Reed's School is an independent day and boarding school for boys located in Cobham, Surrey, England, founded by Andrew Reed in 1813 and incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1845 under the presidency of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Duke of Wellington and the Marquis of Salisbury. The school has a relatively low number of pupils, at only 645; however, numbers continue to rise steadily. It is boys only until the Fifth Form (Year 11) but admits girls in the Sixth Form (Years 12 & 13). The school has historical links with the City of London Corporation and the British Royal Family, a member of which has acted as patron from the school's earliest days. The current patron is Queen Elizabeth II, who visited the school in 1997. The school's headmaster is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC). Former pupils are known as "Old Reedonians".
- 1 History
- 2 Houses
- 3 Academic reputation
- 4 Notable former pupils
- 5 References
- 6 External links
On 24 June 1813 the Rev Andrew Reed D.D. gathered a group of friends at his house in St. George’s Place, Cannon Street Road, to discuss his proposals for forming an institution to assist orphan children. A month later, on 27 July the East London Orphan Asylum was formally instituted. Reed gave an address in 1815, which was printed every year in the annual report, in which he set out the aims of the institution. He said that ‘the present day is the period of benevolence and philanthropy’ and that ‘the widow and orphan have an undisputed claim to our benevolence’. The aims he sought were set out in the general constitution adopted at a meeting of subscribers on 20 April 1815.
The objects of the charity were to provide relief to destitute orphans who were defined as children who had lost both parents or their father, with the mother unable to provide for them. It was emphasised from the beginning that children whose parents had been in respectable circumstances had the first claim on the charity.
By the time the general constitution was adopted in 1815 the charity had become established in a small way. A house in Clarke’s Terrace, Cannon Street Road, was taken in April 1814 for the use of the charity, a matron was chosen and a ladies’ committee appointed. In July three girls were elected as the first children to be helped. In February 1815 the word ‘East’ was dropped from the original title. Reed realised that he needed to obtain much more than local support if the institution was to flourish and despite his nonconformist background he recognised that the charity was unlikely to succeed unless it adopted the principles of the Church of England.
Reed does not seem to have had much personal wealth, but he had an extraordinary ability to attract the support and patronage of those who did. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn presided at the first annual festival dinner in 1815, establishing a virtually continuous history of royal patronage of the charity. Reed was able to secure financial support from the Stock Exchange and City Livery Companies, again establishing a tradition which has continued throughout the history of the school. James Capel of the stock broking firm of that name was a prominent early member of the board of managers (one of the school houses is named after him). Another notable early sponsor was the Duke of Wellington, a future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
London Orphan Asylum, East London (1813-1871)
Initially the Asylum used two houses; one at Hackney Road, Shoreditch for the boys and one in Bethnal Green for the girls.<ref name="exploringsurreyspast.org.uk">http://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/themes/subjects/schools/london_orphan_asylum Exploring Surrey's Past</ref> By 1820 this accommodation was inadequate, so 8 acres of land were purchased at Clapton as the site for new buildings. So the asylum's first unified site was at Lower Clapton Road, Clapton, where Newcome's School had stood. The neo-classical designs submitted by the architect William Southcote Inman (1798 – 1879) were chosen and an appeal was launched for the funds to pay for the buildings. The foundation stone was laid by Frederick, Duke of York on 5 May 1823. The new buildings were completed by 1825 and were officially opened on 16 June by Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge. There were 206 pupils in 1826 and 453 in the 1860s. During the asylum's time in East London, it was famous for having had some 2000 hymns written for it by the English architect James Edmeston (one each Sunday), a strong supporter of and frequent visitor to the London Orphan Asylum. Henry Beattie was chaplain and headmaster between 1852 and 1870. After the school's move to Watford, the East London buildings were used by the Salvation Army. Indeed, the three-day lying in state of the organisation's founder, William Booth, occurred there in 1912. Now, however, only the facade of the classical-style building remains.
London Orphan Asylum/School, Watford (1871-1939)
In November 1866 a typhoid epidemic killed 15 children and precipitated the board of managers into a decision to move the school to a new site. In 1867 they purchased 36 acres of land at Watford and chose the plans of the architect Henry Dawson for the new school. The foundation stone was laid by the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, and his wife the Princess of Wales and future Queen Alexandra, on 15 July 1869. The school was formally opened in 1871. It was renamed "London Orphan School" in 1915 (finally, in 1939, this was changed to "Reed's School" in honour of the founder). The LOA played football against Watford Rovers (the future Watford F.C.) in the early 1880s. Headmasters at the Watford site included Oliver Carter Cockrem, (M.A., LL.D.) and Rev. H.W. Russell, (B.A.). In the 1980s the buildings were converted into residential accommodation; being near to Watford Junction station they are convenient for commuters.
Reed's School, Totnes & Towcester (1939-1945)
In World War II the school was evacuated from Watford; the boys to the Seymour Hotel, Totnes and the girls to a number of houses near Towcester. The site was used as an Army hospital and then by the Ministry of Labour.<ref name="exploringsurreyspast.org.uk"/>
Reed's School, Cobham (1945 - present)
After the war the governors decided not to return to the school at Watford, which the government in any case wished to retain as a headquarters building for the Ministry of Labour. In 1945 Dogmersfield Park, near Basingstoke, Hants, a large country house with about 120 acres of grounds, was purchased for the girls’ school. For the boys an estate of 56 acres with the buildings previously used by Sandroyd School in Sandy Lane, Cobham was purchased. Unfortunately financial difficulties made it impossible to maintain both schools and Dogmersfield Park had to be closed in July 1955 so that all the resources could be concentrated at Cobham where the school remains today. A new headmaster, Robert Drayson, was appointed in 1955 and remained until 1964, when he migrated to Stowe. In 1958, in his time, Reed's School began to take fee-paying pupils, while retaining its charitable element. Foundation bursaries are still available for children who have lost one or both parents and currently 10% of pupils are supported in this way.
The former girls' school is now the Four Seasons Hotel, Hampshire.
The school is made up of four houses, named after school benefactors:
- Blathwayt (royal blue ties),
- Bristowe (red ties),
- Capel (yellow ties) and
- Mullens (light blue ties).
In interhouse competitions, the four houses compete for the Edmonson Cup. There is also the Hopwood Cup for the most academic house.
Years Seven and Eight in the School are separated into 'The Close', which has its own competitive houses named after sister locations:
- Royal Putney
- Royal Wanstead
The school's value added scores (measuring the increase in attainment of pupils from the base line of entry) are amongst the highest in the country for State and Independent schools. In 2013, over half of all A-level entries at the school were graded A/A*, according to results published by The Telegraph.
Notable former pupils
- Prince Zeid Raad of Jordan, PhD (Cantab.) Monarch and politician
- Tim Henman OBE, British tennis player
- Lieutenant-Commander Brian Miles CBE, former director of the RNLI
- Simon Keenlyside CBE, Opera singer
- Tom Hardy, Actor
- Tom Nichols, British songwriter/producer
- Chris Eaton, British tennis player
- James Morrison (golfer)
- Jamie Treays aka Jamie T, Musician
- Edward Kellett-Bowman JP Conservative Member of the European Parliament
- Nigel Mitchell, Television Presenter
- Timothy Taylor (art dealer) owner and founder of the Timothy Taylor Gallery; husband of Lady Helen Taylor
- Jamie Delgado, British tennis player
- Alex Corbisiero, Rugby player for Northampton Saints
- Renton Skinner, Actor and comedian
- Jeffrey Bruma, Professional footballer, currently playing for PSV Eindhoven
- Richard Dinnick, Screenwriter and author