St. George’s Primary School

LOGORED-small-darker1St.George’s is a voluntary aided Church of England School, maintained & funded by the Local Authority (Westminster Council). We have 201 pupils who range in age from 5 – 11, and are of mixed Gender.

As a Christian school, firmly rooted in the teachings, values and spiritual life of the Church of England, we aim for all children to be successful independent learners and effective decision makers. We value the individual and are committed to inclusive education, equal opportunities and respect for all including those of other faiths and cultures.

Our school motto ‘together we can achieve the extraordinary’ is at the heart of everything we do at school. We aim to provide a caring, stable and intellectually and creatively stimulating environment where all children can develop to their full and individual potential. All staff are passionate about ensuring that each child’s time at school is happy, productive and successful so that they can move confidently onto the next stage of their education and ultimately make a positive contribution to society as adults.

In partnership with governors, parents and the local community we strive to develop high moral and spiritual values,  and a broad and balanced curriculum that promotes high achievement for all the children; developing within the individual self-confidence, motivation, aspiration and the ability to work with others at home, at school and within the wider community.

History of St. George’s of Hanover Square Primary School

The Parish of St. George, Hanover Square has a long association with educating the young and founded its first school in 1703, many years before education was compulsory.

This retrospective plan of Hyde Park was produced from an earlier plan held in the Vestry Room in St George’s Church, Hanover Square. Its title features at top right, with the scale bar at top left.

At over 340 acres of land the largest of all the royal parks, Hyde Park was originally a hunting ground for deer, boar and wild bull. Bequeathed to the monks of Westminster after the conquest of Geoffrey de Mandeville in the 1140s, the park was appropriated by Henry VIII at the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536. The park was opened to the public at the beginning of the 17th century, and remained a deer hunting ground until 1768.

1742

In his will of 1726 the Rt Hon General William Steuart  (Churchwarden of St. George’s Church in 1725 and formerly Queen Anne’s Commander -in-Chief in Ireland.) left the sum of £5,000 to establish a school for twenty poor boys of the parish. His trustees, as a result, bought freehold land in South Street in 1742 on the edge of the Grosvenor Estate. Thus was established the General Steuart School to teach the “Yellow Bellies”, so named from the yellow livery they were required to wear. This uniform was abolished in 1888.

1803

The number of pupils in the school declined, despite great demand, and in 1803 a group of parishoners joined together to establish “The St. George’s, Hanover Square, Schools of Instruction and Industry”. Regrettably, few records prior to 1805 have survived but those which do exist paint a good picture, in beautiful copperplate writing, of boys being taught tailoring while the girls were engaged in bonnet making and basketwork. The results of the pupils’ efforts provided the school with much needed funds – basketwork realising £10 per annum and suits 13 shillings each.

Not only the children were responsible for financing the school, the clergy were also put to work. Charity sermons were preached locally to raise money.

An extract from the records states that, ’The members of the board who attended The Grosvenor Chapel on Sunday 6th report that after the sermon preached there by the Rev George Matthew the sum of £73.13.6 has been collected.’ 

Such sermons were popular but some more so than others – The Lord Bishop of Carlisle preached in St. George’s Church and raised £107.15.6. The Board was so successful with its fundraising that they decided to open another school in the ‘outward’ of the parish and being assured the cost would not exceed £377, what is now St. Peter’s Eaton Square came into being.

This school was maintained by the Board until 1846 when it transferred to the new Parish of St.Peter carved out of St. George’s Parish.

1817

In 1817, because the premises were so inadequate, the school was amalgamated with The General Steuart and remained so until 1897 when the Girl’s and Infant schools moved to St. George’s Institute in Bourdon Street and The General Steuart School was demolished to make way for the building of a ‘mansion block’.

Fortunately, in 1887 the first Duke of Westminster had announced his intention to present a new site for the school but the leases of this land did not expire until 1895. There then evolved a complicated negotiation between the Duke of Westminster, the General Steuart Trustees and a certain Mr. James Innes who wished to redevelop his property.

1893

In 1893 the Vestry surveyor produced a plan to widen South Street, at the request of James Innes, which would greatly enhance the value of his property. With the assistance of the Charity Commissioners, the complicated negotiations were completed and the Duke of Westminster presented the present site, then worth in excess of £9,000 with the proviso that it should be in keeping with the rest of South Street.

Phillip A. Robson, having successfully won the limited competition for his design, stated that his intention was ‘not merely to convey the impression of a school building, but that of a higher grade church school’. To this end Dove Brothers built the red-brick and Portland-stone Jacobean style building with its large mullion and transom windows.

1952

The cramped conditions within the school were proving most unsatisfactory and the Secondary School moved to St. Martin-in-the-Fields in 1952 allowing the Primary School total use of the building.

Although there have been many internal changes to the building, the ethos of the school and its aim to promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, intellectual, and physical development of the child remains unchanged.