Our history

Intro

Founded in 1851 by a clergyman, Ashby Haslewood, St John's was established to provide a free education for the sons of poor clergymen. Expanding throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries , St John's has evolved to become a fully co-educational day and boarding school for over 800 pupils from 11 to 18. This timeline shows some of the schools most important milestones so far but why not delve deeper into our school archives or the history of The Great War at St Johns.

1851

Early Days

St John’s School was founded in 1851 by the Reverend Ashby Haslewood, vicar of St Mark’s, Hamilton Terrace, north London. He had a dual purpose in founding the School: to offer free education for the sons of poor clergymen and to provide a choir for his large church.

1852

The First Headmaster and Pupils

The first headmaster was the Reverend Anthony Thomson (headmaster 1852-1857), curate of St Mark’s and the first eight boys, known as ‘Foundationers’, joined the School in January 1852.

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1854

The School moved to Greville Mount House, Kilburn and the name St John’s was adopted. This was the first of three moves before the School moved to Leatherhead in 1872.

1857

St John's was temporarily transferred to the Reverend L P Mercier’s School at Walthamstow.

1859

Clapton House, a large mansion house in east London was leased. There were 50 boys in the School.

1861

Edward Hawkins

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1867

Twelve acres of land acquired in Leatherhead for a new purpose-built school at a cost of £2,500. An appeal was launched to raise a further £12,490 for the building fund.

1870

Building works commenced on the Epsom Road site in Leatherhead.

1872

A New Home

The School moved to Leatherhead with 70 boys.

1876

The foundation stone was laid for the School Chapel.

1877

The Chapel was dedicated by the Bishop of Winchester. There were 100 boys in the School.

1881

School Infirmary

The two-storey building, next to the Dining Hall was built in 1881 as the School Infirmary. 135 boys in the School.

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1883

Arthur Rutty

Arthur Rutty became headmaster (1883 – 1909).

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1891

Gymnasium

The first gymnasium was opened on 21 March 1891. Every form in the School had two 45 minute lessons a week. The instructor was Sergeant Whelan. 209 boys in the School.

1891-1894

The Quad

The School continued to expand and two boarding houses, known as Block A and Block B, were constructed in 1891 and 1894.

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1895

There were 280 boys in the School by 1895.

1898

Dining Hall

New Dining Hall opened.

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1900

There were 246 boys in the School in 1900.

1903

Cricket Pavilion

The first cricket pavilion cost £360. It was designed to look like a Swiss chalet with a red tile top, verandah, tea room and changing rooms.

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1905

There were 264 boys in the School.

1908

Fives Courts

New fives courts were built in 1908 in memory of Charles Churchill, founder of the School.

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1909

Edmund Downes

Edmund Downes became headmaster (1909-1932).

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1913

The Fire

On 9 June 1913 a serious fire destroyed the main school building. Dormitories, classrooms, assistant Masters’ rooms, the matrons’ room, the large schoolroom and the library were completely destroyed. Roofs and ceilings fell in and the wooden floors were burned beyond recognition.

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1914

The Rebuild

The School was rebuilt and officially opened on Speech Day 1914 by HRH the Duchess of Albany. 265 boys in the School.

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1920

The War Memorial

768 old boys fought in the Great War. The War Memorial was dedicated in 1920 in memory of the 162 Old Johnians who died. There were 255 boys in the School.

1925

The Swimming Bath

As a further memorial to the Old Johnians who were killed in the First World War, a swimming pool was built next to the fives courts on the Senior Field. 250 boys in the School.

1933

Jack Carter

Jack Carter became headmaster (1933-1947).

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1935

Classroom Block

A new building with 14 classrooms, three laboratories and two lecture theatres, was opened on the site of the old kitchen garden.

1936

Cricket Pavilion

The Right Honourable Lord Ebbisham, GBE, opened the new cricket pavilion on 20 June 1936.

1948

Hereward Wake

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1955

Gymnasium

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1960

Ian Sutherland

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1962

New Chapel

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1970

Edward Hartwell

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1973

Montgomery House

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1985

David Brown

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1989

For the first time, girls were admitted to Sixth Form. Hallaton House in Garlands Road was refurbished to create accommodation for girls. There were 466 pupils in the School.

1991

Sports Centre

Construction on a sports centre next to the swimming pool started in 1989 and the building was opened on 17 October 1991 by HRH the Duchess of Gloucester.

1993

Christopher Tongue

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1998

Sixth Form Study Centre and Multi-Media Studio

A new building was superimposed on the front of the original 1936 classroom block, providing new teaching accommodation, a Sixth Form Study Centre and Multi-Media Studio.

2003

Performing Arts Centre

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2004

Nicholas Haddock

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2010

Co-Education

Girls joined the Fourth Form in 2010, making St John's fully co-educational. There were 540 pupils in the School.

2010

Henry Dawes Centre

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2011

Martin Collier

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2012

Churchill House

Churchill House moved into a new building and became a day house. There were 652 pupils in the School.

2013

Gloucester House

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2014

Old Chapel

Originally built in 1876, the Old Chapel was refurbished in 2014 to create a venue which is used by St John’s and the local community. There were 660 pupils in the School.

2015

Science Centre

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2016

Lower School

In September 2016 St John's opened its doors to Year 7 pupils for the first time, with a brand new Lower School for 11+ entry. There were 717 pupils in the School.

2017

Rowena Cole

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2018

Sports Facilities

Work commenced on new indoor sports facilities to replace the former swimming pool with a competition-standard six lane, 25m pool. There were 803 pupils in the School.

2019

Sports Centre Opens

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2019

Hawkins House

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2022

Rebecca Evans

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2023

Fire at St Mark's Church, London

The St John's School community were deeply saddened by the fire at St Mark's Church in January 2023. The church holds huge significance to our history; consecrated in June 1847, our connection began in 1851, when St John’s School was founded there by Reverend Ashby Haslewood...

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2023

Alex Tate

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Intro
1851
1852
1854
1857
1859
1861
1867
1870
1872
1876
1877
1881
1883
1891
1891-1894
1895
1898
1900
1903
1905
1908
1909
1913
1914
1920
1925
1933
1935
1936
1948
1955
1960
1962
1970
1973
1985
1989
1991
1993
1998
2003
2004
2010
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2019
2022
2023
2023
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