Queen Elizabeth's Hospital

Queen Elizabeth's Hospital

Queen Elizabeth's Hospital (more commonly known as QEH) is an independent school for boys in Clifton, Bristol, England. Stephen Holliday has served as Headmaster since 2000, having succeeded Dr Richard Gliddon. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the School's patron though the QEH is named after its original patron Queen Elizabeth I.

Known traditionally as "The City School", Queen Elizabeth's Hospital was founded by the will of affluent merchant John Carr in 1586 as a school for orphans and destitute children in Bristol, gaining its first royal charter in 1590. It is modelled on Christ's Hospital, at that time located in London and to this day shares the same distinctive Tudor blue coat uniform - though nowadays the uniform is only worn by choir members on special occasions. It has 560 boys and is now Bristol's only all-boys school.

The school began as a boarding school, accepting 'day boys' for the first time in the early 1920s. Boarders continued to wear the traditional blue coat uniform on a daily basis until the 1980s. After that, it was only worn on special occasions. Following a steady decline in numbers, QEH stopped accepting new boarders in 2004. Boarding closed completely in July 2008, when the few remaining boarders left for university or other sixth form centres.

The school is located in the heart of Bristol, near Cabot Tower, in an imposing building built of Brandon stone, designed by local architects Foster and Son and dating from 1847. It has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II listed building. [cite web | title=Queen Elizabeth's Hospital | work=Images of England | url=http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?id=378953 | accessdate=2007-05-04] The terrace steps and walls are also grade II listed, [cite web | title=Terrace wall, steps and lamps to west of Queen Elizabeth's Hospital | work=Images of England | url=http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?id=378954 | accessdate=2007-05-04] as are the walls lodge and gates. [cite web | title=Walls, lodge and gates to Queen Elizabeth's Hospital | work=Images of England | url=http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?id=378955 | accessdate=2007-05-04] Before moving to the site on Brandon Hill, it was previously housed at Gaunt's Hospital mansion house, Unity Street (1590-1767) and St. Bartholomew's, Christmas Steps (1767-1847).


The school's yard is a listed structure owing to the complex nature of the tiling involved in construction. It is one of the largest tiled surfaces in Europe. The buildings surrounding it were purchased when QEH moved from the original site in 1872.

The school also has an up-to-date ICT suite which allows boys access to the internet. Boys can log onto the school server through a link on the school website.

The school library, located at the top of the main building, contains both fiction and non-fiction. The library also takes 35 periodicals, including magazines and national newspapers, in English, as well as French, Spanish and German, which are the three modern foreign languages offered to the boys for curricular study.

As a new sixth form centre is being created, the school decided to create several new teaching rooms in place of the original, housing the geography department.The school possesses playing fields outside Bristol, near the village of Failand.

A new sixth form centre (designed by the architect Ashley Smith, employed at the time by GSS Architecture) is complete.


For much of its history, QEH has been for boys aged 11 to 18 - though it now has an all-boys junior school. QEH has its own entrance examination in January for students entering at Year 7 and Year 9 levels (ages 11 and 13 respectively), and boys take papers in three subjects - Maths, English and Reasoning.

Public occasions

As well as performances at the QEH Theatre, some school activities are open to the public. At the end of the first half of the autumn term, the school holds its prize giving in the Wills Memorial Building, part of the University of Bristol. The headmaster reads his annual report, and a guest speaker gives the prizes to the winning pupils.

At the end of the winter term, the school holds its carol service at Bristol Cathedral. The school returns to the cathedral at the end of the spring term for its "Charter Day" service, celebrating the founding of the school. This service is attended by the Lord Mayor of Bristol, and the school's charter is put on display.

In addition, the school choir often sings Council Prayers at the Lord Mayor's Chapel on College Green, where school founder John Carr is buried.

House system

QEH has a house system in operation whereby students are allocated to one of four houses for sports competitions and the like. At QEH, these are named after some of the school's notable patrons. The four houses are Bird's, named after William Bird; Carr's, named after school founder John Carr; Hartnell's, named after Samuel Hartnell; Ramsey's, named after Lady Mary Ramsey.

Each House has its own colour, and that colour is worn on the school tie for all students up to year 11. Sixth form students who are house captains also wear house colours on their ties. Bird's house colour is yellow, Carr's blue, Hartnell's green and Ramsey's red.

The organisation of each house is done by a designated house master, and two sixth form students, the Captain and Vice Captain of the house, who are picked by the house master in conjunction with senior members of staff.


The school publishes several journals. The "QEH News" is a small newsletter, published biannually and available from the school's website, containing information on sports activities, gap year students, development plans and future events. There is also an annual publication, "The Elizabethan", which gives a more in-depth commentary, as well as giving a showcase of pupils artistic and literary talents.

Notable Old Elizabethans

* Hugo Weaving, star of "The Matrix" trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings" film trilogy, and "V for Vendetta".
* Jonathan Pearce (1971-78), a British soccer commentator for the BBC.
* Ashley Pharoah (1971-78), writer and co-creator of the television series "Life on Mars".
* William Friese-Greene portrait photographer and inventor. Pioneer in the field of motion pictures.
* Mike Smith (1982-84), Managing Director of Columbia Records.

QEH Theatre

Since opening in 1990 the QEH Theatre has hosted many productions both by QEH pupils and professional companies performing plays, dance and poetry. Open to the public, it seats 220. The theatre is used for performances open to the general public, and as a way of broadening the pupils' learning by viewing historical and foreign language plays offered by the school.


*The Elizabethan, 2000 edition.
*QEH News, Issue 20 - Spring Term 2008.

External links

* [http://www.qehbristol.co.uk School website]
* [http://www.qehbristol.net/servercode/showdocument.asp?ID=9 School's OFSTED Report]
* [http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&z=19&ll=51.454694,-2.6088&spn=0.001061,0.001872&t=k&om=0 School on Google Maps]

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