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History

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Freemen's has been a co-educational boarding school at the heart of Surrey for 90 years.

Here is our story

  • 1854

    The City of London Freemen’s Orphan School opened in Ferndale Road, Brixton for “the maintenance and the religious and virtuous education of orphans of Freemen of the City of London”. The new School was paid for by the Corporation of London. From the outset orphaned girls as well as boys were enrolled, making it one of the oldest co-educational independent schools.

  • 1892

    The annual visit by the Lord Mayor of London to the School’s Prize Day was by now an established part of the School calendar. Fifth and Sixth Form boys and girls were even allowed to walk and talk together in the grounds for an hour or so after the celebrities had left – a rare treat! School numbers had grown to in excess of 150.

  • 1926

    Following recommendations by the Board of Education, the School’s Committee resolved to move the School to suitable premises outside London. The Corporation of London bought Ashtead Park and began work to convert it from its former role as a lavish private house. Fee-paying day pupils started to be admitted and very soon the word ‘Orphan’ was removed from the School’s name.

  • 1951

    Headmaster Eric Fielden organised the first 'City Visit' with all 250 pupils transported to the Square Mile. Now an annual feature of the School Calendar the 'City Visit' involves visits to places of interest in and around the City and a church service.

  • 1960 - 1987

    A period of rapid expansion for the School. Michael Kemp, Headmaster from 1964 to 1987, was responsible for the building of the Swimming Pool, the Assembly Hall and a number of classrooms, and increasing pupil numbers to over 500. In particular, he persuaded the Corporation of London to finance the building of the Junior School which was named Kemp House in his honour.

  • 1987 - 2004

    The expansion and redevelopment initiated by Michael Kemp was carried on by David Haywood, Headmaster from 1987 to 2007. The second half of the 1990s saw the building of a new Sports Hall, Art and Design Centre, Science and Technology Centre, and a new base for the Senior School, the Haywood Centre

  • 2004

    The School celebrated its 150th Anniversary with a year long series of events. The Anniversary started with a Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral attended by the whole School (numbering over 800) and culminated in the School being represented with a float in the annual Lord Mayor’s Show.

  • 2007-2015

    Philip MacDonald became the ninth Headmaster of the School. Plans for the future development of the school were drawn up and the first phase of the Masterplan has been completed with the addition of a new Boarding House and the Music School. He retired at the end of the 2015 academic year, when new Headmaster, Roland Martin took up his position.

  • Add your own history

    We only make up part of the story, however. We want to hear your stories of your time at Freemen’s. Either complete this online form and upload photos or film yourself retelling your stories. We will then upload the best to the website. Your connection with Freemen’s should not end when you finish your time at Freemen’s. We have an active alumni programme for past student, with careers advice and networking, and provides ways for you to stay in touch with each other and to get involved with the school and support its future.

    Tell Your Story
  • Alumni

    Your connection with Freemen's should not end when you finish your time at Freemen's. We have an active alumni programme for past students, with careers advice and networking, and provides ways for you to stay in touch with each other and to get involved with the school and support its future.