|Motto||Gloria Filiorum Patres ("The fathers are the glory of the sons" – Proverbs 17: 6)|
|Type||Independent day school|
|Location||Grove Park Road
|DfE URN||101693 Tables|
|Gender||Boys (with coeducational sixth form)|
|Former Pupils||Old Elthamians|
The school dates back to the early Victorian era, when it was founded as the London Missionary Society's School for the Sons and Orphans of Missionaries. A girls' school had been established in Walthamstow in 1838 and a boys' school was opened in the same place at the beginning of 1842. The boys' school later relocated to Mornington Crescent in 1852 and then to a purpose-built location in the centre of Blackheath in 1857 (the old school building became the headquarters of the Church Army and is now a private hospital). Missionary David Livingstone sent his sons to the school while it was in Blackheath.
The school moved to its present site - centred on an 18th-century mansion (Fairy Hall) in Mottingham - in 1912. The building had previously been used by the Royal Naval School from 1889 to the end of the summer term in 1910.
Eltham College began life as a small boarding school catering for children of missionaries serving overseas, mainly in India, China and Africa. From 1945 to 1976 Eltham was a Direct Grant school; thus, for example, the 1952 intake was roughly 20 pupils from London County Council schools and 20 from Kent schools (all 40 of these on scholarships), and 20 fee-payers. When the Direct Grant system was abolished in 1976, the school chose to go fully independent. Since the 1950s, the college has become primarily a day school for boys. The sixth form has been co-educational since 1981. Reflecting the origins of the school, each of the four houses is named after a prominent LMS or BMS missionary, namely Carey, Livingstone, Chalmers and Moffat; coloured blue, green, red and yellow respectively.
21st century developments
Headmaster (2000-2014) Paul Henderson continued a programme of building and development started by Christopher Waller, including major refurbishments to the junior school and music school, and a car park in front of the college. The Gerald Moore Art Gallery (partly funded and named after artist Gerald Moore, an Old Elthamian) opened in 2012, displaying works by Moore, students and other artists.
Also in 2012, to mark the centenary of the move to Mottingham, the college launched a campaign to raise the funds to replace the Sixth Form Centre and Jubilee Block. Construction is scheduled to start in July 2017. The new Turberville building (named after Geoffrey Turberville, the college's longest serving headmaster, 1930–1959) will be located on the west side of the Old Quad with a new colonnade linking it to existing buildings. A triple-height, glazed atrium will form a link between the quad and the playing fields to the east and give access to the David Robins Sixth Form Centre.
The school's headmasters at Blackheath were:
- 1852-1866: William George Lemon
- 1866-1868: James Scott
- 1869-1870: Charles Dugard Makepeace
- 1870-1875: Edward J Chinnock
- 1875-1892: Edward Waite
- 1893-1914: Walter Brainerd Hayward
- 1914-1926: George Robertson
- 1926-1930: Nevil Wood
- 1930-1959: Geoffrey Turberville
- 1959-1983: Christopher Porteous
- 1983-1990: Christopher Waller
- 1990-2000: Malcolm Green
- 2000–2014: Paul Henderson
- 2014–Present: Guy Sanderson
Notable Old Elthamians
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(in alphabetical order)
- Philip Bailey, cricket statistician
- George Band, mountaineer
- Piers Benn, philosopher
- Sir Anthony Bottoms, criminologist
- Ruth Bratt, comedian and actress
- Fenner Brockway, politician (one of the last pupils to attend the school when it was located in Blackheath)
- Sir Michael Buckley, civil servant
- Charlie Connelly, author and broadcaster
- Stephen Dunnett, neuroscientist, and Professor of Biosciences since 2005 at Cardiff University
- Frank Farmer, physicist
- Stephen Farr, organist
- Nick Ferrari, radio broadcaster
- Christopher Idle, Anglican priest and hymn writer
- Simon Gass KCMG CVO, Senior Diplomat, Ambassador to Iran 2009-11, and to Greece from 2004-9
- James Harris, Welsh rugby union player
- Jim Knight former Labour MP, Minister of State for Schools in the UK Government, MP from 2001-2010 for South Dorset
- Matthew Le Merle, venture capitalist
- Barnaby Lenon, Chairman of the Independent Schools Council
- Eric Liddell, Olympic athlete, after whom the sports hall is named
- Peter Luff, campaigner
- Johan Malcolm, Leicestershire county cricket player
- Phil Packer MBE, soldier and fundraiser
- Mervyn Peake, author of Gormenghast, after whom the library is named
- Geoffrey K. Pullum, Professor of General Linguistics since 2007 at the University of Edinburgh
- David Sanger, organist
- Michael Saward, Anglican priest and hymn writer
- Andrew Sentance, Member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee from 2006–11, and Chief Economist of British Airways from 1998-2006
- Bryan Sykes, human geneticist and genealogist
References and sources
- Rhind, N. (1993) Blackheath Village & Environs, 1790-1990, Vol.1 The Village and Blackheath Vale (Bookshop Blackheath, London), p.117.
- Rhind, N. (1993) Blackheath Village & Environs, 1790-1990, Vol.1 The Village and Blackheath Vale (Bookshop Blackheath, London), p.118.
- Rhind, N. (1993) Blackheath Village & Environs, 1790-1990, Vol.1 The Village and Blackheath Vale (Bookshop Blackheath, London), p.119.
- "SHOWSTOPPERS! WINS AN OLIVIER AWARD (14 April 2016)". Elthamians. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
- Obituary from The Independent
- Evening Standard, 6 May 2010, "The brash voice of LBC"
- Eltham College website
- Independent Schools Inspectorate, containing a report on the College
- Old Elthamians RFC website