Croham Hurst School

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Croham Hurst School
Croham Road

, ,

TypeIndependent school
(now closed)
MottoLatin: Finis Coronat Opus
(The End Crowns The Work)
FounderKathleen Ellis, Theodora Clark
Local authorityCroydon Council
Age3 to 18
HousesBalmoral, Caernarvon, Holyrood, Windsor
Colour(s)Navy blue and cornflower blue    
Former pupilsOld Crohamians
AffiliationGirls' Schools Association

Croham Hurst School was a day independent school for junior and senior girls located in South Croydon, England. It was established in 1899, and closed in 2008 when it was absorbed into Old Palace School, Croydon.


The school was established by Kathleen Ellis in 1899. The second founder, Theodora Clark (of the Clarks shoe manufacturing family) joined Miss Ellis in 1901.

During the Second World War, the school was evacuated to Bridge House, Somerset - where the staff and girls enjoyed the countryside to such an extent that when the Croydon site reopened in 1942 they didn't want to return. However, in 1945 the two schools were reunited on the Croydon site.

Shortly afterwards a Junior School was established, later known as The Limes.


The principal building of the site (known as the "Main Building") was first occupied in 1907. It housed the Headmistress's office, the Small Hall, various form rooms, and two libraries – the Sixth Form Library, and another dedicated to Elizabeth Wagstaff (a sibling of a former pupil, who lost her life in the Second World War). The Small Hall contained memorials of the school's history, including lists of Headmistresses and Head Girls, a plaque commemorating Kathleen Ellis and Theodora Clark, and a stained-glass window of St. Ursula (created by a former pupil and given to the school in 1948). Rising up the hill from the Main Building was the Garden Wing, built in 1973, which housed an English Room, a Drama Room and a room for Mathematics (two of which were also form rooms). To the left of the Garden Wing was the room for Religious Studies (also a form room); and next to it a path (the "Covered Way") up the hill to the Main Assembly Hall, and later to the Centenary Centre for Design and Technology (constructed to celebrate the School's centenary). To the left of this building were the Science Blocks, mainly constructed in 1969; and beyond them the Doreen Seward Centre, including a Music Room and Gymnasium. To the left of the Doreen Seward Centre was the Sixth Form Centre, originally a house, which was bought in 1957. (It then acquired the name of "The Vineyard", after the parable in the Bible in which Ahab desires Naboth's Vineyard to such an extent that his wife, Jezebel, kills the owner to obtain it – although the school did not go to quite these lengths.) The building was for years was used as the science laboratories. Outside this building was a playing field.

List of Headmistresses[edit]

  • Miss Kathleen Ellis, 1899–1921
  • Miss Theodora Clark, 1921–1927
  • Miss Berta Humphrey (later Mrs Berta Bywater), 1927–1951
  • Miss Florence Ross, 1951–1952
  • Miss Stella Wickham (later Mrs Stella Chamberlain), 1952–1959
  • Miss Molly Ayre, 1959–1970
  • Miss Doreen Seward, 1970–1986
  • Miss Joan Shelmerdine, 1986–1994
  • Miss Sue Budgen, 1994–2005
  • Mrs Jane Abbotts, 2005–2008

Absorption into Old Palace School[edit]

In September 2007 it was announced that the Whitgift Foundation would be taking over the school from September 2008, and that it was to merge with Old Palace School.[1] From that date, the senior girls and their staff moved to Old Palace School. The senior school at Croham Hurst became the junior school of Old Palace; and The Limes became a nursery. The Main Building of the school has since been refurbished.

Notable former pupils[edit]


  1. ^ "Croham Hurst School Governors' Report and Accounts Year Ended 31 August 2007" (PDF). Since 1 September 2007, the business relationship with the Whitgift Foundation has progressed. Plans for the merger of Old Palace School of John Whitgift (a Foundation school) and Croham Hurst have been proposed and become the subject of a consultation exercise with parents and staff. The consultation completed, the Foundation has since confirmed the merger of the two schools and the integration of Croham Hurst into the Foundation, to take place on 1 September 2008. At that date the assets and liabilities of Croham Hurst will be transferred. It is planned that Croham Hurst will become the site of the Junior School for the merged school, whilst Old Palace School will house the Senior girls.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Ellinor Hinks - Obituary". The Guardian. 17 February 2004. Hinks was educated at Croham Hurst school, Croydon, where she became head girl. During her 90th birthday celebration, she noted that it was there that her originality and independence of mind were fostered, and she acquired her lifelong sense of responsibility for her own destiny.