St Dunstan's College

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St Dunstan's (2016) by D. Long. This is the front entrance to the College.
St Dunstan's College
Motto Albam Exorna
("Adorn the white")
Established 15th century
Refounded in 1888
Type Independent day school
Headmaster Nicholas Hewlett
Chairman of Governors Sir Paul Judge
Founder King Henry VI
Location London
51°28′30″N 0°01′40″W / 51.4749°N 0.0277°W / 51.4749; -0.0277Coordinates: 51°28′30″N 0°01′40″W / 51.4749°N 0.0277°W / 51.4749; -0.0277
Local authority Lewisham
DfE number 209/6032
Staff 90
Students 880
Gender Co-educational
Ages 3–18
Houses 4
Colours Maroon & Royal Blue
Former pupils Old Dunstonians
Website St Dunstan's College

St Dunstan's College (SDC) is a co-educational independent school in Catford, London, England. It is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, and was an all-boys establishment until 1994. Located on an urban site in Lewisham, many additions have been made to the original Victorian building complex, including a large glass-walled dining hall utilising a hyperbolic paraboloid roof requiring no internal supports,[1] the prototype for a similar structure in the city of Calgary in Alberta in Western Canada. Sports facilities include an onsite sports hall complex, swimming pool, netball courts, five courts and extensive playing fields for such an urban location. The pre-prep and prep schools are in separate buildings on the same site. The pre-prep school used to be the residence of a previous Headmaster.

The school consistently achieves above average examination results at all levels.[2]

A wide range of subjects are offered, with drama and economics indicated as being strong in the most recent Independent Schools Inspectorate report. A large number of sports and games are played, and some pupils have played at an international level. The former programme (co curricular activities) is wide ranging and covers areas such as sports, CCF, music, drama, community service and many others. The college offers over 100 activities.


Houses are named after the first four headmasters of the college. They are called Usherwood (Yellow), Forder (Red), Stuart (Blue) and Hecker (Green). From 1914 to aroun 1918, the houses were named after places near to the school (e.g. Catford, Forest Hill, Hither Green) and pupils were allocated to them based on where they lived. However, after the first World War, where hundreds of boys from the school had lost their lives, they were renamed after some of the most decorated pupils that had died in WWI. They were as follows: Bennett (pink), Goosey (dark blue), Griffiths (green), Johnson (purple), Lane (white), Ross (yellow), Thomas (red) and Wilson (light blue). The Wilson house tie of the time, with light blue stripes on a black background, was virtually indistinguishable from an Old Etonian tie.


SDC was founded in the 15th century in the Parish of St Dunstan-in-the-East, now part of the Tower Ward in the City of London.

In 1446 King Henry VI declared the parish school to be one of the efficient schools of the city.[3] The school was re-founded in 1888 on a green field site in Catford in the Parish of Lewisham but still maintains strong links with the City of London and the Parish of St Dunstan-in-the-East.

SDC made the front page of Peace News in 1970 after a demonstration on Speech Day organised by members of the Schools Action Union (SAU) who had formed an activist cell at the school. The cell targeted the then headmaster Richard Pedley who was venomously disliked by some pupils. It has been claimed that Pedley is the only English public school head ever to have suffered the embarrassment of a demonstration in front of pupils, staff, governors, and parents at a Speech Day. Some Old Dunstonians have suggested that this precipitated a sharp decline in his health leading to his death in March 1973. There has also been a (so far unsubstantiated) allegation that one master may have been poisoned by an aggrieved pupil who had links with the cell. The late 1960s and early 1970s have been called a "troubled time" for the school.

Old Dunstonian Association[edit]

Old Dunstonian Association (ODA) is the alumni organisation for St Dunstan's College.[4] It was founded in 1897 by H.M. Webb and Y. Kirkpatrick.[5]

The association sponsors a number of events for its members and several sports clubs which members can join. The Association and its constituent clubs are run by voluntary, unpaid Boards and Committees. The sports clubs each have their own separate membership and subscription arrangements. The ODA welcomes all former members of the St. Dunstan’s community to join us

The Old Dunstonian Clubhouse and Ground is located in Park Langley mid-way between Beckenham and West Wickham in North West Kent. The Clubhouse and its cottage are set in several acres of Green Belt with facilities for rugby, cricket, football, archery, croquet and hardcourt tennis.

Notable Old Dunstonians[edit]


  1. ^ Cherry,B and Pevsner,N "London 2: South: The Buildings of England",Yale University,1983,pp418
  2. ^ "BBC News, School league tables 2004, St Dunstan's College". BBC News. 2004-11-02. Retrieved 2010-05-24. 
  3. ^ St Dunstan's College - About Us - Aims & History
  4. ^ St Dunstan's College - Alumni - Old Dunstonian Association
  5. ^ St Dunstan's College - Alumni - History
  6. ^ ‘JUDGE, Sir Paul (Rupert)’, in Who's Who 2012 (London: A. & C. Black, 2012), online page (subscription required), accessed 5 June 2012

External links[edit]