The Headmaster and the Warden in charge of boarding resign. John 'Gump' Andrews, a teacher for forty years, retires.

Two new boarding houses are planned.

1966 Mr Norman Worsick is appointed Headmaster.

1967 The Rank Family Trusts donate the cost of building the "The J V Rank" Boarding House.

1968 Garfield Weston donates the cost of building "The Rita Howard Weston" Boarding House.

Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, Vice President and former President for 27 years, dies.

1969 Rank House for boys and Weston house for girls are occupied.

Finance Committee of the Foundation meets at the Old Bailey because of commitments of its Chairman, Lord Mais, as Aldermanic Sheriff of the City of London.

1971 Duchess of Gloucester formally opens Rank and Weston Houses.

1972 Lord Rank (formerly J Arthur Rank), who became a Governor in 1917, dies.

1973 Lord Mais, in his year as Lord Mayor of London, visits the School.

1974 Princess Richard, daughter-in-law of the President, visits the School.

Lady Patricia Ramsay, Vice-President, and friend of the Schools for 80 years, dies.

Duke of Gloucester, President of the Charity for 32 years, dies and Princess Richard, the new Duchess of Gloucester becomes President.

1974 The Headmaster moves to another school and is succeeded by Mr Frank Bickerstaff.

1975 President makes her first 'official' visit to the School. Her Royal Highness attends a service of dedication for The Lord Rank Memorial window, above the entrance to the Chapel, and unveils a Memorial plaque. .

1976 A severe outbreak of influenza confines 125 children to bed.

"Bernard Sunley House" is built, "as a home for the youngest and most insecure children", courtesy of a generous donation from the Sunley Trust.

Church Lads' Brigade is inspected by Air Chief Marshall Sir Augustus Walker.

1977 A Jubilee Wood is planted in Gatton Park, in celebration of the Queen's Silver Jubilee. Each child and staff member plants a sapling: a total of 560 young trees.

Church Lads' and Girls' Brigades attend a National Silver Jubilee Service in Westminster Abbey. Trumpeters from Gatton play a fanfare at the service.

1979 The Bernard Sunley Charitable Trust contributes £100,000 towards the cost of an indoor swimming Pool.

1980 Inaugural Gala is held in the new Bernard Sunley Swimming Pool.

Admiral of the Fleet Lord Hill Norton inspects the Church Lads' and Girls' Brigades; 125 children take part.

1981 The president unveils a plaque at the swimming Pool to commemorate the retirement of Eric Corner, Foundation Secretary for 35 years, who had joined the Charity in 1935.

Old Scholar, Allan Webb, killed while in the armed forces in Germany.

1982 By mid year, there are 111 children in the Junior School, 405 in the Secondary School and 14 sixth formers attending Reigate College.

1987 The President visits the new Youth Activities Centre in the Bothy.

Many mature trees in the Park lost in the October storm.

1988 The Lord Mayor of London, Sir Greville Spratt, visits the School and opens the new Staff Club.

Bill Jeffrey, Deputy Headmaster, and his wife Beth both retire after 32 years as teachers and house parents.

Old Scholar, Graham Lambie, killed on Active Service in Northern Ireland.

1989 Ray Davies, Deputy Head of the Secondary School, and his wife June both retire, after 44 years of service as teachers and house parents.

Headmaster retires and is succeeded by Mr Bruce Fox.

1991 Mr Freddie Minter MBE, Chairman of the Board of Management, for 25 years, retires. To mark his retirement he makes a generous donation to enable the introduction of horse riding into the School.

1992 Re-furbishing of boarding houses starts, to convert dormitories into smaller study-bedrooms.

Stables and floodlit sand school for riding completed.

1993 Church Lads' and Girls' Brigades disbanded after 25 years and Gatton Cadet Corp established.

Headmaster moves to another school and is succeeded by Mr Roy Bushin.

1994 Old Scholar leaves a legacy of £5,000.

1995 In January 1995 the School drops to 385 pupils.

School granted Voluntary Aided status. Foundation buys day school buildings from Surrey County Council and leases them back to Surrey for teaching.

President visits and opens a re-furbished Connaught Library, stocked as a school library. Her Royal Highness makes a presentation to Eric Corner, former Foundation Secretary, to mark his 60 years of service to the Foundation.

School Fete raises a record £6,500 for books for the School Library.

Day Boarding category of pupil is introduced.

1996 Prince Michael of Kent, President of the Royal Patriotic Fund, visits the School.

A funding Appeal produces promises of £200,000 over committed periods.

Seventy Old Scholars from the former Royal Alexandra School attend a reunion dinner at Bishopswood Camp.

A Gatton Park Conservation Group of pupils and volunteer adults is created.

1997 The Junior and Senior Day Schools are formally unified into a single, 7-16 years of age, school.

Sir Michael and Lady Colman present prizes at Founders' Day.

Autumn term starts with 423 boarders, including 45 in sixth form accommodation.

Gatton Park Education Trust formed.

1999 Sir Jeremiah Colman's Japanese Garden is partially restored by a team for the Channel 4 television series 'Lost Gardens'.

2000 Death of a girl pupil from Meningitis.

Major fire damages School buildings.

Gatton Association holds an Old Scholars' Reunion weekend at the School

2001 School receives 'Sportsmark' award.

Headmaster leaves and is succeeded by Mr Paul Spencer Ellis.

Seventy nine Foundationers in the School.

2002 Gatton Trust established.

Legacy of £230,000 received.

Eric Corner, former Foundation Secretary, dies. He had joined the staff of the Alexandra Orphanage in 1935, supervised the purchase of Gatton Park and oversaw the construction and occupation of the school buildings and boarding Houses.

2003 Major refurbishment of the senior boarding houses undertaken.

President visits the School for Founders' Day. Her Royal Highness addresses the children and presents prizes, unveils a plaque to mark the refurbishment of the Dining Hall and plants a tree near to the Chapel. (The same species planted by Queen Victoria in 1867 when inaugurating the Royal Albert Orphan Asylum)

2004 Jerusalem Trust gifts to the Park a group of ten 'Millennium' standing stones - each stone representing a period of 200 years.

A group of Royal Albert Old Scholars raises money for the placing of a plaque at the foot of the tree planted by Queen Victoria when she inaugurated the Royal Albert Orphan Asylum at Camberley, in Surrey, in 1867. (the tree is now a central feature of a housing development)

2005 School awarded 'Sports College' status.

2006 GCSE results rank the School 28th out of all secondary schools in the country for 'contextual value added'.

2007 Number of pupils in the School reaches a record 750. Planning permission obtained to increase maximum number of pupils to 1100.

Indoor sand school for riding is opened.

President formally opens extensions to Albert and Elizabeth Houses.

2008 Two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Founding of the Orphan Working School Charity.

Two legacies, totalling more than £600,000, are received.

10th May - The Bishop of Southwark attends the Junior Founders' Day Service on the anniversary date of the founding of the Orphan Working School in 1758

11th May - The Archbishop of Canterbury attends the Senior Founders' Day service and leads the 250th Anniversary Celebrations.

2009 Crispin Blunt MP opens new science block.

Olympic Gold medal winner, Darren Campbell MBE opens new sports pitches and athletics strip.

2010 The Headmaster attends a reception in Downing Street for the most improved schools in the country.

The Duchess of Gloucester attends a service in Chapel to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the admission of the first pupil to the Orphan Working School.

Director of Studies, John Ahern retires after 36 years at the School.

New Sixth Form opens.

Mr John Sunley, Chairman of Trustees of The Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation, officially opens the Bernard Sunley Sixth Form Centre.

Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for Schools opens new Sixth Form boarding house annexes at Kent House and Alexandra House.

Original parterre restored on the south lawn of Gatton Hall.

2011 Received legacy of £100,000

Head of Boarding, Benny Jones retires after 36 years at the School.

Major General RJM Porter MBE joins pupils for the Remembrance Service in Chapel.

This time line history has been compiled by John Billingham, former scholar of the Royal Alexandra and Albert School and current member of the Governing Body and Board of Management. The compiler is indebted to former Foundation Secretary, the late Eric Corner, for extensive reference to his unpublished manuscript history of the Schools.

Documents held in Surrey History Centre, Woking, Surrey
Annual Reports of the Charitable Foundations.
'An Historical Account of Royal Alexandra and Albert School', by Eric Corner.
Newspaper cuttings.

May 2008 (V9)