Alleyn's School

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Alleyn's School
Alleyn's School, Dulwich.jpg
The School in 2007
Motto God's Gift
Established 1619 as part of Edward Alleyn's College of God's Gift, although separated from Dulwich College in 1882.[1]
Type Public School
Independent day school
Religion Church of England
Headmaster Dr G. Savage
Chairman of the Governing Board Mr Iain Barbour
Founder Edward Alleyn
Location Townley Road
SE22 8SU
DfE URN 100864 Tables
Students 1,218
Gender Coeducational
Ages 4–18
Houses 8 (See Houses)

Red, Black, White and Navy

Former pupils Alleyn's Old Boys / Girls
Affiliation Alleyn's College of God's Gift
Alleyn's School.

Alleyn's School is an independent, co-educational day school situated in Dulwich, south London, England. It is a registered charity[2] and was originally part of the Alleyn's College of God's Gift charitable foundation, which also included James Allen's Girls' School (JAGS), Dulwich College and their affiliate schools (JAPS and Alleyn's Junior School). The official religion is Church of England.[3] The school is also listed in the Good Schools Guide.[4]


Edward Alleyn[edit]

In 1619, Edward Alleyn established his "College of God's Gift" (the gift of love) with twelve pupils.[5][6] Alleyn's School is a direct descendant of Edward Alleyn's original foundation and was established as a boys' school in 1882. It still exists as part of a foundation alongside Dulwich College and JAGS; it split with Dulwich College after the "Dulwich College Act" of 1857, with the upper school of the original foundation moving to a new site further south and the lower school staying put, becoming an independent boys school in 1882 and later also moving to its own site.

The Worshipful Company of Saddlers in the City became a generous sponsor of scholarships and new buildings after establishing a link with the school in 1970. Some of the original school buildings date from Alleyn's independence in 1882, but the School has followed a programme of continuous development since the 1970s.[7]

The original school is now the foundation chapel and the offices for the Dulwich Estate, which belongs to the foundation schools.[5] Alleyn's became a public school with the election of the Headmaster to the Headmasters' Conference (HMC) in 1919. It was a direct grant grammar school from 1958 until the abolition of that status in 1975. The Governors then opted for outright independence and co-education.

The College of God's Gift[edit]

For the original College of God's Gift, 24 students had to be chosen from the four parishes with which Edward Alleyn had been connected. Saint Giles, Camberwell (in which Dulwich was situated), Saint Saviour, Southwark (where the Bear Pit stood on Bankside), Saint Botolph, Bishopsgate (where Alleyn was born), and Saint Giles, Cripplegate (home to the Fortune Theatre).[5] The Master and Warden were also chosen, with the criteria being that they had to be unmarried and with the surname Alleyn. However, the rule that the Master and Warden had to be unmarried was not strictly adhered to.

Front of the main building of Alleyn's School.

Because the Masters and Wardens had to have the surname Alleyn, this limited the applicants mainly to family of Edward Alleyn. First, Thomas Alleyn, a cousin of Edward took the post of Master in 1629, followed by Mathias Alleyn in 1631. His son, John, succeeded as Master in 1669.

It was not easy for the Foundation to run smoothly. The four parishes, as beneficiaries, were always claiming "rights" from the Foundation estates. Separately, the Masters generally seemed very unsuitable people to have in control of the College. A notable exception to this was James Allen who eventually formed James Allen's Girls' School which was at the time for poor boys and girls in Dulwich, however subsequently has become exclusively a girls' school by an Act of Parliament in 1841.

The Second World War[edit]

During World War II, many pupils at Alleyn's were evacuated to the countryside, however some wished to stay in London, and for this reason the South London Emergency Secondary School[citation needed] (SLESS) was set up and housed in Alleyn's buildings from March 1940 to March 1945. This was not undertaken only to give the boys who wished to remain in London a proper education, but in conjunction with the London County Council Education Department, to offer a grammar school education to others whose schools were evacuated but did not themselves wish to leave London. SLESS kept Alleyn's buildings alive.

On the roll were 240 boys from seventeen local schools (114 from Alleyn's) and eleven masters from six schools. The Acting Headmaster (taking over from C. R. Allison) was C. Hack, and the Second Master (who subsequently became headmaster) was C. F. Tyson. The rest of Alleyn's was evacuated to Rossall School, while Dulwich College evacuated to Tonbridge School.

The school was divided into houses as before, but with new names: Alison's, Bryant's, Crewe's, Evans', Fowler's, McClymont's, Rudd's and Wright's. Games were played, fives was taught to newcomers and holidays were filled with "Holiday Clubs". The fields were used for sport, however some became unusable due as the old elm trees were felled by the blast. Underground shelters were dug between the running track and Woodwarde Road for use by local residents. The shelters for the pupils were in the basement (now home to the Maths Department), and lessons were frequently undertaken here due to enemy air activity.

The Royal Air Force housed their barrage balloon crews in the local brick and concrete buildings at the bottom of the school fields. The huge balloons would constantly overshadow the school's main building, and, at times, settled on the School's roof.

All staff had to undertake fire watching at nights and at the weekends. In 1942, the General Schools Certificate (GSE) was undertaken whilst the lights were failing and bombs dropping. Despite this, fourteen received Matriculation and five the Certificate.

In the summer of 1944 the school was closed for a while because of the attack of the V 1 flying bombs. However, the General. Schools Certificate exams for that year were held, with only the fifth formers taking the exam, and the invigilating masters, being in the school. The examinees often had to stop work and crouch under their desks until flying bombs had passed overhead.


The post-war years saw the development of the School as an Independent Public School developing in three very contrasting areas, the theatre, medicine, and the military. In particular, the secondment of the Head of English, Michael Croft, to set up the National Youth Theatre was the start of the worldwide youth theatre movement, and the School has produced an unusually high number of eminent actors and musicians. At the same time, the Music Department developed a close relationship with Benjamin Britten, providing a considerable number of boy sopranos for his works, and in particular the young David Hemmings who started his stage career as Miles in the opera Turn of the Screw.

May 2009 H1N1 flu cases[edit]

On 4 May 2009, six children in Year 7 were diagnosed with Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 2009 swine flu outbreak.[8] The school was closed for one week to contain the outbreak and exams were rescheduled. All pupils and staff were offered a course of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu, distributed from the School. All the infected pupils responded to treatment, and were named with quotes in the newspapers.[9]


The Revd J. H. Smith 1882–1902
Herbert B. Baker 1902–1903
Francis Collins 1903–1920
Ralph B. Henderson 1920–1940
C. R. Allison 1940–1945
S. R. Hudson 1945–1963
Charles W Lloyd 1963–1966
John Lewis Fanner 1967–1975
Derek A. Fenner 1976–1992
Dr. Colin H. R. Niven 1992–2002
Dr. Colin Diggory 2002–2010
Dr. Gary Savage 2010-

Development of facilities[edit]

The new library building was opened in 2002 by the then poet laureate Andrew Motion

Since 1970, Alleyn's has had continuous development, both in physical buildings but also in the facilities it offers.The Spring lower-school building was built in 1965, followed by the swimming pool/gym complex. In 1983 the Wolfenden Sports Hall was created, which is now a prominent feature of the school. In 1990 (completed in 1992) the Hooper Music School and Junior School were added.

The Junior School was subsequently opened to 200 boys and girls aged from 4 to 11, and is successful for preparing entry into the Senior School (and other, external schools) in a supportive atmosphere tailored to the children's needs, participating in a great range of activities through a structured timetable.

The Great Hall was refurbished in 2000 and in 2002 the Fenner library was opened. The Edward Alleyn Building containing the state-of-the-art MCT was completed in 2008.

The facilities that are offered at the school have increased in par with the buildings. The addition of the Lower School meant that the students in the lowest two years (7 and 8) could be educated semi-separately from the rest of the school, providing a sheltered environment. The swimming pool block and sports hall have increased the facilities for the physical education activities run at the school, as have the music school and expanded library for musical activities and a general work area respectively.

Playing in the snow, January 2007

The Edward Alleyn Building[edit]

Building work commencing on the new Edward Alleyn Building

Alleyn's started developing a new theatre complex, named the Edward Alleyn Building, on 10 February 2007. The £8.5million[10] building was completed in 2008 and had a Grand Gala Opening in 2009 featuring many performances by several pupils and Old Boys. The building includes the state-of-the-art MCT, ethe Robert Laurie Lecture Theatre, National Youth Theatre studio, a café, improved classrooms, and a sixth form study area.

Since the Grand Gala Opening, the theatre has hosted drama and music ranging from the International Concert Series, featuring renowned musicians such as the Gould Piano Trio with Robert Plane, pianist Steven Osborne, the Endellion Quartet and The Swingle Singers, to the award-winning Inspector Sands' production If That's All There Is.[11] The performance space has welcomed the likes of vocal ensemble I Fagiolini to the English National Ballet.[11]

In 2015 the swimming pool complex was fully refurbished to provide a viewing gallery, new changing facilities and an olympic timing system.

School charities[edit]

As Alleyn's was born from Alleyn's College, a historic charity, fundraising and charity is a very important part of school life. There are a number of different charities that the school donates to. Each term the Charity Committee, run by staff and select pupils, choose a charity to raise money for. The charities often have a connection to the school but also respond to humanitarian crises depending.

Extra-curricular activities[edit]

The school has one of the largest Combined Cadet Force in the country [12] and a Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme. There is also a volunteer work programme: gardening for the elderly in the surrounding area of Dulwich, and Fun Fizzical, working with children with special needs and disabilities in Sydenham.

Theatrical activities[edit]

The school's pupils operate their own independent theatrical company, the Bear Pit, which maintains traditions thought to date back to Shakespeare's company, whence the large number of performers in the alumni list. It was in particular active in the establishment of the National Youth Theatre, established in 1956 by Michael Croft, the Head of English, and its performers were active in the more developmental wing of the London theatre in the 1960s - the uniforms of the film of Oh What a Lovely War were copied from originals unearthed from the depths of the Cadet Force stores, for example! The Bear Pit does not constrain itself to school pupils, however, as it has a vocation in the community and has developed strong relationships with other state schools in Southwark. The MCT [13] now plays host to a variety of school and visiting productions. In 2011 there have been events as diverse as "Moths Ate My Dr. Who Scarf",[14] An Evening with Geoff Miller and Mark Butcher and The Dante Quartet.[15] An online booking facility[13] has recently been implemented to facilitate ticket sales to the general public.


Two Alleyn's students playing Fives

During the first year pupils are introduced to a variety of sports: swimming, football, hockey, netball, basketball, gymnastics, dance, water polo, cross country, fives, tennis, athletics, rounders, fencing, and cricket. Trampolining, badminton are introduced in the Middle School. In the Upper School, weight training, squash, golf, and horse riding are added to the list of sports available.

There is regular county and regional representation in swimming, hockey, cricket, badminton, fencing, basketball, fives, netball, football, athletics, cross country. Extracurricular sport at Alleyn's extends to regular sports tours at home and abroad.

In 2010, the girls U18 Indoor Hockey team qualified through the county and then regional rounds, to represent the South of England at the National Indoor Hockey Finals in Sheffield.

The school football program has advanced considerably in recent years. In 2012, the 1st XI reached the semi-finals of the Boodles ISFA Cup, whilst in 2013, the 1st XI were winners of the Southern Independent Schools League, beating Eton College in the final, and reached the final of the Boodles ISFA Cup.



Scriblerus is the official school magazine, which provides a summary to the previous year in the form of reports on sport, clubs and societies, academic results and field trips throughout the year. A large section of the magazine is devoted to the activities by the CCF and DofE activities. Scriblerus is published in early July, in conjunction with the end of the Trinity term.

The Trib Magazine[edit]

The Trib Magazine is a continuation of The Scrib Magazine which was a magazine run by pupils by based off the demand for a funny and relaxed magazine contrary to Alleyn's usual, formal publications. The Trib Magazine is run by staff and pupils in an attempt to revive The Scrib Magazine and bring a relaxed and funny magazine to the pupils of Alleyn's School.

Lower School Magazine[edit]

The Lower School Magazine is edited by the Deputy Headmistress of the Lower School and features content written by the lower school pupils, much like Scriblerus. It is naturally focused on the youngest two years which form the lower school, and is aimed at the pupils rather than parents (arguably, unlike Scriblerus).


Blue is the termly magazine produced by Tyson's House to raise money for charity. This charity is determined by Tyson House, and tends to reflect the long term association that Tyson's have with certain charities. Tyson's House delegates the editing of the magazine to a year 13 student each year. Last issue Blue raised over £300 for the school charity. Blue was set up in 1999 by Mrs Thompson (Housemistress of Tyson's).


ed. magazine was the student-run termly magazine which provides a student take on life both in and outside of school. Free to the Middle and Upper School, it was set up by four year elevens (Frances Beddow, Lanikai Krishnadasan-Torrens, Connie Mckimm & Margarita Milne) in 2009-2011 and relies on a dedicated team who write, photograph, design, publicise, distribute and raise money for the magazine.

Edward Alleyn Club Magazine[edit]

This is the magazine for Alleyn's alumni and it is produced twice a year. Former pupils who supply their email addresses also receive an alumni e-bulletin each term. For further details see the Edward Alleyn Club Website.

End of term newsletter[edit]

The end of term newsletter is produced at the end of each term by the headmaster.


For the academic year 2014-15 fees for the senior school (years 7-13) are £16,587.[16] This fee is reviewed every year by the school's governors. The fees are reduced by two thirds (pro rata) if the child's parent is a member of staff, but the child must still pass all entrance requirements. Staff with children occasionally send them to Alleyn's, but many prefer not to do so. Bursaries and Scholarships are available.


The house system was inaugurated in 1907 during the Headmastership of Francis Collins. It was at this time that the first six houses were created, with the latter two being added in 1921.

House Abbr. Founded House Colours Housemaster House Captain
Bradings Br 1907 Brown Ms. M Nicoll Sara Haxhia
Browns Bw 1907 Green Mr. R Alldrick Joe Reeves
Cribbs Cr 1907 Purple Mrs RL Dale Lara Redmayne
Duttons Du 1921 Dark Blue Mr. N Hughan James Sherrington
Ropers Ro 1907 Gold Mr. P Cochrane Meredith Mack
Spurgeons Sp 1907 Pink Mr. L Geldeard Laura Kelly
Tulleys Tu 1907 Red Ms. J Hewitson Alice McKimm
Tysons Ty 1921 Light Blue Mr. N Green Anushka Sharma

Originally the house colours were not allowed to be any shade of blue, since this was the colour designated for Oxford and Cambridge and it were thought 'inappropriate' to have blue as a House colour as that was associated in one's mind with the two universities.

In 1921 when two new houses were created (due to their increasing role in the school but also to allow for knock-out sports and inter-house competitions), Henderson (the headmaster) had no qualms about the use of university colours, hence allowing them to use dark blue (Oxford) and light blue (Cambridge).

The colours denote the house colour, which appears on the school tie for middle-school pupils and on the "house shirts" which are used during inter-house sports competitions. Until 1984 the colour was also found on the school cap (for boys). All middle school and upper school pupils have badges of their house colour with a silver Alleyns crest on it. Teachers also have these. House badges were introduced in 2004 and the house scarf was resurrected in 2007. In the 1950s and 1960s the scarves of the Lower School were black with two white stripes running the full length whereas the Upper School house scarves had three stripes in the house colour each stripe bordered in white.

Pupils with relatives who are either currently attending or have previously been pupils are allocated to the same house as those family members.

When house names are quoted on paper the apostrophe is almost always not included (e.g. Cribbs not Cribb's). Some believe this is because the house names are now disassociated with the original housemasters, so an apostrophe is not necessary.

Alleyns Lower School no longer uses the house system, but rather competes for ones class in 'inter-form competitions'. Pupils are then allocated a house at random (unless relatives are in or have been in the school in which case they are allocated to that house) in year 9, the beginning of the Middle School. Previously, the Lower School had four houses named after the first headmasters, Smiths, Bakers, Collins and Hendersons.

Victor Ludorum[edit]

The Victor Ludorum is the annual trophy contested for by each house during the school year. The winning house is determined by the amount of points it has won throughout the course of the year in inter-house sporting events, within years 9-13.

Tysons are the current holders of the Victor Ludorum.

Alleyn's Old Boys & Girls[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Charity Commission. Alleyn's School, registered charity no. 1057971. 
  3. ^ "Chaplaincy at Alleyn's". Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "Good Schools Guide". Good Schools Guide. Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "Dulwich Estate talks about the history". Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  6. ^ "Home". Henslowe-Alleyn. 17 March 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Alleyn's newsletter referring to the Saddlers' involvement[dead link]
  8. ^ "Nine more UK cases of swine flu". BBC News. 4 May 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  9. ^ The Guardian Wednesday 6 May pg.31
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b
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  13. ^ a b
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  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Independent School Guide". Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  18. ^ "Felix Barrett". 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "History of Art". 5 February 2013. 
  20. ^ Register of Twentieth Century Johnians, Volume I, 1900-1949. St John's College, Cambridge.
  21. ^ Obituary, Rutland and Stamford Mercury, Friday, April 20, 2007.
  22. ^ "Heidi Blake". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2016-05-01. 
  23. ^ "Heidi Blake". 
  24. ^ "Angela Brownbill". 
  25. ^ "UWE awards honorary degree to Jack Chalker". University of the West of England. 17 November 2003. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  26. ^ "Arthur Ewins": 81–91. JSTOR 769501. 
  27. ^ Liukkonen, Petri. "C. S. Forester". Books and Writers ( Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. 
  28. ^ "Joanna Goldsmith" (PDF). 
  29. ^ Eforgan, E. (2010) Leslie Howard: The Lost Actor. London: Vallentine Mitchell. pp.10-16. ISBN 978-0-85303-971-6
  30. ^ "Peter Lammer". 
  31. ^ "ITP Events {The Emirates Home Show 2004: About Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen}". 11 March 1965. Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  32. ^ "Mitch McGugan". 
  33. ^ "Prof Mike Merrifield". 
  34. ^ Robinson, James (30 August 2010). "Ben Preston". The Guardian (London). 
  35. ^ "John Pretlove". 
  36. ^ "Jacob Shaw, cellist - Official Website". Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  37. ^ "Benjamin Wallfisch". 
  38. ^ "Hannah Ware Bio Page". 
  39. ^ One to watch: Jessie Ware Publisher: The Guardian newspaper. Published: 26 February 2012. Retrieved: 27 April 2013.
  40. ^ Michael Billington (16 September 2005). "The Guardian profile: Sam West | UK news | The Guardian". London: Retrieved 16 February 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°27′17″N 0°04′55″W / 51.45472°N 0.08194°W / 51.45472; -0.08194