Henry Strode, our founder (1645-1704), was born during the English Civil War and lived in London through the Plague and the Great Fire, the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and finally war (the War of Spanish Succession). He was the son of a master cooper and joined the family firm in 1680 going on to make a substantial fortune in business in London. He joined the Court of the Worshipful Company of Coopers and became Master in 1703. That same year he made the Will which came into effect when he died the following year on 6 May 1704. In 1704, he bequeathed to the Company £6,000 to establish a ‘good strong substantial schoolhouse… for the learning and edifying of the poor children of the Parish of Egham’.
There have been three schools (1706, 1828 and 1919) on the present site. The school became a secondary school for boys in 1919 and was granted voluntary controlled status in 1950 as Strode’s Grammar School. It became a co-educational sixth form college, known as Strode’s College in 1975 and was incorporated as a Further Education College in 1993. The first school was opened around 1706, demolished and rebuilt in the 1820s and again in 1915. The oldest surviving buildings are the almshouses of 1820s and 1830s construction. The main building constructed during World War 1 still forms the core of the College’s complex of buildings.
For almost 200 years Strode’s School provided elementary education for the poor boys of Egham. Its second and third masters, John Paget and Robert Jones, served 97 years between them, from 1710 to 1807. With changing educational needs, the School was closed in 1900 and eventually, a new school was built which opened in 1919 as a boys’ Grammar School, with 62 boys, two full-time and three part-time teachers. The Grammar School expanded and developed, opening its first sixth form in 1924 acquiring an enviable reputation for academic success and artistic and sporting endeavour.
Further change came in 1975 with comprehensive reorganisation in this part of Surrey and the evolution of Strode’s into a co-educational sixth form college. As a College it has continued to expand and develop. What started as a small school for 40 boys is now a thriving community of over 1,350 full-time day-time 16-19 year old students and 1,500 adults who take advantage of an extensive evening class provision and courses run for the local business community.
Strode's link to The Worshipful Company of Coopers
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The College has an historic link with The Worshipful Company of Coopers, one of the City of London livery companies. Henry Strode, our founder, was himself a member and past master of the Company (which was already 200 years old when he died in 1704).
The Worshipful Company of Coopers celebrated its Quincentenary in 2001, receiving its first Royal Charter from Henry VII in April 1501. Its origins go back further, to 1298, when a ‘fraternity’ of Coopers came into being. This initially had a religious and social purpose for the benefit of its members and their dependants, but in due course came to regulate the craft of coopering, or cask making.
At that time, and through into the 20th century, coopering was an essential craft. Wooden casks (a barrel is a 36 gallon cask), which were so accurately made that they were not only watertight, but also of exact and standard volume, formed the universal storage and transport system throughout Europe. In present times, we think of casks in terms of beer, wines and spirits, but not long ago almost anything, from water to flour, from salt beef to gunpowder, was transported and conveyed in a cask.
The Charter of 1501 gave the Company the status of a body corporate, which enabled it to flourish and it became not only a powerful member of the City of London’s Livery Companies, but also a major conduit for charitable giving.
Today, the Company is thirty-sixth in the order of precedence amongst all City of London Livery companies of which there are over 100. It is controlled by a Master, Wardens and a Court of Assistants, assisted by a Clerk and secretariat.
Each year the Master chooses an apprentice from the body of Strode’s students, which can give the individual the opportunity to join the Company at some suitable future date. Membership of the Company is open to all provided certain criteria are met, and there are several Old Strodians who have become Freemen and then Liverymen of the Company.
Trustees representing the Company sit on the Strode’s Foundation, which is a registered charity charged with carrying out the wishes of Henry Strode.
Today there are many continuing links between Strode’s and the Company. These include:
- Coopers’ Travel Bursaries, provided annually to support extended study related travel
- The selection each year from the student body of an Apprentice to the Master of the Company
- Two Higher Education Bursaries provided to the College’s top performing students;
- The Master and Wardens' visit to College’s annual prize giving which provide the 'pomp and ceremony' (see picture above)
- Cloker Service: the annual thanksgiving service of the Company at which the 16th century Will of Henry Cloker, a major benefactor, is read out
- Several of the College’s Governors and Foundation Trustees, who are members of the Company.