Ashlyns is proud of its heritage dating back to the 18th century. Our journey began when a retired sea captain, Thomas Coram, became concerned about the number of unwanted children wandering the streets of London and infant bodies being abandoned on rubbish tips. He campaigned for a hospital to be built to accommodate these children. In 1739 he was granted a Royal Charter to build the hospital. The first permanent building was established at Lamb’s Conduit Fields, Bloomsbury, in 1742.
In 1926, the Hospital Governors decided to relocate to a healthier environment outside London. The children were relocated to Redhill, whilst our magnificent Georgian-style buildings, based on the original hospital, were completed in 1935. Many features from the original hospital can be found in the school and at the Coram Museum.
In 1951, Hertfordshire County Council took responsibility for the educational element of the Hospital, and it was renamed Ashlyns School. The Coram Foundation phased out boarders in 1955, when the Foundation sold the buildings to the County Council. The living accommodation was converted into classrooms and laboratories, and a ‘grammar’ stream was added to the school, making Ashlyns the first bilateral school in Hertfordshire.
By 1972, Ashlyns School had become a comprehensive upper school, forming part of the three-tier system of education which operated in Berkhamsted. 2013 heralded a new chapter in Ashlyns’ history as we welcomed back students from the age of 11 to become a secondary school again.
Whilst enjoying the benefit of many modern facilities, the staff and students of Ashlyns School are proud and conscious of their historic surroundings. Close links have been established with the Coram Foundation (www.coram.org.uk). The stained glass windows in the Chapel, the beautiful staircase in the entrance hall, the carved fireplace in the old Board Room and many other parts of the building echo our heritage.