This text was copied from Wikipedia on 17 July 2024 at 3:10AM.

St Paul's School
Lonsdale Road

, ,
SW13 9JT

United Kingdom
Coordinates51°29′15″N 0°14′18″W / 51.4874°N 0.2383°W / 51.4874; -0.2383
TypeIndependent school
Public school
MottoLatin: Fide Et Literis
(By Faith and By Learning)
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
Established1509 (1509)
FounderJohn Colet
Department for Education URN102942 Tables
Chairman of the GovernorsJohnny Robertson
High MasterSally Anne Huang
SurmasterFran Clough
Staffc. 110
Age13 to 19
HousesBlurton, Cloete, Field, Gilks, Gill, Harrison, Nilsson, Warner (named after Undermasters)
Former pupilsOld Paulines
Boat ClubSt Paul's School Boat Club

St Paul's School is a selective independent day school (with limited boarding) for boys aged 13–18,[1] founded in 1509 by John Colet[2] and located on a 43-acre[3][4] site by the Thames in London.[5][6]

St Paul's was one of nine English public schools investigated by the Clarendon Commission, which subsequently became known as the Clarendon schools.[7][8] However, the school successfully argued that it was a private school[9] and consequently was omitted from the Public Schools Act 1868,[10] as was Merchant Taylors', the other day school within the scope of Lord Clarendon's terms of reference.[11] Since 1881, St Paul's has had its own preparatory school, St Paul's Juniors (formerly Colet Court), which since 1968 has been located on the same site.[2]

The school is included in The Schools Index as one of the world's 150 best private schools and among top 30 UK senior schools.[12]


St Paul's School takes its name from St Paul's Cathedral in London. A cathedral school had existed since around 1103. By the 16th century however, it had declined, and in 1509, a new school was founded by John Colet, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, on a plot of land to the north of the Cathedral.

Biography of John Colet from 1724

The eldest son of Sir Henry Colet (a member of the Mercers' Company and twice Lord Mayor of the City of London), John Colet inherited a substantial fortune and used a great part of it for the endowment of his school, having no family of his own; his 21 brothers and sisters all died in childhood and he was a celibate priest. He described himself in the statutes of the school as "desyring nothing more thanne Educacion and bringing upp chyldren in good Maners and litterature."[13]

Statue of John Colet

Originally, the school provided education for 153 children of "all nacions and countries indifferently", primarily in literature and etiquette. The number 153 has long been associated with the miraculous draught of fishes recorded in St John's Gospel, and for several generations Foundation Scholars have been given the option of wearing an emblem of a silver fish. St Paul's was the largest school in England at its foundation, and its High Master had a salary of 13 shillings and sixpence weekly, which was double that of the contemporary Head Master of Eton College. The scholars were not required to make any payment, although they were required to be literate and had to pay for their own wax candles, which at that time were an expensive commodity.

Colet was an outspoken critic of the powerful and worldly Church of his day, and a friend of both Erasmus and Sir Thomas More. Erasmus wrote textbooks for the school and St Paul's was the first English school to teach Greek, reflecting the humanist interests of the founder. Colet distrusted the Church as a managing body for his school, declaring that he "found the least corruption" in married laymen.[14] For this reason, Colet assigned the management of the School and its revenues to the Mercers' Company, the premier livery company in the City of London, with which his father had been associated. In 1876 the company was legally established as trustee of the Colet estate, and the management of the school was assigned to a Board of Governors consisting of the Master, Wardens and nine members of the company, together with three representatives from each of the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London. The Mercers' Company still forms the major part of the School's governing body, and it continues to administer Colet's trust.

One of St Paul's early headmasters was Richard Mulcaster, famous for writing two influential treatises on education (Positions, in 1581,[15] and Elementarie in 1582). His description in Positions of "footeball" as a refereed team sport is the earliest reference to organised modern football. For this description and his enthusiasm for the sport he is considered the father of modern football.[16]

Between 1861 and 1864, the Clarendon Commission (a Royal Commission) investigated the public school system in England and its report formed the basis of the Public Schools Act 1868. St Paul's was one of only nine schools considered by the Clarendon Commission, and one of only two schools which was not predominantly attended by boarders (the other day school was Merchant Taylors').

According to Charles Dickens Jr., writing in 1879[17]

St Paul's School (founded 1512 by John Colet, DD, Dean of St Paul’s), St Paul's-churchyard — There are 153 scholars on the foundation, who are entitled to entire exemption from school fees. Vacancies are filled up at the commencement of each term according to the results of a competitive examination. Candidates must be between 12 and 14 years of age. Capitation scholars pay £20 a year. The governors of this school are appointed by the Mercers' Company and the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and London. The school exhibitions [i.e. scholarships] are determined as to number and value by the governors from time to time, and the school prizes are of considerable importance. The following are the university exhibitions. To the University of Cambridge there are the following exhibitions: Five exhibitions at Trinity, founded by Mr Perry in 1696, of the value of £10 a year; two exhibitions at St John's, founded by Dr Gower in 1711, of the value of £10 a year, for the sons of clergymen. An exhibition, founded by Mr Stock in 1780 at Corpus Christi, of the yearly value of £30, given to a scholar recommended by the high master. Four exhibitions, in the same college, value £10 a year each, founded by Mr George Sykes in 1766, consolidated now in one exhibition, value £36 a year.

By comparison, in 2016 the Daily Telegraph reported that families earning up to £120,000 were being offered bursaries after the headmaster declared that the school had become "unaffordable".[18]


Apposition is a traditional ceremony at St Paul's and was originally a way of allowing the Mercers' Company to assess teaching staff and the High Master, with the option of dismissing or reappointing them. The assessment takes the form of a third-party "apposer", often a leading academic, judging the quality of teaching through scrutinising lectures given by boys in their final year. Today it is primarily a prize giving event, where prizes are awarded to senior boys who have excelled in particular subjects. The Apposition Dinner is held in Mercers' Hall in London every year around May.

Consequences of apposition have led to the dismissal of previous High Masters including Thomas Freeman, for lack of learning (although more probably for holding the incorrect religious views) in 1559. In 1748, High Master Charles was removed as he had allegedly threatened to "pull the Surmaster by the nose and kick him about the school".

Since it was re-introduced in 1969,[19] the ceremony today takes place in May and is purely ceremonial, incorporating prize giving for boys in the final two years of the school.


City of London blue plaque on the original site of the school

City of London

The second school in the City. Engraving by B. Cole, 1755

The original school, which stood in St Paul's Churchyard, was destroyed with the Cathedral in the Great Fire of London in 1666.[20]


St Paul's, Hammersmith, c. 1900

In 1884 a new building designed by the architect Alfred Waterhouse rose to dominate the countryside of Hammersmith. The terracotta for the Hammersmith school was made by the famous Gibbs and Canning of Tamworth. At this time the street numbering was changed locally and so the school address, whether by accident or design, became 153 Hammersmith Road.[21] The preparatory school, Colet Court, was soon afterwards housed in new premises in a similar style on the opposite side of the road.

View from Hammersmith of St. Paul's current site in Barnes

In September 1939 the school was evacuated to Easthampstead Park, near Crowthorne in Berkshire, where, under the then High Master, W. F. Oakeshott, it became solely a boarding school for the period of the war. Playing fields and some other facilities were borrowed from nearby Wellington College, but the boys and the teachers from the two schools remained entirely separate.

Queen Elizabeth II looking through a spectrometer in the science laboratory on her visit to the school in 1959

In the meantime, the London buildings became the headquarters of the Home Forces in July 1940[22] and the headquarters of the XXI Army Group under the command of General, later Field-Marshal, Bernard Montgomery, himself an Old Pauline, in July 1943. There the XXI army part of the military side of the invasion of Europe was planned, including the D-Day landings.[23] The map that he used is still present in the modern day site of the school in the Montgomery Room. The school recovered its buildings in September 1945, and resumed life essentially as a day school, although it retains a small number of boarders to this day. In 1959, Queen Elizabeth II visited the school to mark the 450th anniversary of its founding. Upon her death, BBC journalist John Simpson, a pupil at the time, was most complimentary, saying that "we were all just bowled over by it [the visit]".[24]


The front entrance of the now-demolished 1968 general teaching block, photographed in 2008

By 1961 it had become evident that the old school buildings were unsuited to modern educational needs. The opportunity arose to rebuild the school on a 45-acre (182,000 m²) riverside site at Barnes, adjacent to Hammersmith Bridge. This land had previously been the site of reservoirs which were filled in with earth excavated during the construction of the Victoria line.[25]

In the 1970s, West London College was built on 14 acres (5.7 ha) of former playing fields of St Paul's, despite campaigns opposing the development.[26]

2009–present day

The school has recently opened its Science wing. The wing is a four-storey building finished in February 2013, built to give university standard of work spaces and labs. The school now has its own scanning electron microscope along with the new science building.[27]

A large number of music concerts, art exhibitions and plays take place each year, and pupils regularly receive national recognition for their achievements. The school also has a strong sports department; St Paul's was a founding member of the Rugby Football Union in 1871 and was pre-eminent in public school boxing, its first team failing to win only two boxing matches against first team boxers from other schools over a period of 25 years; however, boxing was discontinued as a school sport in the 1960s. More recently, the school teams were runners-up in the rugby U15 Daily Mail Cup in 2005 and in 2007. The school has a strong record in rugby. In 1979, the 1st XV of St Paul's, nicknamed the 'Invincibles', went twelve matches undefeated.[28] Big rivals for the school are RGS Guildford, King's College School, Dulwich College, St John's Leatherhead, Merchant Taylors', Wellington and Eton.[28]

Staff pay

St Paul's ranks highest on the Sunday Times Private School Pay List, with nine staff members paid salaries exceeding £100,000 in the accounting period 2019-20.[29] St Paul’s also had the highest individual earner, with one staff member earning between £330,000 and £339,000 from September 2019 to August 2020.[29]

Operation Winthorpe

St Paul's has been investigated by the Metropolitan Police for historic crimes of paedophilia so serious the investigation was given its own operational name, Operation Winthorpe. Since then school has reviewed and revised its safeguarding procedures. A major independent report published in January 2020, revealed 80 complaints against 32 members of staff over a period of six decades, mainly from the 1960s to the 1990s. There were 28 recommendations on how current practice could be improved.[30]

Renewal campaign

On the left, the new science block is visible; in the centre is the first phase of the new general teaching block (GTB) building; on the right is visible the old half-demolished GTB and the former main entrance.

The renewal campaign is the project to rebuild the entire school campus, frequently known as the Masterplan.

The majority of the current buildings date from the 1960s, and the CLASP technology used in the construction of the buildings has a limited lifespan. Even though over the last few years various buildings (such as the Wathen Hall Music School, Rackets Court and Milton Building) have been added on the campus wherever space was available, the dated buildings represent approximately three quarters of the school.[31]

Local planning restrictions combined with a lack of available surplus land mean that St Paul's is faced with progressively replacing obsolete buildings with new ones located in the same general area. The plan should eventually result in a large building footprint area increase as well as increasing the amount of staff housing. The number of car parking spaces will be reduced, but there will be much more available room for bicycles.

In 2007, Nicholas Hare Architects were appointed to produce detailed designs for the first set of new buildings.[32] Late in 2009, Richmond Council granted St Paul's detailed planning permission, and building started in 2011.[33]

Sporting Successes


In 2007, St Paul's recorded their most notable result in the sport when they reached the final of the U15 Daily Mail Cup, the premier rugby union tournament for British secondary schools. The team was coached by Richard Girvan, Surmaster from 2012 to 2020.[34] St Paul's lost the game played at Twickenham Stadium 20-15 to Lymm High School.[35]


The St Paul's School Boat Club (SPSBC) has won the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta seven times. In 2018 the SPSBC 1st VIII achieved unprecedented success, winning the "triple crown" of schoolboy rowing with record breaking wins in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup and the School's Head of the River, plus victory at the National Schools' Regatta in the Queen Mother's Challenge Cup; they also won the Men's Youth Eights at Head of the Charles in a record time and recorded the fastest time in history by any schoolboy crew over 2k of 5:36.59 at Marlow Regatta. Members of the crew also won the Pairs Head, Sculler's Head & Fours Head and all eligible members of the crew won gold medals at the World Junior Rowing Championships that year.


In 2008, for the first time, its students sat the IGCSE exam instead of the GCSE in Science, following sitting IGCSE in Mathematics the previous year. The school does not currently offer the International Baccalaureate as an alternative to A Level, and has suffered on many league tables as a result. Martin Stephen, former High Master of St Paul's, has stated he believes that "league tables put massive pressure on headmasters to do bad things"[36] and announced that St Paul's will be joining other private schools in London in withdrawing from the ISC's 2008 league tables.[37]

The school record for students gaining places at Oxford or Cambridge was 74 pupils in 2010, representing 42% of the year group. In the same year, a record 53.5% of A Level entries were graded at A*, with 93.5% of grades at A* or A and 99.4% at or above a B.[38] According to more recent data, pupils starting university in 2016 numbered 189. Of those starting in the UK in 2016, 95% went on to Russell Group universities, with 53 entering Oxford or Cambridge. The highest ever number of pupils (34) chose to study in America, at Ivy League or equivalent schools. In 2017, 72 pupils were made offers by Oxford or Cambridge, with 40 offers for Oxford and 32 for Cambridge. In addition, 40 pupils received offers from North American universities, with no fewer than five securing places at Yale. A further three offers were made each by Princeton and Columbia.[39]

The school had its first student attain a place on the Prime Minister's Global Fellowship programme in 2009.[40]

The school also has its first student win the national competition of IFS Young Business Writer of the Year 2010 Award, an award for the top young business thinker.[41]

GCSE summary: last six years[42]

2019 86.0 96.7 99.2
2018 78.5 96.1 99.4
2017 77.9 95.7 99.4
2016 77.8 96.7 99.5
2015 82.3 97.9 99.9
2014 84.3 97.6 99.7

A level summary: last six years[43]

2019 50.4 80.0 92.4
2018 51.0 82.4 95.1
2017 46.9 85.1 97.1
2016 45.1 84.9 98.0
2015 42.1 81.4 96.7
2014 47.7 86.4 97.7

High Masters

A portrait of Benjamin Moreland, High Master from 1721 to 1733

The head teacher of St Paul's is known as the High Master, and the deputy head as the Surmaster. These titles are assigned in the school statutes. The following have been High Masters of St Paul's:

Name Years as High Master
William Lily 1509–1522
John Ritwise 1522–1532
Richard Jones 1532–1549
Thomas Freeman 1549–1559
John Cook 1559–1573
William Malym 1573–1581
John Harrison 1581–1596
Richard Mulcaster 1596–1608
Alexander Gill Senior 1608–1635
Alexander Gill Junior 1635–1640
John Langley 1640–1657
Samuel Cromleholme 1657–1672
Thomas Gale 1672–1697
John Postlethwayt 1697–1713
Philip Ayscough 1713–1721
Benjamin Moreland 1721–1733
Timothy Crumpe 1733–1737
George Charles 1737–1748
George Thicknesse 1748–1769
Richard Roberts 1769–1814
John Sleath 1814–1837
Herbert Kynaston 1838–1876
Frederick William Walker 1877–1905
Albert Ernest Hillard 1905–1927
John Bell 1927–1938
Walter Fraser Oakeshott 1938–1946
Robert Leoline James 1946–1953
Antony Newcombe Gilkes 1953–1962
Thomas Edward Brodie Howarth 1962–1973
James Warwick Hele 1973–1986
Peter Pilkington, later Lord Pilkington of Oxenford 1986–1992
Richard Stephen Baldock 1992–2004
George Martin Stephen 2004–2010[44]
Mark Bailey 2011–2020[45]
Sally-Anne Huang 2020–[46][47]

Other notable staff

Notable alumni

See also


  1. ^ "Admissions". St Paul's School. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  2. ^ a b "History and Archives". St Paul's School. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  3. ^ "St Paul's School: two top private schools in London". Simply London relocation. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  4. ^ Zarzycki, Lili (3 March 2021). "First class: St Paul's School extension in London, UK by Walters & Cohen Architects". Architectural Review. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  5. ^ "St Paul's School - London". Best Schools. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  6. ^ "St Paul's – Schools Cricket Online". Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  7. ^ "St Paul's School". Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  8. ^ "St Paul's School Prospectus". Issuu. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  9. ^ Shrosbee, Colin (1988). Public Schools and Private Education: The Clarendon Commission, 1861–64, and the Public Schools Acts. Manchester University Press. p. 118. ISBN 978-0719025808.
  10. ^ An Act to make further Provision for the good Government and Extension of certain Public Schools in England, in: Great Britain (1868). AA collection of the public general statutes passed in the Thirty-first and Thirty-second year of the reign of Her Majesty the Queen Victoria. pp. 560–571. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  11. ^ "Clarendon Report (page iii)". Derek Gillard. Archived from the original on 14 March 2019.
  12. ^ McNamee, Annie (6 April 2024). "These are UK's best private schools, according to a prestigious ranking". Time Out United Kingdom. Retrieved 11 April 2024.
  13. ^ "Statuta Paulinae Scholae". Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  14. ^ Coulton, George (1938). Medieval Panorama. Cambridge University Press. p. 659.
  15. ^ "Positions wherein..." Archived from the original on 27 September 2006. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  16. ^ Francis, Azra (2013). Shakespeare's World. AuthorHouse. p. 255. ISBN 9781491819494.
  17. ^ Charles Dickens, Jr., Dickens's Dictionary of London (1879)
  18. ^ "St Paul's School offering bursaries for children of parents who earn £120k a year". Daily Telegraph. 17 September 2016. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  19. ^ Mead 1990, p.126.
  20. ^ Jokinen, Anniina (26 October 2001). "The Great Fire of London, 1666". Luminarium. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  21. ^ 51°29′34″N 0°12′55″W / 51.49278°N 0.21528°W / 51.49278; -0.21528
  22. ^ Newbold, p. 245
  23. ^ Mead, Hugh (4 May 2006). "A brief history of the St Paul's School". Retrieved 27 April 2008.; Dwight Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, London 1949, p. 267ff
  24. ^ Simpson speaking live in the BBC News studio at 16:47 on 9 September 2022
  25. ^ "St Paul's School". AKT II. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  26. ^ "Watch Fourteen Acres of Green". BFI Player. Retrieved 14 August 2023.
  27. ^ "How the Electron Microscope is Changing the World". St Paul’s School. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  28. ^ a b "Rugby – St Paul's School". St Paul’s School.
  29. ^ a b Griffiths, Robert Watts, Sian. "Private School Pay List: rise in £100,000 salaries sparks fears of brain drain". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 10 March 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  30. ^ Weale, Sally (13 January 2020). "Review reveals scale of abuse scandal at London private school". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  31. ^ "Background – Masterplan". St Paul's School. Archived from the original on 23 October 2007.
  32. ^ "Architect Announced". St Paul's School. Archived from the original on 25 October 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  33. ^ "Renewal campaign – St Paul's School". St Paul's School. Archived from the original on 17 March 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
  34. ^ "High Master's Blog". St Paul's School. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  35. ^ "St Paul's ready for Twickenham final". Wandsworth Guardian.
  36. ^ "Tables 'restrict A-level choices'". BBC News. BBC News. 25 April 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  37. ^ Henry, Julie (26 April 2008). "Top schools refuse to join exam tables". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  38. ^’s-school
  39. ^ "ST PAUL'S NEWS" (PDF). 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  40. ^ British Council website "Fellows" Archived 12 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine accessed 10 November 2009.
  41. ^ "Student Investor success | St Paul's School". 25 March 2010. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  42. ^ "GCSE Results". St Paul's School. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  43. ^ "A Level and Pre-U Results". St Paul's School. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  44. ^ Hohler, F C G (29 June 2010). "High Master to stand down in 2011". St Paul's School. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
  45. ^ "Appointment of High Master". St Paul's School. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
  46. ^ "St Paul's School appoints new High Master". St Paul’s School. Archived from the original on 11 October 2019. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  47. ^ Turner, Camilla (28 June 2019). "First female High Master at all-male bastion". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  48. ^ Miller, John J. (26 April 2018). "Josh Hawley's Worthy Climb". National Review. Archived from the original on 28 April 2018. Retrieved 24 July 2018.


External links

5 Annotations

First Reading

Second Reading

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.


Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.





  • Jan
  • Feb




  • Sep