The Leathersellers’ Company is one of the historic livery companies of the City of London and has governed Colfe’s School since 1652. Every year, the Company carries out an official visitation to check on progress at the school; and every year Colfe’s pupils visit the Leathersellers’ Hall to learn about the long history of the school and the Company.
Below is a time line of the school’s history from the 14th century to today.
First mention of the 'good men' of the mistery or craft of Leathersellers' of London.
Royal Charter of Incorporation granted to the mistery of Leathersellers' by Henry VI. Royal Charter of Incorporation granted to the mistery of Leathersellers' by Henry VI.
The Leathersellers' purchase the former priory of St Helen Bishopsgate.
Abraham Colfe is born in Canterbury on 7th August.
The Leathersellers' Company is granted a new Charter by James I, confirming its status.
Colfe becomes vicar of Lewisham.
Colfe first proposes the foundation of a grammar school in Lewisham.
The Leathersellers' Company agrees to become trustees of Colfe's School.
The Free Grammar School is officially opened on Lewisham Hill on 10th June.
Abraham Colfe dies on 5th December, aged 77.
The first visitation by the Leathersellers' Company as school governors takes place on 6th July.
Charles II forces the surrender of the Leathersellers' privileges and issues a new charter (which is subsequently rejected by the Company).
The Leathersellers' pay for repairs to the school following a violent storm.
The school is referred to as Colfe's Grammar School for the first time.
The terms of Colfe's Will are reinforced under a new scheme, preventing reforms desired by Rev Prendergast, the Headmaster.
The Reverend Thomas Bramley becomes Headmaster. During his tenure, Bramley argues for the reform of the Colfe's foundation and the modernisation of the school, leading to the overturning of Abraham Colfe's will.
The Abraham Colfe Club is founded.
Queen Victoria gives Royal Assent to the new scheme leading to the modernisation of Colfe's School and confirming its status as a grammar school.
Colfe's School buildings are demolished, to be replaced by modern buildings, which are funded by the Leathersellers' Company.
The Old Colfeians Football Club is founded.
The School song, Carmen Colfanum, is written by Leland Duncan, music by Frederick Leeds.
The first edition of The Colfeian is published, edited by L L Duncan, the first Old Boys magazine in the country.
The Abraham Colfe grounds are established in Horn Park.
Many old boys join up and 124 lives are lost in the First World War.
Colfes's accepts a grant from the Board of Education.
The current school site at Lee is purchased, originally for use as playing fields.
The Abraham Colfe Club becomes the Old Colfeians.
At least 96 Old Colfeians are killed during World War II.
The school is evacuated to Skinners School, Tunbridge Wells.
Enemy action destroys the Leathersellers' Hall.
Flying bombs destroy the "School on the Hill"; the evacuees move to Frome.
The school returns to the re-built site at Lewisham Hill.
Colfe's Grammar School celebrates its tercentenary.
The new buildings in Lee are officially opened on 26th November. The Parents' Association is formed.
The Government abolishes London Grammar Schools; Colfe's School becomes independent.
Girls are admitted to the sixth form for the first time.
Many new facilities are provided, often with funding from the Leathersellers' Company, including the Beardwood Centre, the Prep School, the Newton Sports' Centre, the Hamp Library, the Pre-Prep & Nursery Schools, the Languages block and the Sixth Form Centre.
The first year of co-education in the senior school.
Colfe's School celebrates its 350th Anniversary.
Beardwood Arts Centre is opened by Prince Michael of Kent.
Richard Russell becomes the 25th Headmaster of Colfe's School.
The school completes the purchase of the freehold of Horn Park, home to the Old Colfeians.
Vivian Anthony's School History from 1972 to 2002 is published.
Expanded and refurbished Junior School is opened.
The Stewart building is opened by Prince Michael of Kent.
The Junior School is refurbished to include a connecting atrium between the EYFS/Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 buildings.