Heritage Day guests explore 150 years of history

20th September 2021

Despite the weather being a little dismal, 28 visitors took part in the National Heritage Open Day programme on Sunday 19 September when King Edward’s opened its doors to the local community. Tickets were booked in advance through The Godalming Trust for both the afternoon tours.

The comprehensive route was designed by Miss Tara Cox, our school Archivist. Visitors were welcomed with a brief introduction under the Arch at the entrance to the School before commencing their journey at the War Memorial followed by the Quad and the King Edward statue, the clock and bell tower.

From here the visitors were escorted to the Northside corridor to view a hammock in the display cabinet which were used in the senior dormitories until the 1930s. Moving on, guests viewed the original fireplace surround in the Academic Common Room which had originally been located in the Bridewell Palace Courtroom. The guests were able to see this later in the tour as it features in a painting by Fred Roe which depicts the Admission of HRH The Duke of Connaught as a Governor seated in the Court Room of Bridewell Palace in June 1922.

Moving on to The Selborne Room, built in 1876 as the original Dining Room before it became the Recreation Room in 1934, and then the girls’ House Rooms in 1957. It was renamed Selborne Room after the 4th Earl of Selborne, Treasurer of Bridewell Royal Hospital from was 1972-1983.

The tour continued up the Marching Steps to the see Chapel interior before walking on to hear about Queen Mary House (QMH) which was constructed between 1867 and 1869. Opened in 1870 as Bethlem Convalescent Home, it was used by Bethlem Royal Hospital until 1929 when, in 1933, it became the King Edward’s Sanitorium following the opening of the new Bethlem Royal Hospital in Beckenham.

The tours concluded with a round of applause after a visit to Charter Hall and the Bridewell Room! The visitors were very complementary commenting “thank you for the tour of the yesterday. I found the history of the School really interesting and was amazed at the variety of the buildings and the size of the grounds.”

“I was particularly interested in the story about how the school had to move to Hambledon Workhouse during the Second World War.”

“Thanks very much for the tour yesterday, it was a real privilege to see the school.”

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