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City of London Freemen's School (CLFS) is a co-educational private school for day and boarding pupils, located at Ashtead Park in Surrey, England. It is the sister school of the City of London School and the City of London School for Girls, which are both independent single-sex schools located within the City of London itself. All three schools receive funding from the City's Cash.[1] The school is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

City of London Freemen's School (CLFS)
Coat of Arms of The City of London.svg
City of London Freemen's School (CLFS) is located in Surrey
City of London Freemen's School (CLFS)
City of London Freemen's School (CLFS)
City of London Freemen's School (CLFS) is located in England
City of London Freemen's School (CLFS)
City of London Freemen's School (CLFS)
City of London Freemen's School (CLFS) is located in the United Kingdom
City of London Freemen's School (CLFS)
City of London Freemen's School (CLFS)

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KT21 1ET

CoordinatesCoordinates: 51°18′29″N 0°17′13″W / 51.308°N 0.287°W / 51.308; -0.287
TypeIndependent School
Day and boarding school
MottoDomine Dirige Nos
Department for Education URN125349 Tables
HeadmasterMr. Roland Martin
Age7 to 18
HousesHale, Gresham and Whittington
Colour(s)Red & White

The Good Schools Guide described the school as "A traditional academic and sporty school in a stunning setting with impressive facilities but not at all elitist – in fact quite the opposite."[2]



The school was founded in 1854 by the Corporation of London, and was originally located in Brixton, London to educate orphans of the freemen of the City[3]. It is still possible for such orphan children to be educated as “Foundationers” at the school with the costs of their education borne by the City of London Corporation.

The tradition of freemen goes back many centuries, when the citizens of towns and cities would be granted valuable rights to trade, and other privileges conceded by royal charters.

The system was also shared by livery companies, associations of craftsmen developed to control the admission to the trade by apprenticeship, and founded on the triple bases of commerce, benevolence and religion.

From medieval times the City of London worked together with livery companies to control acceptance of freemen. However, in the nineteenth century it became possible for people to apply for the Freedom of the City of London without belonging to a livery company, and this created the need for an organisation to which all freemen could belong to pursue the interests of the City.

This led to the foundation, in 1908, of the Guild of Freemen of the City of London, to bring together free men and women, for the purposes of charity, benevolence, education and social interaction.

City of London Freemen's School is set in 57 acres (230,000 m2) of Ashtead Park in the heart of Surrey, having moved from London to Ashtead in 1926 from Brixton. The school celebrated its 150th Anniversary in 2004 with a year long series of events. The Anniversary started with a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral attended by the whole school (now numbering over 800) and culminated in the school being represented with a float in the annual Lord Mayor’s Show.


The School has three Houses: Gresham, Hale and Whittington (colours green, red and blue respectively). These are named after the influential Londoners and school benefactors Sir Thomas Gresham, Warren Stormes Hale and Richard Whittington. Pupils are assigned to a House as they start at the school, which they stay in throughout their school career. Since it is now predominantly a day school and there are limited numbers of boarders, Houses do not have the same connotations as in similar independent schools, though are still important for Inter-House Competitions and weekly House Assemblies. If a sibling of a City of London Freemen's pupil were to join the school, he or she would be assigned to the same house.


The school has a very strong sporting reputation and the impressive grounds include rugby, hockey and cricket pitches, as well as two all-weather pitches, both of which are floodlit, with a variety of uses. There are also tennis courts, cricket nets and athletics facilities. The school has a large, modern, multi-purpose sports hall complex that incorporates a multi-activity fitness suite.

Sporting fixtures are played in a wide range of sports against other independent schools such as Sevenoaks School, The King's School, Canterbury, St Mary's Ascot, King's College School and The Oratory School. The School tends to achieve superior results at the Public Schools Fencing Championship.[citation needed]

Boarding housesEdit

There are girls’ and boys’ boarding houses. The girls' boarding house was in Main House, a Georgian mansion built in 1790 by Sir Thomas Wyatt. The Main House remains the focal point of the school. The boys' boarding house was located in Philp House, a building located by the bus-stop. The boarding houses are now located in the new boarding house located next to the new music school and the junior school.

Old Freemen'sEdit

Once pupils leave school they become part of Old Freemen’s Association, which includes the Old Freemen's Rugby Football Club, Cricket Club and Hockey Club. There is also a Guild of Scholars of the City of London, which was formed to encourage former pupils from the three ‘City Schools’ to develop links with The City of London. Membership is open to all former pupils, staff, and retired staff, who must have obtained their ‘Freedom of the City of London’ but there is no subscription.

In addition any pupil aged 14–17, who is still at school may apply to become an Apprentice to a Freeman of the City at little cost and minimal commitment. They will then be entitled, at the age of 21, to apply for the Freedom of the City and membership of the Guild of Scholars. This Apprenticeship will be of particular interest to those who wish to pursue a career in the City. Annual events are organised to promote fellowship among the members, including an annual dinner and visits to places of interest.

Drama and musicEdit

The school organises a number of performances each year, and these have included Oliver!, Oklahoma!, Cabaret, Les Misérables and Into the Woods.[citation needed] The latest addition to this list is Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which was performed in December 2009. The senior school musical for 2011 was "Evita".[citation needed]


The catering is currently provided by the contract caterers Sodexo. Catering is provided for the pupils and staff through a number of outlets. The main dining hall, located in the main house, is the focal point of catering operations, with breakfast, lunch and dinner being served from here. The dining hall is also employed for a number of private dinners, both internal and external, throughout the year. The main house may also be seen as the hub of operations as it houses the catering facilities offices. The Tuck Shop, now located in a red van, offers a choice of hot and cold meals and snacks to all those who choose not to subscribe to school lunches. Both the Junior School and the Senior School (Haywood Centre) also house common rooms which come equipped with tea and fresh coffee making facilities.

Feeder schoolsEdit

Notable former pupilsEdit

Former pupils are known as Old Freemen. Some better known Old Freemen include:


  1. ^ "CITY'S CASH ANNUAL REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2016" (PDF). Corporation of the City of London. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-11-07. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Schools". The Good Schools Guide. Archived from the original on 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  3. ^ "Freemen's School History".
  4. ^ "Rory Burns | England Cricket | Cricket Players and Officials | ESPN Cricinfo". Archived from the original on 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
  5. ^ "A Drummer's Tale". Official Andy Ward Website. Archived from the original on 11 August 2015. Retrieved 4 August 2015.

External linksEdit