5. Charterhouse School

Charterhouse School, near Godalming

Charterhouse was a school for boys, founded by Thomas Sutton in 1611 and originally established in a former fourteenth-century Carthusian monastery near Smithfield in London. From the early Victorian era, affluent middle-class families increasingly sought a public school education for their sons. This led to the expansion of the nine ‘great’ public schools (including Charterhouse) and the foundation of many more.

But the period also saw calls for school reform. The 1864 report of the Public School Commissioners recommended that Charterhouse should move out of London. In 1872 the school transferred to a new site near Godalming in Surrey. This difficult task was managed by Dr W. Haig Brown, who remained the schools headmaster until 1897.

150 boys started at the new school in June 1872 and the numbers had nearly doubled within a year. At first, the buildings consisted of a large school room with six classrooms round it, and three boarding houses. Over the following decades the buildings were substantially developed and expanded.


Photograph of the nineteenth-century buildings at Charterhouse School today. Reproduced with the kind permission of the Headmaster and Governing Body of Charterhouse School.


A portrait of headmaster Dr W. Haig Brown by F. Holl, RA, undated. From the portrait collection at Charterhouse School, reproduced with the kind permission of the Headmaster and Governing Body of Charterhouse School.


Celebrations in a Charterhouse Long Room. ‘The Relief of Mafeking: Charterhouse Mad with Joy’,
The Graphic,
May 26 1900, p.1


Boys wait with the luggage to go home at the end of the quarter, early twentieth century. Photograph by Alexander Hay Tod, former pupil and assistant master at Charterhouse, Tod Albums, Charterhouse School Archive, 077/4.

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One thought on “5. Charterhouse School”

  1. Justin Brown says:

    I have a mint condition copy of The Graphic for May 26th, 1900. Would the school like it?

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