Outline History Of The Whitgift Foundation

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1812 Although a newly appointed Schoolmaster was now once more taking in paying pupils, the old Schoolhouse was no longer required by him and it was handed over to the "National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor", which established an elementary school there under a Master with no acedemic qualifications; this school was never controlled, supported or subsidised in any way by the Hospital of the Holy Trinity.
During the first half of the 19th century many attempts were made to revive the country's old grammar schools, largely without success. After the Charitable Trusts Act of 1853, an application was made in the Court of Chancery for sanction to introduce a scheme of reorganisation for the Hospital of the Holy Trinity. Such a scheme received the royal assent and the old corporation of Brethern and Sisters was dissolved; a Court of Governors, appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, was established in order to manage the Charity's affairs.
There was at this time a prospect of greatly increased income through development of some of the Hospital's estates, so that a considerable expansion, especially in the field of education, was proposed, although the eleemosynary side was to become a less important part. Two schools were to be established; a "Poor" or elementary School, and a "Commercial" or "Middle-class School. At this time the functioning of the original School was quite misunderstood.
1858 With the limited funds available, it was possible only to begin with the Poor School, which was opened in January in Church Road. To this school came the boys from the "National" School that had been conducted in the old Schoolhouse since 1812, and which now closed down. Meanwhile the Schoolmaster continued for a while to teach the classics to a few fee-payers in the Schoolmaster's House.


Before the second school could be built, however, surplus revenue had to be accumulated to provide the capital for building, but whereas the National School had not been a charge on the funds, the new Poor School was now absorbing most of the revenue. Meanwhile, too, different local opinions were making themselves heard and these, together with the report of the Endowed Schools Commissioners, resulted in some change in plan in the purpose of the second school which, after a number of delays, was opened in North End in May, as Whitgift Middle-class School (to distinguish it from the Poor School), but known usually as Whitgift School. (In the 17th and 18th centuries the school had been known as the "Public or Free School in Croydon", but early in the 19th century the Society of Friends had established a school known as "Croydon School" in the town, and a private schoolmaster had set up a "Croydon Grammar School", so the Governors had recourse to the Founder's name for the title of the revived school.)
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