Old Swinford Hospital School
Old Swinford Hospital opened in the late summer of 1670. It was founded by Thomas
Foley, an ironmaster whose estate was at Great Witley in Worcestershire, to educate
60 boys from "poor but honest" families nominated by parishes in Worcestershire,
Staffordshire and Warwickshire.
When Thomas Foley died in 1678 he left the manor of Pedmore and a considerable sum
of money in trust for the maintenance of the School. The fifteen trustees of this
bequest were called Feoffees and included amongst them Thomas' three sons, Thomas,
Philip and Paul. Today there are still fifteen Feoffees who are the trustees of
the original foundation. Three of the Feoffees are still direct male descendants
of the Founder.
When Thomas Molineux attended in 1841, only one or two children from each covered
parish were nominated for acceptance. The boys ranged in age from 8 to 13 years.
In 1950 the School ceased to be independent and became a Voluntary Aided school
under an arrangement with Worcestershire County Council. Numbers in the School began
to increase and a Sixth Form was started in the mid 1950s. New buildings, including
a gymnasium and Lyttleton block were built to accommodate the enlarged School.
By the late 1970s day boys outnumbered boarders and an ambitious building programme
commenced to enhance and extend the boarding provision. This included the construction
of Foley House (1982), Witley House (1983), Dudley House (1984) and Baxter House
(1990). Foley House has been refurbished (2005) and there are plans to upgrade other
Boarding Houses in the near future. Classroom and sporting facilities have been
further improved in the more recent years.
Due to Old Swinford Hospital being designated as a Business and Enterprise College
in 2004, a Business Centre is in the process of being constructed to facilitate
students with their business studies within the School.
In September 1989 Old Swinford Hospital became one of the first Grant Maintained
Schools, independent of the Local Education Authority. With the ending of that status
in 1998, the School reverted to being a Voluntary Aided school. The Governors and
Headmaster retain considerable autonomy, however, and the Feoffees, as Foundation
Trustees, continue to appoint a majority of the Governors.
Old Swinford Hospital is, by tradition, a school for boys. However, since September
2004 the Governors have been offering places to girls wishing to study in the Sixth
Form as day students. The first contingent of 45 girls joined the Sixth Form in
2004. The School now offers a greater breadth of subjects and activities.