Lesson to be learned at Christ’s Hospital

“The Worshipful Company of Launderers (WCL) recently visited Christ’s Hospital school for a history lesson and a laundry visit. WCL Master Sarah Lancaster takes up the story with a top tip: Never take a group of launderers to visit a laundry and expect them to keep to a schedule.

“According to its website, Christ’s Hospital is a unique and totally remarkable independent school and it is certainly not wrong on that count. The prime reason for our visit, other than to see this prestigious school is that WCL follows the ancient tradition of supporting pupils at the school and we ‘present’ (sponsor) a child.

Our particcular scholar is a delightful young person who has settled in and is thoroughly enjoying her time at the school. The school has a long history of encouraging admission from pupils of all backgrounds and has various methods of helping with fees through scholarships, bursaries and, like our pupil, presentations via Livery Companies.

“We started our tour with the laundry, where we met launsdry manager Joanna Wallis, who explained the laundry procedures and their challenges. Well, as you can imagine, every launderer was fascinated by the equipment, the methods and how the very unusual shirts the pupils wear are hand pressed.

The uniform for CH pupils is unique and based around a Tudor design – the school dates back to 1552. Our tour host struggled to get us out of the laundry and I’m sure if we had stayed longer, we would have rolled up our sleeves and got stuck in.

Luckily for Joanna and her highly efficient team we were called away to see The Wardrobe. This is where the pupils are fitted out with the outer garments of the uniform. The Christ’s Hospital uniform is historic, unique and world famous and is provided to all pupils. They wear the outer dark blue woollen coat, breeches or pleated skirts white shirt with ‘bands’, yellow socks and leather belts The girls wear a lighter jacket in summer. Recycling is very much a watch-word in The Wardrobe; garments are re-used, repaired and at end of life, the buttons are removed to be reused and the condemned garments are then sent to textile recyclers. Nothing is wasted.

“We were then shown the school’s museum which houses a fascinating collection of historic artifacts, we would have spent more time here but our fascination with the laundry meant we were running out of time. It has to be noted that the museum, which I would recommend, can be visited by prior arrangement with the curator by emailing the school.

“The whole visit was a pleasure and so insightful. Seeing the school on a private tour during a regular school day was a treat we won’t forget. Thank you to everyone who made it happen and to our ‘presentee’ pupil whom we wish a every success during your time at the school and life beyond.”