From the school's website:
"In 1666, after the Great Fire of London, many inhabitants of the Old City of London moved to the medieval town of Westminster. With its congested and squalid alleys, the area was the home of many criminals who, until 1623, had the right of sanctuary in the Abbey. It was in the first seedy area – home to every type of vice and depravation - that The Grey Coat Hospital was founded.
On St Andrew’s Day in 1698, eight parishioners of the parish of St Margaret’s each invested 12/6 (65p) towards the founding of the school. The aim of the founders was to give an education to the poor of the parish so that they could be ‘loyal citizens, useful workers and solid Christians’. In 1701 the Governors purchased the old workhouse in Tutle fields (Tothill Fields) from Westminster Abbey and established a school for both girls and boys. St Andrew’s stands on the original site of the Elizabethan workhouse, the flagstones of which are walked over daily. After a colourful history which included a murder in 1773 and a rebellion in protest against the dreadful conditions of the school in 1801, the school became a day school of girls in 1874."
In 1706 Queen Anne granted the Grey Coat Hospital Foundation a royal charter.
The building was damaged by WW2 bombs. It was repaired and reopened in 1955. The original building is still used by the Lower School.
2023: Penny Swan of Grey Coat Hospital came across our site while researching the history of the School. She is deep diving while we can only skim the surface but she kindly provided the following information:
"The current building is in fact our second site. When the school opened 1698 it was a day school for poor boys in Broad Sanctuary, close to the Abbey.
"We moved to the current site in 1702, and became a boarding school for boys and girls (strictly separated!) and also gained Queen Anne’s Royal Charter. It was then that we acquired the ‘Hospital’ part of the name, because the students lived here – it is derived from the Latin ‘hospes’ meaning a guest or host, and came to mean a place of safety for the needy in the early 15th century.
"The building was refurbished as a school, having been built as a poorhouse. The original Elizabethan flagstones are still in use in the downstairs corridor, where the Charter hangs on the wall.
The print reproduced on this page is by William Henry Prior and is dated "1878 (or later)".