Trinity School Digital Archives

Welcome to Trinity School Archives

Archbishop John Whitgift, who came to know and love Croydon in the reign of Elizabeth I, was a generous benefactor and set up a Foundation in 1596 making provision for a hospital and a school in the borough. By 1850, the educational side of the Whitgift Foundation had diminished, and the School Room had been let to the National Society without fee. However, with Croydon growing rapidly, the Whitgift Foundation gave approval for the building of two schools in 1856, and the Poor School opened in Church Street in the heart of the Parish.

The Poor School was for boys of 7 to 14 who lived in Croydon and who were ‘able to read and not afflicted with infectious disease’ for a maximum fee of 4 pence a week. Under the Headmaster, William Ingrams, who remained in post until 1905, the school was very successful but changes in the Education Act meant that primary schooling had to be provided elsewhere.

Early in 1881, the Poor School closed briefly but, later in the same year, reopened again in Pump Pail, off Scarbrook Road, with the name of Whitgift Middle School.

Whitgift Middle School was a Third Grade Secondary School, the grade reflecting a specific purpose not quality, and was geared to providing education for those leaving at 14 or 15 years of age to enter commercial occupations. It was a popular and successful school in spite of the inadequacy of the buildings and, in the 1920s, it was intended to move the school to bigger premises at Haling Park. However, the Foundation Governors eventually decided that the school would move to North End in the centre of Croydon in 1931, where it remained until 1965. The school name changed again in 1954, to Trinity School of John Whitgift, remaining at North End until 1965 when it moved to Shirley Park. The school in central Croydon was razed to the ground and is now the Whitgift Shopping Centre.

From this brief history of the school’s development, it is impossible not to realise that there is an enormous amount of history relating to the school. Unfortunately, due to the changes that have taken place since the mid-1800s, a great deal of the archive material has been lost. However, there is a catalogued collection of memorabilia with photographs, artefacts and documents in the designated School Archive, and much of the material is currently undergoing the process of digitisation so that it can then be accessed via the School website.

From some of the memorabilia, displays have been mounted which can be seen by staff and pupils as well as by visitors to the school. Our Archivist, Laurie King, is happy to respond to enquiries from the public and particularly welcomes contact from former pupils of the school.

There are now events throughout the year for School Alumni to attend. At these times, they will be able to visit the Archives and tour the school. Please contact Melodie Johnson, Head of Alumni Relations, at

David Urmston, a retired member of Trinity staff, has written ‘The History of Trinity School’ which is available to purchase for £10, including postage and packing. Request for copies can be made to Laurie King, Trinity Archives, with cheques made payable to Trinity School.

For further information please contact me at: / 0208 656 9541 Ext 746

Laurie King

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