Charterhouse School

From Academic Kids

Charterhouse School is a British public school, located in Godalming in the county of Surrey. It was founded by Thomas Sutton in London in 1611 on the site of the old Carthusian Monastery in Charterhouse Square, Smithfield (see Charterhouse). Today, pupils are still referred to as Carthusians, and ex-pupils as Old Carthusians or OCs.
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Charterhouse from the air


The school was moved to its present site in 1872 by the then headmaster, the Revd. Dr. Haig Brown - a decision influenced by the findings of the Public Schools Commission of 1864.

The school bought a 68 acre (270,000 m²) site on top of a hill just outside Godalming. In addition to the main school buildings, they constructed three boarding houses, known as Saunderites, Verites and Gownboys (for scholars, who were entitled to wear gowns).

As pupil numbers grew, other houses were built alongside the approach road, now known as Charterhouse Hill. Each was titled with an adaptation of the name of their first housemaster, such as Daviesites, Bodeites and Girdlestoneites. The last of these is still referred to as Duckites, reflecting the unusual gait of its original housemaster, even though he retired well over 100 years ago! There are now the original four 'old' houses plus seven 'new' houses, making eleven boarding houses in total. The eleven Houses have preserved a unique identity - each with its own tie and colours - and pupils compete against each other in both sports and the arts.

The school continued to expand over the 20th century. Further land was bought to the north and west, increasing the grounds to over 200 acres (809,000 m²), and a new school chapel was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (perhaps best known for designing the red telephone box) and consecrated in 1927 to commemorate almost 700 pupils who died in the First World War, making it the largest war memorial in England. Around 350 names have been subsequently added to commemorate those who died in the Second World War and other conflicts of the twentieth century. Pupils still attend a short chapel service there five times a week.

Charterhouse was all male until the 1970s when girls were first admitted in the sixth form (the final two years), and this continues to be the case today. Of over 300 sixth formers today, almost a third are girls.

The most significant addition to the campus was seven new Houses, built in the 1970s, replacing late Victorian boarding houses which were demolished in 1977. Other newer buildings include the Art Studio, the John Derry Technology Centre, the Ben Travers Theatre, the Ralph Vaughan Williams Music Centre, the Halford Hewitt Golf Course, the Queen’s Sports Centre, the Sir Greville Spratt athletics track and Chetwynd, a hall of residence for girls. In 2003, the School renovated its onsite Library and its contents and facilities could easily rival many University libraries.

As the alma mater of the now disgraced and imprisoned pop mogul Jonathan King, and of all members of Genesis apart from Phil Collins and Steve Hackett, Charterhouse can claim a major role in originating the dramatic cultural changes to have affected the British public school classes in recent times.

Charterhouse and the origins of football

Charterhouse was one of a select group of English public schools who can claim to have helped shape the rules of modern football. Even today, football is preferred as the school’s main winter sport over rugby.

When the rules of Association Football were created in 1863, elements of the Charterhouse version of the game were adopted, along with the rules established at Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Westminster and Winchester.

In the early years of the FA Cup, teams formed of ex-pupils from these schools dominated the competition. The Old Carthusians (the name for Charterhouse alumni) won the cup in the 1880/81 season and were semi-finalists in the two years that followed. The public school system also provided many of the first England internationals.

They included Charles Wreford Brown, who is often credited for inventing the word ‘soccer’. He was a pupil at Charterhouse in the early 1880s, and played football for the Old Carthusians and for the national side in the 1890s, including several appearances as captain.

Famous pupils

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