Founded in 1590 as a hospital for orphans by John Carr, a prosperous soap merchant,
Queen Elizabeth's Hospital is now one of Bristol's most respected independent schools.
The school's Charter was granted
by Queen Elizabeth I on 21st March 1590. QEH originally
occupied Gaunts' Hospital near College Green before
moving to nearby Unity Street in 1706.
However, the school's fortunes suffered when Edward Colston, one
of Bristol's most famous
philanthropists, withdrew his promise to treble the number of pupils in protest at the
Corporation's refusal to exclude the sons of Dissidents from the school. Colston went on to
found his own
school which still bears his name today. In 1767 the Corporation forced QEH
to exchange its spacious Unity Street
premises with those of Bristol Grammar School at
St Bartholomew's. BGS had occupied the site at the bottom of
Christmas Steps since 1532,
but it had become cramped and inadequate for its pupils, who were mainly sons of
Bristol merchants. Ironically, BGS failed miserably in its new home in Unity Street. QEH
stayed at
St Bartholomew's for 80 years, described as "the darkest chapter in the school's
history", before moving to its present
home on Brandon Hill in 1847. I attended the school
between 1985 and 1992. The above photograph comes from a
school prospectus.