Good manners top priority at merchants' school
BRISTOL Grammar School was founded in 1532 by wealthy merchant brothers, Robert and Nicholas Thorne.
You can see an excellent portrait of Nicholas in the M shed museum.
The school, it was said, would give the sons of the city's merchants an education fit for their future standing.
Housed in a medieval building at the bottom of Christmas Steps, the boys were taught Latin and Greek, Divinity, a little Hebrew and, above all, "Good manners".
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In 1767 the school exchanged premises with Queen Elizabeth's Hospital (QEH) the City School, which moved to a new site on Unity Street.
By the 1880s however, the education offered by this traditional school was seen as very old fashioned.
Faced with an ever decreasing number of pupils, the Grammar School closed its doors in 1844 but re-opened a few years later with a new curriculum more suited to the times.
By 1870 pupil numbers were up to a healthy 240 but, despite this, the school not as wealthy as other independent (private) schools in the city.
And so a decision was made to move to Tyndall's Park, a much more prestigious, up-market location, and the school's present home, in 1879.
It was here that esteemed Bristol architects Foster and Wood built the school a Tudor/Gothic Revival Great Hall (a Grade II listed building still admired to-day) as a single classroom.
Yet to be located, however, is the Hall's foundation stone containing newspapers from the time.
Other buildings, including laboratories, were opened throughout Edwardian times.
The Prep School in Elton Road, destroyed during the Second World War, was later rebuilt, and the Headmaster's House is now occupied by the Junior School.
After the war, in 1946, Bristol Grammar becoming a Direct Grant school.
Now fully independent, the school has a sports hall, modern languages and classics/ geography units.
Art and music departments have their own houses in Elton Road, and the former playing field is now a Technology Centre.
The school song, Carmen Bristoliense (Song of the Bristolians), composed in 1909, is still sung in Latin at the final school assembly each term as well as at other special events.