Bridewell Day

16th March 2022

On Tuesday 15th March 2022, the School celebrated Bridewell Day, marking 155 years since King Edward’s moved from our original location in Southwark to the Surrey Hills. The day consisted of a service at St Bride’s Church in Fleet Street, followed with a buffet luncheon in the Great Hall at Guildhall.

1st Form, 4th Form and Upper Sixth Form pupils travelled up to London by coach from King Edward’s, arriving at St Bride’s. They were joined by Barrow Hills School Head Boy, Head Girl and Bridewell Singers, accompanied by Barrow Hills Head, Mr Philip Oldroyd.

The church service began with the procession of the Verger, the City Marshall, the Sheriff, the Alderman and Sheriff, the Lord Mayor’s Chaplain, the Serjeant-at-Arms, the Swordbearer, the Vice-President, the Lord Mayor, the Head, the Treasurer, the Crucifier, the Acolytes, the School Chaplain, Bishop of Dorking, the Guild Marshal, the Churchwarden, the Gold Mace of St Bride’s, and the Rector of the Church of St Bride’s. Our Chapel Choir, joined by the Barrow Hills School Bridewell Singers, and conducted by Mr Stasio Sliwka, Director of Music, performed ‘Greater Love’, John Ireland.

In the Lord Bishop of Guildford’s absence, Bishop of Dorking Jo Wells explained how Henry VIII had built Bridewell Royal Palace for himself before our Founder, Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London, was then able to persuade the boy King, Edward VI, to part with his “unused, empty Bridewell Royal Palace” to house, care and educate the under-privileged and destitute, because the King should follow God’s example of loving generosity.

The Bridewell Mace, the symbol of the commission of Bridewell Royal Hospital from the City of London, was then brought into the church by the Beadle and presented to the Lord Mayor, blessed by the Bishop and carried to the Vice-President who touched the Mace to re-affirm the Governors’ acceptance of the City’s commission and their own commitment to uphold the aims of the Bridewell Royal Hospital. The service concluded with an uplifting rendition of the National Anthem, dedication, prayers and blessing.

Following the service and recession, pupils and staff in attendance walked through the City of London to the Guildhall, where they proceeded into the Old Library for a lunch and further speeches.

The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Vincent Keaveny, and Lady Mayoress arrived by Rolls Royce in the courtyard at Guildhall and were met by Treasurer Mrs Justine Voisin and Head Mrs Joanna Wright. They were escorted to the Old Library to join staff, pupils, Old Witleians and friends of the Schools. The congregation were amazed and delighted by the Brass musicians who played from the gallery.

The Lord Mayor began his speech with the words “Over 450 years ago, the Bridewell Royal Hospital was founded on the banks of the River Thames and granted to the care of the Lord Mayor and the City of London to help poor and disadvantaged children with education and training. Although they have now moved to altogether greener surroundings, your links with the City remain as strong as if you were only a ten minute walk away. I am so pleased to see that today the City’s educational legacy lives on through the pupils of King Edward’s Witley.”

The Lord Mayor handed over to the Head Boy, Ben. “Today we are here to celebrate the 467th anniversary of the Foundation of Bridewell Royal Hospital. It is my duty and honour to thank everyone who has supported the School over the last four centuries.” Head Girl, Koko, proceeded to talk about how “the class of 2022 has become so adaptable due to the covid pandemic, and further strengthened the community that is King Edward’s.”

Following the speeches, a splendid Bridewell Buffet Luncheon with canapés and wine was enjoyed by all, with packed lunches for King Edward’s 2nd and 4th Form pupils.

Head, Mrs Joanna Wright, said, “Today has been a wonderful reminder of how far we have come as a School, not just in miles from London to Witley but our transformation from a Tudor orphanage to the world-class School we are today, while still maintaining our fundamental ethos of diversity and commitment to the needs and education of the children we serve.  I would particularly like to thank everyone who put in so much work to make Bridewell Day such a success.”

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