in the custody of
R Olney, February 1997
Historical Manuscripts Commission
Enquiries relating to these records should be directed to the Archivist, Whitgift Foundation.
The Whitgift Foundation dates from the late sixteenth century, when John Whitgift (c1530-1604, archbishop of Canterbury 1583-1604) founded a hospital or almshouses at Croydon (Surrey). Land was purchased for the hospital in 1596, work began on the buildings in 1597, and statutes were drawn up in 1600-2, providing for a grammar school as well as almshouses. In a foundation deed drawn up in 1599 Whitgift endowed his foundation with land and house property in and around Croydon. The manor of Croham was purchased in 1601.
The school declined in the eighteenth century and ceased to operate a few years before the death in 1865 of the last appointed Schoolmaster. Since 1812 the old Schoolhouse had been used for a National School, which under a Charity Commission Scheme of 1855, was taken over by the Whitgift Charity as a ‘Poor’ School in new buildings erected for it in Church Road, Croydon, in 1858. There was also to be a middle-class school, eventually opened (in buildings designed by AW Blomfield) in North End, Croydon, in 1871 called Whitgift School. Under a new Scheme in 1881 the middle-class school was designated a grammar school, and the poor school was closed, the pupils being dispersed to newly-built ‘board’ schools; its buildings were converted to the use of the ‘middle’ school in 1882. From 1904 there were two separate foundations, one for the almshouses (still in their original premises) and one for the schools; but there remained a single body of Governors.
From 1920 the Governors purchased parts of the Haling Park estate at South Croydon, and new premises for the grammar school (latterly known simply as Whitgift School) were opened there in 1931. The middle school took possession of the vacated North End buildings. It changed its name to Trinity School of John Whitgift in 1954, and moved to a new school at Shirley Park in 1965, changing its status from a direct grant school to an independent one in 1968. The North End site was commercially developed as the Whitgift Centre. Under the Whitgift Charities Act of 1969 the Governors became less constrained in their expenditure, and were constituted a corporation. In September 1993 Old Palace School for Girls, which was founded in 1884 in the former palace of the Archbishops in Croydon, was admitted to membership of the Whitgift Foundation, becoming an equal partner with the two boys’ schools.
The archive of the Foundation comprises (i) records of the Foundation from 1595, including the foundation deed, statutes, clerks’ papers and governors’ minutes (the minutes for the period down to 1856 being kept in a series of ‘general ledgers’); (ii) deeds, leases and estate papers relating to the properties owned by the Foundation; (iii) records relating to the schools; and (iv) records relating to the almshouses. In 1934 Clarence G Paget printed Abstracts of the ancient muniments of the Whitgift Foundation, Croydon, which concentrated on the older deeds (NRA 13902, book series). At that date the deeds were kept in a safe near the Common Hall in the almshouses, and the ledgers and other records in a safe in the Secretary’s office. In 1981, when the Foundation’s records were first inspected by the Commission, there were still some records in the safe near the Common Hall, but most of the deeds were with the Foundation’s solicitors, and the former founder’s bedroom in the almshouses held the remainder of the older records.
Following the Commission’s visit the Foundation appointed an archivist, Miss Kate Chantrey, who in 1982-3 continued the work already begun by the Honorary Archivist, Mr FHG Percy. Records from the almshouses were concentrated at Haling Park, where Mr Percy had already assembled a considerable quantity of material relating to Whitgift School. In 1990 the Archive was moved to new premises in the school’s library. Many of the older deeds, however, remain with the Foundation’s solicitors.
Records relating to Trinity School of John Whitgift remain with the school, although records earlier than c1905 are reported to have been destroyed by a former headmaster.
The following schematic summary is based on a brief inspection on 3 February 1997. Fuller finding aids, including an annotated copy of Paget and calendars of the general ledgers, are available at the Archive itself.
The Commission’s thanks are due to the Governors of the Foundation and the Headmaster of Whitgift School for allowing it to make this report, and the compiler would also like to add his thanks to Mr Percy for his help and hospitality on the occasion of his visit.
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Foundation deed 1599; statutes 1600.
General ledgers (including Governors’ minutes) 1599-1855 (11 vols).
Governors’ minutes 1872 to date (volume for 1856-71 missing).
Committee minutes 1882-1962 (1 box).
List of Governors 1855 to date (card-indexed); attendance registers 1871-1950 (1 box).
Letter books (Clerk or Secretary to Governors) 1883-20th cent (1 vol, 1 box).
Charity Commissioners and Secretary of State for Education : orders 1883-1962 (1 box).
Financial records late 19th-20th cent (Foundation, almshouses and schools), including ledgers 1891-1964, day books 1946-57, cash books 1876-1978 (including Whitgift Educational Foundation 1907-35 and Almshouses and Pensions Foundation 1905-35), Grammar School cash books 1910-35, Middle School cash books 1909-18, building account book 1909-37, salaries and wages books and petty cash books (c70 vols).
Deeds, leases and related legal and estate papers 15th-19th cent, including deeds for property in Croydon, Addiscombe, Sanderstead and Northampton. (Listed by Paget.)
Leases and related papers 19th-20th cent, mainly Croydon (boxes 101-126).
Lease register 1719-1800; abstract of old leases 1581-1784.
Croham (Surrey) manorial court rolls 1503-1694 (missing).
Estate records late 16th-mid-19th cent, including survey 1814, rental 1822, ledgers 1801-12, 1843-51, audit/balance sheets 1726, 1812-14, rough account books 1726-61, list of fines received 1604-63 and correspondence 1805-6 (c12 vols, 3 boxes).
Maps and plans, estate and buildings 20th cent (from the office of Stiles Harold Williams, surveyors to the Foundation : plans chest).
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School rolls and admissions registers from 1871.
Pupils’ record cards.
Accounts (see above, Foundation records).
Minute books and papers relating to clubs and societies.
OTC (later CCF) papers.
Magazines, photographs and other printed material.
Papers of Michael James Hugill (Headmaster 1961-70) and David Antony Raeburn (1970-91) (6 boxes).
Collected papers, including those of EJ Balley (d1972) (1 box).
Papers of FHG Percy relating to the history of the school, including obituary notices and files relating to former headmasters, former staff and old boys.
(The above in boxes 1-32, 201-209, c120 box-files numbered in series and numerous volumes and files.)
Admissions : petitions 1778-1935; registers 1866-1954 (2 vols).
Visitors’ books 1886-1939 (2 vols).
Service registers 1917-74 (3 vols).
(The above in 3 boxes.)
Accounts (see above, Foundation records).
Old Whitgiftian Association : papers (2 boxes).
Whitgiftian Benevolent Society : records 20th cent (1 box).
Parker-Hammond family of Haling Park : deeds and related papers 16th-19th cent (Gage -Gardiner - Parker - Hammond) (4 boxes). On loan from Croydon Central Library, where they were deposited through the British Records Association. In process of cataloguing by a former member of staff of the Public Record Office.
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