This category might today be called ‘extra-curricular’, although that perhaps suggests activities outside the classroom which are organised by the School for the pupils.  The teaching staff in London did not live in the School, regarding their duties as largely confined to the classroom.  Outside teaching hours, the adults left routinely in charge of the School were the Matrons, whose jurisdiction lay in the Wards and in the Dining Hall, and the Warden, Steward and Beadles, whose primary role was to maintain discipline.

Until the end of the 18th century, pupils were not allowed any holidays away from the School, their ‘freedom’ being restricted to individual leave days in either London or Hertford.  When holidays were first introduced at the end of the 18th century, pupils were restricted to one three week holiday during their 8 years at CH, to be taken only after having been at CH for 3 years, later extended in the 19th century successively to once every 3 years, once every two years and once every year.  During these holidays, children were obliged to wear their CH uniforms and parents were summoned to the School to explain themselves if children were found out of CH clothes.

In all these circumstances, children were largely left to amuse themselves, and life was often dull, with children trying to find ways in which they could pass the time of day.  Within the School grounds, children sometimes used to indulge in individual or group games, or got up to various forms of mischief.  One imagines that ‘generally milling about’ was a popular pastime, and that such activities as the children organised for themselves were often uniquely adapted to the geography of the School’s buildings.  The Leave Ticket, which allowed children to leave the School grounds for a day, was a highly sought after commodity and was used as a reward for good behaviour.

The image on the left, published in the newspaper, The Illustrated Times, in 1858, shows an organised activity of being drilled in what was then the new playground acquired when the next door Compter Prison, a debtors prison, had ceased to exist and CH had acquired the land.  Other illustrations show activities which can be said to have been organised, sometimes by the pupils themselves.

Towards the end of the 19th century, when a Head Master was formally appointed for the first time, more organised sports were arranged.