Printed Books


A comprehensive bibliography of books which contain chapters or significant references to CH would itself be a formidable book.

Guide books or histories of London often featured the school, such was its importance in the capital over 350 years, and the school is equally prominent in histories of English education.

There are, however, relatively few historians who have attempted serious and comprehensive histories of the school.  The first attempted “history” of CH was titled A Brief History of Christ’s Hospital by JI Wilson, which was first published in 1820 and ran to seven editions, the last of which was published in 1842.   However, he did not have access to the archives and his brief history is more of a guide book.  He published A History of Christ’s Hospital in 1821, in which he added biographies of 40 celebrated Old Blues.

The first serious attempt at a history of CH, including 10 steel engravings, was published in 1834 by the Rev William Trollope, although he too was not given access to the school’s main archives.  A book titled Annals of Christ’s Hospital by Edmund Dring was published in 1867, and was noted for being the first book about CH to contain photographs rather than for its depth of coverage.  The second serious history was by the Rev EH Pearce who wrote  Annals of Christ’s Hospital in 1901, with a second edition in 1908 covering the early years at Horsham.

Many Old Blues have written about their time at school or have written about certain aspects of it, including such celebrated authors as Charles Lamb, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, James Leigh Hunt and Edmund Blunden.

The first authoritative, separate history of girls at CH, in London, Hoddesdon and Hertford, was written by William Lempriere in 1924, and Frances Page wrote a history of the Hertford school in 1953. The rest of the published story of CH can be found amongst a rich but scattered literature.  

The book shown on the left was published in 1877, the front cover showing a scene copied from an illustration in an earlier book in which it was called The Battle of the Cloisters.