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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : London
A selection of photographs, prints and postcards. Some have personal or family connections
The Charterhouse, City of London
Charterhouse 1

Godalming's Charterhouse School was originally part of The Charterhouse in the City of London until the school left Smithfield for its new home in Surrey in 1872. The school buildings and playground were then sold to Merchant Taylor's School for £90,000 but the foundation for the old pensioners was left untouched[1]. This was where the first Godalming headmaster, William Haig-Brown, returned to after his retirement in 1897.

Sellers of old prints and cards sometimes confuse the two, labelling images of the London property as Charterhouse School in Godalming.

Charterhouse 2

An 1889 history clearly stated the great significance of these buildings. "No London monastery has a history of greater importance than that of the Carthusian order, founded on the site of the famous Sutton's Hospital, which in later times has done a great educational work as Charterhouse School"[2].

The London Charterhouse was built in 1371 as a convent for twenty-four Carthusian monks. The monastery was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1537[3], when he disbanded religious establishments across the country during the Reformation. As far as The Charterhouse was concerned they paid a heavy price for resisting the property grabbing tyrannical monarch as, of the eighteen Carthusians martyred, sixteen came from The Charterhouse in London, and of these "nine died - chained in Newgate prison - of starvation, exposure and filth" whilst three others were hung, drawn and quartered at Tyburn[4]. The cruel way they were treated does that king no credit.

It was then granted to Sir Edward North, later Lord North (c.1504-64), in 1545. After his death the greater part of the estate was purchased in 1565 by Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, who was to build a house for himself on the site of the Little Cloisters. The Earl of Suffolk, his son, sold the property to Sir Thomas Sutton who would use it for his hospital for 80 men and 40 boys[3].

Charterhouse 3
The Great Hall, along with the Great Staircase, and the great range of living rooms now
occupied by the Master of Charterhouse (1894) ... are not materially changed ... since
the Howard occupation[5].

In 1894 the Illustrated London News observed that the school was originally on the outskirts of London, "for it was only in the last hundred years, and especially in the latest portion of these, that Charterhouse found itself surrounded by buildings and at last buried in the heart of a great city. But to get to the true age of London Charter one must add to these 260 years of its school's existence and another 240 of its life as a Carthusian monastery - in all 500 years"[5].

Charterhouse 4
The Tapestry Room, now The Great Chamber.

A former pupil, by then Master of the Godalming School, wrote in 1909 that the boys who were educated at the London site played cricket matches on what had been the green of the monastery's great cloister, whilst football was played on what had once been the monastery's garden[6].

A few years before the school left London the Carthusians paid for two tablets in memory of former pupils, the novelist William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) and the cartoonist and illustrator John Leech (1816-74). They were placed side by side in the corridor leading to the chapel[7]. Thackeray's name is followed by the year he left - 1827. He is said to have disliked the school but nevertheless managed to attend Founder's Day services[8].

Some eight years later these stones, together with others which had the names of former pupils carved on them, were carefully removed as they were to be re-set in the new building at Godalming[9]. The names of Thackeray, Leech and other famous former pupils such as Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and John Wesley, whose names were on stones and wooden beams in the Charterhouse Square buildings, are now preserved in its cloisters[8].

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Images of Charterhouse School, Godalming

Charterhouse School

Founder's Court

Memorial Chapel

Chapel & Weekites

Haig Brown Memorial

Charterhouse Road & Hodgsonites

From the air

Charterhouse 5
The Chapel, Charterhouse. Looking towards the altar and stained window, south aisle.
During the "Black Death" the Chapel was used as a mortuary Church[3].
The chapel's tomb to Thomas Sutton is visible between columns on the left.

We were privileged to be shown around in July 2006 and recall being told that the school's first year boys
visit the chapel to take part in a Founder's Day service every year.

1. "Preachers Court, Charterhouse". Series No. D.997/1762
2. "Pensioners Court, Charterhouse". Series No. D.997/1761
3. "Great Hall (Interior), Charterhouse". Series No. D.997/1764
4. "Tapestry Room, Charterhouse". Series No. D.997/1765
5. "The Chapel, Charterhouse". Series No. D.997/1763
All the above images were published by E. T. Botson, Ltd., 519 Central Markets, London E.C. They are undated but there are similarities with photographs in various publications from the first decade or so of the twentieth century.
Postcards in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] "The Times", Saturday, 12 Jan, 1907.

[2] "Morning Post", 1 June 1889 (Review of "The London Charterhouse. Its Monks and its Martyrs". By Dom Lawrence Hendricks. London : Kegan & Paul).

[3] "The Bystander", 13 December 1911.

[4] "Pall Mall Gazette", 17 January 1913. London Byeways. The Charterhouse and its memories - monastery, mansion and memories. By The Tramp.

[5] "Illustrated London News", 6 October 1894."The Great Schools of England" No. VIII.

[6] "The Bystander", 22 September 1909. Our Great Public Schools, No.X. Memories of an old boy by Gerald S. Davies. Davies had just become Master of Charterhouse.

[7] "Norfolk Chronicle", 16 December 1865.

[8] "Illustrated London News", 23 January 1875.

[9] "Dundee Courier", 9 January 1873.