The school was established in 1828 as a boarding school for boys of the Quaker community, initially under Thomas Binns. One of its founders was Josiah Forster, who had attended the Quaker school his grandfather had founded in 1752, Forster's School, also in Tottenham. Its curriculum was advanced for its time, and it did not use corporal punishment. After languishing around 1850, it was enlarged by Arthur Robert Abbott, who admitted non-Quaker boys but after buying the school in 1877, closed it, and took Anglican orders. It was located on the south side of Tottenham Green next to the building of a former Quaker school which had closed some two years before its opening. The site was acquired for Tottenham Polytechnic which became the College of North East London and is now part of Middlesex University.
In 1890, the Quakers were to found another school in Reading, Leighton Park School, following on from this school and in recognition of the earlier connection, the second boarding house was named Grove House, which took its name from a re-foundation of Grove School, on an adjacent site which was absorbed into Leighton Park. Grove House is a work by architect Alfred Waterhouse, who had attended the original Grove House School.