Christ’s Hospital, one of the oldest boarding schools in England, was founded in Newgate Street in 1552 “with the intention to take out of the streets all fatherless children and other poor men's children that were not able to keep them and to bring them to the late dissolved house of the Grey Friars which they devised to be a hospital for them where they should have meat, drink and clothes, lodging and learning and officers to attend upon them.” Christ’s Hospital moved from the City of London to Horsham in 1902.
One of the most amazing aspects is the fact that the pupils today are still wearing the historic Tudor school uniform, unique and world famous - and provided free. It consists of an outer blue coat, breeches for the boys and pleated skirts for girls, white shirts with “bands” (similar to a lawyer’s or priest’s stock) instead of a regular school tie and leather belts. The most striking accessories however have to be the yellow socks which have always been knee length and are worn by all boys and junior girls. It is remarkable that in this age of rapidly changing fashions, the outer long blue coat and distinctive yellow socks of the uniform have remained virtually unchanged for over 460 years. The linings of the coats were also dyed yellow to match the socks.
According to Christ Hospital’s website, pupils have been given the opportunity in recent years to complete a survey to find out their opinions of their iconic Tudor uniform and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. “The uniform is a very important part of the School’s history and heritage. It isn’t something you wear; it’s a symbol of an opportunity that we are all very fortunate to have and should take full advantage of.”
There has been much speculation as to why blue and yellow was chosen. It was thought that both these colour dyes were not expensive, but blue and yellow could also have been chosen to distinguish the children within the care of Christ’s Hospital from those attending other schools.