Founded in 1712

The School was founded in 1712 as part of Greenwich Hospital, a 'charitable institution for the aged, infirm or young', and was established to provide boys from seafaring backgrounds with the rare privilege of learning arithmetic and navigation. It was at this time located in the spectacular buildings which now house the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London.



200 Acres of Suffolk Countryside

As the School's reputation burgeoned, there were more applicants than places, resulting in a move to its current impressive purpose-built campus in 200 acres of Suffolk countryside in 1933. Here the boys could benefit from space and fresh air as well as excellent purpose-built facilities.

Through Greenwich Hospital, we continue to support the children of serving or retired naval personnel as well as families with other seafaring connections by awarding generous means-tested bursaries on boarding places. For more information, please contact the Registrar or visit Greenwich Hospital.


The de Neumann Archive

The de Neumann Archive of the Royal Hospital School contains nearly 20,000 entries including magazines, periodicals, RHSA publications, photographs, historic documents and much more.

The archive has been named in honour of British mathematician, computer scientist, inventor, and naval historian Professor Bernard de Neumann (1943 - 2018). Professor de Neumann (Nelson 1961) was instrumental in preserving the School’s history for future generations.

This digital resource is FREE to use and open to ALL and can be accessed below:


Visit digital archive




A Rich Seafaring History 


Royal Hospital School pupils marching on parade ground.


We are proud of our rich seafaring history and this maritime heritage lives on in the daily life of the School through a number of traditions, including:

  • Sailing: All Year 7 pupils are given the opportunity to learn to sail, and talent in sailing is encouraged and developed throughout the School.
  • Flag Ceremony: The daily raising and lowering of the School Ensign, referred to by pupils and staff as 'Flag'
  • Divisions: All pupils are supplied with a naval uniform and taught the rudiments of marching for formal parades, called Divisions. These spectacular ceremonies, which generate tremendous pride in pupils and parents alike, are held on various dates during the year, five of which coincide with annual events: Harvest Festival (October), Remembrance Service (November), Confirmation Day (March), Founders' Day (May) and Sports Day (June).
  • Marching Band: The School has an impressive Marching Band (all brass, drums, saxophones, clarinets, flutes and percussion) trained to the highest standards by the School Bandmaster who is a former Director of Music of the Royal Marines Band.
  • Corps of Drums: The Corps of elite side and bass drum players performs impressive displays and is in much demand for ceremonial events throughout the country.
  • Naval Commemorations: We have a tradition of marking key naval events, such as celebrating victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.
  • Houses: The School Houses are named after prominent naval figures.




1712 - 1820
1820 -1930
1920 - 1970
1970 - 2012