The first school prospectus began with a concise statement of aim for Leighton Park: This School has been established for the purpose of providing for the sons of Friends and others an education not inferior to that given at the leading Public Schools. Other information includes a note of the school fee: £35 per term.

 It is thought that the original school building, referred to as Leighton Park mansion, was built between 1860 and 1862. At this time, the whole area surrounding the school was agricultural. For most of the period between then and the opening of the school, the Cobham family lived there. An 1881 census record shows that were nine members of the family and eleven servants in the house, with additional staff living on the estate, mainly above the stable block which now houses the Maintenance and Estate department. 

Jonathan Backhouse Hodgkin (1843-1926), a Quaker banker from Darlington, was Chairman of the founding governing body, The Friends’ Public School Company Ltd. Following the closure of Quaker school Grove House School in Tottenham, Hodgkin argued strongly in favour of a new Quaker school in the years preceding its opening in 1890.  He served the school indefatigably until his retirement from the Board in 1918, and is surely deserving of the epithet ‘founding father of Leighton Park’. His son, Jonathan Edward Hodgkin, was the first pupil on the school roll and subsequently followed his father as a long-serving and very active governor. 

The school opened on January 1890 with just four pupils with Benjamin Townson, Leighton Park’s first Head, his wife, science teacher Mr Catchpool and matron Miss Clark. School House (now called Old School) acted as both teaching facility with three classrooms and residential House for the boys. The school quickly grew and various extensions were made to the building, notably a lecture hall, science laboratories, a dormitory and a gymnasium, now called the Annexe).

The school was rocked however in 1894 by the sudden death of the Head on 25th March, weakened by his distress at the death of his two-year-old son Geoffrey just ten days before. 

Grove House opened in 1895, under the aegis of Housemaster Frederick Edminson. The fine red-brick Victorian building was designed by Alfred Waterhouse, alumnus of Grove House School and great Victorian architect.

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 16.50.20.pngJonathan Backhouse Hodgkin (1843 to 1926) was Chairman of the founding governing body, The Friends’ Public School Company Ltd. Having argued strongly in favour of a new Quaker school in the years preceding its opening in 1890, and having served the school indefatigably until his retirement from the Board in 1918, he is surely deserving of the epithet ‘founding father of Leighton Park’. His son, Jonathan Edward Hodgkin, was the first pupil on the school roll and subsequently followed his father as a long-serving and very active governor. The first school prospectus began with a concise statement of its aim: This School has been established for the purpose of providing for the sons of Friends and others an education not inferior to that given at the leading Public Schools. Other information includes a note of the school fee: £35 per term. It is thought that the original school building, referred to as Leighton Park mansion, was built between 1860 and 1862. For most of the period between then and the opening of the school, it was occupied by the Cobham family. An 1881 census record shows that were nine members of the family and eleven servants in the house, and there were additional staff resident on the estate, mainly above the stable block which now houses the Maintenance and Estate department. .

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