Our History

 

Reading Blue Coat School was founded in 1646 by Richard Aldworth, a merchant of The Skinners’ Company and a Governor of Christ’s Hospital. The School was established near St Mary’s Minster Church in Reading and was known by its original historic name of Aldworth’s Hospital, providing ‘Education and bringing upp of twenty poore male children’ and for a ‘Godly and learned man to be Schoolmaster’.

The original uniform was a ‘Blue Coate and Cappe’ (senior prefects wear the ancient dress of long blue coat and yellow stockings on special occasions).

1646

Reading Blue Coat School was founded in 1646 by Richard Aldworth

1660

First school site next to Silver Street and London Street – in the building that was a former inn, The Talbot.

1852

Purchase of Brunswick House, 42 Bath Road, as new school site.

1875

Headmaster John Harris

1864

Entrance exams introduced and science and art added to the curriculum and exercise drill added to the timetable.

1892

First day boys admitted – with preference given to ‘orphans’.

1900s

Blue Coat boys

1902

French added to the curriculum and a new carpentry workshop set up.

1905

Old Blues’ Association set up.

1910

To celebrate 250th anniversary, an extra dormitory added to boarding house.

1910

Compulsory games introduced on Wednesdays.

1912

Library introduced.

1914-1918 WWI

Boys ‘grew their own’. Boys sang in hospitals to boost morale. Clogs worn to save leather.

1919

Fees introduced to cover costs of textbooks and heating.

1922

Scarlet fever and diphtheria outbreaks close school temporarily.

1928

90 boys and four teachers.

1929

First Aldworthian school magazine produced.

1939-1945 WWII

Blackout implemented and cellars transformed into makeshift air-raid shelter. Boys ‘did their bit’ – farm work, working at Huntley and Palmers biscuit factory.

1945

Old Blues Cricket Team

1947

In January, the School moved to the magnificent estate of Holme Park in the Berkshire village of Sonning-on-Thames where it remains today. 150 boys.

1955

Opening of new Dunster Building – new teaching block.

1958

Swimming pool opened.

1959

School recognised officially.

1960

New boat house opened.

1961

14 boys joined the new Sixth Form.

1966

Cadet Corps formed.

1969

More day boys than boarders. Saturday lessons ended.

1970

September: First girl pupil, Kathy Bodley Scott, admitted.

1987

Sixth Form becomes fully co-educational.

1990

500 pupils

1992

Blue Coat’s admission to the Headmaster’s Conference.

1999

600 pupils

2001

Boarding house closed.

2012

Richard Aldworth Building opened by then Home Secretary Theresa May MP – replacing Dunster Building.
700 pupils.

2013

Opening of Brian Walsh Building

2013

A history of the school, “Truth Conquers All,” by Blue Coat archivist Mr Peter van Went, was published in July 2013 and is available from the School’s Reception for £6.99.

2017

750 pupils. New Design Technology building completed.

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